Next Wave CNC's 2 Watt and 7 Watt Lasers are great accessories that add another level of customization to your products but determining what feed rate and power value should be used with specific material can be a lot of trial and error. The grid pattern in this article is intended to quickly determine the feed rate and power value to use with a particular material for both a fill pattern, vector lines, as well as text (True Type and Single Line).
The laser test grid will burn the test material in a 5 x 6 Fill grid pattern, a 5 x 6 Vector grid pattern, and the corresponding labels. Both of the laser test files were created using Vectric's Laser Cut & Fill Toolpath in Vcarve Desktop. The Fill grid uses a Hatch Fill, with a 0.01-inch Stepover, 0 degrees Hatch Angle, with a follow-up Outline. The Vector grid and text are set up to "Cut On" the vector lines with the pictures below showing the results of these test files burning on MDF.
One additional option for controlling how the Laser operates on the Shark CNC machine is the "Minimize Overburn" setting through the LCD Pendant. The Minimize Overburn is a setting that, when ON, will adjust the laser intensity during acceleration and deceleration to give a more consistent burn. The pictures below showcase the grid pattern for both laser accessories as well as how the same file operates with the Minimize Overburn On and Off. Depending on your application and your personal preference, you may want to use this additional feature or not.
|2 Watt Laser Grid with Minimize Overburn On||2 Watt Laser Grid with Minimize Overburn Off|
|7 Watt Laser Grid with Minimize Overburn On||7 Watt Laser Grid with Minimize Overburn Off|
Running the test file:
1. Save the attached # Watt Laser Grid.tap file that corresponds with your laser to a USB Flash drive.
a. '2 Watt Laser Grid.tap' - is designed for the 2W Laser Accessory
b. '7 Watt Laser Grid.tap' - is designed for the 7W Laser Accessory
2. Connect the Laser system to your machine.
3. Power the CNC system on.
4. Secure a scrap piece of your project material measuring at least 6" x 6" onto the deck of the CNC machine.
a. Mark the center of this 6" x 6" area for the XY Start position.
5. Use the X and Y jog buttons on the LCD Pendant to carefully position the laser head to the center mark
a. Pressing the Fast button on the right side of the pendant will cycle between Fast/Medium/Slow jog speeds.
b. A pointed bit can also be used to find the center, then install the laser head back into the router.
6. Press 'Zero XYZ' (Press OK to confirm the change)
7. Use the Z-axis jog button to carefully lower the laser toward the material until the white laser collar touches the surface of the material
8. Press 'Zero XYZ' (Press OK to confirm the change)
9. Tap the Z coordinate numbers. A keypad will display on the screen
10. Enter '0.1'
11. Press 'Move'
12. Press 'Zero XYZ' (Press OK to confirm the change)
13. Plug the flash drive into the LCD pendant of the system
14. Select “2 Watt Laser Grid.tap” or “7 Watt Laser Grid.tap”
15. Press 'Next'
16. Press 'Start'
Turn On/Off Minimize Over-burn in the LCD Pendant.
1. Select Apps
2. Select Laser
3. Select Press to Open
4. Tap Minimize Over-burn
5. Tap the field in the top right corner (0= Off)
a. Enter 1 to turn on Minimize Overburn
b. Enter 0 to turn off Minimize Overburn
6. Select Ok