Laser Cutting & Engraving

From Idea Shop Wiki

The Idea Shop currently has two separate laser cutters available for student use: the Epilog Helix and the Epilog Fusion Pro.


Laser Cutters

Epilog Helix 24

Main Article : Epilog Helix 24
Epilog Helix

The Epilog Helix 24 is a CNC laser cutter that is capable of cutting, rastering, and etching a variety of materials in two dimensions (along the X-Y plane). The Epilog Helix uses color mapped vector files to cut material up to 1/4" (5mm) thick. Unlike the Epilog Fusion Pro, the Epilog Helix can not engrave metal.

General Stats:
Material : Acrylic, Wood, Foam Core, MDF, ABS (in limited quantities), Paper, Cardboard, Leather. (See Laser Cutter Materials for permitted/prohibited materials.)
Maximum Part Size : 457.2mm x 609.6mm (18in x 24in)
Maximum Material Thickness for Through Cuts : 1/4in


Epilog Fusion Pro 48

Main Article : Epilog Fusion Pro 48
Epilog Fusion Pro

The Epilog Fusion Pro is a CNC laser cutter that is capable of cutting, rastering, and etching a variety of materials in two dimensions (along the X-Y plane).

The Epilog Fusion Pro is a dual source laser (CO2 and Fiber) that allows for metal engraving and cutting of thicker materials. Compared to the Epilog Helix, the Fusion Pro provides a more powerful laser and much larger bed size.

General Stats:
Material : Acrylic, Wood, Foam Core, MDF, ABS (in limited quantities), Paper, Cardboard, Leather. (See Laser Cutter Materials for permitted/prohibited materials.)
Maximum Part Size : 914.4mm x 1219.8mm (36in x 48in)
Maximum Material Thickness for Through Cuts : 1/2in


Processing Laser Cutter Files

Preparing Your File

Preparing a File in AutoCAD

Main Article : Preparing a Laser File in AutoCAD

All computers in the Assembly Space have AutoCad installed and are pre-loaded with our template. This template has a designated area the size of the laser bed, as well as layers for different laser settings, such as cut first (for interiors), cut last, raster, score shallow, and score deep. File type is .dwg, but .dxf files may be imported.

For assistance or tips with preparing your file, don't hesitate to ask Idea Shop staff, who will be happy to help you. Refer to the Preparing a Laser File in AutoCAD for more detailed instructions.

Preparing a File in Illustrator

Main Article : Preparing a Laser File in Illustrator

Coming soon!

Sending Your File to The Laser

How your print screen should look before sending a file to the laser

1. Select the “Print” button from the top left corner.

2. Make sure the “Epilog Laser/Engraver” is the selected printer.

3. Change any other settings so that the that the print screen matches the picture to the right.

4. Click the “Select Window” button to select whichever 18”x24” rectangle contains your part.
 a. Plot Area > “Window<”
 b. You will be brought back to the drawing screen.
 c. Select the top left corner and the bottom right corner of the rectangle itself. Do not simply select an arbitrary area containing your part.

5. Make sure the plot scale ratio is set to 1:1
 a. Plot scale > Scale:

6. Select “Preview…” and make sure everything including the layer colors looks correct.

7. Click “OK” to send your file to the laser queue.

Laser Queue

Use of the laser is on a first come, first served basis, reflected in the queue system. Once you've sent your file to the laser, notify a staff member to be added to the queue. The queue is a list of names in purple ink on a white board next to the laser cutter.

  • Only Idea Shop staff may edit the queue.
  • Users are added to the queue only after their files have been color mapped and plotted to the laser.
  • Only one team member from a project may be in the queue at any time.
  • If there is a queue, users have up to one hour of laser time. If after one hour the a job remains incomplete, users will be asked to stop their job and then be added to the end of the queue. If there is no queue, users can take as long as they need!
  • If you are not present when your name is called you will be removed from the queue.
  • The queue resets everyday.