Laser Cutter

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Laser Cutter

About our Machine

Machine Info

  • Manufacturer: DTC For the Future
  • Model: DBL-6090
  • Manual for the machine
  • Cutting dimensions: 60cm by 90cm (23.6" by 35.4")
  • Resolution: 2500 DPI
  • Max stock height allowance: Over 6"
  • Controller: RUIDA Controller RDC6445
  • Laser tube: 100W CO2 Reci W2 Product No. 780442
  • Water Chiller: S&A Cw5200 1400W
  • Air compressor: Resun ACO-004. 58W, Airflow: 0.075 m3/min
  • Exhaust: 350W, Airflow: 12 m3/min
  • Purchased through funds raised by members and the public in 2022
  • This tool requires a safety checkout or training before you can use it

Running the Laser Cutter (LightBurn)

These are instructions for how to operate our Laser Cutter using the LightBurn interface. LightBurn is both a design program as well as a laser control program. You can use it to create or import drawings, and in the same screen determine how the laser will burn/etch/cut the features on the screen.

Updated: 11/16/2022 by Alex N

Note to users of our old laser cutter: When using this new laser, keep in mind that 50% Power will be more than twice as powerful as the old one! If you are using old files or sample cards as reference, make sure to account for this difference.

Here are a few differences to keep in mind between our old machine and the new one:

Item Old Laser New Laser
Power 40W 100W
Max Speed 40mm/s 600mm/s
Max Material Height 34mm (1.34") Over 250mm (10")
  1. Reserve time on the machine through the website - Reserve Time page
    1. Make sure it is available before you start using it by checking that page.
    2. Make sure to reserve it every time you use it, regardless of whether it is open. This helps other members know when it is occupied and can plan around it.
  2. Prepare a file in Lightburn
    1. Open the LightBurn program (dragon icon).
    2. Load drawing file or create drawing in the program. Ensure it is aligned as you need it. Common practice is to align drawings to the back-right or upper-right corner.
    3. Set your burn settings in the "Cuts" tab. Use some of the existing test cards for reference or make your own if your material is unique.
      1. Make sure to set your Maximum and Minimum Power! Minimum power applies with curves and corners, so it is important to make sure Minimum is set equal or close to Maximum in order to cut all the way through.
  3. Start-up Procedure:
    1. Turn on the power strip. Located behind the laser cutter. This should turn on the Air Compressor, Exhaust Fan, Water Chiller, and Power Supply for the laser.
    2. Release the red E-stop button by rotating it clockwise a 1/4 turn. This turns on the laser controller.
  4. Running a job
    1. Open the lid and place your material on the bed. Make sure it is well-aligned for your job.
    2. Position the material under the red probe either by moving the material or moving the laser with the control panel
      1. If there is not enough space for the material under the probe, use the Z down button to lower the table until your material fits.
    3. Press the Focus button to run the auto-focus feature.
      1. Press the red Stop button on the control panel if it crashes. This can happen if the probe is not above your material and it slips into the gaps in the honeycomb bed.
    4. Use the Frame button to have the machine trace out the job area. It will not fire the laser while it is doing this.
    5. Retrieve the key from its hiding place and turn the keyswitch on (clockwise). This will allow the laser to fire.
    6. Close the lid
    7. Press the Start button in Lightburn and watch it go.
    8. It is safe to watch through the window, the IR light from the laser is absorbed by the polycarbonate. The regular light can be intense when doing a cutting operation however, so avoid staring at the bright light.
  5. When a job is done
    1. The laser will stop moving. The control panel will display "Finished" below the job display
    2. Open the lid and remove your material. If the job involved cutting through, check the bottom compartment under they honeycomb for small pieces that fell through and clean them up.
  6. While a job is running:
    1. Never leave the laser unattended! Materials can catch fire!
    2. If there is a problem, hit the big red emergency stop button. Located on the front of the laser cutter.
    3. In the event of a fire, use the the fire blanket or the white dry-type fire extinguisher located near the machine.
    4. NEVER open the lid while the laser is on!
  7. When done using the machine:
    1. Turn off the power strip.
    2. Turn the keyswitch off (counter-clockwise) and put key back.
    3. Clean underneath the aluminum honeycomb bed.


The laser isn’t firing Make sure the keyswitch is turned to the correct position. Should be rotated clockwise.

Make sure in Lightburn that the appropriate cut lines have the “output” slider in the on position (will show green).

This fill is taking FOREVER, why? There are different fill settings you can use. Double-click on the color you are using for a fill, and you will be able to view the settings. “Fill all shapes at once” is the slowest setting, as it goes line-by-line across the entire surface. “Fill shapes individually” will be faster and can end up cleaner.
My wood keeps getting charred Look at your settings and see if you can increase the speed of the cut while decreasing the power.
My cut is not going through the entire surface Increase your power and decrease your speed
The laser cut all the way through my piece when I wanted to engrave it Lower the power setting on the cut

You can try increasing speed but lowering the power should help the most.

This acrylic is chipped on the underside ?
I don’t know what settings to use Use an existing sample card that is similar to the material you are using.

If a sample doesn’t exist, you can use a built-in “Material Test” in LightBurn in the Laser Tools menu at the top. Engraved fills will need slightly less power than engraved lines Small engraved fills will need slightly more power than large engraved fills

Safe and Unsafe Materials

Referenced from ATX Hackerspace's wiki

There are a wide range of materials that our Laser Cutter can cut, etch or mark - but some simply don't work (eg metals) and some are extremely hazardous to either humans or the machine itself (eg PVC and Vinyl). It is therefore imperative that you check these lists before attempting to cut materials that you have not worked with before.

It is not always obvious which materials will work - for example: Polycarbonate/Lexan produces flames and lethal chlorine gas which will rapidly corrode this normally $10,000 machine into uselessness and which is extremely hazardous to the health of people nearby. Yet Acrylic - which looks, smells, feels and tastes just like Lexan - cuts smoothly and cleanly and is one of the best materials to use with the laser! So check and double-check what you're cutting.

WARNING: Because many plastics are dangerous to cut, it is important to know what kind you are planning to use. Make has a How-To for identifying unknown plastics with a simple process.

  • PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial leather
    • Releases chlorine gas when burned - dangerous for humans and damages the machine
  • Thick ( >1mm ) Polycarbonate/Lexan
  • ABS
  • HDPE/milk bottle plastic
  • PolyStyrene Foam
  • PolyPropylene Foam
  • Epoxy
  • Fiberglass
  • Coated Carbon Fiber
  • Any foodstuff ( such as meat, seaweed 'nori' sheets, bread, tortillas... )
Safe to cut and etch
  • Many woods
  • Plywood/Composite woods
  • MDF/Engineered woods
  • Paper, card stock
  • Cardboard, carton
  • Cork
  • Acrylic/Lucite/Plexiglas/PMMA
  • Thin Polycarbonate Sheeting (<1mm)
  • Delrin (POM)
  • Kapton tape (Polyimide)
  • Mylar
  • Solid Styrene
  • Depron foam
  • Gator foam
  • Cloth/felt/hemp/cotton
  • Leather/Suede
  • Magnetic Sheet
  • NON-CHLORINE-containing rubber
  • Teflon (PTFE)
  • Carbon fiber mats/weave that has not had epoxy applied
  • Coroplast ('corrugated plastic')
Safe to etch
  • Glass
  • Ceramic tile
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Painted/coated metals
  • Stone, Marble, Granite, Soapstone, Onyx.

Using the Rotary Add-On


The rotary add-on allows the user to engrave or cut cylindrical or round objects. There is a different setup involved that has to be done to get it ready, and it has to be un-done before you leave.

  1. Rotary Setup
    1. Turn on machine
    2. Lower Z-Table all the way down
    3. Remove honeycomb
    4. Place Rotary Add-On on table so it is parallel to the table
    5. Turn off machine
    6. Unplug Y-axis, plug in Rotary Add-On
    7. Turn machine back on, allow it to finish moving and calibrating
    8. Move the Y-axis by hand so the beam will be centered on the center axis of rotary add-on
    9. Ensure the head of the laser will not collide with the rotary add-on or material
  2. Using the Rotary
    1. Mount the material in the chuck (may need to swap out jaws depending on size or shape)
    2. If needed, protect your material from the bare metal jaws with foam, rubber, electrical tape.
    3. Slide the tail support up to the base of the material if needed to support (longer objects will definitely need it)
    4. Place design in lightburn where the rotary add-on is
    5. Measure the diameter of your piece
  3. Removing the Rotary
    1. Turn off the machine
    2. Remove material from the chuck
    3. Unplug the rotary
    4. Plug Y-axis back in
    5. Remove rotary add-on from machine
    6. Replace honeycomb bed
    7. Turn machine back on and test that it is operating normally


How do I get certified to use the laser cutter? Same as any other power tool in the shop! If you haven't used this kind of machine before, take our Intro class on the relevant topic. If you have used a machine like this, then read up on this documentation and schedule a Safety Checkout with the General Manager or Shop Manager for that area.
How do I clean the laser cutter after I use it? Lift the aluminum honeycomb out and sweep up small pieces with the small dustbin on the pegboard in the Electronics Lab. Clean any residue by liberally applying isopropyl alcohol to a paper towel and scrubbing the residue - it should come off fairly easily. Plywood in particular tends to leave a lot of residue.
What do I do with my scrap materials? Usable pieces (rectangular preferred, plenty of usable space) can be added to the wooden materials container in the Electronics Lab.

Wood that is completely used can be deposited in the scrap wood bin in the wood shop. Any other materials get disposed of in the trash.


  • Vacuum the inside
    • The bed of the machine should be vacuum out regularly after cutting to clean up any small pieces that fall into the honeycomb.
  • Cleaning the lens and mirrors
    • Ask someone to show you how to clean these before attempting yourself!
    • A dirty lens can cause burnt gunk to build up and potentially crack the lens.
    • Here is a video from the ATX Hackerspace on cleaning their lens - How to Clean Laser Optics
  • Aligning the mirrors

Other Maintenance Items:


  • Laser Tube: 100W CO2 Reci W2 Product No. 780442
  • Lens
  • Mirrors: 25mm Diameter, Molybdenum coated.

External Resources

External Guides

LightBurn Video Guides:

Official LightBurn documentation

Highlights from LightBurn's documentation:

  1. Toolbars
  2. General Usage Hotkeys
  3. Creating Vectors
  4. Engraving Images
  5. Importing External Vectors

Where to Find Materials

  • The scrap bin by the laser cutter has plywood and acrylic
  • Inventables has acrylic sheet in many colors
  • Laserable Rubber on Amazon
  • Woodcraft in Newington - thin plywood of various sizes
  • HomeDepot or Lowes - plywood, acrylic, and various other materials
  • JoAnn Fabrics in Newington- fabrics, acrylic, plywood, and various other materials

Shape Generators

These can help create common but complex shapes for you to work with like boxes, gears, and more.