Machine-
Epilog Helix 40w laser cutter

18x24 Cutting envelope

This machine uses a laser to cut or etch 2D geometry into a variety of materials. It is incredibly versatile, and a great place to start learning about CNC processes.

Your file must be reviewed by either FASTEnER Staff or Qualified Faculty (currently Christian) before you send it to the Machine. We are looking for geometry errors that could cause issues with cutting/etching, as well as technical Issues that could either Damage the machine or your work piece. If you are uncertain, Ask! Even if you are Certain, Still Ask!

Safety

You do not need any personal safety equipment for standard operation of the lasers, however, laser radiation is dangerous. Never bypass or remove any of the safety systems on the machine. Do not perform any maintenance on the machine. All maintenance should be done by FASTEnER Staff

Unsupervised operation of the system is not permitted. you must be present to watch your file and be prepared to stop the process if something goes wrong.

Do not stare directly at the laser, it is very bright and can damage your eye sight, like staring directly at the sun.

Before processing materials the user must verify that no harmful gases or fumes will be generated. It is the user's responsibility to know the materials he or she is working with and the hazards associated with them

PVC must never be cut on our lasers.

Follow all CAUTION and SAFETY labeling.

Things to Consider / Easy Mistakes:

This might not work the first time: This machine is a tool and while a good place to start, still has a learning curve to it. The best way to get things done correctly is to set up test files and run them on your material to achieve the results you are looking for. To test your settings:
When working with a new thickness of a material which is listed on the Settings Page, choose a setting which you believe to be too low. Run one test square, see your result. If it doesn't flame, increase the setting 10% until it cuts through the material.

Wrong Material:
Approved materials are listed on this page. If you would like to cut a material that is not on this page, Please come by during Office Hours with your material and your file and we can see what we can work out.

Forgot Air Assist:
Forgetting to turn on air assist will damage our lens. The Air Assist is manually controlled by the lever over the work stations. Pressure should be between 20 and 30 PSI.

Out of Focus:
Focus is the single most important aspect of laser cutting. If you are using the provided settings and are not in focus your material will not cut through, the lineweight of your cut line will be relatively heavy. There is an Auto Focus option in the print dialog, It is highly reccomended that you use it whenever possible.

Bad File:

Failure to properly set up your file is the number one reason things turn out incorrect, and Errant or duplicate geometry is the second. Make sure things are set up properly and run test files before using the machine on final pieces or material

Laser Materials
Color Chart
Color Chart
Example of engraved wood at maximum DPI
Example of engraved wood at maximum DPI
Example of engraved wood at differemt DPI
Example of engraved acrylic at different DPI and grayscales