Laser Cutter: Machine Operation



  • Do not use power settings above 80%
  • Do not let temp go above temps go above 24°
  • If anything seems amis, stop immediately and post in #help-laser-pew-pew


  1. Laser workspace should be completely clear.
  2. Turn on Laser Cutter
    • Ensure Emergency Stop on laser cutter is unengaged (turn button to left)
    • Wait until laser initialization sequence is complete and no parts moving.
    • Water chiller and ventilation fan should turn on automatically
  3. Verify water chiller is on – digital temp gauge should display
    • If it’s not try power on front of chiller
    • Turn on black power strip behind chiller
  4. Verify ventilation system turned on – you should notice an audible vacuum noise.
  5. Set up file in lightburn
    • Open or load your file in lightburn.
    • Set up all cut layers appropriately. Do not use power settings above 80%.
    • Use the Preview tool to review the order of operations. Make any adjustments needed in the Cuts/Layers window.
    • If desired, save your file in your folder in Documents/Member Folders. (Create if needed.)


  1. Gently lift the lid all the way open (pneumatic assist slams the lid load and may bump mirror alignment) and load your approved material.
  2. Use the left/right buttons to set X/Y position of head to desired position above material and click ORIGIN button on laser.
  3. Use the up and down buttons to adjust bed height. Use the wooden focus tool between your material and head to get the correct height. The white laser cutter bed does not move. Instead adjust the nozzle height.
  4. In lightburn use the (square) trace tool. The laser will outline the area where it will run. It should always be over your material. Adjust origin position or lightburn settings as needed.
  5. Use weights to flatten warped material after being certain from trace that the laser head won’t collide.
  6. Use the lightburn trace tool again to ensure that the laser head will not collide with weights and holds.
  7. Close the lid.
  8. Turn the nuclear launch key to the right to engage the beam. Red light will turn on.
  9. Press Play in lightburn or send file and run from controller.


Our laser focuses beam width is the smallest and strongest at 3.7mm from the nozzle.

  • For marking/etching raster images with the highest quality set the bed height 3.7mm away from the surface of your material for the highest level of detail. The Blur heights on the tool can be useful for getting large darkened markings in areas that don’t require precision.
  • For cutting, it’s ideal to have the strongest part of the beam be in the center of the material. The focus tool has presets for the center of 1/8″ and 1/4″ material. The optimum focus distance may vary for different materials, so you may need to experiment and find what works best for you. Using the optimal focal distance for your material width also reduces kerf. Due to our lens focal distance you should not cut any materials thicker than 1/4″.
  • For engraving slightly into the surface you can play around with using different focal distances. The 3.7mm focal distance has such a small beam width which results in many ridges despite cranking up the interval/DIP. It may look better to use 6.8mm which will result in a smoother looking fill (at least on wood).


  • Monitor the temperature gauge on the chiller, especially on longer jobs. If temps go above 24° pause the job and wait for it to cool off before continuing.
  • Keep an eye on laser for sparking or fire.


To stop the laser from operating before it has completed a job you can use:

  • Pause Button: Stops laser but job can resume.
  • Emergency Stop: Shuts down the laser, chiller, and vent. Push in and twist to release emergency button.


If you see your material catch fire (which you will, because you never left the laser unattended) hit the emergency stop, open the lid, and attempt to put out the flame by blowing it out, smothering, or moving the smoldering material outdoors. If the situation got out of control, use the small white halon fire extinguisher. If situation is really out of control grab the regular red fire extinguisher. If it’s really really out of control call 911 ASAP. Always post in slack once things are safe if a fire breaks out.

Shutdown & Cleanup

  1. Open lid and retrieve material.
  2. Put away any magnets or holds.
  3. Clean up scraps still on honeycomb.
  4. Turn the nuclear launch key to the left to shut down the beam. Red light will turn off.
  5. Turn off the laser using silver “Machine Control” button.
  6. Gently clean the mirror on the laser head by gently rolling (not dragging) a q-tip dipped in denatured alcohol across the surface.


Laser seems to not turn on. No indicator lights are flashing.Emergency button is engaged.Turn emergency stop to left.
Laser head runs a path, but nothing is cut or engraved.Laser is shut down.Turn nuclear launch key to right.
Laser is sparking.The beam is not correctly focused.Stop and focus the beam using the focusing tool.
After pressing play in lightburn, cut does not start. Control panel has message “chiller not on”.Chiller is not on.Turn chiller on.
Immediatly after closing the lid and pressing play in lightburn, cut does not start. A message in lightburn says that the laser may be paused.There is a short delay after closing the lid.Press play again.
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