Introduction: Operating the Epilog Laser Cutter
Getting started on you using the Epilog Laser Cutter
Step 1: Creating an Image / Uploading an Image
You will first want to open Adobe Illustrator and click file . . new.
From there you will decide on a title for the image as well as how big the paper size is. An art board will be created showing the cutting area.
Once you have the art board, you just have to draw out the image to be cut.
If you have already created an image on Auto Cad or any other design software, you will want to click on file . . open.
A window will pop up asking if you want to scale the image. You will want to know the dimensions of the paper and what the units represent on your CAD drawing. Scale your image accordingly.
Step 2: Color Scheme / Line Weight
Once you have your image on the screen you will want to decide if you want to engrave this image or cut it out completely .
This is when you have to decide which color represents a raster (engrave) and what color is for a vector (full cut).
To set your color scheme select file . . print. Once on this page, select setup and then select preferences.
This page will start you on a tab called General. You can make sure the page size is correct for your paper.
Then move over to the Color Mapping tab. From here you can change whether a color is for raster or vector cutting. Shown below is a color scheme with red as raster and black as the vector color. You have to make sure the color mapping box has been checked so it knows to refer to the different settings for different colors.
For engraving, fill in the entire area you want engraved. Alternatively for vector cutting, you just need an outline of where to cut.
You will also want the thickness of the vector lines that you want cut set at 0.001" . This is the best quality for cutting out images. You can see in the third image below where to change the thickness. The forth image shows what the lines look like after being changed to a thickness of 0.001".
Step 3: Print Setup
For the most part the paper size and images should be good to go. Although, you always want to double check your color scheme and paper size.
To set your print setup, select file . . print. Once on this page, select setup and then select preferences.
Under the general tab you will want to set the power and speed for both the raster and vector settings. The raster setting shown here is to engrave a 1/8" sheet about half way through the acrylic. Check the manual for engraving on different materials or for different depths. The vector settings shown here are for cutting completely through the acrylic.
Step 4: Setting Up to Begin Cutting
Before you send the image to the printer, you will want to make sure the compressed air and exhaust fan are turned on in the fume hood.
To turn the air on, just turn the blue handle 90 degrees until you hear the air flow.
Then to turn the exhaust fan on, just pull the red switch toward you.
Also, you will want to make sure that the acrylic is placed properly on pegs and the glass top is closed. The pegs should be positioned to adequately support the medium being used so that it doesn't move around during lasering.
Once you hit print it will send the job over to the Epilog but it will not start cutting until you hit the green go button on the front of the machine.
Step 5: Once the Printing Begins
Once the printing begins never walk away from the machine while it is cutting your image. The laser cutter can catch fire and you will want to be there to stop the machine and put the fire out quickly.