Our laser cutter is a Full Spectrum Pro LF 36×24. It has a 80 watt laser tube, and a 24“ by 36” cutting area.
Consult the laser calendar to see when the laser cutter is booked. Members with a scheduled appointment have priority on the laser cutter during that time. If no one has time booked, the laser is available for walk-up use.
To reserve time on the laser cutter “invite” the laser cutter to a meeting. The laser cutter calendar's address is:
tcmaker.org_2d3935333934333630383333 (at) resource.calendar.google.com
If the time is available, your invite will be automatically accepted. This will (as far as we are aware) only work from a Google calendar – other clients are not supported.
The laser costs $5/hour to run. We are relying on your honesty and good will to keep track of laser usage and fees. When you use the laser cutter:
The honor system has been working very well for us so far. Let's keep that going – good will is far more reliable than some technological solution that will inevitably break down when you really want to use the laser. Massive huge thank you's to everyone for being excellent!
The laser cutter can etch and/or cut a wide range of materials – but some materials don't work well, and some materials are extremely hazardous to the machine and nearby humans. Check the list of Laser Cutter Materials before placing anything in the laser.
Recommended settings for various materials: Laser Cutter Settings
The Full Spectrum Laser uses RetinaEngrave to provide to provide the print driver and to allow you to print from the compatable software of your choice.
If you would like to save time onsite download RetinaEngrave Legacy Download from Full Spectrum and come prepared with a configured laser file with the settings you want ready to go.
The laser cutter software is fed through a print driver, so any file that can be printed on the control computer can be sent to the laser cutter. We've had good success with PDF files, so we recommend using that format for ready-to-cut artwork. SVG files can also be used, but Inkscape's printing system is occasionally flaky. PDFs have been very consistent.
We have a page of tips for using various softwares with the laser cutter. Please add your own hints and kinks as you find them!
The control computer is connected to the laser, and is used to feed it jobs. This computer has no network access beyond the laser cutter itself – they are sitting on their own little network, isolated from the rest of the building. Use a USB drive to get your files onto the computer.
The controller has at least the following software installed:
If you'd like a particular software package installed, talk to the laser cabal, and we'll see what we can do.
Users are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Make sure you remove any off-cuts from the laser bed; there's a small shop vac in the room that you can use to suck up the pesky small bits. Clean up the countertop and table when you're finished.
The laser cabal is responsible for the maintenance of the laser. Users should not attempt to align or clean the optics!
Do you want to learn how to clean the optics, vacuum out all the goo, re-level the bed, align the laser? Send an email to laser (at) tcmaker (dot) org, and we'll talk!