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
Make/Model Mini 24
Arrival Date 6/29/2011
Usability yes
Contact CNC Area Host
Where Shock Shop
Authorization Needed yes
Hackable no
Estimated Value $15,000
Host Area {{{hostarea}}}

Epilog 30w Mini 24 Laser Engraver Area: {{{hostarea}}} https://wiki.pumpingstationone.org/Epilog_30w_Mini_24_Laser_Engraver

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

Laser cutter reservation system

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/


The Previous Ventilation Systems broke after where 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


  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Delrin (POM) in thin sheets does cut. Delrin comes in a number of shore strengths (hardness) and the harder delrin tends to work better. Great for gears!
    • 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.
    • 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 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

  • Inventables for acrylic
  • Abbey Specialties for acrylic in varied sizes, this company is our landlord. They are in the other half of our building and if you ask they can drop off in our shared loading dock.

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.

If you hear a hiss behind the machine, it's 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.

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).

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.

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 Username on Laser Computer
Nat Zorach Will McShane lequis
Anthony Sontag Elizabeth anthony
Will McShane Danger Committee Will McShane
Eric Stein Will McShane Eric Stein
Patrick Schless Will McShane Patrick Schless
Laurie Rich Steve Laurie Rich
Tom Forajter Will McShane Forajter
Colin Parsons Patrick Swayze (RIP) colin
Andrew Camardella Colin Parsons rtystgeeke
Dan Locks Colin Parsons dwlocks
Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Colin Parsons mqudsi
Lauren Conroy Colin Parsons lconroy
Jesse Seay Colin Parsons jesseseay
Sai Yamanoor Colin Parsons sai
Hef Colin Parsons hef
Adam Talsma Colin Parsons atalsma
Josh Cooper Colin Parsons thisjosh
Bryan Rosendale Colin Parsons bryan
Kevin Caughlin Colin Parsons kevin
Nathan Becka Colin Parsons nathan
Stephen Kamykowski Colin Parsons stephen
Jesse Seay Colin Parsons jesseseay
Bart Dring Colin Parsons bdring
Mike Morarity Colin Parsons morarimj
Tony Dipaolo Colin Parsons td3710
Adrew An Colin Parsons hyun5942
Dean Anderson Colin Parsons dba5950
Francesca Slade Colin Parsons theslade
David Fell Colin Parsons DavidFell
Jay Pee Elizabeth Jaypee
Peter Borah Elizabeth peterbb
April Elizabeth april
Ray Doeksen Elizabeth Ray Doeksen
Jason Shanfield Will McShane jason
Elizabeth Koprucki Will McShane ekoprucki
George Shaw Will McShane ps1george
Andrew Kos Elizabeth Koprucki kand
Derek Bever Elizabeth Koprucki dbever
Jason Araujo Derek Bever lobo
Adam Glick Ray Doeksen
Nathan Ellis Jason Shanfield
Rob Riggs (Colorado Rob) Elizabeth rob
Arturo Duarte Elizabeth Koprucki ad9581
James Porter Elizabeth Koprucki jivnyahoo
Ryan Kelly Elizabeth Koprucki ryankelly11
Sloan Lavery William McShane Sloanieb01
Casey Olson Jason Shanfield colson
Spenser Gilliland Elizabeth Koprucki spenser
Jeff McBride Elizabeth Koprucki lgaboarder
Joseph Prosnitz Colin Parsons binaryproof
David Morton Elizabeth Koprucki mediumcool
Thomas Wright Elizabeth Koprucki fluxx66
Touly Phiachantharath Elizabeth Koprucki toolz
Robert Grossman Elizabeth Koprucki rgrossman7
Eddie Muela Elizabeth Koprucki emuela
Rachel Wallis Elizabeth Koprucki rachelw
Nick Halderman Elizabeth Koprucki emertonom
Eric Beauchamp Jason Shanfield ericbeau
Aaron Mintz Elizabeth Koprucki

Certifying users

The laser cutter now has recommended certifiers. A recommended certifier can follow the instructions on Laser Engraver Certification to enable logins to the laser engraver computer.