Using the lasercutter (CorelDRAW on Windows)The lasercutter works like a normal printer, but only from CorelDRAW, so you need to create your shape in CorelDRAW, or import it into CorelDRAW, to print it on the lasercutter.
- Set the width of lines you want to cut in vector mode to hairline (or 0.003 inches or less). Lines that have a larger width will be processed in raster mode.
- Select all shapes you want to print.
- Open the printer menu by clicking File > Print.... Make sure the Epilog Engraver Win32 Zing printer is selected.
- In the General tab, choose Print Range: Selection to print selected objects only.
- In the Layout tab, select Reposition images to: Top left corner.
- Back in the General tab, select Properties... to open the lasercutter settings dialog. Set the speed, power, and frequency of the laser according to your material - see the table below. If your material is not listed, ask René.
- Press OK to close the settings dialog. You're back in the Print dialog now.
- Place your material inside the lasercutter. The workspace has a size of 609 x 304 mm.
- Focus the laser: Press X/Y Aus on the keypad. The display will read X/Y Disabled. Now you can move the laser head by hand in the plane. Swing down the small pendulum near the laser head. Move the table Up or Down using the arrow keys on the lasercutter keypad until the pendulum almost, but not quite, touches the material surface. After focusing, swing the pendulum back up into its magnetic holder.
- Turn on the red (harmless) laser dot by pressing Roter Laser. A green light on the keypad turns on. Move the head forwards/backwards by gently pulling on the metal bar, and left/right by gently pulling on the rubber strap where the head is mounted. Place the red laser dot where you want to place the top left corner of your shape. Press Start to lock the head again. The display will read Set Home/Center.
- Close the lasercutter. For safety reasons it doesn't do cutting while open.
- Go back to the computer and press Print in the open Print dialog. Your shape is now transferred to the lasercutter. For complex shapes this might take a few seconds.
- Go back to the lasercutter. Wait until its Daten LED is off, and the display reads Job:1.Graphic1 or similar. This job name is the name of your CorelDRAW file, so give it a meaningful name next time to help recognize your job on the lasercutter display.
- Turn on the ventilation system by pressing On on its remote to the left of the lasercutter.
- Press Start to start the cutting process. (If you just want to check where it will be cutting, open the lid before pressing Start to only turn on the red dot instead.)
- Watch the lasercutter - it's fun! It's also required when cutting any flammable materials like paper, cardboard, or wood. Remember, this thing burns its way through your material. Check that the fire extinguisher is near the door. In case of problems, you can pause the lasercutter by pressing Stop, or cancel your job completely using Reset.
- When the lasercutter is done, it beeps and shows your job time and Done in the display. Open the lid and collect your booty!
- Clean up for the next user! Throw away small scraps, and put useable materials back where they belong. Turn off the air ventilation and lasercutter.
Draw using Inkscape, then print via CorelDrawWe do not recommend to use Inkscape, because most users have problems importing Inkscape files into CorelDraw. Better solutions are DraftSight, QCAD, Illustrator, or AutoCAD.
Since CorelDraw is expensive, you can use Inkscape which is free. Inkscape is available for Linux/Unix, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.
- For Mac OS X 10.6.x, update your X11 server by downloading XQuartz. (Note: This may need reinstalling after any Apple Software Updates.)
- Download and install Inkscape.
- Create your shape in Inkscape. See Ponoko's Inkscape Starter Kit for a tutorial - but note that the Fab Lab Epilog printer driver may have different color mappings (ask René). It appears that line width has to be .003" or less to cut. Double-check that all your straight lines are straight (i.e., all points are on your grid) before exporting. Don't use Cloning in Inkscape, the EPS export pixelates the clones.
- Use File > Save a Copy... to save your document as Encapsulated PostScript (EPS).
- In the Fab Lab, import your EPS file into CorelDraw and print it as described above.
Draw using Illustrator, then print via CorelDraw
- Video tutorial available for internal access on oliver/Public/Teaching/ Knowledge Transfer/Fab Lab (for copyright reasons, internal access only)
- Save your Illustrator files in the AI file format for version CS2. Do not use compression (uncheck the 'use compression' check-box in the save dialog).