PaxSpace Laser Cutter Information

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Revision as of 15:16, 30 April 2018 by Foxrobotics (Talk | contribs) (Approved)

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This page is a work in progress.

This page is to serve as a central location for laser cutter safety, material use, and setup.

Laser Cutter Safety

Laser cutters can be extremely dangerous if not used correctly. Never operate the laser cutters at PaxSpace without the required training. In order to mitigate risk of injury to people or damage to the machine, the following shall be followed. Failure to do so will permanently ban you from using the laser cutter.

  2. ALWAYS the laser exhaust and air assist. If required, tape your material down with masking tape.
  3. NEVER try to operate the laser with the machine lids open.
  4. NEVER cut or engrave unapproved, found, "discount", or unmarked materials.
  5. DO NOT attempt to defeat the safety mechanisms or alter the machine.
  6. DO NOT adjust, touch, or attempt to clean the optics yourself.
  7. DO NOT attempt to engrave yourself or others.
  8. ALWAYS clean fallen materials out of the machine after cuts.
  9. Keep all liquids and food away from the machine at all times.

Air Assist and Exhaust

The air assist is a small jet of air that helps to put out flames as well as keep the lens clean. The air assist will automatically come on when the laser cutter is powered. You can check that it is on by disabling the laser (push the "Laser enable" switch such that it pops UP) and then placing your finger under the hole. You should feel a small stream of air.

The laser exhaust removes the smoke and fumes from the laser cutter and transports them outside. The power switch is located on the wall to the left of the laser cutter. Turn the exhaust system ON whenever you are cutting and leave it on for at least 5 minutes after you are done to remove residual smoke/fumes.



Below are a list of materials approved for PaxSpace. If you do not see a material listed below, you are NOT allowed to cut, engrave, or etch it without explicit permission from the quartermaster. If you would like to try to cut/engrave something not found below, please place a message to the quartermaster channel on Slack (preferred) or reach out via the contact page here to start a discussion:

Approved Materials
Material Notes Source
Cast Acrylic Best for engraving - gives a frosted appearance. Relatively stiff and somewhat brittle. Has paper backing. Acrylic
Extruded Acrylic Gives polished edges when cut. Engraves "ok". More flexible than cast and easier to drill. Has paper backing. Acrylic
Untreated Wood/Plywood Try to stay under 1/8 inch for cutting. Avoid resinous woods (fire hazard + gunks up mirrors). Local lumber yard, Wood
Paper/Cardboard No tissue paper. Watch closely for flame. Hobby/craft store
Glass and Glass Mirror Glass can be etched and possibly scored. It cannot be cut. Use multiple, quick passes instead of slow movements to prevent cracking. Local hardware store
Bare Metal Bare metals can be marked by applying a water-based potter's glaze, engraved with the laser, and then the excess glaze rinsed off. Use clean metals without grease/oils. Do not try to engrave galvanized or plated metals. Local hardware store
Anodized Aluminum The anodization will be removed by the laser leaving the bare metal behind. Online
Cotton/Flax Fabric Do not cut thin fabric. Craft stores like Joann Fabric.
Leather Please stick to small and simple line drawings. Leather creates dust that coats the optics. Cut your material with a knife or shears outside the machine. Craft stores

Banned Materials

These materials are hard banned from use in the laser cutter at PaxSpace. If you'll like to cut these, please use an exacto knife, scissors, a hot wire, or a jigsaw. No exceptions will be made for these materials for any reason.

  • All foams/foam core/foam board
  • All types of vinyl (PVC, vinyl decals, linoleum)
  • Chlorine/Florine-containing plastics
  • HDPE (Milk-jug material)
  • ABS
  • Fiberglass
  • Treated carbon fiber (raw cloth would have to be discussed).
  • Corian
  • Foods or food-like materials
  • Plastic blends
  • Waxes
  • Any "found" or discount plastics