Laser Cutting at ARS!

You may have seen that machine sitting in the corner of our         Production lab, but what exactly is it?

 

Recently, we had a new addition to our production lab! We set up our laser cutter! How cool is that?  As Mrs. Sauter would say, our laser cutter is one of the coolest newest additions we have.  You may think laser cutting is just too difficult for you, but I assure you it is much easier than using one of those saws.

The first time I had ever used the laser cutter, was a week ago. We were in our module groups, and we decided to use the laser cutter to help save us time. My other group members seemed to understand it very well. I, on the other hand was very intimidated by this machine. It seemed so complicated and so hard to use. My group members kept encouraging me to give it a try. So, I tried. And of course it was very easy.

My other group members and I are very comfortable with it, but are you? The first time I did it, I had to have some assistance, but the help I was getting made it much better. This “big bad machine” can help you save a lot of time on your maker’s project.

How exactly do I use it?

Using the laser cutter has many easy steps. But there are a lot of them.

  1. Make a design in adobe illustrator. (whichever software is easiest for you)
  2. Save it onto a flash drive (The computer connected to the cutter doesn’t connect to the internet. You can’t just email it to yourself!)
  3. Attach the flash drive to the computer that is hooked up to the cutter. and open it up.
  4. Make sure the speed and power are set so that they are the right match for your material. Don’t know what to use? Ask for help! (There are also materials that have been cut next to the machine, and the words have been cut into it. It says the speed and power that is needed for every material that the machine can cut into.)
  5. Turn on the laser cutter. You can’t use it if it isn’t on!
  6. Next you need to prepare the material being used. If it’s cardboard then cut that, or if it’s wood, cut the wood. So it’s at 23 by 11 inches.
  7. Now you must prepare the machine so it knows exactly where your material is placed.
  8. Open up the cutter, and focus it. (There are multiple steps that come into play here. I can’t thoroughly explain it. Ask some of the experts we have here on campus! Mrs. Sauter or Mr. Smith are very good at it!)
  9. Once you have everything focused, select the file being used. There are a few buttons on the right side of the machine, select your file and then press start!
  10. Watch your new creation come to life!

(Stay safe, if there is a fire open up the machine, pull out the material and gently step on it. If you’re scared, then just call the nearest teacher! It also helps if before you press start to spray your material with water. There is a spray bottle located near the machine!)

 

I hope you can use this new skill to your advantage,I know I did! Don’t let this new addition stay unused by you. Anyone can use it, and it’s very fun to watch and use. I hope this changed the way you now look at our laser cutter!

‘Til next time,

-Nishi P.

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