About Laser Cutters
A significant number of computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) tools depend primarily on movement in only the x and y axis to make flat shapes. This type of control is often called 2 1/2D machining, and was first applied to traditional cutting tools such as oxy-acetylene torches for steel cutting, milling and drilling machines and knives for cutting vinyl, card materials and cloth in the advertising, sign, point-of-purchase and fashion industries. Plotter – type computer controls also helped automate traditional operations such as nailing and drilling while taming modern cutting tools such as laser cutters, water-jet cutters and plasma cutters. These machines typically require simple, 2D cad software and drawing plot files in HPGL format for operation.
(credit to Harvard University GSD for this description)
The CSU Fab Lab has two laser cutter/engravers. One Universal with a 60 Watt laser and one Epilog with a 120 Watt laser.
Universal VLS6.60 60 Watt Laser
Location: The Universal laser is located in the Digital Fabrication Lab room M107.
File types: Vector and raster images.
The laser can follow a vector path to engrave or cut through material. For raster files the laser engraves each pixel to a controlled depth. This produces a greyscale image on the surface of the material.
Work are 32″ x 18″
Maximum part size 37″ x 23″ x 9″
Cuts: wood, masonite, acrylic, fabric, paper, cardboard, etc.
Engraves: Unfired ceramic, glass, stone, and above materials