BOSS LS-3655 150w Laser Engraver
|Serial Number||SERIAL NUMBER|
|Make/Model||BOSS LS-3655 150w|
|Arrival Date||January 2017|
|Contact||CNC Area Host|
- 1 About
- 2 Status
- 3 Software
- 4 Usage Policy
- 5 Authorization
- 6 Troubleshooting
- 7 Power-On & Safety Check
- 8 Settings
- 9 Procedures
- 10 Material Safety & Information
- 11 Laser Materials and the Woodshop Table-Saw Saw-stop
- 12 Resources
- 13 Cleaning, Alignment & Maintenance
- 14 Signage
- 15 List of Currently Authorized Users
The BOSS LS-3655 is an industrial CO2 laser engraver with a 35.4" x 55.1" 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.
- (2019/07/25) Beam Combiner installed; Mirrors and Red beam aligned. Red dot is slightly left (about 3/4 of a dot) of actual cut. A few more parts needed, but the Boss is operational.
- (2019/06/26) Working, 4-in Len replaced by Joe M. Still waiting on Beam Combiner.
- (2019/06/15) Working, 4-in Lens is cracked from overtightening -- DO NOT CLEAN --; Mirrors aligned. Beam Combiner and replacement lens on order.
- (2018/12/07) Working, but not that well. Had to use 100% power and speed 5 to cut through relatively thin leather. Perhaps needs to be cleaned?
- (2018/12/01) NOT working. Needs a tube replacement, probably. It's going to be a while. It will not happen faster if you ask when it's going to be fixed. NOBODY KNOWS YET.
- (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.
- 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.
- If your old shortcut to RDWorks doesn't work, go to start/C:/Program Files/RDWorks and open the program by clicking the application in that folder. DO NOT MOVE THAT APP TO YOUR OWN DESKTOP. You can create a new shortcut to it, but please do not move it.
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.
How to get authorized: contact the CNC Area Host or one of the Volunteer Authorizers.
- Joe Mertz
- Jeff Zelnio
- 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
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.
- 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 by clicking Start/C:/Program Files/RDWorks 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
- Check Wiki for status updates
- Check if material is safe to cut: refer to the wiki for a list of safe and unsafe materials for cutting
- Check Fire Extinguisher: Make sure it is close by and charged
- Release Emergency Stop: Rotate red button until it releases
- Turn Power Key: Display will load up
- 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
- Load Program & Check USB Connection Status
- Importing Files: Importing AI, DXF, SVG, & images
- Introducing User Interface: quick review of UI including Drawing, Grouping, Preview, Work Tab, Layers, Laser Work, & Head Position
- Detailed Overview of Work Tab: major cutting settings & parameters reside here
- Starting a Job
- Saving a File
- Boss Laser Operation
- LED Keypad Overview
- Adjusting the Z-Height: raise and lower bed
- Autofocus: Setting focal height for material
- Setting Origin
- Jogging the Laser Head in XY
- Adjusting High Pressure Air Regulator: Changing the compressed air flow
- Loading a File via USB Port
- Load & Unload honeycomb
- Cleaning Up & Clearing Catch Tray
- Individual Walkthrough: each member is required to perform the following:
- Start-Up the machine
- Turn on exhaust, air-assist, & chiller
- Place Material, autofocus, set origin
- Load RDworks, create 3 layers (Cut, Scan, Dot) & run laser job
- Shutdown machine & clear catch tray
- 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)
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)
- Artificial leather
- Polycarbonate/Lexan – [Thick ( >1mm )]
- HDPE/milk bottle plastic
- PolyStyrene Foam
- PolyPropylene Foam
- Coated Carbon Fiber
- Any foodstuff ( such as meat, seaweed 'nori' sheets, bread, tortillas... )
- Any material containing chlorine:
Safe Materials for Cutting
- 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)
- Two-tone acrylic – top color different than core material, usually for custom instrumentation panels, signs, and plaques.
- Depron foam – often used for RC planes.
- Gator foam – foam core gets burned and eaten away compared to the top and bottom hard shell.
- Cloths (leather, suede, felt, hemp, cotton)
- Rubbers (only if they do not contain chlorine Teflon (PTFE, Polytetrafluoroethylene)
- Woods (MDF, balsa, birch, poplar, red oak, cherry, holly, etc.)
- 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).
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/
Engraving a curved surface
- Engraving a flask
- There is thought to be a BOSS rotary attachment to assist with working with curved surfaces, but have yet to find it.
Following are a couple good YouTube Channels with lots of information on the software and machine
Cleaning, Alignment & Maintenance
- When changing the lens, make sure the convex/domed side of the lens is facing upwards (towards the ceiling) -- "BUBBLE UP"
- Focus Lens should be cleaned once a week with Acetone or Denatured Alcohol
- Clean out air filter once a week using the Shopvac.
- You can clean the lens without removing it by using a long q-tip and alcohol. Make sure to not leave any residue and make sure lens is dry before testing.
- Sometimes the nozzle itself can get clogged with soot & debris so make sure to clean that out as well.
- If laser is having problems cutting, run simple diagnostic tests first BEFORE assuming and attempting lens alignment. The alignment document (linked below) shows how to do a 4 corner test. The first video (linked below) shows how to check if laser is firing straight down with a piece of clear acrylic.
- When using blue sided tape to test, be careful to not touch or smudge the mirrors and carefully clean with alcohol and q-tip mirors if they do get dirty. During pulse tests, you can try placing piece of aluminum foil sandwiched between two pieces of blue tape to prevent smoke/residue build up.
- Official Alignment Document from BOSS (29 pages, 16MB)
- BOSS Laser Alignment 1 (Youtube, April 2015)
- BOSS Laser Alignment 2 (Youtube, October 2015)
- From BOSS: "It (the old video) is a source for alignment but it an old video and we have a new one coming out soon....[the] alignment document is the most recent source that we have...the video starts with tube leveling, please refrain from doing that if you can because that will make you have to adjust every mirror moving forward."
List of Currently Authorized Users
|Qualified Member||Trained By||Date|
|Nikolas Gamarra||Jeff Z||9/5/2019|
|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|
|Oliver Sanchez||Jeff Z||2018-12-19|
|Alex Biardo||Jeff Z||03/06/19|
|Greg Bell||Jeff Z||03/23/19|
|Paul Ocampo||Jeff Z|
|Rob German||Jeff Z||09/19/19|
|Connar Rosebraugh||Jeff Z||10/03/19|