ULS PLS4.75 Laser Cutter

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"Laser Cutter"

(We offer a workshop to allow members the use of the PLS4.75. Generally during the semester, it is offered once a week.)

The Universal Laser Systems PLS4.75 is a 2D subtractive manufacturing laser cutter machine. A laser cutter uses a focused, high power column of photons cut stock with extreme quality and precision. Due to its large bed size, the laser cutter is most useful for project where you need either a very precise subtractive process or need to cut stock that is too large for our other subtractive devices, like the Bantam Tools PCB Mill.


Safety

All laser cutters are dangerous machines. There are a host of safety checks in place to make sure that the machine operates as safely as possible, but as the operator, you must also be mindful. There are four important precautions to take when using this machine:

  1. Never run the laser cutter without the filtration/exhaust unit running.
  2. Never stare into the laser.
  3. Never cut anything that isn't on the list of approved materials.
  4. NEVER LEAVE THE LASER CUTTER UNATTENDED WHILE RUNNING. This machine is susceptible to fire, and walking away from a running job will result in you losing you laser cutter access.

Materials

NEVER CUT THESE

Some materials, when used on the laser cutter, produce chemicals that are extremely hazardous and deadly to ingest. The following materials should NEVER be used on our system.

Material Other names Common objects Danger Notes
PVC Polyvinyl chloride, vinyl Vinyl from the vinyl cutter, pipes, water-resistant clothing, imitation leather, canvas Emits chlorine gas. Ruins the optics and corrodes the machine as well. But you'll be dead so it won't matter.
ABS Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Almost anything which has been injection molded is either ABS or HDPE. Emits cyanide gas. Tends to melt instead of cut. But you'll be dead so it won't matter.

Approved

The following materials are allowed to be used on the laser cutter and can be found within DaBL.

Material Notes Warnings
Acrylic Cast acrylic will etch, extruded will not.
Many solid woods Avoid oily or resinous woods, as they have a tendency to catch fire.
Plywood and composite woods Glues will reduce efficacy of laser cut.
MDF and engineered woods More charring than other wood products.
Paper Cut a single layer at a time to avoid fire.
Cardboard Watch for fire.

What if what I want to cut isn't listed?

Check with a CaTS to make sure your material is cuttable. DO NOT CUT ANYTHING THAT IS NOT ON THE APPROVED LIST WITHOUT FIRST GETTING APPROVAL.

External Links

More information about materials can be found here.

An extended list of materials here.