BOSS LS-3655 150w Laser Engraver

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BOSS LS-3655 150w Laser Engraver
BossLaser2.jpg
Owner/Loaner PS:One
Serial Number SERIAL NUMBER
Make/Model BOSS LS-3655 150w
Arrival Date January 2017
Usability Yes
Contact CNC Area Host
Where CNC Shop
Authorization Needed yes
Hackable no
Estimated Value $17,000
Host Area CNC


BOSS LS-3655 150w Laser Engraver https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/BOSS_LS-3655_150w_Laser_Engraver




About

The BOSS LS-3655 is an industrial CO2 laser engraver with a 36" x 55" bed, supporting over-sized material pass-thru on four sides and up to 7 inches of table depth. Originally shipped with 100W tube, but that has been replaced with 150W tube in May, 2017.

Status

  • (2018/02/26) Working. Z-Axis motor having some issues? 2-25-2018
  • (2017/05/20) 150W Tube & Power Supply installed. Alignment & focusing pending.
  • (2017/06/12) The laser has been aligned and focused. 2" Laser lens focal depth set to 5.1mm.

Software

  • The software that drives the Boss laser from the attached computer is called RDWorksV8, the version that is appropriate to use is 8.01.18
  • That is not the most recent version of the software, but it is the most recent approved version for PS1. If you are having issues with RDWorks, verify that you are using the correct version of the software.

Usage Policy

The laser cutter is easily one of the most used machines at PS1. Due to this demand we request the cooperation of all members to share the laser cutter and associated computer. First and foremost, the practice "being excellent" should be observed at all times; respect yourself, other members, and the equipment. This is a usage policy so that everyone can use the laser:

  • Any user not actively test cutting or cutting will cede the computer and laser to the next person waiting in line, as soon as that waiting user notifies the current computer user. If you are still designing your file, please do so on another computer. Artastic (another PC upstairs) in the Crafts Area also has a copy of Adobe Illustrator.
  • If someone is waiting in line to use the laser, no active test cut or cut series shall be longer than 1 hour. No jobs will be allowed to start that overrun the 1 hour time limit when a new user is waiting.
  • In the case that your last cut is longer than the 1 hour time limit, and a waiting user presents themselves after the cut has started, the cut job shall be allowed to finish and the waiting user will be allowed to set up their file in their own user account, during the cutting period.
  • Continuous cutting shall not exceed 3 consecutive hours without a half hour break for the laser to cool. If a new user arrives before or during the cooling period the current user shall cede the laser to the next user, and the next user will wait for the cooling period to finish and the cooling period shall not count towards the 1 hours limit should another user present themselves.
  • Waiting users shall notify the current user verbally that they are waiting and where they will be waiting until it is their turn. If multiple users are waiting, the next waiting user must start their test cutting or cut job within 10 minutes of being notified of a laser opening. The current user will keep a record of who is waiting, where they will be, and notify subsequent users of the status of the queue. The current user will find the next waiting user and verbally inform them that the laser is available.

Authorization

How to get authorized: contact the CNC Area Host or one of the Volunteer Authorizers.

Authorizers

Area Host

  • Joe Mertz

Volunteer authorizers:

  • Jeff Zelnio

Other Authorized authorizers:

  • Ray Doeksen

Since demand fluctuates, and there are a random group of new and old members that want to be authorized at any one time, it makes sense to find the others and figure out your group schedule/plan. There generally is NOT going to be a calendar-based or widely publicized meetup event; you will have to conctact and make arrangements with actual people, at least until the Canvas Learning Management System is implemented more fully. http://canvas.pumpingstationone.org

Preparing yourself to become authorized

You need a few things to optimize and expedite your experience:

  • 1. Know what you're doing as best as you can - come pre-trained on your own time to make the authorization go smoother and faster.
  • 2. Have a PS1 username set up before starting the authorization http://members.pumpingstationone.org (from 2018 onwards, you will create a username as part of the signup process or migration to the Wild Apricot-managed member management system. A username is not an email address.
  • 3. Have some familiarity with the kinds of files you would bring to the Boss to cut.

To that end; you could download and become familiar a bit with RDWorks, the software you will use to drive the Boss. Links are on this page. You can read a bit of the manual, which is also linked on this page, or watch some YouTube videos.

To set up a PS1 username (this is NOT the email address you use, it's a different thing, it's entirely special to PS1) go to http://members.pumpingstationone.org, and click "Activate" ... if you don't already have a PS1 username.

Bring files in from Adobe Illustrator in Illustrator format, with lines set to have SOME sort of stroke, I'd recommend 1 point stroke, and some simple color applied to the stroke for each "layer" you want to have in RDWorks. You will want to have one color/layer assigned for each type or strength of cut/engrave you'll be doing in that job. For instance, you might want a deep engraving, a shallow engraving, a cut that goes all the way through the material and maybe a cut that just barely touches the top surface (called a 'kiss cut) and that would mean you would need four distinct colors of stroke used in your file. You should investigate the usefullness of SVG, DXF and DWG files as well, but Illustrator files will give you the best first experiences.

Authorizations will be limited to small groups, e.g. 4 or less, due to nature of the equipment.

Troubleshooting

  • Grinding noise; TBD; was grinding, but grinding stopped once the head was moved away from the sensors and the machine restarted.
  • There is a small yellow proximity sensor just behind and to the right of the "head" when it returns to home position.
  • If the sensor gets pushed out of position, off at an angle, then the grinding will happen. If you return it to vertical, this will stop and it will return to home without complaining.
  • RDWorks is already installed on the machine for everyone to use, but you might have to find it in Program Files and add a shortcut to your own desktop, start menu, or taskbar.
  • Don't move the RDWorks instance that you find ... you will disable other users' shortcuts that they've made on their desktop, start menu or taskbar. If you can't get the instance to work, get help from an admin; it's probably been moved somewhere awkward by another user.
  • Software requests an admin password; you may be using the most current version of the RD Works software, but maybe you shouldn't.
  • The current version has some bugs, evidently, so use the tip hidden below under "resources" to fix the problem for you.
  • You should be using RDWorksV8, version 8.01.18
  • If the language for RDWorks (the Boss control software) is showing garbage, follow this video.

Power-On & Safety Check

  1. Check Wiki for status updates
  2. Check if material is safe to cut: refer to the wiki for a list of safe and unsafe materials for cutting
  3. Check Fire Extinguisher: Make sure it is close by and charged
  4. Release Emergency Stop: Rotate red button until it releases
  5. Turn Power Key: Display will load up
  6. Turn on Air Assist & Chiller: Flip the switch and ensure exhaust & chiller are on and functioning. Double check chiller temp with laser temp.
  • RD Works
  1. Load Program & Check USB Connection Status
  2. Importing Files: Importing AI, DXF, SVG, & images
  3. Introducing User Interface: quick review of UI including Drawing, Grouping, Preview, Work Tab, Layers, Laser Work, & Head Position
  4. Detailed Overview of Work Tab: major cutting settings & parameters reside here
  5. Starting a Job
  6. Saving a File
  • Boss Laser Operation
  1. LED Keypad Overview
  2. Adjusting the Z-Height: raise and lower bed
  3. Autofocus: Setting focal height for material
  4. Setting Origin
  5. Jogging the Laser Head in XY
  6. Adjusting High Pressure Air Regulator: Changing the compressed air flow
  7. Loading a File via USB Port
  8. Load & Unload honeycomb
  9. Cleaning Up & Clearing Catch Tray
  • Individual Walkthrough: each member is required to perform the following:
  1. Start-Up the machine
  2. Turn on exhaust, air-assist, & chiller
  3. Place Material, autofocus, set origin
  4. Load RDworks, create 3 layers (Cut, Scan, Dot) & run laser job
  5. Shutdown machine & clear catch tray

Settings

Laser Settings Page

  • Honeycomb vs. Aluminum Lamella : The honeycomb is used for engraving and pieces that benefit from precise leveling. Use the aluminum lamella (slats under honeycomb) for cutting through to reduce flashback and improve airflow (warning small pieces will fall through).
  • 4" Lens Focus Depth 38.5mm (this is a just an approximate, FD calibration must be performed each time the lens is changed)
  • 2" Lens Focus Depth 5.3mm (this is a just an approximate, FD calibration must be performed each time the lens is changed)

Procedures

Boss Usage

Boss Maintenance

Powering On Machine

  • Check Fire Extinguisher
  • Release Emergency Stop button
  • Turn power key
  • Turn on air assist & water chiller Switch & ensure both are functioning
  • Turn on exhaust switch and ensure it is functioning. (Gray Switch to the left of the machine)

Powering Off Machine

  • Turn key to off position, leave key in the lock
  • Push emergency stop button in
  • Turn the chiller, blower and air assist off using the main switch (switch with identifying lasercut plate)
  • Reset the area by cleaning up any stray cut materials. Clean and straighten the area around the laser.

Material Safety & Information

WARNING: Because many plastics are dangerous to cut, it is important to know what kind you are planning to use. If you are unsure of your materials composition, don’t cut it with the laser. You can request a SDS from your material supplier for specific information on the plastic you have or are considering using.

NEVER CUT THESE MATERIALS

    • Any material containing chlorine:
      • PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)
      • Vinyl
      • Pleather
      • Artificial leather
    • Plastics:
      • Polycarbonate/Lexan – [Thick ( >1mm )]
      • ABS
      • HDPE/milk bottle plastic
    • Foams:
      • PolyStyrene Foam
      • PolyPropylene Foam
    • Other:
      • Epoxy
      • Fiberglass
      • Coated Carbon Fiber
      • Any foodstuff ( such as meat, seaweed 'nori' sheets, bread, tortillas... )

Safe Materials for Cutting

    • Plastics:
      • ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)
      • Acrylic (also known as Plexiglas, Lucite, PMMA)
      • Delrin (POM, acetal)
      • Kapton tape (Polyimide)
      • Mylar (polyester)
      • Nylon – melts badly
      • PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol)
      • Styrene
      • Two-tone acrylic – top color different than core material, usually for custom instrumentation panels, signs, and plaques.
    • Foam:
      • Depron foam – often used for RC planes.
      • EPM
      • Gator foam – foam core gets burned and eaten away compared to the top and bottom hard shell.
    • Other:
      • Cloths (leather, suede, felt, hemp, cotton)
      • Papers
      • Rubbers (only if they do not contain chlorine Teflon (PTFE, Polytetrafluoroethylene)
      • Woods (MDF, balsa, birch, poplar, red oak, cherry, holly, etc.)

Aligning Materials

    • The table is not aligned with the laser's X-Y axis
    • To align your material use the laser pointer by holding one axis constant while moving along the other axis to align corners of your material

Laser Materials and the Woodshop Table-Saw Saw-stop

  • Conductive materials such as aluminum and other metals, carbon fiber materials, mirrored acrylic, carbon-filled materials, etc. will typically cause the brake to activate.
  • Carbon from lasered wood or lasered plywood is also conductive and will trigger the saw stop. do not use the table saw to cut your material. Once you have lasered a piece of wood,
    • The band saw can be used instead for both mirrored acrylic and lasered wood. Use safety goggles when using the bandsaw in general, but especially when using it to cut acrylic. (NOTE: authorization is required for the table saw and the bandsaw, so attending a woodshop authorization might be a good idea).


Resources

The proprietary LaserWORKS software can be downloaded from BOSS here - https://www.bosslaser.com/laser-software/ However, the current version (8.01.28) of the laser software seems to require admin rights every time it's used. So instead you may want to download the 8.01.18 version of the software until this is fixed.

Manuals for the BOSS laser and the LaserWORKS software are located here - https://www.bosslaser.com/download-manuals-guides/

BOSS test files are available here

Some laser settings from Boss

Excellent Facebook Group for RDWorks Tips and help

Forum for RDworks user group

Youtube Channels

Following are a couple good YouTube Channels with lots of information on the software and machine


Cleaning & Maintenance

  • When changing the lens, make sure the convex/domed side of the lens is facing upwards (towards the ceiling)
  • Focus Lens should be cleaned once a week with Acetone or Denatured Alcohol
  • (How often should the air filter be changed?)

List of Currently Authorized Users

Qualified Member Trained By Date
Andrew Camardella Danger Committee
Matt Keith Danger Committee
Sky Nova Danger Committee
Jason Araujo Danger Committee
Ray Doeksen Danger Committee
Matt Meshulam Danger Committee
Ashish Jasani Danger Committee
Joe Juhnke Ashish Jasani
Casey Olson Ray Doeksen
Andrew Vaughan Burton Kent
McTavish McArdle Burton Kent
Erik Wessing Ray Doeksen
Theo T Ray Doeksen
Molly Adamski Joe Juhnke
Brantley Harris Ray Doeksen
Amir Badri Sky Nova
Aaron Carlock Jeff Z
Gabe Tavas Joe Juhnke
Sam Dreyer Jeff Z
Stephanie Pelzer Jeff Z
Nick Prorok Jeff Z 3/02/2018
Alisha Ciardi Burton Kent 03/2018
Bao Nguyen Zander Bueno 05/04/2018
Chris Laurent Jeff Z 07/06/2018
Jake Chaitkin Nick Prorok 2018-07-09
Aidan Fowler Ray Doeksen 2018-08-02
Farsheed Hamidi-Toosi Jeff Z 2018-10-03