Difference between revisions of "Designing for laser cutting"

From Hitchin Hackspace
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 
(13 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 6: Line 6:
'''NOTE:''' Needs to be merged with [[Laser_cutting_resources | Laser Cutting Resources]]
'''NOTE:''' Needs to be merged with [[Laser_cutting_resources | Laser Cutting Resources]]


==Software Guides==
=Software Guides=


===Laser Cutter Software===
==Laser Cutter Software==


==== LaserCut Software Guides (deprecated)====
=== Lightburn Software Guides ===
Since the change to the new controller we are running RDWorks and Lightburn laser cutting software so Lasercut Guides are no longer particularly useful.
[https://lightburnsoftware.com/ Lightburn] is the new Laser Cutter software we have bought a licence for the Hackspace. It is '''REALLY GOOD!''' which is why we have bought a copy for the Hackspace.
 
Paid up members of the Hackspace are allowed to purchase a significantly discounted copy of Lightburn (~£35 instead of ~£100 base on $ pricing) by using a special discount code. If you are a hackspace member and would like to get your own copy of Lightburn you can request the discount code by emailing info@hackhitchin.org.uk. Please note that copies of Lightburn bought using this discount code '''MUST''' only be used with the Hitchin Hackspace Laser Cutter. If you have your own Laser Cutter you will need to purchase your own personal copy of Lightburn to use with it. Please dont abuse this generous deal from Lightburn. If you receive the discount code '''DO NOT'' share it with anyone else!
 
Useful documentation on how to use Lightburn is available from the Lightburn site:


*[https://wiki.nottinghack.org.uk/wiki/Laser_cutter/LaserCut/Usage Nottingham Hackspace's Guide to using laser cut]
[https://lightburnsoftware.com/pages/tutorials Lightburn Video Tutorials]
[https://lightburnsoftware.github.io/NewDocs/index.html Lightburn Documentation]
[https://lightburnsoftware.github.io/NewDocs/LightBurnDocs.pdf Lightburn Documentation PDF File Link]


==== RDWorks Software Guides ====
=== RDWorks Software Guides ===


The RDWorks original manual suffers from rather poor translation in to English. Rabbit Laser USA have taken the manual and done their best to fix the duff English. It can be found on the Rabbit Laser website
The RDWorks original manual suffers from rather poor translation in to English. Rabbit Laser USA have taken the installation manual and done their best to fix the duff English. It can be found on the Rabbit Laser website


https://rabbitlaserusa.com/Manuals/RDWorksV8_DetailedSoftwareInstallation.pdf
https://rabbitlaserusa.com/Manuals/RDWorksV8_DetailedSoftwareInstallation.pdf
RDWorks Manual


There is also a YouTube video about how to use RDWorks
There is also a YouTube video about how to use RDWorks
Line 25: Line 33:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO7gBEn6TN0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO7gBEn6TN0


==== Lightburn Software Guides ====
=== LaserCut Software Guides (deprecated)===
Since the change to the new controller we are running RDWorks and Lightburn laser cutting software so Lasercut Guides are no longer particularly useful.


=== 2D Art and Design Software ===
*[https://wiki.nottinghack.org.uk/wiki/Laser_cutter/LaserCut/Usage Nottingham Hackspace's Guide to using laser cut]
== 2D Art and Design Software ==


==== Using Inkscape ====
=== Using Inkscape ===
*[https://wiki.london.hackspace.org.uk/view/Guides/Inkscape_for_Laser_Cutting London Hackspace's guide to using inkscape to draw things for laser cutting]
*[https://wiki.london.hackspace.org.uk/view/Guides/Inkscape_for_Laser_Cutting London Hackspace's guide to using inkscape to draw things for laser cutting]
*[http://wiki.makespace.org/Equipment/Laser_Cutter_Inkscape Cambridge Makespace's advice on using inkscape with the laser cutter at their Makespace]
*[http://wiki.makespace.org/Equipment/Laser_Cutter_Inkscape Cambridge Makespace's advice on using inkscape with the laser cutter at their Makespace]
Line 35: Line 45:




== Kerf Loss and how to deal with it ==
= Kerf Loss and how to deal with it =
When you design for laser cutting you need to account for the width of the laser beam / the width of the cut in the material. The loss of material is referred to as kerf or kerf loss. The amount of material lost can be compensated for in the laser cutting tool process by offsetting the path the laser takes to one side or the other of the artwork or design line / path. However if you are designing a box with interlinking tabs accounting for kerf loss to make sure your parts fit snugly together can get a bit tricky. One solution is to use one of the many web-based box design tools which take all the complexity away for you.
When you design for laser cutting you need to account for the width of the laser beam / the width of the cut in the material. The loss of material is referred to as kerf or kerf loss. The amount of material lost can be compensated for in the laser cutting tool process by offsetting the path the laser takes to one side or the other of the artwork or design line / path. However if you are designing a box with interlinking tabs accounting for kerf loss to make sure your parts fit snugly together can get a bit tricky. One solution is to use one of the many web-based box design tools which take all the complexity away for you.
 
[[File:Laser_Cutter_Kerf_Loss.PNG|400px|thumb|none|Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut affects the dimensions of parts you design. The material loss is called Kerf Loss.]]
Kerf Loss Diagrams
[[File:Laser_Cutter_Kerf_Loss_Offset_Inside.PNG|400px|thumb|none|Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut can be offset to the inside from the centre of the path it would take.]]
[[File:Laser_Cutter_Kerf_Loss.PNG|200px|thumb|none|Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut affects the dimensions of parts you design. The material loss is called Kerf Loss.]]
[[File:Laser_Cutter_Kerf_Loss_Offset_Outside.PNG|400px|thumb|none|Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut can be offset to the outside from the centre of the path it would take.]]
 
[[File:Laser_Cutter_Kerf_Loss_Offset_Inside.PNG|200px|thumb|none|Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut can be offset to the inside from the centre of the path it would take.]]
 
[[File:Laser_Cutter_Kerf_Loss_Offset_Outside.PNG|200px|thumb|none|Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut can be offset to the outside from the centre of the path it would take.]]
 
One of our members, Mark M, has the following to offer on accounting for kerf loss "In my experience it varies, dependent on the material batch, position on the laser bed, laser power/speed, focus setting, etc. So much that if it's critical, it needs checking on the day with the set up as similar as possible. Otherwise I assume 0.1-0.2mm for all materials."
One of our members, Mark M, has the following to offer on accounting for kerf loss "In my experience it varies, dependent on the material batch, position on the laser bed, laser power/speed, focus setting, etc. So much that if it's critical, it needs checking on the day with the set up as similar as possible. Otherwise I assume 0.1-0.2mm for all materials."


Line 53: Line 58:
* https://www.instructables.com/Kerf-Correction-for-Laser-Cutting-With-MakerCase/
* https://www.instructables.com/Kerf-Correction-for-Laser-Cutting-With-MakerCase/


=== Box Making ===
== RDWorks Kerf Compensation==
 
From the RDWorks manual
<blockquote>Sew Compensation (Kerf Settings): A kerf is the width of the cut made by the laser. By default RDWorks cuts along the center of the path. This will result in outside cuts being smaller, and inside cuts being larger. The kerf settings allow you to correct for this. RDWorks calls the Kerf setting “Sew Compensation”. It is found in the cutting parameter window under the Advance button.</blockquote>
 
To access the setting double click a layer to get the layer setting and then next to the '''SEAL''' parameter click the '''Advanced''' button. You will need to enable '''Sew Compensation''' by checking the box and then enter the compensation you want to apply.
[[File:RDWorks_Kerf_Sew_Compensation_Setting.PNG|400px|thumb|none|Screen grab of the RD Works Layer Parameter window showing how to access the setting to apply Kerf or "sew" compensation.]]
 
To then apply the offset to your design you need to select the part / line / pattern on your design in the main view and then select the "In" / "Out" option which will appear in the selection box highlighted in the below screen grab image.
 
[[File:RDWorks_Kerf_in_out_Setting_Box_20220139.PNG|400px|thumb|none|Screen grab of the RD Works Kerf offset Inside / Outside setting to apply Kerf or "sew" compensation to the layers in your design.]]
 
= Box Making =
*[http://www.makercase.com/ Makercase's laser cut case design generator]
*[http://www.makercase.com/ Makercase's laser cut case design generator]
*[http://boxmaker.connectionlab.org/ Boxmaker at Connection Lab - Another box maker]
*[http://boxmaker.connectionlab.org/ Boxmaker at Connection Lab - Another box maker]
Line 59: Line 76:
*[https://festi.info/boxes.py/BasedBox?language=en Festi Box Maker]
*[https://festi.info/boxes.py/BasedBox?language=en Festi Box Maker]


== Laser Cutting Design and Fabrication Techniques==
= Laser Cutting Design and Fabrication Techniques=
*[http://www.deferredprocrastination.co.uk/blog/2013/so-whats-a-practical-laser-cut-clip-size/ Defferred Procrastination's guide to designing laser cut clip together construction]
*[http://www.deferredprocrastination.co.uk/blog/2013/so-whats-a-practical-laser-cut-clip-size/ Defferred Procrastination's guide to designing laser cut clip together construction]
*[http://makezine.com/2012/04/13/cnc-panel-joinery-notebook/ Makezine Magazine - Visual reference for laser cut joint designs]
*[http://makezine.com/2012/04/13/cnc-panel-joinery-notebook/ Makezine Magazine - Visual reference for laser cut joint designs]
*[http://support.ponoko.com/entries/498853-How-to-make-interlocking-wood-designs Ponko's How to make interlocking wood designs]
*[http://support.ponoko.com/entries/498853-How-to-make-interlocking-wood-designs Ponko's How to make interlocking wood designs]


==Minimizing Burning and Laser Associated Damage==
=Minimizing Burning and Laser Associated Damage=
*[http://www.cutlasercut.com/resources/tips-and-advice/burn-heat-marks-and-how-we-prevent-them CutLaserCut's Advice on Minimising burn/heat marks]
*[http://www.cutlasercut.com/resources/tips-and-advice/burn-heat-marks-and-how-we-prevent-them CutLaserCut's Advice on Minimising burn/heat marks]
*[http://www.rowmark.com/MARK/techhelpdocs/genericsheetdocs/Causes%20and%20Effects%20of%20Cracking%20in%20Acrylic%20Sheet.pdf Rowmark's Causes and Effects of Cracking]
*[http://www.rowmark.com/MARK/techhelpdocs/genericsheetdocs/Causes%20and%20Effects%20of%20Cracking%20in%20Acrylic%20Sheet.pdf Rowmark's Causes and Effects of Cracking]
*[http://www.cutlasercut.com/resources/tips-and-advice/everything-you-need-to-know-about-acrylic CutLaserCut's "Everthing you need to know about acrylic"] If you're having problems with cracking/crazing, this link might help explain why (extruded vs. cast)
*[http://www.cutlasercut.com/resources/tips-and-advice/everything-you-need-to-know-about-acrylic CutLaserCut's "Everthing you need to know about acrylic"] If you're having problems with cracking/crazing, this link might help explain why (extruded vs. cast)


== Laser Engraving ==
= Laser Engraving =
*[https://www.epiloglaser.co.uk/assets/downloads/whitepapers/settings_whitepaper.pdf Epilog Laser's Engraving advice white paper (pdf)]
*[https://www.epiloglaser.co.uk/assets/downloads/whitepapers/settings_whitepaper.pdf Epilog Laser's Engraving advice white paper (pdf)]


[[Category:Laser Cutter]]
[[Category:Laser Cutter]]
[[Category:Information Resources]]
[[Category:Information Resources]]

Latest revision as of 16:03, 30 April 2022

Back to the Laser Cutter page

Back to the Laser Cutter Related pages

NOTE: Needs to be merged with Laser Cutting Resources

Software Guides

Laser Cutter Software

Lightburn Software Guides

Lightburn is the new Laser Cutter software we have bought a licence for the Hackspace. It is REALLY GOOD! which is why we have bought a copy for the Hackspace.

Paid up members of the Hackspace are allowed to purchase a significantly discounted copy of Lightburn (~£35 instead of ~£100 base on $ pricing) by using a special discount code. If you are a hackspace member and would like to get your own copy of Lightburn you can request the discount code by emailing info@hackhitchin.org.uk. Please note that copies of Lightburn bought using this discount code MUST' only be used with the Hitchin Hackspace Laser Cutter. If you have your own Laser Cutter you will need to purchase your own personal copy of Lightburn to use with it. Please dont abuse this generous deal from Lightburn. If you receive the discount code DO NOT share it with anyone else!

Useful documentation on how to use Lightburn is available from the Lightburn site:

Lightburn Video Tutorials Lightburn Documentation Lightburn Documentation PDF File Link

RDWorks Software Guides

The RDWorks original manual suffers from rather poor translation in to English. Rabbit Laser USA have taken the installation manual and done their best to fix the duff English. It can be found on the Rabbit Laser website

https://rabbitlaserusa.com/Manuals/RDWorksV8_DetailedSoftwareInstallation.pdf

RDWorks Manual

There is also a YouTube video about how to use RDWorks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO7gBEn6TN0

LaserCut Software Guides (deprecated)

Since the change to the new controller we are running RDWorks and Lightburn laser cutting software so Lasercut Guides are no longer particularly useful.

2D Art and Design Software

Using Inkscape


Kerf Loss and how to deal with it

When you design for laser cutting you need to account for the width of the laser beam / the width of the cut in the material. The loss of material is referred to as kerf or kerf loss. The amount of material lost can be compensated for in the laser cutting tool process by offsetting the path the laser takes to one side or the other of the artwork or design line / path. However if you are designing a box with interlinking tabs accounting for kerf loss to make sure your parts fit snugly together can get a bit tricky. One solution is to use one of the many web-based box design tools which take all the complexity away for you.

Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut affects the dimensions of parts you design. The material loss is called Kerf Loss.
Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut can be offset to the inside from the centre of the path it would take.
Diagram showing how the width of the laser cut can be offset to the outside from the centre of the path it would take.

One of our members, Mark M, has the following to offer on accounting for kerf loss "In my experience it varies, dependent on the material batch, position on the laser bed, laser power/speed, focus setting, etc. So much that if it's critical, it needs checking on the day with the set up as similar as possible. Otherwise I assume 0.1-0.2mm for all materials."

As a Rule of Thumb assume that the laser cut removes 0.15mm.

A few examples are linked below. Alternatively you may want to make your own design and want to do the kerf compensation for your self. The following pages may help you with this..

RDWorks Kerf Compensation

From the RDWorks manual

Sew Compensation (Kerf Settings): A kerf is the width of the cut made by the laser. By default RDWorks cuts along the center of the path. This will result in outside cuts being smaller, and inside cuts being larger. The kerf settings allow you to correct for this. RDWorks calls the Kerf setting “Sew Compensation”. It is found in the cutting parameter window under the Advance button.

To access the setting double click a layer to get the layer setting and then next to the SEAL parameter click the Advanced button. You will need to enable Sew Compensation by checking the box and then enter the compensation you want to apply.

Screen grab of the RD Works Layer Parameter window showing how to access the setting to apply Kerf or "sew" compensation.

To then apply the offset to your design you need to select the part / line / pattern on your design in the main view and then select the "In" / "Out" option which will appear in the selection box highlighted in the below screen grab image.

Screen grab of the RD Works Kerf offset Inside / Outside setting to apply Kerf or "sew" compensation to the layers in your design.

Box Making

Laser Cutting Design and Fabrication Techniques

Minimizing Burning and Laser Associated Damage

Laser Engraving