01 – Introduction (38:39)

The Lightblade Learning Lab with Russ Sadler

The Lightblade Learning Lab is a series of laser machine tutorial videos that Russ did for Thinklaser Limited based on using the Lightblade 4060 Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine. Thinklasers Lightblade 4060 has a 400 x 600mm bed size and was supplied with a 60W EFR laser tube. In this Laser Machine Tutorial, Russ gives an overview of his experience and Thinklasers Lightblade laser machine.

Laser machine tutorial - laser nozzle and auto focus pen
Laser Machine Tutorial – Laser nozzle and auto focus pen

Contents

  • Russ introduces himself
  • The laser cutting machine
  • Basic settings
  • Safety
  • Focusing
  • The ammeter
  • Controlling the machine
  • Software, RDWorks and the manual (www.rdworkslab.com)
  • Drawing shapes, layers, power settings
  • First use of the machine

My thanks go out to Tom at Thinklaser for giving permission to embed these videos on this site. If you are looking for a new laser machine from a quality supplier, then I would suggest you check out their website: www.thinklaser.com.

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Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial

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00:15

Well hello to you all, my name is Russ

00:18

and I’m going to be taking you through a

00:20

series of sessions to help you learn

00:23

about this machine that I’m leaning on.

00:27

Now this machine is in fact the star of

00:30

the show.

00:30

This is a Lightblade machine supplied

00:33

by Thinklaser. Now I’m the proud owner of

00:36

this machine and I have to just

00:41

introduce myself by saying that I’m not

00:44

teacher, I’m not a laser expert but there

00:48

are several things that qualify me for

00:50

demonstrating this machine and how it

00:53

works.

00:55

Number one; over in the other corner of the

00:57

workshop, there i have a real ebay

01:00

Chinese laser machine which i bought

01:02

about 18 months ago. It took me about six

01:05

months to get it into a shape where it was

01:11

quite a reliable machine. Electrics were

01:14

flaky, the tube was absolutely beyond

01:20

any English words that i can describe,

01:22

but the mechanics were sort of ok. So with a

01:27

lot of care attention and engineering

01:29

support we managed to get into good

01:33

shape. The manual that came with the

01:35

machine was written in something which I

01:38

like to describe as Chinglish, basically a

01:41

collection of English words that were

01:43

randomized and put down in a book and

01:44

called a manual. Didn’t make any sense

01:47

at all.

01:48

So that was my experience, I had to learn

01:51

that machine from absolutely nothing

01:54

with no help. Like doing a jigsaw puzzle

01:56

without a picture on the box, so that’s

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

02:02

my qualification. Over the past 18 months

02:05

I’ve learned a great deal about these

02:07

Chinese machines and the technology. Now

02:10

I started off with basically a very

02:13

strong base because i had run a proper

02:16

metal cutting laser profiling business

02:19

for ten years and I understood the

02:20

technology and the machines extremely

02:22

well. Yes, this is a laser machine, but the

02:26

technology is completely different. So I

02:28

had to throw away all my beliefs and

02:30

concepts about my previous experience

02:33

and start again.

02:35

So yes, I’m an engineer,

02:38

yes I had laser experience and yes I’ve

02:42

now got 18 months of this type of laser

02:44

experience to pass on to you guys. This

02:48

machine is brand-new to me in the same way

02:51

that it is brand new to you.

02:53

So we shall be learning it together, but

02:56

I’ve got one advantage over you. I have

02:59

got 18 months of experience with that

03:00

machine over there, so that’s my VW

03:04

Beetle and this is my new Ferrari.

03:10

Well I think that’s enough of an

03:11

introduction, let’s get on and have a

03:13

look at the machine itself. Now if you’re

03:15

anything like me, you’ll be very

03:17

impatient to get on and do something with

03:19

your new machine. I’m sure that your

03:22

installation engineer will have given

03:25

you some basic instructions on how to

03:28

run this machine, how to install your

03:29

software etc. etc. So I’ll skip the very

03:33

very basics. So the first thing that we would

03:35

do is turn on this on/off button.

03:39

Oh! nothing appears to have happened, but

03:46

that’s because we failed to let the

03:51

emergency stop switch off which somebody

03:53

accidentally leaned on.

03:55

OK now I’ll just force that start

03:57

position again, because what’ll happens is

03:59

when you switch your machine on to start

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

04:01

with

04:02

it’s the same as pressing this reset

04:04

button and if you watch what happens to

04:05

the head, the head will go to the far

04:08

right hand back corner where it will

04:11

stop and then it will shuffle back to

04:15

somewhere, somewhere in the machine.

04:17

Now what it’s done, it’s been over to

04:19

that back left-hand corner and you can

04:21

probably see that blue sensor over there.

04:23

Well let me stop for a minute, I’ve got a

04:27

degree in beating machine safety systems.

04:32

So I’m a classified idiot!

04:35

This is nothing to do with anything that

04:38

Thinklaser would recommend, they’ve

04:40

put safety systems on this machine to

04:42

stop people like me doing this and

04:47

running the machine. Now I know how to

04:50

run the machine like this, I’ve had to do

04:53

it for the last 18 months on my other

04:55

machine, but it’s much much easier to see

04:58

what’s going on in the machine with this

05:00

lid open.

05:01

We’ve got two sensors here, we’ve got this

05:03

one and we’ve got this one at the back here.

05:08

Now those two sensors basically tell the

05:10

machine where its home position is, where

05:14

0,0 is for the Machine. Now I will

05:17

explain what 0,0 means to you in a short

05:20

period of time, because we will just go

05:22

through the way in which this machine is

05:23

basically set up, but when i press the

05:27

reset button you’ll see that the head

05:30

goes to this zero position here and the

05:33

slide (this cross-gantry) runs to this

05:37

position here. So the machine is zeroing

05:40

itself in two planes to form an axis

05:44

point

05:54

and then it returns to this position

05:58

here. Now this position here is nowhere

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

06:01

special,

06:02

we can move the head around by pressing

06:05

these two buttons here. We can move it

06:07

back and forwards by pressing these two

06:10

buttons here. Now it looks as though it’s

06:12

going quite fast, you can change that

06:19

speed if you go to this button here

06:21

which says “speed”. We get a number on here

06:23

which is 200 millimeters a second. I

06:25

always set my mind to something like a

06:28

hundred and ten or a hundred and eleven,

06:30

just purely because it’s a nice number

06:32

and I’ll demonstrate why it’s a nice

06:34

number in a minute. So we press the arrow

06:36

key and we can make that bar appear

06:38

under any one of those numbers, so first

06:40

of all let’s reduce that to 100 and then

06:42

we’ll move across and we’ll make it into another.

06:44

We can go up to get to the one and go up

06:48

to get to the ones that we’ve got 111 and

06:51

now we press “Enter”.

06:52

So that’s the speed of a hundred eleven,

06:54

it’s still fast enough but it’s not so

06:56

fast that you have to worry about it too

06:58

much. You get plenty time to stop and

07:00

think.

07:00

Now there are times when you need to

07:04

very accurately and precisely move the

07:07

head to a position and if you watch what

07:10

happens when I press the button just

07:12

once very quickly, the head jumps quite a

07:15

long way.

07:16

This is a very quick push so when you’re

07:20

trying to accurately position the head

07:22

somewhere, you will need to go back to

07:25

this speed position and what we’ll do, we’ll

07:28

just take the 111 and we just reduce it

07:33

to 11 “Enter” and now when I press the

07:36

button

07:37

look I get very precise small movements

07:41

and that gives me an opportunity to jog

07:44

the head to exactly where i want it. So

07:47

there’s your first,

07:48

there’s your first simple keyboard

07:49

lesson. If you leave on 11 you will get

07:52

really annoyed, so what we do is set that

07:56

back up to 111 “Enter”. Now something else i would

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

08:02

recommend that you do fairly early on

08:04

with the keyboard;

08:05

you’ve got two powers here, one is called

08:08

minimum power and it shows on the bottom

08:10

here. We’ve got minimum power 1 and minimum

08:13

power 2, well we don’t have 2 laser

08:16

heads on this machine so minimum power 2

08:18

means absolutely nothing. Minimum power

08:22

one is probably what you need to set and

08:26

you can set that to fifteen percent. Now

08:28

I’m not going to explain why we want to

08:30

set that to fifteen percent at the

08:31

moment, just take my word that 15

08:33

percent is a good number. When we

08:35

press the max power button again we get

08:38

max power 1 and max power 2, ignore max

08:40

power 2 for the same reason that we

08:42

ignored minimum power 2. It’s set to

08:45

eighty-five percent, 85% may be fine and

08:49

I don’t know because I haven’t checked

08:51

this tube at the moment and what its

08:53

capability is? I would start off

08:56

personally by setting that to something

08:58

closer to sixty-five percent,

09:01

so let’s just change that value to

09:05

sixty-five percent “Enter”. I feel very

09:10

comfortable with 65-percent power and all

09:13

that again I will explain to you in a bit

09:16

more detail as we go on. Because I’m

09:18

going to be running this machine with

09:20

the safety systems defeated, but as a

09:22

precaution you need to always wear

09:25

glasses. Now a laser beam is a bit like the

09:28

light coming out of this torch.

09:29

Can you see it? No you can’t.

09:33

Does it have any effect on anything? No

09:35

it doesn’t, but if you shine in your eyes,

09:38

if it went onto your retina, it would

09:42

make you blind, but that depends on the

09:45

frequency of the light.

09:46

We’re not talking about visible light,

09:48

we’re talking about light which is out

09:51

of the optical range. Now if it’s out of

09:54

the optical range up in the Ultraviolet

09:57

and the high end of the frequency, then

09:59

yes you could do lots of damage to your

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

10:01

eyes. Down at the infra red end of the

10:03

spectrum

10:04

we’re not talking about light that looks

10:06

like this, it’s not going to damage your

10:09

retina. Before it gets the retina, what

10:12

it’s going to do is going to burn your

10:13

cornea, so it’s going to scar the front

10:16

face of your eye. Now you’ll see me from

10:18

time to time with my head in the video,

10:20

but you always notice that I’ve got my

10:22

glasses on, these cheap glasses from the

10:26

pound store.

10:27

I mean they’re polycarbonate, you could

10:31

wear normal glasses, my non-prescription

10:33

reading glasses here are what I wear all

10:35

the time and so consequently these will

10:38

give me adequate protection.

10:40

This is a smart set of safety goggles if

10:42

you really want to look stylish, but here

10:44

we’ve got a bog-standard two or three

10:47

dollar polycarbonate safety glasses with

10:51

a side shield on you’ll notice, which is

10:54

excellent, which will give you complete

10:57

protection. You can buy rather expensive

11:01

safety glasses for working with these

11:04

lasers,

11:05

personally I wouldn’t waste my money on

11:09

it even though my eyes are very valuable.

11:10

These will give me adequate protection.

11:14

So what I’m going to do is just give you

11:16

a quick demonstration. Right, I just put my

11:19

reading glasses directly in the beam and

11:22

what I’m going to do, is just going to

11:23

pulse it so that you can see what

11:25

happens if you accidentally got your eye

11:27

in the way directly of the laser beam

11:30

(which which is a virtual impossibility)

11:32

on this machine, but just in case this is what

11:35

would happen.

11:36

OK let’s do it again, and again, and again,

11:43

if you had a fire in front of your eye, I

11:45

think you’d move out the way fairly

11:47

quickly but what saying is, it hasn’t

11:49

burned through. That’s the level of

11:52

protection you’ll get. This laser

11:53

frequency is fully absorbed by this

11:56

material, I can do exactly the same thing

11:58

with the safety glasses, polycarbonate

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

12:01

again so we don’t expect any different

12:04

and it still hasn’t burned through.

12:07

Now, if you wear real “glass” glasses, I will

12:10

just do the same demonstration for you

12:12

and you’ll see it’s having zero effect on

12:16

the glass because it’s being 100

12:19

percent absorbed. Well in a future

12:21

session I shall be tackling, in more

12:25

detail the risks associated with the

12:28

laser beam, what the properties of the

12:30

laser beam are.And we’ll be talking

12:33

about the laser tube itself, how it works

12:35

and how you should be careful and look

12:37

after it. Look after it well and it will

12:40

serve you well, but if you abuse it, it’ll

12:44

kick you –

12:46

in the pocket. I have just plopped a

12:49

piece of plywood in here, right now I

12:52

haven’t set this distance here to

12:56

anything special. At the moment it’s

12:58

probably something like about 50

13:00

millimeters, this thing here (I think the

13:04

system calls it a pen), but basically

13:06

it’s a microswitch, a sprung-loaded

13:08

microswitch. Basically what that

13:10

does, that goes down and it senses this

13:12

surface and will automatically set this

13:16

to the correct height above the work. Now

13:19

I’m not going to do that at the moment,

13:20

we’ll talk about that in a completely

13:22

separate session, the autofocus system. At

13:25

the moment all I’m trying to do is just

13:27

quickly do what I said, demonstrate the

13:29

machine. So i want to see it doing

13:31

something, so i’m going to press the

13:33

pulse button now. Oh dear, what did you

13:39

see? Around at the back of the machine

13:41

here, we’ve got a little air pump and I’m

13:46

just going to power that on and there we

13:49

go,

13:49

it’s not too noisy.

13:53

We’ll move the head slightly and we do the

13:57

same thing again and see if you

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

14:01

notice the difference.

14:04

Now that’s just a single pulse on the

14:07

button with me just going “bip” on the

14:10

button.

14:11

I just turn the air pump off again and do it

14:14

one more time. Watch this time and you

14:18

will see a stream of smoke appearing to

14:22

come out at the end of the nozzle and

14:24

down to the wood. Now turn the air on and

14:30

do the same thing again.

14:33

What you see there is one of the reasons

14:37

why you should always make sure that you

14:39

have your air assist on. When I did it

14:44

without the air on, the laser beam was

14:48

actually, or the smoke was bouncing

14:51

straight back and going up, potentially

14:53

into the nozzle where the lens is, and you

14:56

could be fogging the lens or making the

14:59

lens dirty. Which will change the

15:01

efficiency of your machine. So whenever

15:03

you run your machine please, please,

15:06

please, turn your air on. So that you can

15:10

see clearly, here one more time when I’ve

15:13

got the air on and i press this button –

15:14

can you see the smoke just disappearing

15:18

out of the way? It doesn’t go backwards

15:20

at all. Now on the machine we also have a

15:24

milliamp meter and when i press the

15:28

pulse button again I just want you to

15:30

watch what happens.

15:34

The current goes up.

15:38

Now typically for a 60 watt tube, which is

15:42

what I’ve got in this machine here, you

15:45

would not want that meter to go over

15:47

probably about 22 milliamps. I will

15:51

have to look up, because it’s a brand new

15:53

high quality tube, the manufacturer of this

15:57

tube may allow me to go up to 24 or 25

15:59

milliamps. I don’t know I shall have to

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

16:02

look that data up, but I know to be

16:04

absolutely certain that typically 22

16:07

milliamps is the maximum you’d want to

16:09

put through a 60 watt tube. There are

16:11

specified values for all tubes but

16:14

manufacturers, different manufacturers

16:16

may well allow you to go a little bit

16:17

more than that. Again, another important

16:21

feature that we should come onto later –

16:23

don’t overdrive the tube by going more

16:26

than the manufacturer recommends. Well

16:30

that’s I think enough of a quick look

16:32

inside the machine itself, we’ve

16:34

satisfied my curiosity and we’ve

16:36

actually burnt something and if we take a

16:39

look around the machine,

16:40

you’re clearly see that it says

16:42

everywhere; class one laser product, avoid

16:47

eye or skin contact exposure. In a future

16:50

session we’ll talk about the various

16:51

dangers of laser.

16:53

The good thing about this machine is,

16:56

you’re not exposed to any danger if you

16:59

stick within the rules that are written

17:01

down and you don’t do the silly sort of

17:03

things I’m doing, which is beating the

17:04

guard systems. Things like this door, you

17:07

need a special tool to undo the door to

17:11

get access to these various things. Now

17:14

what that does mean to say, is you could

17:16

come in here, this is not door

17:19

interlocked these panels, so you could

17:21

come in this way and get yourself

17:24

exposed to the laser beam. Again we’ll

17:27

talk further about that later. Here we

17:30

are at the back of the Machine and again

17:34

you would not normally be able to do

17:37

this, but just understanding my degree in

17:41

beating the systems, we can have a look

17:44

at the laser tube itself.

17:47

Normally if that door is open, you would

17:49

not be able to

17:50

fire the laser tube. But what I’m going to do,

17:54

is I’m going to pulse that laser so that

17:56

you can see the laser actually working.

17:59

There we go – nice pink beam. With one of the

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

18:05

reasons why they don’t want you coming

18:07

in this cabinet is because down the end

18:09

there is 25,000 volts DC and that’s like

18:15

lightning.

18:16

It’s well protected, but it’s still

18:21

potentially dangerous down that end of

18:23

the system. So let’s just zoom in on the

18:25

working end of the laser, which is this

18:27

end here. Then I may be able to hold that

18:31

there and do this.

18:36

Now you saw that, that was the laser

18:39

beam coming directly out the end of the

18:41

tube, burning a hole in that cardboard,

18:42

producing a flame as you saw. This is

18:44

basically a dangerous system and that’s

18:47

why it requires to be fully interlocked

18:50

to prevent you getting in there, doing

18:52

any harm to yourself. Now I’m going to

18:55

keep stressing that point because I

18:57

break the rules,

18:58

you mustn’t! That’s enough of a taster

19:00

for how the machine works and we will

19:04

get into further parts of the machine at

19:06

a later point in time, but what I’m going

19:10

to just do now, is to very quickly

19:12

introduce you to the software system

19:14

that runs this machine. Just behind the

19:17

machine you’ll see that I’ve got a

19:19

stone-age computer which is running a

19:22

Windows XP system, it’s a 32-bit system.

19:26

Perfectly powerful enough to run

19:28

this software, but the software will run

19:31

on a Windows 10 machine, 64-bit Windows

19:35

10 machine as well, so it’s a very

19:37

flexible piece of software. So there are

19:40

three ways that you can control the

19:41

Machine; you are supplied with a cable, a

19:46

USB cable which is a male – male cable,

19:49

which goes in the back of your computer

19:51

/ which goes into the back of your pc

19:53

and then goes into a socket on the side

19:56

of the Machine, a USB socket and it’s

19:59

clearly marked “data line interface” now

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

20:03

that’s for if you want to control the

20:07

machine from a computer. You don’t have

20:10

to run the machine from a linked up

20:13

computer.

20:15

The machine doesn’t need that computer

20:16

there to run it. Believe me I’m in a, as

20:20

you can probably sense, a fairly cold

20:23

workshop at the end of my, at the end of

20:26

my yard. Now this is not a heated

20:29

workshop, most of you guys will either be

20:32

in a laboratory, in a lovely factory

20:35

possibly in a school? Who knows where you

20:38

are, but I can guarantee it won’t be as

20:40

cold as this place. So come the winter

20:42

months

20:43

I’m not going to be sitting out here

20:45

programming, I’m going to be inside. Now

20:48

there’s two ways i can be inside, I could

20:51

if I wanted have an ethernet cable. Now down

20:55

in this cabinet here, we have the main

20:58

control system, it’s all beautifully wired

21:01

and this is the main controller for the

21:05

system. This is the Ruida controller, now

21:09

coming out of this controller we’ve got

21:12

these two sockets here, these are

21:15

extensions of these two sockets here

21:18

and there is a third socket on there –

21:20

Ethenet, so you can control this system

21:25

from a network. At the moment this

21:29

particular machine is not wired up to

21:31

take a network because I don’t need it, but

21:35

if you needed to run your system on the

21:36

network,

21:37

all you need to do is ask Thinklaser

21:39

and they will ensure that that

21:41

connection comes out somewhere where you

21:43

can plug in ethernet cable in. As i said

21:46

to you, this workshop gets rather cold in

21:49

the winter, so i’m going to go inside to

21:51

my office now and we’re going to take a

21:53

look at the programming system on my

21:55

rather nice warm indoor office.

21:58

OK welcome to the Warm Office and the

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

22:01

first we got to do is load RDWorks and

22:05

I want you to check up in the top

22:07

left-hand corner and you will find a

22:09

version number up there which is V 8 01

22:12

and then there’s an 18 or number after

22:16

now that’s the issue number of the

22:18

software. I would earnestly suggest that

22:22

you only get your version of software

22:24

through Thinklaser.

22:28

Check what the latest version is if you

22:30

like, on the Ruida website, but get your

22:33

version from Thinklaser and also there

22:38

will be a manual that can be obtained

22:41

from Thinklaser.

22:43

Now the manual that I had to work with

22:45

was unreadable, but through the efforts

22:50

of quite a few guys on a forum called

22:54

www.rdworkslab.com and in conjunction with

23:03

Thinklaser, they have worked together to

23:06

produce a very readable version of the

23:10

original manual. In a strange sort of way,

23:12

that almost makes my job unnecessary,

23:16

but i know that many people like to

23:18

watch rather than read and also we may

23:21

well have some more tricks here, that we

23:24

can look at rather than read about. One

23:27

thing I would like you to notice, is that

23:29

I’m speaking about Thinklaser in the

23:32

third person, that’s because I’m not I

23:36

Thinklaser employee. I have a Thinklaser

23:38

machine and I undertook to do a

23:41

series of videos for them for training

23:44

purposes, so that gives me the freedom to

23:48

provide you with completely unbiased

23:50

training and comments about the machine

23:54

that i’m using. So back to this version,

23:57

there are two ways that you can install

23:59

it; you can install it on a pc that is

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

24:01

hooked up to the Machine via the USB link

24:04

and in which case you will find that

24:06

some of this configuration will already

24:08

be done, because the machine is talking

24:10

to this software.

24:12

In this particular instance, because this

24:14

is a remote pc there’s no connection

24:17

between it and the Machine and so I’ve

24:19

got to configure it manually.

24:21

Now that’s not such a bad thing, to watch

24:23

me configure it manually, because you may

24:25

want to go through and check that the

24:27

configuration on your pc linked to the

24:31

machine is configured correctly as well.

24:33

The first thing i want you to notice is

24:37

that in this top left corner, we’ve got

24:39

two arrows, two blue arrows that

24:42

represents the 0,0 position that the

24:47

machine runs to when it starts up. Now as

24:51

you’ve already seen that isn’t the

24:53

position that the machine runs to for the

24:56

Lightblade machine. We need that to be

24:59

over in this top right-hand corner, now

25:03

I’m not going to explain why at this

25:05

moment in time, we’ll deal with that in

25:07

another session. But what I’m going to do

25:09

is ask you to go to the config page,

25:12

sorry system settings and here you will

25:16

find that you’ve got two controls or two

25:19

boxes called mirror. One is for the X and

25:23

one is for the Y-axis For the Lightblade

25:26

machine both should be ticked. Now

25:30

there’s one other thing you need to do

25:31

on this page and that’s make sure that

25:33

this dot is in the top left-hand corner.

25:36

Now I say make sure, let’s put it there for

25:40

the time being, you can decide where you

25:43

want it

25:44

once you understand what it does.

25:47

Close – ok. Now i want to drag your

25:50

attention down to this bottom left-hand

25:51

corner here, where you’ll find that

25:53

there’s a little green square. It always

25:56

puzzled me when I first saw it, but let’s

25:59

just show you what it does and how it

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

26:01

works.

26:02

First of all we go up here and we’ll place

26:05

the arrow over the ellipse tool and we’ll

26:08

click the left hand mouse button and

26:10

bring it onto the work area. Now I’ll hold the

26:13

left mouse button down and I’ll drag a shape.

26:16

It can be an ellipse, but if I, at the

26:20

same time as holding down the left mouse

26:22

button, I hold down the control key on

26:25

the keyboard and move the mouse look what

26:28

happens. I’ve constrained the ellipse into a

26:32

circle, keep the control key pressed down

26:35

and release the mouse button,

26:38

and the circle remains a circle. Hello

26:41

why is that green square sitting up

26:43

there top left-hand corner?

26:45

Let’s use the Marquee, the windows

26:48

marquee and put handles around that and

26:52

equally well by the way escape, if you

26:54

really want to be fussy you can touch on

26:56

the object itself and click and that

26:58

will put the handles on. What you’ll

27:01

notice is that the green square is

27:04

hanging on the top left handle of the

27:06

circle.

27:07

Let’s confuse the situation a little more and

27:12

we’ll put a square or rectangle in there.

27:15

Now what’s happened to the green square?

27:18

It’s not on the handle of the circle, and

27:24

it’s not on the handle of the square, but

27:27

what it is on, is a handle of an enclosing

27:32

rectangle for both objects.

27:35

Let’s not get too concerned about what

27:37

that green square actually is doing

27:39

at the moment, but i just wanted to show

27:41

you that the green square can move

27:43

around in a rather strange and erratic

27:45

way. So we’ll put rectangle on there and

27:49

we’ll delete that and will bring ourselves back

27:50

to the circle. You will notice that the

27:52

blue arrows are now top right and that

27:55

is set, so changing those two mirror

27:58

commands has set the arrows into the

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

28:01

right position for us. OK

28:03

top right-hand here, we’ve got a black

28:06

layer.

28:07

Now that’s because we’ve got a black

28:10

object, if I put handles around that object

28:13

and I go to the bottom here, where I’ve

28:17

got a colored toolbar. I can select for

28:20

instance the red, and that object has now

28:24

become a red layer object. And hang on,

28:29

the layer up here has changed to red as

28:31

well. Lets double click on that layer

28:34

click click

28:36

and we open up something called a layer

28:39

parameter window. Now basically, this is

28:43

how we’re going to program this circle

28:45

into a manner that can be read by the

28:49

machine to draw that circle. So let’s go

28:53

through it very quickly,

28:54

nothing very complicated at all; is

28:56

output – “yes” I’ll explain that later; speed

29:00

200 millimeters a second; we’ve got a choice

29:03

here of scanning or cutting, dotting

29:06

or pen, well we’ll just go for cut; and here

29:11

we’ve got two numbers which minimum

29:13

power and maximum power, now we can’t

29:17

ever untick that box because that means

29:20

the laser head wouldn’t work.

29:22

We’ve got one laser head and we need it

29:23

working, but on the other side here we’ve

29:26

got a little box called default. If i

29:29

tick that box look, all of a sudden I

29:32

don’t have any control over the minimum

29:35

and maximum power. Now remember 10

29:38

minutes ago, when we were out on the

29:40

machine, I set the minimum power to

29:44

fifteen percent and the maximum power to

29:46

sixty-five percent.

29:48

By choosing that default I have now opted

29:53

to let the program run at the default

29:55

values that I’ve set on the machine.

29:58

I don’t want that, i want control of

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

30:00

those values so i would generally urge

30:03

you to untick that default button, if it

30:06

is there and keep control yourself. Now

30:10

for cutting, generally you will have the

30:13

values set to the same value, don’t

30:16

choose different values. Generally

30:20

different values are for the scan mode

30:23

and not for the cut mode. I say generally

30:26

because there are exceptions, which again

30:29

we will touch on as we get further into

30:31

these sessions. Now there’s one other

30:33

thing down here which looks as though

30:34

it’s working, which is this fifty percent

30:37

through power, it’s not working at all

30:39

because we haven’t got it ticked. Laser

30:42

through mode, I tick it and then

30:45

un-tick it, you’ll see that it actually

30:47

disappears – it’s not working.

30:49

We’ll just say okay and that’s it, we’ve

30:52

written our program. Where’s the machine code?

30:54

I don’t care, I never see it, I don’t need

30:57

to, all we’ve got to do now is get it

30:58

from here out to the machine. We don’t

31:01

have an ethernet connection to this pc

31:03

and it’s certainly not connected up via

31:06

a USB cable. So now we’ve got to look at

31:09

the third way that i discussed when we

31:13

were out in the workshop. And the third way

31:15

is actually using a USB stick. For the very

31:20

first time, we’ve got to come down here and

31:21

we’re going to make sure that this

31:23

device is configured to USB automatic.

31:27

You can then go to this here, which is

31:29

“Save to Ufile” and we can click on

31:33

that, you’ll see that the file type is

31:36

.RD – so i’m going to save this as

31:41

“Circle” – I would advise you to make sure

31:46

that you don’t use long filenames,

31:48

because they will be truncated to about

31:52

eight characters.

31:53

Ok now I’ve saved it, it comes up with this

31:55

rubbish which looks like a warning, I

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

32:00

think it says have a nice day!

32:02

Ok, I’ve just saved a machine code file, I

32:07

can’t read it, I can’t do anything with

32:09

it,

32:10

I can’t reload into this system and

32:12

recreate this drawing. If I want to save

32:16

this drawing I’ve got to do just that.

32:19

Go up to the file and press “save as” and now

32:23

i can “save as” – “circle.rld” what that means

32:28

now is I can close this system down and

32:32

I can reload RDWorks, and so i can now

32:35

open up circle and there it is, we’ve got

32:37

it back again. So that’s how you save

32:41

something for future use,

32:42

but remember we’ve just saved something to a

32:46

Ufile, so let’s go ahead to the Machine

32:48

and see what we can do with that Ufile now.

32:50

Back at the Machine, memory

32:54

stick, USB, data port, we’re going to plug

32:58

that into the USB port and I’d like to

33:01

show you all of the keyboard so you can

33:03

watch the key presses, because what I’m

33:07

going to do now is press file and we get

33:10

the opportunity of all these options

33:13

down here. These are files that have

33:15

already been loaded into the Machine and

33:18

we’ve got this second one down here which

33:20

is called udisk and we get that by

33:22

pressing this key to get a highlight

33:25

across to there and then we move down to

33:27

Udisk and that’s basically going to

33:31

read this memory stick.

33:33

So we press “Enter”

33:35

and it gives me various options that I

33:37

can do to the udisk. I can delete files

33:40

from the actual memory stick itself or I

33:43

can copy the files from the, from the

33:46

disk from the memory stick into memory,

33:48

into machine memory but I can’t do

33:50

anything at the moment because I’ve got

33:52

no files. So the first thing I’ve got to

33:54

do is read what the memory stick says, so

33:56

“read files” and there we go. Now one of

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

34:00

the files that we find there, we can use

34:02

the arrow keys and we get down to circle

34:04

and now we’re down at circle we’ve got

34:06

to go across again, and now we’re going

34:09

to come down. A bit convoluted and then

34:11

we eventually get to “copy to memory”

34:14

“copy successful” – “Enter”

34:23

Nothing appears to have happened, press

34:25

the “Escap”e key and you’ll see that our circle

34:29

appears in this little window, press the

34:31

“Enter” key again and you’ll see that we

34:34

get our circle appearing here. Now if we

34:37

press the “Enter” key again and again, we

34:44

get an opportunity to actually modify

34:46

the cutting parameters, here on the

34:49

machine and we can do that by pressing

34:53

the Z/U button and if you watch what

34:56

happens with the Z/U button, it

34:58

will send me down and back to here, where

35:04

if I had multiple layers I could use

35:06

these keys to get different layers. But

35:08

as we’ve only got one layer we will just

35:10

step down one more time with the Z/U

35:12

button to 200 millimeters a second

35:15

and we’ll change that to 150.

35:20

Now Bear in mind, my base program back in the office

35:22

is still 200 millimeters a second, but

35:26

I’m going to edit it on the machine here

35:28

to 150

35:36

millimeters a second – “Enter”. Now I can go down

35:40

and change, we’ve got minute this is

35:42

something you need to remember, when you

35:44

look down this list its minimum power

35:46

and maximum power quite often you can

35:49

get mistaken and put maximum power

35:51

minimum power you think that’s the way

35:53

that they are so read them very

35:55

carefully. Now we’re happy to press the

35:57

escape the “Enter” button, we press the

35:59

enter button now – “setup success”. “Enter”.

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

36:07

Now what we need to do is to decide where

36:10

we’re going to put the program on the

36:14

table, so we will use the arrow keys at

36:17

the moment and we drive the head over

36:20

there to that rear corner….ish. It’s not

36:27

that important where it goes, but I’m

36:30

just putting it there just for the

36:32

moment. If you remember we had a green

36:35

dot, a green square and then we had the

36:40

handles around the circle. That green dot

36:48

is where this Head is, and now what I’m

36:51

going to do is to press this key here

36:53

which is the “Origin” key.

36:55

What’s that, what’s thats done is created

36:57

a new 0 start position for the job and

37:02

so now when I press the Run button in a

37:04

minute, it will run from this position

37:07

here and draw a circle. Before we get it

37:10

to run we can do a check, there’s something

37:13

here called “Frame”, now if i press the

37:15

“Frame” button we shall get basically a

37:18

preview of the enclosing rectangle or

37:22

square.

37:28

But it will always go back to that

37:30

origin, so let me just do this one more

37:33

time. I’m going to press a reset. Now,

37:35

remember that a reset sends it over to 0,0

37:43

and then after a reset it will come back

37:46

to the origin that you last used. There

37:50

we go.

37:50

So even when I switch the

37:52

Machine off it will always come back to

37:54

that last used origin.

37:56

Ok, now I’ve got this completely set out

37:58

of focus,

37:59

I’m going to be drawing a thick burn

Transcript For This Laser Machine Tutorial (Cont…)

38:01

line, it won’t be a thin burn line but it

38:04

will just be to show you what’s going

38:06

on. So i’m now going to press the bottom

38:09

right-hand button, which basically says

38:12

“start or pause”.

38:16

I’ve paused it, halfway through, and I’m

38:21

going to press it again,

38:23

and there we go so you’ve seen all sorts

38:27

of things today. We’ve burned our very

38:30

first program and I think to be honest

38:34

that’s a very convenient point to stop.

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