Laser Cutter Software
1. Basics of Corel
Open a new document in Corel (File > New).
Draw an ellipse on your Corel work piece by clicking the circle icon on the left of the screen.
Draw a smaller circle inside using the same tool.
Using the text tool on the left of the screen, add text to your key chain. Make sure to size it appropriately.
Now that the keychain is finished, we must change the line properties in order to differentiate between vector lines and raster lines.
A vector line is used to cut the material. It must have a hairline width.
A raster line is used to engrave the material.
- Vector vs. Raster
To change the properties of a line in Corel, go to Object Properties on the right side or click the pen at the bottom to bring up the following screen:
In this tutorial, the ellipse is going to be cut out of the wood. So, make the ellipse and the smaller hole red with a hairline width.
The writing is going to be engraved in the wood. Make sure the width is above hairline, and keep the color black.
This is what your final product should look like:
2. Print Settings
In order to print your key chain go to File > Print.
The following screen should appear:
After clicking preferences, the following screen should appear:
After clicking on the Pen tab, the following page should appear:
This page holds the power and speed settings corresponding to each color.
Always test on scrap material to see if the settings you chose are correct. You only have to change the settings for the colors used in your drawing.
After clicking the Advance tab, the following screen should appear:
The most important part of this screen is the Position Mode. It allows you to change where you want the LaserPro to start from
- Home- This icon starts the laser in the same position each time, at the top right hand corner of the LaserPro.
- This is useful because it allows you to take your work piece out and put it back knowing it will start at the same place.
- Center- When this icon is clicked, the laser will start cutting the center of your work piece from wherever the laser was placed.
After clicking the Paper tab, the following screen should appear:
If you are using the Home setting for your position, it is important to have the right paper size.
First check the Extend option at the bottom. Then select the Imperial (inch) as the Unit choice on the right. Finally, update your paper size.
It’s not necessary to change anything under the Raster tab, but oftentimes a lower Dithering Matrix gives you a clearer image.
Image Source: LaserPro Spirit User Manual
Next, click the Print button and your file will be sent to the LaserPro to be printed. The actual file will not print until you hit Start on the machine.
3. Setting Up the LaserPro for Printing
- Turning on the LaserPro
- To turn on the LaserPro, use the switch on the right side of the machine. Then push the laser to the right side (this is necessary for the LaserPro to initialize correctly). Finally, for the laser to be turned on the key must be switched on.
- Position Work Piece‐
‐ If you used home to position your work piece, then place your object so it is touching the top and left side of the LaserPro.
‐ If you decided to use center to position your work piece, then place it anywhere in the LaserPro. Just remember to position the laser right above where you want the center of the engraving to be before pressing start.
- Auto Focus‐ This machine laser cuts many different objects that all have different heights. Because of this, we must auto focus the machine so the laser is the correct distance away from your work piece. To do this, we use the auto focus which is a pen‐ like object found on the left side of the machine.
- Put the autofocus on the right side of the laser. Then position the laser above your work piece.
- Press the grey circular autofocus button under the screen on the right side of the machine.
- Remember to remove the autofocus and put it back once you have finished the steps above.
- Testing‐It is important to test your position and settings before using your actual work piece.
‐ A good way to test your raster and vector settings is by using a scrap work piece with the same properties as your actual work piece.
‐ A good way to test whether your positioning is correct is by using painter’s tape. Cover your work piece with tape, and then change your power and speed settings so that only the tape (not your work piece) will be engraved. This way, you can make sure it is positioned correctly without harming your actual material.
- Settings to engrave on painter’s tape are about 80 speed and 10 power.
Run With Open Top
‐ Pressing the start button without closing the top door is a good way to make sure the laser is printing the correct thing. When the door isn’t shut the laser won’t turn on, but it will still move according to your design. It’s a quick visual way to make sure you’re printing on top of your work piece.
- After using the LaserPro, it is important to clean the mirrors and lenses. Otherwise, the lenses will become clouded and this results in an unclear image.
- The lenses that need to be cleaned most often are found in the black box that controls the laser. The three screws holding the front panel on the box should be removed. The lower lens should be cleaned with lens cleaning liquid and a cotton tip applicator. The mirror found above should be cleaned with the liquid and lens cleaning tissue. Make sure to never touch the surface of these lenses. Also be sure to return the lenses so they are facing the correct way.
- The image below shows the correct orientation of the mirror and lens.
Every material will require a different speed and power. These settings will also change depending on whether you are engraving or cutting the material.
- A lower speed and higher power create a more intense laser (generally for cutting). A higher speed and lower power create a weaker laser (generally for engraving).
Below are examples for good settings based on a list of materials. However, these are just a starting point. Many times the settings change and they can be affected by things like thickness of material and how clean the laser’s lenses are.
Some materials are not allowed to be used in the laser cutting machine.These materials when burned are either dangerous to the machine, or to the user.
(Fill in chart)