instructions for a laser cutter
Install the laser machine's software. Begin by connecting the laser-cutting machine to your computer via a universal serial bus (USB) cable. Insert the laser machine's software compact disc to your computer, and follow the on-screen instructions to install the software suite.
Make an image in a computer-aided drawing program that is recommended for your laser cutter. The laser cutter's user's manual should include that information. A graphics software program that can create raster or vector drawings is preferred. The laser-cutting machine interprets these files into fine cutting lines on the material that you use. Many laser cutters use Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW software, but yours may use a different software program.
Clean the laser lens. Remove the three screws that hold the lens in place. Dab a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol, and wipe the lens gently if it appears dirty. Reinstall the lens.
Press the laser-cutting machine's "power on" button. Wait for a few seconds to allow the machine to complete the starting procedure.
Open the laser-cutting machine's software on your computer.
Establish a cutting line width. Click on the software program's "Properties" tab. Set a cutting line on the laser cutter to a width no wider than 0.004 inch. Wider dimensions often result in uneven lines and take more time to cut.
Adjust cutting depth, cutting speed and pulses-per-inch (PPI) settings based on the material you cut. You may adjust the settings to cut through or just etch the surface of the material. Because manufacturers have their own settings for cutting different materials, check the user's manual.
Focus the laser-cutting beam. Because the instructions vary by manufacturer, follow the manufacturer's instructions in the user's manual.
Send your design to the laser-cutting machine. Begin by clicking on the "File" tab in the laser cutter's software program. Choose "Open..." or "Browse..." in the drop-down list to find your design. Highlight the design, and then click on "OK."
Set the initial starting point for the laser beam according to the shape and size of the material you cut. The proper way to set the starting point varies by manufacturer; follow the user's manual instructions.
Secure the material that will be cut to the cutting table.
Let the machine begin the cutting process with the guide of a computer. As it cuts, prevent the material from moving.