Epilog 30w Mini 24 Laser Engraver

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Epilog 30w Mini 24 Laser Engraver
Epilog fired the laser.jpg
Owner/Loaner PS:One
Serial Number SERIAL NUMBER
Make/Model Mini 24
Arrival Date 6/29/2011
Usability yes
Contact CNC Area Host
Where Shock Shop
Certification Needed yes
Hackable no
Estimated Value $15,000

Epilog 30w Mini 24 Laser Engraver https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/Epilog_30w_Mini_24_Laser_Engraver


Status

  • As of 3/23/2015, not working, we're on it, someone (Jason S.) is going to troubleshoot and get parts on order tonight, ASAP. Please do not attempt to use in the meantime.
  • As of 3/24/2014, parts needed have been identified and are ordered, were under warranty, should arrive by 3/26/2015, and are expected to be installed that evening.

Top Five

  • Don't use the autofocus, because it could burn out a motor.
  • Don't cut materials that will ignite or emit dangerous fumes. See section below.
  • Always use the exhaust fans and use the air assist on vector cuts.
  • You must stay with the job; don't walk away. Things could catch on fire, that would suck.
  • Sometimes it's a pain to get the right driver working. http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/11c3/

General Info

This machine: http://www.epiloglaser.com/mini24_overview.htm

Manual for this machine: http://www.epiloglaser.com/downloads/pdf/mini_helix_4.22.10.pdf

Settings for various materials

Laser Cutter Instructions and Workflow

Cleaning the optics: http://www.epiloglaser.com/tl_clean_optics.htm

Inkscape for newbies: http://blog.ponoko.com/2008/01/21/how-to-inkscape-for-ponoko-newbies-trace-an-image/

Experiment with settings to find the lowest possible power and highest possible speed to get clean vector cuts. The new optics and tube (as of December 2014) can cut many organic materials with a minimum of charring.

Strategies and techniques

See main article, Epilog techniques.

Ventilation

The Previous Ventilation Systems broke after wear and tear. After some research, it was insufficient for our needs anyway.


Replacement parts for Air removal
Item Price Reference
Standard Heavy Duty Blower $592.31 http://www.mcmaster.com/#1953k23/=skexxp

NEVER CUT THESE MATERIALS

  • PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride): Also known as "vinyl" "pleather" or "artificial leather." Most adhesive vinyl shelf paper (e.g. Con-Tact Paper) also is PVC. Emits HCl and nasty chlorinated compounds when cut! Don't ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, cause the metal of the machine to corrode, and ruin the motion control system.
  • Polycarbonate: Also known as "Lexan." Polycarbonate is also often found as flat, sheet material. The case cover window on the laser cutter is made of Polycarbonate because polycarbonate strongly absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can also emit flame and chlorine gas when cut, making it a poor choice for laser cutting.
  • ABS: ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher chance of catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not engrave well (again, tends to melt). Finally, ABS emits cyanide when cut.
  • HDPE: "milk bottle" plastic. It melts. It gets gooey. It catches on fire. Don't use it.
  • PolyStyrene Foam: It catches fire, it melts, and only thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
  • Fiberglass: It's a mix of two materials that can't be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
  • Coated Carbon Fiber: Again, it's a mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying. However, once coated with epoxy it will emit noxious fumes.
  • Silhouette magnet paper (sold by Inventables by example): it likely contains chlorine. Emits HCl and nasty chlorinated compounds when cut! Don't ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, cause the metal of the machine to corrode, and ruin the motion control system.
  • PTFE:, also known as Teflon or any fluorinated polymer it will releases nasty fluorinated compounds (bad for you) and sublimate then deposit on the lenses (likely destroying them).
  • Gator foam: foam core gets burned and eaten away compared to the top and bottom hard paper shell. Not a fantastic thing to cut, but it can be cut if watched. And the MSDS sheet says it may produce hydrogen bromide and hydrogen chloride known to degrade the optics and mechanic of the cutter
  • Any other plastic with "Chlor" or "Fluor" in the name, for the same reasons as PVC and PTFE above.

Test for material

Some people came up with an easy protocol to help identify unknown polymers: Nyc Resistor - how to identify polymers with burnination. We don't know how reliable it is. And we can't but recommend to do that under good ventilation (outside?)

Safe Materials

The laser can cut or etch. The materials that the laser can cut materials like wood, paper, cork, and some kinds of plastics. Etching can be done on almost anything, wood, cardboard, aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, marble, stone, tile, and glass.

  • Cutting
    • Many woods up to 1/4" thick. Composite woods like plywood contain glue, and may not laser cut as well as solid wood. Engineered woods like MDF are okay to use but may experience a higher amount of charring when cut. Be very careful about cutting oily woods, or very resinous woods as they also may catch fire.
    • Paper cuts very very well on the laser cutter, and also very quickly. Thin paper and single layer card stock and cardboard are perfectly OK. Thicker cardboard, carton, and other papers also cut very well but need to be watched to make sure they don't catch fire.
    • Cork cuts nicely, but the quality of the cut depends on the thickness and quality of the cork. Engineered cork has a lot of glue in it, and may not cut as well. Cork thicker than 1/4" should be avoided.
    • Cast acrylic (also known as Lucite, Plexiglas, PMMA) cuts extremely well on the laser cutter, leaving a beautifully polished edge. With care, acrylic material up to 1/2" thick can be cut on the laser cutter. Extruded acrylic cuts less well and etches even worse. It tends to melt and puddle rather than vaporize.
    • Delrin (POM) in thin sheets cuts and engraves very well. Delrin comes in a number of shore strengths (hardness) and the harder delrin tends to work better. Great for gears! It is possible to deeply engrave Delrin to make dies for embossing paper and leather.
    • Kapton tape (Polyimide) : Works well, in thin sheets and strips like tape. 1/16" thick is about as thick as you can cut reliably.
    • Mylar : Works well if it's thin. Once you get too far past 1/16" thick mylar has a tendency to warp, bubble, and curl. Gold coated mylar will not work.
    • Solid Styrene : Smokes a lot when cut, but can be cut. Keep it thin (1/16")
    • Depron foam: Used a lot for hobby, RC aircraft, architectural models, and toys. 1/4" cuts nicely, with a smooth edge. Must be constantly monitored when cutting.
    • Cloth (leather, suede, felt, hemp, cotton, polyester, but NEVER vinyl or pleather-- see above) They all cut well. Leather is very hard to cut, but can be if it's thinner than a belt (call it 1/8")
    • Magnetic Sheet material cuts beautifully (make SURE it does NOT contain chlorine, see above)
    • NON-CHLORINE containing rubber is fine for cutting. Natural rubber engraves but leaves a dark sticky residue that doesn't affect stamps if the piece is engraved deeply enough.
    • Carbon fiber mats/weave that has not yet had epoxy applied can be cut, very slowly. You must not cut carbon fiber that has been coated!!
  • Etching: all the above can be etched, in some cases very deeply. In addition, you can etch:
    • Glass (green seems to work best) .. looks sandblasted. Only FLAT GLASS can be engraved in our cutter. No round or cylindrical items.
    • Ceramic tile
    • Anodized aluminum ( vaporizes the anodization away )
    • Painted/coated metals ( vaporizes the paint away )
    • Stone : Marble, Granite, Soapstone, Onyx. Gets a white "textured" look when etched
  • Marking

There is an expensive coating called 'cermark'. This marking compound costs $100 for a small bottle, and must be diluted with ethanol and applied to metal (not ceramics or stone) before being etched to leave behind a permanent dark black mark.

Material sources

Air assist

Air assist is used for vector cutting to have nice traces and avoid your material to burn. However some people like to have it disabled for raster jobs. The best is to use the pressure regulator on the left of the machine to put it on/off. Don't forget to put it off when you've finished and you don't need it while doing your settings, that's just making our air compressor work too much. The pressure regulator has no adjustable settings. It is either on or off.

If you hear a hiss behind the machine while it is cutting, it means that the valve is closed and that Air assist will not work'… You have to stop the job and then:

  • Hit config (2)
  • Left key until "Air assist vector" put On with Up key (You shouldn't have to put Off here as you just have to put the compressor off if you really need that)
  • Left key until "Air assist raster" put On with Up key.

You should not have to touch these settings, especially because it confuses the users and it can make them destroy their material or cause fire. Default settings should be On and On for both.

Check the regulator for accumulated water from time to time. Place a container (and maybe some paper towels) under the regulator and vent accumulated water from the bottom using the small petcock. If too much water accumulates in the regulator, it may flow through the air hose and into the machine, spraying onto the bed/material.

General references

incredible box maker, with holes and text: http://www.makercase.com/

parametric pdf box creator: http://boxmaker.rahulbotics.com/

parametric svg box creator: http://www.giplt.nl/svg/ (load > construction category > better box)

Ladyada's info on the proper application of laser beams: http://www.ladyada.net/wiki/laserinfo/equipment

Information on materials that can and can't be cut: http://www.pololu.com/docs/0J24/3

paramateric living hinge generator: http://www.ashanan.com/hinges/ (code at: https://github.com/ashanan/hinges)

python svg library written by Toba: https://github.com/eastein/svgcuts

parametric flexbox generator: http://flexbox.herokuapp.com/

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/08/how-to-lasercut-custom-bo.html - Laser cut boxes

PS:One Logo

Long-ass list of laser designs on Thingiverse

All laser cutter things on Thingiverse
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2321 - Theo Janssen
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2073 - Drill gauge
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:247 - Hex connector toy
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1960 - 2010 hex desktop calendar
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2023 - clock
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1739 - shoe hanger
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1616 - geneva wheel
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:201 - Square gears
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1521 - Gyroscope
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1393 - End mill set holder
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1203 - 608 bearing wrapper + face
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:952 - Small box
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:981 - cable chain
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:855 - Chess set
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:20 - Chess set
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3353 - Chess board with compass rose inlay
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:587 - gEarrings
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3411 - gearcuffs
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:807 - Mystery box
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:516 - tumbler, key, and case
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:409 - Resistor lead tool
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:211 - Planetary gear business card
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:53 - planetary gears
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3021 - Scale mail
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5265 - Peristaltic pump
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5243 - laser cut tetris blocks
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5076 - Wire spool holder
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5727 - Settlers of Catan
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5730 - Teardrop pendant light
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7796 - Gear coasters

Software Compatability

Note: this indicates success in using this software with the printer driver, not general capabilities about the software itself.

Software type Manufacturer File extensions Raster (engraving) Vector (cutting) Other notes
CorelDraw Corel cbr yes yes not available on machine
Illustrator CC Adobe ai, eps, svg, pdf yes yes available on machine
Photoshop CC Adobe psd, eps, pdf yes yes available on machine
Inkscape Open Source yes yes save as PDF, then print from Acrobat. works for bitmap and vector.

Notes on Software Compatibility

Adobe Illustrator and the epilog drivers don't always work great together. If you're experiencing any of the following, there is a simple fix:

  1. Job runs, but it's an empty run. Laser head moves once then completes, even though raster vs vector is correctly configured and stokes are set to 0.072pt.
  2. Updating the media size in the epilog print driver does not update the size in Illustrator's print dialog, unless you reopen settings and press 'OK' in epilog again another time or two.
  3. Open pressing print in Illustrator, you get a message about "nothing to print in selected layers" or similar.
  4. Media size entered in epilog driver is read as the reverse by Illustrator (e.g. 24x12 is seen as 12x24 by Illustrator)

It seems epilog's driver doesn't play nicely with Illustrator, and Illustrator interfaces with the print driver a lot because it micromanages a lot of things. If your document is saved as a .AI with PDF compatibility, simply right-click your AI file and open with Adobe Reader instead of Adobe Illustrator, and print from there.

Adobe Reader has a much more "dumbed down" print dialog that just works with Epilog's driver. You don't have to resave your .AI as .PDF, as Adobe Reader can read .AI files saved in compatibility mode (that's the default).


Rotary Attachment

NB: Always return the machine back to the default configuration with a cutting bed after use.

Installing Attachment

Do not attempt to install the rotary attachment without ensuring that the cutting head AND autofocus plunger will clear it. It is extremely easy to damage the autofocus plunger and/or crash the head in the Y dimension, which will burn the motor out and make a lot of people sad.

  1. Turn machine on
  2. Disable X/Y
  3. Open front cover
  4. Lower bed almost to the bottom of the machine while still allowing the catch tray to be removed
  5. Turn machine off
  6. Flip up rulers and remove cutting bed
  7. Remove slide out catch tray
  8. Install the attachment locating it in the 3 holes in the bottom of the bed DO NOT CONNECT PLUG YET
  9. Make sure the Y axis will clear the top of the attachment, if it will not turn the machine on and lower the bed further making sure to turn it off afterwards
  10. Connect the attachment cable to the connector in the back of the bed
  11. Turn the machine on - the machine will zero home over the top of the attachment

Reverse steps to uninstall.

Usage notes

  • DO NOT USE AUTO FOCUS
  • 0,0 is TOP LEFT
  • Y axis is wrapped around the piece
  • Set Y size to circumference of piece - measure with soft tape or string/ribbon/etc
  • Make sure to set print size in driver to same as art board in illustrator

Known issues

Can't login

The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed

I was certified a long time ago

You need to

  1. Be a Current Member
  2. Have a https://members.pumpingstationone.org account
  3. Talk to a recommended certifier, The area host, or email info@pumpingstationone.org

You may be asked to get recertified.

Front door interlock broken

The front door interlock has two reed switches. The one on the right isn't being activated by the factory magnet so it currently has an additional magnet on the inside of the machine, right to the left of the switch

List of Currently Certified Users

This list is hugely incomplete because nobody was doing it. Someone should fix that eventually... for now, new certs should go in here. If you are certified and remember who certified you, go ahead and add yourself. Your non-presence on this list is not intended to insult you or your relatives.

Qualified Member Trained By
Nat Zorach Will McShane
Anthony Sontag Elizabeth
Will McShane Danger Committee
Eric Stein Will McShane
Patrick Schless Will McShane
Laurie Rich Steve
Tom Forajter Will McShane
Colin Parsons Patrick Swayze (RIP)
Andrew Camardella Colin Parsons
Dan Locks Colin Parsons
Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Colin Parsons
Lauren Conroy Colin Parsons
Jesse Seay Colin Parsons
Sai Yamanoor Colin Parsons
Hef Colin Parsons
Adam Talsma Colin Parsons
Josh Cooper Colin Parsons
Bryan Rosendale Colin Parsons
Kevin Caughlin Colin Parsons
Nathan Becka Colin Parsons
Stephen Kamykowski Colin Parsons
Jesse Seay Colin Parsons
Bart Dring Colin Parsons
Mike Morarity Colin Parsons
Tony Dipaolo Colin Parsons
Adrew An Colin Parsons
Dean Anderson Colin Parsons
Francesca Slade Colin Parsons
David Fell Colin Parsons
Ron Olson Colin Parsons
Jay Pee Elizabeth
Peter Borah Elizabeth
April Elizabeth
Ray Doeksen Elizabeth
Jason Shanfield Will McShane
Elizabeth Koprucki Will McShane
George Shaw Will McShane
Andrew Kos Elizabeth Koprucki
Derek Bever Elizabeth Koprucki
Jason Araujo Derek Bever
Adam Glick Ray Doeksen
Nathan Ellis Jason Shanfield
Rob Riggs (Colorado Rob) Elizabeth
Arturo Duarte Elizabeth Koprucki
James Porter Elizabeth Koprucki
Ryan Kelly Elizabeth Koprucki
Sloan Lavery William McShane
Casey Olson Jason Shanfield
Spenser Gilliland Elizabeth Koprucki
Jeff McBride Elizabeth Koprucki
David Morton Elizabeth Koprucki
Thomas Wright Elizabeth Koprucki
Touly Phiachantharath Elizabeth Koprucki
Robert Grossman Elizabeth Koprucki
Eddie Muela Elizabeth Koprucki
Rachel Wallis Elizabeth Koprucki
Nick Halderman Elizabeth Koprucki
Eric Beauchamp Jason Shanfield
Aaron Mintz Elizabeth Koprucki
Matt Makris Elizabeth Koprucki
Roger Moore Elizabeth Koprucki
Michael Leinartas Elizabeth Koprucki
Solomon Hursey Elizabeth Kopruki
Darold Higa Elizabeth Koprucki
Curtiss Cooke Elizabeth Koprucki
Dubi Kaufmann Elizabeth Koprucki
Maria Miller Derek Bever
Andrew Sowa Elizabeth Koprucki
Mike Kislovsky Will McShane
Kyle Bieneman Will McShane
Michael Solheim Elizabeth Koprucki
Tim Geiser Elizabeth Koprucki
Lucas Goossen Elizabeth Koprucki
Alec Weege Jason Shanfield
Arjun Wadnerkar Jason Shanfield
Kevin Pulver Ray Doeksen
David Butler Ray Doeksen
Mike Mandrea Elizabeth Koprucki
Davis Mazariegos Elizabeth Koprucki
John Farmer Elizabeth Koprucki
Knute Martell Elizabeth Koprucki
Leon Grossman Jason Shanfield
Tina C Elizabeth Koprucki
Benjamin Miller Jason Shanfield
Ryan Taylor Jason Shanfield
Ryan Neuman Elizabeth Koprucki
Scott Little Ray Doeksen
Scott Drane Ray Doeksen

Authorizing Users

The laser cutter now has recommended authorizers. Recommended authorizers will periodically conduct authorization sessions for PS:1 members wishing to use the laser engraver. These sessions will be announced on the members' listserv as early as is practicable. A recommended authorizer can follow the instructions on Laser Engraver Certification to enable logins to the laser engraver computer.