29 – How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (15:18)

The Lightblade Learning Lab with Russ Sadler

The Lightblade Learning Lab is a series of 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 session, Russ shows us how to laser cut parts bigger than the bed size of your laser machine.

Contents

  • Problem is to cut a 600mm by 600mm object on a table that is only 600 x 400.
  • Example of sign.
  • Dividing the object into two equal parts using Alphacad
  • Exporting as a DXF file
  • Importing this file into RDWorks
  • Setting the datum of the head position where it is convenient to see.
  • Repeating for the second half of the drawing.
  • Setting up the machine to use it to cut the material to size.
  • Cutting the material.
  • Setting the datum on the machine.
  • A ‘slot error’ which means the program is running off the back of the table.
  • Running the first program.
  • Turning the material around.
  • Using the laser with the pulse button to align the laser exactly so that the second half of the job meets the first.
  • Cutting the second half of the job.
  • Summary

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 How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size

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0:15Well welcome to another Lightblade learning lab, today I’m going to show you

0:21how to do something impossible with this machine that sounds a bit of a

0:26contradiction doesn’t it okay if you want to get picky it’s difficult and you

0:30have to think about it what I’m going to do I’m going to finish up cutting a

0:34approximately 600 circle with a machine that’s got a bed cutting size of only

0:39600 by 400 so sit back and I’m going to show you how I go about solving this

0:44problem okay now what you see here is a sign that a friend of mine has asked me

0:49to make now you can see from the size of those that those letters are a

0:54reasonable size that I can cut on my machine on the end that bluey looking

1:02circular piece is about 600 millimeters diameter now all along that bar those

1:09letters have been cut in ten millimeter thick acrylic and they’re bolted to the

1:15bar at the bottom and I’ll show you the drawings for those in a minute

1:18it’s all made in small pieces not individual letters and on the front of

1:25the clear acrylic letters I’ve cut some white separate letters that will be

1:31covered in vinyls now the crown at the top is separate and will be covered in

1:36vinyl and I’ve made that bluey looking piece on the left hand side in several

1:42pieces as I said but if you want to cover it with vinyl then you don’t want

1:46any cracks or gaps to show no screw fixings or anything you need a nice flat

1:51surface so somehow I’ve got to manufacture that shape in one piece bear

1:59in mind we can only cut 600 by 400 on this machine so each one of these

Transcript for How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (Cont…)

2:05rectangles that’s on here is a 600 by 400 rectangle to try and work out how it

2:10could break the job down and make it cuttable with this machine now all of

2:14these ten millimeter perspex letters are going to be mounted on a bar steel

2:21tubular bar that’s shown below here and so here’s how I went about cutting it

2:27from seven pieces of material but the next challenge was to get this

2:31blue shape as one piece the first thing I did was to copy it the next thing I

2:38can do is I can put an enclosing rectangle around it which just makes

2:43life easy for me because I can go like that and then I can put a dividing line

2:51across it across the center so f7 is a center line on there vertical and f7 is

2:58a center line on that vertical and there we go I’ve now divided that object into

3:02two nice equal parts and I can remove the rectangle now what I’m going to do

3:11is to copy this

3:18like that I should now be able to trim

3:25these two objects we’ll take the bottom off of that one and the top off of that

3:32one and then we’ll throw away the dividing line so the plan is to put the

3:45material in the machine and cut this top half first then we turn the material

3:53round and if I turn the material round then what I’ve got to do is to turn this

3:59second part round as well so I shall save those to a DXF file and then we’ll

Transcript for How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (Cont…)

4:09put them into RDWorks well here they are in RDWorks and we don’t want

4:15them both at once so we take one of them away and we’ll just do the top half

4:19first now you’ll note let’s just pop that onto the work area and you can see

4:29that it’s a snug fit but you’ll note where my green square is that bottom

4:36right hand corner now I’ve done that by going to config system settings and

4:41there it is there I’ve set the datum of the head position

4:45where it’s convenient for me to see it so we save that to a U-file and we’ll

4:51call that one seal one and then we do ctrl Z ctrl Z to get back to the pair of

5:00them and we delete that one and then we’ll do the same with this we’ve got

5:08cut parameters up here which I have got to set and I’ve set it to six

5:13millimeters a second which for a 60-watt tube is probably comfortably slow maybe I

5:21can go at eight or even nine but six is really comfortable I don’t want to fail

5:27on this one okay and we’ve got it set to 78 percent power

5:31which is 60 watts maximum output for this machine

5:35okay let’s save that one to a U-file as Seal Two – and then we’ll jump on to the

5:39machine well here we’ve got a piece of acrylic

5:42as you can see clearly marked perspex and this piece of material is 610

5:49millimeters wide so it’s wide enough to fit neatly in the machine. What I’m going to

5:53do is cut it off at about the same sort of size 610 620 then I’m going to use

6:01the machine to cut it off with so we’ll cut it off at 6:20 because I think what

Transcript for How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (Cont…)

6:09I’ve got to cut is around about five eight five now there is a backplate in

6:17there that would allow me to push this right the way through but okay

6:21I’m lazy I’m not going to take that back plate out let’s turn it round instead and

6:29there’s my cut line there. Lets find out approximately where it is, it;s about there

6:37then we run the head to one end and we set the power up manually I’ve got that

6:45set to 67% I can go up to 78% so that’s maximum power enter and now we set

6:54the speed for five millimeter acrylic I would think probably should be able to

7:01do that about six millimeters a second now it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t cut

7:06through completely you’ll see what I mean

7:09obviously it’s not going to cut all the way across because this is 610 and the

7:12machine is only 600 wide capable so if I press the pulse button and the arrow key

7:18at the same time. I’d better go and put some extraction on.

7:28Yep, Lets see what we’ve got. now regardless of whether this power

7:32has cut through and all we’re going to do is crack the ends. So it’s cut through Nicely

7:40okay now I’ve got my steel table on here, but it doesn’t have to be the steel table, it could be anything

7:49I’ve raised the table up so that it’s level with this boarder around the outside there

8:03That sits on there nice and flat now I’ve got the first part of my

Transcript for How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (Cont…)

8:06program in there which I called Seal One

8:12and because it’s very very tight on the material

8:16I need to have my Datum as far across to the left as possible and I might take it back about 5mm

8:25I’ve got scope to play with backwards and forwards, but I’ve got very little Scope this way so I’ve got to be

8:30fairly accurate with my material and the program in the

8:37x-direction otherwise I could get a slop error

8:41so we’re showing a slop error in Y this basically means my program is running

8:46off the back of the table. so I’ve got to bring

8:49my datum a bit further forward, my origin.

8:58Origin, now I’ll probably get a frame ok

9:05so now what I’ve got to do is pull my material forward

9:09to where the back part, there so I’ve pulled this forward so that it stays

9:15just on the material at the back of the machine.

9:25Lets Try that again. it stays on the material down at the right hand size there

9:34it’s on the material on the left-hand side, it does not run off the back

9:44okay so we’re ready to run the first part of the program I’m running at 78%

9:49power and six millimeters a second

Transcript for How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (Cont…)

10:07okay that’s the easy bit done. now I’m gonna load in part two which is Seal two and to do

10:16this second part I’m going to have to turn the job round and that’s why I

10:22reversed the program

10:28So take the job out of the machine and pop it back in

10:33and now what we’re trying to do now

10:39we can see the end of the cut here , here

10:44we’re going to try and line the laser beam up to pick up exactly where that

10:50cut finished up and this one and this is where I’m going to show you a few tricks

10:54one thing you’ll notice is I’ve got my red dot pointer taped up I

11:00don’t use it I find it very very annoying but there are times when it

11:06might be useful to be honest this is not one of those

11:10times because I’ve got to have exact accuracy

11:14and the only way I can get exact accuracy is to actually use the pulse button. The Pulse button tell me

11:21exactly where the head will hit. Now we know that the head has stopped at our origin

11:29position so the first thing we’ve got to do is we’ve got to make sure that the

11:33end of that cut lines up exactly with that nozzle we can do that almost by eye

11:41to start with what I’m going to do now is to not worry

11:47about this end I’m going to go to the other end do more or less the same sort

11:52of thing at this end now I’m not not interested in trying to find out exactly

11:57where the end of the cut is like there that’s not what I’m trying to find what

Transcript for How To Laser Cut Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size (Cont…)

12:03I’m trying to do is I’m trying to find the line that the end of the cut the

12:10origin point at the other end will decide where the program comes back and

12:13joins all I’ve got to do is swing this job this way here to make sure that it

12:18sits in line with the nozzle it’s got to come back a bit

12:28and then I’ll put a pulse down, I’ll get

12:32a little bit closer

12:36and I’ll put another pulse down and see how close I am to the end of the line

12:42and I would say looking at those two marks they would intersect exactly with

12:50the end of my line as I said I’m not interested in finding the exact position

12:55I’m interesting getting it lined up that way so do two or three pulse dots and

13:01make sure that it lines up don’t do it on the job do it outside the job I’m

13:07happy that the other end of the job lines up exactly in the right plane that

13:13way but now I’ve lost my datum here so what I should do is I shall press the

13:19frame command again and that will drive around and when it settles of course it

13:25will settle back at my datum position which is there so let me just check that

13:30the pulse is in

13:37I would say that that’s right in the beam

13:41pull it just a shade

13:44I would say I’m pretty well lined up

13:59well if we’ve got it to join

Laser Cutting Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size
Laser Cutting Parts Bigger Than Your Bed Size

14:11it should lift off I have to say, there is

14:16nothing more than what you would consider a normal start/finish point at

14:21either side well that’s a bit quieter um I did promise you a short session today

14:28and here we are we’re at the end of this session hopefully this has been a very

14:34useful trick that you might be able to utilize in the future if you’d like to

14:38extend this from being just a 600 millimeter diameter circle bear in mind

14:44the depth of this bed is 400 so technically I could extend and use a

14:50piece of material up to 800 millimeters I could get an 800 millimeter by 600

14:55millimeter shape out of this machine using this trick in the 800 millimeter

15:01direction I wouldn’t guarantee it to be better than about maybe half a

15:05millimeter but that really depends upon your ability and your eyes to set up

15:11that little start point well thank you very much for your time and I shall see

15:16you in the next session

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Last updated August 26, 2021

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