Epilog 30w Mini 24 Laser Engraver

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Epilog 30w Mini 24 Laser Engraver
Owner/Loaner PS:One
Make/Model Mini 24
Arrival Date 6/29/2011
Usability WORKING
Contact Colin Parsons
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

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


  • 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 pure chlorine gas 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.

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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • NON-CHLORINE containing rubber is fine for cutting.
    • Teflon (PTFE) in thin sheets
    • 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.

General references

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 Adobe ai, eps, pdf yes yes available on machine
Photoshop Adobe eps, pdf yes yes
Inkscape Open Source yes no save as PDF, then print from Acrobat for vector