Committees are voluntary groups, formed by members in order to achieve certain goals.
To join this committee, contact the committee chairperson. See Rules and Policies#Committees for more information.
- 1 Purpose
- 2 Laser Area Rules...or act like a Member, not a Customer.
- 2.1 Must have completed training and meet Age Restriction.
- 2.2 Must monitor laser for the duration of your job. Stay within arms reach at all times.
- 2.3 Pay for usage.
- 2.4 No cutting of prohibited materials. Link to list below.
- 2.5 Be excellent and clean up after yourself.
- 2.6 Obey the queue and session limit.
- 2.7 No designing. Tweaking OK.
- 2.8 In case of EMERGENCY, use the red E-STOP button.
- 2.9 Do not perform maintenance on the lasers.
- 2.10 Consequences
- 3 Instruction
- 3.1 Approved Laser users
- 3.2 Instructors
- 3.3 Classes
- 3.3.1 100-Level Classes. Required to use Lasers or Optional Fundamentals.
- 3.3.2 200-Level Classes. Techniques.
- 3.3.3 300-Level Classes. Advanced Skills, Multiple Skills, Advanced Projects.
- 3.3.4 Crossover Classes. Sponsored by other educational committees.
- 3.3.5 DMS Laser Calendar.
- 3.3.6 Laser Basics Class Materials
- 3.3.7 Additional Laser Learning (video)
- 4 Tool Status & Maintenance
- 5 Tools
- 6 Committee
- 7 Material Suppliers
- 8 Additional Documentation
- 9 Tips and Tricks
The Laser Committee covers:
- Training members in the safe, effective use of the Lasers
- Care and maintenance of the lasers (The Epilog Zing and Thunder Novas)
- Consumables of the lasers (Lenses, Mirrors, Laser Tubes, Supplies, etc)
- Maintenance of the laser computers in cooperation with Infrastructure
- The list of acceptable materials for use with the laser cutter. Ask if questionable.
- Promotion of interest in laser technology.
Welcome to the World of DMS Lasering! Congratulations on finding our wiki, the official record of the committee and chock full of useful information for members. Makers are always learning, so the wiki changes as the Laser Committee becomes more knowledgeable about operation and maintenance. Frequent changes makes it difficult for you, our members, to stay up to date. Fortunately, wiki technology makes it easy. Simply add this page to your wiki watchlist to receive change notices by email. Help govern the area by joining the Laser Committee. There's always room for more people. We meet monthly on the First Sunday. Meeting runs from 11-noon, then we adjourn to clean the lasers and share a potluck (because this team marches on its stomach) until 2pm. Happy Lasering!
Laser Area Rules...or act like a Member, not a Customer.
Must have completed training and meet Age Restriction.
- Laser 101 Thunder Basics course to operate the Thunder Nova lasers.
- Laser 102 Zing Basics course to operate the Epilog Zing.
- Age Restriction: You must be at least 16 years of age to take the training.
Must monitor laser for the duration of your job. Stay within arms reach at all times.
If you use a proxy to watch the laser, they also must be Laser 101 or Laser 102 trained, depending on laser, and be within arms reach.
Desperately need to use the restroom but no Laser-trained proxy? We understand. Hit the pause button. Add a "Be right back" note to the laser sign-in board. Return promptly. Your session time limit does not get extended. DO NOT abuse our understanding by using this loophole for getting a snack from the galley, visiting with friends, leaving the premises, etc.
You shall not run multiple lasers at once as you cannot monitor them both or stay within arms reach of both.
Why? Because Lasers cause fires. We have a 4-part fire suppression system: you, the CO2 line, the fire extinguisher, and the fire alarm. None of these work without you. A fire risks not only a $15,000 laser, but also the facility and everyone in it.
Pay for usage.
$1 per 5 minutes of laser run-time, rounded up. Example: 4 min = $1, 6 min = $2.
Run-time: laser operating time as measured by the counter in the laser’s control panel.
- Credit cards (preferred) and cash accepted at Laser.
- Swipe credit cards at Square kiosk.
- Record cash payment in Square kiosk and take receipt. This is the only proof of payment. If you do not record cash payment in Square, it may look like you didn't pay. You are responsible for keeping this proof of payment. Put cash in envelope (see side pocket on cash box); write name, date, and "Laser" on envelope for bookkeeper; submit in tall black cash box under Square kiosk. If you cannot find an envelope, re-stock them from the supply kept in the Common Room on top of the white shelving.
- Multiple jobs during one visit? Add all the run-times together, then round up.
- Must be made at the time of your visit.
Failure to pay is theft of service and will result in expulsion and prosecution. We have done so. Be aware that under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03(f) "an offense described for purposes of punishment by Subsections (e)(1)-(6) is increased to the next higher category of offense if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the owner of the property appropriated was at the time of the offense is a non-profit organization." A misdemeanor elsewhere may be a felony against Dallas Makerspace. It's not worth it. Pay.
Accidentally walk out without paying and can't turn around to come back? Don't panic. Notify us on Talk. We'll respect your prompt honesty and you'll set a good example. We'll work something out.
No cutting of prohibited materials. Link to list below.
See the Go/No-Go List of Materials.
It is the member's responsibility to know the content of their materials. No exceptions. If it is not on the list, if you are uncertain, if you can't locate an MSDS, don't use the material. Post a question on the Talk forum using the Laser category and we will do our best to help.
Be excellent and clean up after yourself.
Tidy up tools and trash. Remove bits of material from laser beds. Do not leave scrap in Laser area. Be honest with yourself; is it really usable scrap? If yes, place on shelf in Workshop or under the Laser worktable. No room on shelves? Take usable scrap home...or throw it away...or throw away existing scrap to make room. Otherwise, throw bad scrap in the trash can or dumpster. Empty the trash can in the dumpster. Join us on the monthly Maintenance Day for a deep cleaning.
Obey the queue and session limit.
- Workstation: area including laser and PC.
- Session: when member occupies a workstation, whether laser is operating or not and whether user is logged into computer or not.
- Run-time: laser operating time as measured by the counter in the laser’s control panel. A subset of session time.
- Work piece: single lasered item that can be lifted out of the laser without ruining it. Note: your job may consist of multiple work pieces.
- Off-peak hours: 10p-10a CST
- Peak hours: 10a-10p CST
1. Queue Sign-In: Write your name, phone number and arrival time on it. Indicate if you are waiting for Big Thunder or Zing. Write clearly or you may lose your turn.
2. Tell laser operators that you are waiting in the queue. They may not realize that a queue has formed.
3. Answer your phone or text message promptly, or else you may lose your turn.
4. Erase your name and information from the queue sign-in board when your turn begins.
1. Laser Session Sign In: Write your name and session start time on sign at workstation.
2. Session Limit:
Operator vacates the workstation under these conditions:
- After 3-hours
- AND when a work piece can be removed from the laser bed without ruining it
- AND if people are waiting in the queue for the laser.
If no one is waiting for the laser, operator may continue to use the workstation until a queue for the laser forms. At that point, the operator will finish the work piece in progress, then vacate the workstation.
3. Get another turn: Go to the end of the queue.
Plan Your Work FAQs
- How do I estimate my run-time?
RDWorks has a simulator feature. It underestimates the runtime significantly, so beware. The laser has a simulator feature that is more accurate.
- What if my single work piece takes longer than the 3-hour session time limit?
You get to keep using the laser until your work piece is done because moving it from the bed would ruin it. That said, be considerate by performing the job during off-peak hours. See the famous Middle Earth Map that took 7 hours at https://talk.dallasmakerspace.org/t/dallas-makerspace-show-and-tell-november-2016/13883/62
- May I start lasering a new work piece near the end of my session time knowing that it will run over the remaining time?
- What if I have several work pieces that will take longer than 3 hours total? For example, multiple coasters from a sheet of cork.
Do not send a laser job of multiple work pieces that is longer than the remaining session time. Plan the order of cuts & rasters so you can finish at least one work piece before the session is up. You may go to the end of the queue or return another day. Consider using the lasers during off-peak hours to avoid being interrupted by a queue.
- Am I obligated to let people “play though” if they say they have a shorter job?
No. That rule has been removed. You have use of the workstation until your session time is up. All members should plan for a wait. Using the lasers during off-peak hours is a way to avoid waits.
No designing. Tweaking OK.
Sessions are for importing your prints, not creating your designs. Tweaking a design is expected. Makespace has other computers available for designing.
Use the fire suppression equipment: the CO2 blue line or the fire extinguishers. There is a fire extinguisher on the floor next to each laser. Notify us of issues on Talk.
Do not perform maintenance on the lasers.
We have a maintenance team for that. Join the team and get the skills to do it yourself. Notify us of issues on Talk.
If you are observed violating committee rules, we may take the following actions:
- we may not allow you to complete your job.
- we may suspend your access to the Laser Area up to the maximum time permitted by the Dallas Makerspace Rules.
- we may invalidate your Laser 101 and Laser 102 training. Why? Because you have forgotten your training.
- we may petition the Board for stricter consequences.
Unless the situation warrants us petitioning the Board, you have a path forward. You may get re-certified by participating in a Monthly Committee Meeting/Maintenance Day. Our committee does not want members who have lost their authorization to re-take Laser 101 Thunder Basics or Laser 102 Zing Basics. Those limited slots are kept available to members-in-good-standing. We have a Committee Meeting/Maintenance Day once a month.
Approved Laser users
- Users who have completed (retired) Laser Basics are authorized to use the Thunder Nova lasers and the Zing. http://bit.ly/2qPciRi (This list is only visible inside Dallas Makerspace.)
- Users who have completed Laser 101 Thunder Basics or the (retired) Laser Basics class are authorized to use the Thunder Nova lasers, Big Thunder, Donner, and Blizen. https://bit.ly/2k0ymDo (This list is only visible inside Dallas Makerspace.)
- Users who have completed Laser 102 Zing Basics or the (retired) Laser Basics class are authorized to use the Epilog Zing. https://bit.ly/2GlWIAf (This list is only visible inside Dallas Makerspace.)
The following are authorized Laser Instructors. One-on-one training between official classes may be arranged privately with an instructor. If you wish to become an instructor, please contact the Committee Chair.
- john a. gorman
- Tom Thomas
- David Summers
- Stephenie Webb
- Mark Salas
100-Level Classes. Required to use Lasers or Optional Fundamentals.
- Laser 101: Thunder Basics. Required class to use Thunder Lasers. Covers the principles of lasers, safety, use of RDWorks, and Thunder Lasers.
- Laser 102: Zing Basics. Required class to use the Epilog Zing laser. Covers Inkscape, creating compatible PDF file, laser safety, and using the Epilog Zing.
- Laser 103: RDWorks.
- Laser 104: Lightburn.
- Laser 105: Office Hours.
- Laser 106: Thunder Basics for Crossover Classes. Special offering to support crossover classes. If another committee has enough interest in learning laser, this class allows those members to learn together and not wait for enough openings in Laser 101.
- Laser 107: Thunder Optics Cleaning. Hands-on class certifying users to safely and effectively clean & evaluate the lenses and mirrors.
- Laser 108: Thunder Advanced Maintenance. Hands-on class certifying Laser Committee members to replace lenses and mirrors, level beds, measure power output, and perform full system cleaning.
Related classes for other Digital Fabrication tools, so it receives its own 100-Level numbering.
- Inkscape 101: Beginners.
- Inkscape 102: Image Prep.
- Adobe Illustrator 101
- Fusion 360 101 - ?
200-Level Classes. Techniques.
- Laser 201: Etching Tumblers and Glass on the Rotary. Intro to Rotary attachment, prep and mounting items, RDWorks settings.
- Laser 202: Making Boxes.
- Laser 203: Making Living Hinges.
- Laser 204: Laser cut jewelry on the Zing
- Laser 205: Laser cut jewelry on the Thunders
300-Level Classes. Advanced Skills, Multiple Skills, Advanced Projects.
- Laser 301: Purse/Clutch with Living Hinge.
Crossover Classes. Sponsored by other educational committees.
- Printmaking SIG offers Laser Block Engraving every other month.
- Leatherworking SIG offers Leather-and-Lasers classes.
- Etching. Using the Laser to cut thru a resist then etch with chemicals/electrolysis.
DMS Laser Calendar.
Laser Basics Class Materials
- Laser Basics class content: https://goo.gl/H0RsNM
- Epilog Zing In Depth: https://goo.gl/q9YB4x
- Thunder Nova Lasers In Depth: https://goo.gl/XR7zk2
Additional Laser Learning (video)
- Thunder Laser video tutorials: http://www.thunderlaser.com/video
- Advanced Techniques (ie comparing changing one variable, like Interval or Focus link): http://www.thunderlaser.com/video/advanced-tutorial.html
Tool Status & Maintenance
- Report problems with equipment ASAP via the Talk forum "Issues and Requests" category. Tag @Team_Laser in post. More information about reporting issues can be found by clicking here.
- Tool Status Board. Is equipment operational, needing maintenance, or out of service?
- Laser Area Camera. View a still image of the area to see if the equipment is currently in use.
- Maintenance History Log.
The following people are authorized to maintain and service the laser.
- Luke Olson
- Pearce Dunlap
- john a. gorman
- Brandon Green
- David Summers
- Beau Williamson
- Clay Romeiser
- Joshua Wims
- Andrew Kongs
- Ali Maskus
The following have admin rights, in addition to Infrastructure admins:
- Chair: Stephenie Webb @heyheymama
- David Summers @pinewoodnut
- Clay Romeiser @motopilot
A CNC laser cutter is a computer controlled tool for engraving and cutting. It uses a high-powered laser to burn through material, leaving a very crisp cut.
Thunder Nova Lasers
- "Big Thunder" Nova 63. 1600mm x 1000m (63” x 39.4”x 9.8”); 130 Watts of Power
- "Donner" Nova 35 (next to Metal Shop). 900mm x 730m (35.4” x 23.6”x 9.0”); 130 Watts of Power
- "Blitzen" Nova 35 (next to rear exit). 900mm x 730m (35.4” x 23.6”x 9.0”); 130 Watts of Power
- Class Curriculum: https://goo.gl/urBEV4
- Manufacturer's website
- Manufacturer's Manual Nova 63
- Manufacturer's Manual Nova 35
- Manufacturer's Suggested Material Settings
- Manufacturer's RDWorks Manual
- Manufacturer's YouTube Channel
- RDWorks Software Manual from RDWorks Lab (non-OEM)
Notes Regarding Head Crashes:
- Don't put anything in the way of the head so that it crashes.
- The Thunder Laser Nova 35 & 63 have servos (steppers with optical encoders). If it senses a lot of skipped steps it just gives up and assumes something has gone terribly wrong. This can crash the head. Resetting the machine clears things and it should go back to normal operation.
- The "reset" button also helps when the machine loses track of its place. It forces a re-Home and then rights itself. This can happen with the rotary attachment too.
(Note: this link to be deleted when page retired) Wiki page for Thunder Laser - https://dallasmakerspace.org/wiki/Thunder_Laser
Epilog Zing Laser
- 12" x 16" x 4"; 30 watts.
- Epilog Zing In Depth: https://goo.gl/q9YB4x
- Manufacturer's Manual
- Manufacturer's Suggested Material Settings
- HEPA filter possibilities:
Thunder Laser Rotary Tool Attachment
The Thunder Laser has a rotary tool attachment to work on round items, such as tumblers, mugs, glasses, bottles, etc. You may use the rotary tool if you have completed the laser basics class and are comfortable on the Thunder Laser. The rotary tool attachment is normally stored on the upper shelves of the scrap area. The following link has instructions on use of the rotary tool.
Y-axis Disabled.If a rotary tool user has forgotten to restore the machine, the Y-axis will be disabled during cutting. The image below shows how to reset the machine.
If the wires become loose on the rotary attachment, the correct wiring is:
DIR- Red Wire
DIR+ Yellow Wire
PUL- Green Wire
PUL+ Black Wire
DIP SWitch settings ON-OFF-ON-OFF-ON-OFF
Square Receipt Printer
How to refill (with diagram) and where to find refills: https://talk.dallasmakerspace.org/t/reaolved-laser-receipt-printer-out-of-paper/36458/3
Discussion & Documentation
- Held the First Sunday of the month from 11am - noon, followed by Maintenance Day from noon - 2pm.
- Please check Talk and the Event Calendar for possible changes due to availability of the Team that month.
- Meeting Minutes.
Online Laser Committee discussions
- DMS Discord forum (https://discord.gg/BXvzcF9)
- DMS Talk forum (https://talk.dallasmakerspace.org/c/laser)
- Action Items. Members can make suggestions directly on Google Doc. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RpKt46AY-UbctIcSm9UzNQ2gSadPdOZRI6O8VVqJ-gA)
Open House 2018 History
Remembering what happened, so we don't have to reinvent the wheel each year.
Reserve lasers on calendar for cleaning shift and Open House. LASER DOWN Notifications on Talk and whiteboard.
Cleaning Shift: night before, 7-9pm. Clean the polycarbonate. "Motel" clean.
- Gift for Printmaking Committee: (Donner) A set of 26 business-card sized print blocks to support the crossover class "Laser Block Engraving".
- Gift for PR: (Zing) Chair and Vice-Chair name tags. White-on-black dual-layer acrylic. Raster: 75s 60p; Cut: 60s 70p 5000f 1000dpi
- Give-away: (Blitzen) engraved yellow pencils.
- Demo & Hands-On Activity: (Big Thunder) Leather-and-Lasers keychain fob.
Food: Brisket, white bread, potato salad, cooler + ice + canned soda, cupcakes.
Contact the Committee on the DMS Discussion Board using either (a) the Laser Category, (b) the @Team_Laser tag, or (c) individual tags given below.
- Stephenie Webb (Chair) - @heyheymama
- Scott Blevins (Vice Chair) - @ScottBlevins
- john a. gorman - @talkers
- Beau Williamson - @gbeauw
- Tommy Thomas - @tomthm
- Clay Romeiser - @motopilot
- David Summers - @pinewoodnut
- Merissa Green - @merissa
- Brandon Green
- Josh W - @JoshW
- Ryan Caldwell - @somecallmery
- Brady Pamplin - @bpamplin
- Bill Gee - @Bill
- Daniel Hawn - @tombakerftw
- Stan Simmons - @StanSimmons
- Andrew Kongs - @sixvolts
- Ali Maskus - @skwurl
- Shaun Dixon - @Shaun_Dixon
How To Join
- Add your name to the above list by editing the wiki.
The Laser Basics class (listed above) also contains a listing of potential material suppliers.
Here is a link to some plastics suppliers.
As a reminder:
(1) DMS accounts are not to be used for personal material purchases.
(2) DMS accounts are not to be used to get tax-free sales for personal purchases. Some vendors may offer this but you must insist on paying the tax.
(3) This means you. Reimbursing DMS for a personal material purchase is not even an option.
- 3D print replacement drag chain links
- Replacement Drag chain
- Vector Grid cleaning brushes
- How to Level a Thunder Nova bed.
- Laser Longevity - Do You Have A Plan?
- Replacement lenses for Thunder Novas' Standard and High Def tubes
- Long handled Cotton Swabs
- Laser Masking Paper
- Novus Acrylic Polish
- Electronics Grade Isopropyl Alcohol
- Safety Glasses
- Goo Gone
Furniture / Facility
- Computer Desks - Maple Top with Rounded Edge
- Wall-mounted Desk - Allwood 6/4" (1.5") x 18" x 84" Birch (Routed edges both faces)
- Aluminum Chairs - Chair Depots Atlantic Aluminum Chair with Brushed Aluminum Finish, 2 pack
- Aluminum Stools - Chair Depots Atlantic Aluminum Swivel Backless Stool, Brushed Aluminum Finish
- Whiteboard - Quartet Porcelain Magnetic Whiteboard, 4 x 3 Feet, Black Aluminum Frame (2544B)
- Rolling cabinet - Gladiator 3/4 Door Wall Gearbox
- Rolling cabinets - Seville Classics UltraHD 2-Door Rolling Cabinet
- Wall paint - BEHR PREMIUM PLUS Interior/Exterior Hi-Gloss Enamel Paint - Ultra Pure White, Deep Base, 3.43 L in Candy Apple 04YR 11/537 R40
- Work Table Cutting Mat - 
- Masking Paper Stand - 
Area Laser Systems
(Note: this link to be deleted when page retired) https://dallasmakerspace.org/wiki/MakerSpace_Lasers
Tips and Tricks
- Picengrave - http://www.picengrave.com/index.htm
- Raster2Gcode - http://fablabo.net/wiki/Raster2Gcode
- Laser wire stripping - http://imajeenyus.com/electronics/20131024_laser_wire_stripping/index.shtml
- Laser Origami - http://www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/baudisch/projects/laserorigami.html
- 10 Tips and Tricks for laser - http://www.instructables.com/id/10-Tips-and-Tricks-for-Laser-Engraving-and-Cutting/
- Sam's Laser FAQ: A Practical Guide to Lasers for Experimenters and Hobbyists - http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/lasersam.htm
- Cermark Alternative - http://frankieflood.blogspot.ca/2014/12/cermark-alternative.html
- laser engraving stainless steel w/ plaster - http://frankieflood.blogspot.ca/2014/12/laser-engraving-stainless-steel-w.html
- Decapping ICs w/ a laser - http://www.jamiecraig.com/de-encapsulating-ics-with-a-laser-cutter/
- Synrad Processing Plastics with CO2 Lasers - http://www.synrad.com/synradinside/pdfs/LaserProcessingGuide_Plastics.pdf
- The Ultimate Guide to Laser-cut Box Generators - http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Laser-cut-Box-Generators/
- DXF4Laser. Export a Fusion360 face to .dxf file. From Fusion 360, select “Fusion 360 App Store” from the Add-ins menu. (or go https://apps.autodesk.com/en2) Type “DXF4Laser” in the search box. Download and install the add-in. (be sure to start it)
- How to Fail at Laser Cutting - https://hackaday.com/2016/05/31/how-to-fail-at-laser-cutting/
- Tips for Cutting Leather on Lasers - https://talk.dallasmakerspace.org/t/tips-for-cutting-leather-on-lasers/35307/18