Introduction: K40 Laser Cutter: How to Cut and Engrave in One Job
The K40 is a budget friendly desktop laser cutter. However, considering that the hardware and software is directly exported from China, it is not user friendly at all. This tutorial shows the end-user how to cut and engrave a pendant in one fell swoop.
Note: This tutorial assumes that you already have the laser cutter setup and the software installed.
Step 1: Think of a Concept.
In this scenario, I am cutting out a lucky charm pendant, but feel free to vary from this design.
Step 2: Now That We Have a Design, Launch CorelLASER From Your Desktop.
Step 3: CorelLazer Preliminary Settings
Before you start designing your pendant, do yourself a favor and change some preliminary settings within CorelLASER. First, change the units to centimeters. Then change your canvas size to 30cm x 20 cm. We change this because this is the maximum cutting area of the K40's bed.
Step 4: Enabling Object Manager
Next,go to the Tools > Object Manager. Once clicked it will add a new pane on the right hand side of CorelLASER.
Step 5: Within the Object Manager Pane, Click New Layer.
Step 6: Rename Layer 1 to Cut, and Rename Layer 2 to Engrave.
Step 7: Creating an Anchor Pixel in the Cut Layer
Make sure the Cut layer is highlighted and place a pixel sized square in the top right hand corner of our drawing.
Note: One of the many quirks of the K40 laser cutter is that you need to put a
pixel in the very top left of your layers. If this is not done, then for some reason the laser cutter doesn't know how properly line things up (between the cutting layers and the engraving layers).
Step 8: Draw the Shape of Your Pendant
Now that all the preliminaries are taken care of lets start to design the shape of our pendant. Make sure the Cut layer is selected and draw a circle. I made my circle orange (for visibility) with the diameter of 3 centimeters.
Note: There are numerous intricacies involved with CorelDraw / CorelLaser. This you will have to learn on your own. ALSO, the K40 software cuts anything that is NOT white.
Step 9: Hole for the Jump Ring
Now that we have the outline of our pendant, draw a small white circle within the large red circle. This is where you would place your jump ring. I made mine .25 centimeters in diameter.
Step 10: Creating an Anchor Pixel in the Engrave Layer
Make sure that the Engrave layer is selected. Place a small 1x1 pixel in the very top left hand corner of our drawing.
Step 11: Creating the Pendant Border
For the border of the design I found a Celtic circle with a transparent background. I imported this design into the drawing and re-sized it. Again this is done on the Engraving layer.
Step 12: Adding the Four Leaf Clover
Next I was able to find a four leaf clover design that I liked and imported it into the Engraving layer.
So our design work is now complete. Pat yourself on the back. The next series of steps explain how to feed this data to the K40 laser cutter.
Step 13: Configuring Our Data Formats
Click the small green pencil icon at the top of CorelLAZER. This will launch a window that allows you to configure the format of the information going to the laser cutter. Make sure that the settings are configured to the following:
Engraving Data: WMF – Normal Windows Metafile
Engraving Area: Only Selected
Cuting Data: WMF – Normal Windows Metafile
Cutting Area: Only Selected.
Note: If you choose other data formats, such as PLT, your cuts may be off.
Step 14: Hiding the Cut Layer
Next click the small eye icon beside Cut layer. This will hide everything we created in the cut layer.
Step 15: Select the Engraving Layers
Using the pointer tool click and drag to select everything on the engrave layer. Notice on the Object manager pane, all the designs are highlighted in blue.
Step 16: Click the Engraving Button Towards the Top.
Step 17: Configuring the Engrave Settings
There are some important parameters that need set within the engraving window.
We want origin to be at the very top right, so setRefer-X to 0.0000 and set Refer-Y to 0.0000. While on the engrave window, set the Method to Dialogand click add task. After hitting Add Task, the window should close. This tells the laser cutter that this is one of two tasks. Also, it is not a bad idea to make sure your speed is set appropriately. I believe I that 175.00mm/s is a good speed, but then again it all depends on what type of material you are engraving.
Step 18: Hide the Engrave Layer, Enable the Cut Layer
Now that we have the laser engraving setup to our liking. Let's begin on the cutting aspect of things. Click the eye beside the engraving layer to hide the shamrock and border. Click the greyed out eye beside the cut layer to once again reveal our orange circle.
Step 19: Click and Drag to Select All the Shapes Within Our Cutting Layer.
Step 20: Click the Cutting Icon at the Top.
Whenthe cutting window pops up, Make sure your Speed is set to the appropriate setting. For this project I was cutting wood so I did 2 passes 10mm/s @ 50% power. Make sure your origins are set to the appropriate positions (Refer-X: 0 Refer-Y:0). Make sure that Method is set to dialog. This is because this is task 2 of 2. Make sure that the Starting checkbox is selected. This check box means that the laser cutter will begin cutting as soon as you click Add Task.
Click Add Task. If everything goes correctly the laser cutter should start to engrave your project and ultimately cut your project.
For your convenience, I've attached the CorelDraw file to this instructable. If you are running into problems, it might be able to help you out!
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