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Epilog Fusion 120W Laser

Epilog Fusion 120W LaserThe big laser is an Epilog Fusion M2 40 CO2 laser which has a 40" wide x 28" deep x 13.25" high workspace. It has an optional attachment for engraving cylindrical objects and it can engrave and/or cut a wide variety of materials. The material settings pdf (5 pages 88.2KB) provides more specifics, e.g. up to 1/2" thick cutting of wood and acrylic (...the print driver has lots of presets). While pretty much anything that can be printed can be engraved (raster), cutting requires vector graphics (.eps or thin line .pdf). Makerspace classes use Inkscape (free) for design and processing files for the laser.

Epilog Laser Checklist, Laser Cutter Safety (Makerspace PDF's)
Fusion M2 site (sample club, knowledge base, whitepapers)
Fusion M2 manual (214 pages 12.2MB)

Using the Center-Center Option, Center Engraving
Laser Cut Foam Inserts for Tool Boxes (related ULS, Epilog and Trotec pages)

DXF to PDF

DXF to PDFI've come across some odd things when converting DXF's to PDF's for vector cutting on the laser. At this point I'm not sure what is important, but using Inkscape to save DXF's to PDF may be the best way to do it. Note: Using Inkscape Document Properties : Custom size : Resize page to content and then rounding up to even inches makes entering the laser Piece Size easier.

The image is a closeup of a 3mm hole from a PDF created by AutoSketch (CAD) and opened in Inkscape. The same circle from a PDF created by QCAD is round (instead of faceted), but has tons of nodes. Opening the QCAD DXF with Inkscape shows a circle with just two nodes.

An odd thing happens when saving that DXF drawing as an Inkscape PDF. While the nodes are nice and tidy in the DXF, there are added, missing or changed nodes in the PDF. The changes are random and inconsistent and may not mean a thing. I have no idea what the laser sees, how it translates PDF's to motion.

This post is partially motivated by the laser chattering when I was cutting an oval. One possibility is the facets in the AutoSketch generated PDF. I don't think filesize was an issue (though it has been suggested that large PDF's are best printed from the desktop instead of a memory stick/card), but that tons of nodes QCAD generated PDF was something like 40 times bigger than the same DXF saved as a PDF in Inkscape (~120 VS 3KB).
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