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CO   Laser Setup


Please read through these instructions in their entirety and become familiar with them prior to beginning the setup process!

  1. Position the laser machine near the area it will be used.

  2. Remove all packaging materials.

    • If your tube comes installed you can remove the foam around the laser tube. There is no need to remove any tape or zip ties on the laser tube.

      • The 60 watt and below machines typically ship with the laser tube already installed. Many of the cabinet style blue/gray machines also ship with the tube already installed​. Typically the 80 watt and 100 watt red/black machines require tube installation.

  3. Install the laser tube in your machine (if applicable)​.

    • The 60 watt and below machines typically ship with the laser tube already installed. Many of the cabinet style blue/gray machines also ship with the tube already installed​. Typically the 80 watt and 100 watt red/black machines require tube installation.

  4. Install the laser tube cooling system.

    • I have an install video of installation and programming my chiller here.

    • Aquarium pump setup

      • Aquarium pump is submerged in a container of water

      • Machine outlet drains to container of water

      • Pump inlet floats in a container of water

      • Pump outlet connects to machine inlet​

    • Chiller setup (5200 series)​

      • "Outlet" connects to machine "Inlet"​

      • "Inlet" connects to machine "Outlet"

    • Chiller Setup (5202 series with one laser)​

      • "Inlet A" connects to machine "Outlet"​

      • "Outlet A" connects to machine "Inlet"

      • "Inlet B" connect to "Outlet B"

    • Chiller Setup (5202 series with two lasers)​

      • "Inlet A" connects to machine 1 "Outlet"​

      • "Outlet A" connects to machine 1 "Inlet"

      • "Inlet B" connects to machine 2 "Outlet"

      • "Outlet B" connects to machine 2 "Inlet"

  5. Add distilled water only to your reservoir/container. 

    • It is important to keep this water clean and free of debris. ​

    • It is also recommended to change this water every so often to keep clean, contaminant free water in circulation.

    • While I neither suggest nor recommend, some people may add RV antifreeze to their chiller in cold months if freezing temperatures are a concern

  6. Test the laser tube cooling system by turning the pump or chiller on to ensure that there are no leaks. If there are leaks, fix them.

    • I recommend using small spring hose clamps, as they provide the correct clamp force so there is no worry that they will crack the tube​. I have some linked here.

  7. Position the machine in its final location

    • If placing against a wall be sure to leave enough room for the exhaust ductwork and to access all panels openings. 

    • Keep in mind you may want to position the machine to allow for pass thru as you will not want to move this machine around one it is setup and leveled

  8. Level the machine right to left and front to back
    • Place the level on the linear guide rails (do not use the laser bed, sheet metal, cabinet or otherwise to level). A digital level is helpful here to be more precise. I have the one I use linked here.
  9. Install the exhaust system
    • It is highly recommended for health and safety purposes to upgrade the fan to one of the inline fans found here.
      • Connect one end of the ductwork to the machine and the other end to the inlet side of the exhaust fan. 
      • Connect one end of ductwork to the outlet end of the exhaust fan and position the other end outdoors in whichever fashion you prefer (dryer vent cover, roof vent, window, etc.).
        • If exhausting out of a window be sure to cover the section of window which remains open so smoke is not blown or sucked back into the workshop​
      • Remember the inline fan should be as close to the exhaust end of the ductwork as possible.​
      • ​Be sure your fan is facing the correct direction so it is pulling air out of the machine and not pushing air into it.​
      • I also recommend using foil tape to seal the joints. This helps keep air from leaking in or out of the system. I have some linked here.
    • If you are using the stock fan (not recommended), simply connect the ductwork to the machine outlet and exhaust outdoors in whichever fashion you prefer (dryer vent cover, roof vent, window, etc.).  
  10. Plug in the machine. Some larger machines have two power cords. If your machine is one of these be sure both are plugged in.
  11. Power on the machine (this step can be delayed until step 13 for machines without a motorized bed if desired).
    • Twist the E-Stop clockwise to make sure it is retracted/popped out and not engaged.
    • Turn the key clockwise to turn power on to the machine.
    • If your machine has a mA power dial on the power source, turn it to the max setting.
    • If your machine has toggle switches on it's side, flip the "Control Switch" to the "On" position.
      • Pay attention to which corner the laser nozzle initially travels. This corner is the machines "Home Position". You will need this information when setting up the controller in Lightburn.​
  12. Check the bed for "Level".​​
    • Accurately measure distance from the bed to the laser nozzle at each corner. I adjust the bed up or down and use 1-2-3 blocks along with feeler gauges to perform this check. If you would like to purchase these items they can be found here
      • If all four (4) corners are the same distance from the laser nozzle, then the bed is "level". Proceed to the next step.
      • If all four (4) corner are not the same distance from the laser nozzle, watch this instructional video here and make the appropriate adjustments to get the bed "level"
  13. Power on the machine and laser cooling system (if not already done)

  14. Clean all three (3) mirrors. 

    • I use lens wipes that can be found here.​

    • An alternative the the lens wipes is 99% isopropyl alcohol with a cloth that will not leave lint or small (sometimes unnoticed to the naked eye) scratches on the mirrors. 

  15. Check the mirror alignment​​​. DO NOT just assume you need to adjust them

    • Adjust the min/max power setting on the controller to 10 to 15 depending your machine. Instructions to do this can be found here

    • Place a piece of tape over the hole on the mount in front of the mirror.

      • DO NOT stick tape the mirror​

    • Move the nozzle to any corner and pulse the laser by pressing the pulse button on the controller. Take note of the location of the mark/hole made on/thru the tape

    • Using the same piece of tape repeat the previous step for the next 3 corners.

    • If the result after checking all four (4) corners is one (1) single perfectly round hole, mirrors 1 and 2 do not need adjusted.

      • Pay attention to each corner's result. Take your time reviewing. This is critical to a successful setup and peak performance from your machine.

    • If the result is anything other than a perfectly round mark or hole, then the mirrors need to be adjusted. 

    • Make any necessary mirror adjustments to get the mirrors properly aligned.​​
  16. If adjustments were made to any of the mirrors, clean them again as was done in step 14​

  17. Remove the nozzle cone and clean the lens.

    • Unscrew the stock air assist fitting.

    • Unscrew the nozzle cone

    • Removing the retaining ring and rubber ring

    • Being careful not to touch the lens with your bare fingers, remove it from the nozzle.

    • Wipe the lens off and put back in place. The convex (bubbled out) side should be up when the nozzle cone is in its proper position

    • Verify the lens is in the correct orientation

    • An easy way to tell the lens is installed properly is to look into the threaded end of the cone (from top down). If you can see your reflection the cone is installed correctly.

    • Replace the rubber ring and retaining into the cone nozzle just as you originally found them

    • Thread the cone nozzle back onto the nozzle tube.

    • Replace the air assist fitting and air assist air hose.​

  18. Setup your controller in Lightburn

    • See step by step instructions here

  19. Perform a ramp test​ to determine the focal length.

    • See step by step instructions here

  20. Adjust the bed height to the optimal focal distance

  21. Run test files for each material your are using to determine the best settings for your machine

    • I recommend starting with cast acrylic as it cuts nicely and unlike wood is very consistent which removes a variable of uncertainty

    • I also like to run the sample test in all 4 corners. If all four corner cards are similar then you likely have a good setup. If one or more are vastly different from the others you may want to check bed level and mirrors again.​

    • Test cards can be found and downloaded here (item #3)

  22. Have fun using your laser!

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