Epilog Legend 36EXT Laser Cutter

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EPILOG Legend 36EXT
EPILOG LASER.jpg
Location So Make It
Owner So Make It


So Make It finally has one of the most important machines a makerspace needs; a laser cutter.

It can only be used by members who have completed the official laser training.

Due to the nature of the machine strict adherence to safety must be maintained and any transgressions with safety will be dealt with switftly and harshly. The machine is also the most expensive item in the unit so great care must be used to treat it well.

Organisation and acquiring and commissioning the laser was done on our trello board and much more information can be found there. A report on the purchase of the machine can be viewed here on our github repo.

Contents

Safety

There is a risk assessment located here which should be read and understood by all laser operators.

Significant safety points to note

  • Before using the machine you must have a fire safety plan in case of the worst. This includes checking:
    • Checking the fire extinguisher and fire blanket are next to the machine
    • The area around the machine is tidy and clear of debris
    • The machine appears to be working and is clear of debris
    • You are aware of the makerspace fire safety rules
  • The laser must NEVER be left unattended.
  • The extraction system must always be used else the machine will be damaged. The switch is behind the machine on the wall.
  • Only those who have had official training AND who are members of the space may use the machine. If non members want to have something cut they can ask a member with training to do it for them.
  • You must only use materials that have been approved for use on the machine (see materials). If in doubt ask Dave Rowntree.

If in doubt of any aspect of the machine or you suspect something is not working as it should immediately contact the trustees for assistance and do not continue to use the machine.

Materials

It is important to only laser materials we are certain will not result in harm to yourself and other space users or damage to the machine. To this end in order to cut a material that SoMakeIt have not previously investigated you must follow this process:

  • Check we don't know about the material below and ask in the #laser-cutter channel on slack.
  • Do research to insure that this is a material other maker spaces have used successfully.
  • Insure that the byproducts of vaporisation will not be harmful to space users.
  • Insure that the byproducts of vaporisation will not damage the laser cutter.
  • Present this research to a laser trainer (ideally in the #laser-cutter slack channel).


OK to cut

Acrylic (a.k.a. PMMA, Plexiglass, or Lexan) up to about 6-8 mm; 10 mm is doable. Wood ideally 'laser' play or 'laser' mdf, oily woods are much more likely to burn so testing is advised. Card and paper can be cut with very low power, or pulsed laser control. Air assist will help prevent fires....but it is tricky. Natural fabrics and genuine leather.

NEVER CUT

  • Any material you have not researched and had cleared by a laser trainer (see above).
  • Fake leather (this may contain PVC).
  • Polycarbonate (it just burns and produces lots of smoke and fumes).
  • PVC, as it burns horribly and releases chlorine. Fumes will quickly destroy laser lens and mirrors.

Engraving

Acrylic plastic, wood, slate, and glass can be engraved. Anodized aluminium can be engraved; other metals need to be coated with laser engraving spray or plaster/ipa mix (talk to Holly!).

Note

Remembers the space does have a small vinyl cutter that can do thin pvc/vinyl and other stuff that should not be cut on the laser. This will actually do a good job on paper without any burning issues and should be considered as an alternative machine for paper cutting.

Machine Specifications and Manual

The space has an Epilog Legend Ext36 75W A1.

Manuals & Templates: https://github.com/somakeit/laser-cutter

The Tube is (probably) A Coherent Diamond C70. We are told the tube was replaced in 2014 and has never been regassed.

The Machine was Manufactured in October 2011. S/N: 9120-1121403624R Model: 9000 Laser System

Manufacturers Specification

Engraving Area 36" x 24"

(914 x 610 mm)

Maximum Material Thickness 12" (305 mm)
Maximum Material Thickness with Table Removed 14" (355 mm)
Laser Wattage 75 watts
Laser Source State-of-the-art, digitally controlled, air-cooled CO2 laser tubes are fully modular, permanently aligned and field replaceable.
Intelligent Memory Buffer Store unlimited files up to 64MB. Rolling buffer allows files of any size to be engraved.
Permanent Job Save at the Laser Store up to 10 jobs at the laser, each up to 2 MB in size.
Air Assist Attach an air compressor to our included Air Assist to remove heat and combustible gases from the cutting surface by directing a constant stream of compressed air across the cutting surface.
Laser Dashboard The Laser Dashboard controls your Epilog Laser's settings from a wide range of software packages - from design programs to spreadsheet applications to CAD drawing packages.
Red Dot Pointer Since the laser beam is invisible, the Red Dot Pointer on Epilog's Laser Systems allow you to have a visual reference for locating where the laser will fire.
Relocatable Home When engraving items that are not easily placed at the top corner of the laser, you can set a new home position by hand with the convenient Moveable Home Position feature on the Legend Series.
Operating Modes Optimized raster, vector or combined modes with engraving and cutting in one job.
Motion Control System High-speed, continuous-loop, DC brushless servomotors using linear and rotary encoder technology for precise positioning.
X-Axis Bearings Ground and polished stainless steel long-lasting bearings.
Print Interface 10 Base-T Ethernet or USB connection. Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7.
Size (W x D x H) 50.5" x 33" x 42" (1283 x 838 x 1067 mm) - (120 watt: 36"/914 mm deep).
Weight 440 lbs (199 kg)
Electrical Requirements Auto-switching power supply accommodates 110 to 240 volts, 50 or 60 Hz, single phase, 15 amp AC.
Super-Silent Cooling Fans 64 db (not available on the 120 watt).
Ventilation External exhaust to the outside or internal filtration system required. There are two output ports, each 6" in diameter.
Laser System Classification Class 2 Laser Product - 1 mW CW Maximum 600-700 nm.

Training

The process for getting laser trained:

  • Become a member of So Make It
  • Request the 'laser operator' role on the website member area.
  • Wait for contact from your laser trainer.
  • Reply to verify that you can indeed make the date you had listed on the doodle & arrange the specific time.

Costs

We are charging everyone a £20 upfront fee for starting to use the cutter paid at your training session. This does not go to the trainer but is to quickly build up a war chest of funds for inevitable part replacement in the future.

We are also charging £12 per hour of laser time; this nicely works out at 20p a min. We are running this on an honour system same as the 3d printers; you can pay the fees in cash into the cashbox on the shelves directly behind the cutter.

Examples

Our members are prolific laser cutters, here are some examples of what they have produced.

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