How do you line up a project on the laser without the red dot pointer?

Quick Answer:

Trial-&-error, by Eye, or Masking tape.

Complete Answer:

Many projects do not need an exact location. The entire project may be cut from the inside of a portion of material. Projects that need added laser work will require a good setup. Lining up the laser target is not so hard that it can't be done without a laser pointer. The laser pointer dot can be convenient, but even the dot can be MUCH larger than the actual laser spot size. Know your laser and how the laser spot is related to the pointer dot.

The rabbit laser machine identifies the project will be either cut at an absolute location on the table, or a position that is relative to the current focal assembly. This parameter is selected in the LaserCut software with the "Immediate" checkbox. This checkbox is located at the right of the software screen .. just above the "Stop" button.

I use the absolute positioning when I have a large amount of pieces to work on and I have a placement jig that corresponds to my software layout. The project graphics will be cut just as they are positioned on the work area of the LaserCut software. This takes more time to do a setup, but saves a lot of time for placement of plaques, pens, flashlights.. It also saves money for projects with expensive materials.

I use the relative positioning when I have just a few pieces and I will be placing the focal head onto the target material manually. Placing the part manually can be tricky.. especially if you only have one piece of material to work with. We don't want to make mistakes. I often use the "Laser" button to test fire where the laser's focal point is currently at. I then use the "RIM" or "Test" button to show me the minimum rectangle that contains the project engravings. I guess you would say that putting a test spot for location defeats the idea that we don't want to damage the material. I normally put my material in place, put a few layers of masking tape over the surface, and then mark a test spot. If you are worried about piercing through the tape, then try this tip. Make a test spot tool. In stead of several layers of tape, use bottom layer as masking tape, next layer is carpet tape (double sided), next layer is aluminum foil, top layer is masking tape. The masking tape on the top will be marked by the laser. The aluminum foil will stop the laser from going thru. If you are concerned about a larger area, then use more masking tape. If you have time to do a full test engrave, then turn the laser power down, cover the target material with masking tape, and then engrave your project onto the masking tape. Be cautious that some of the hot adhesive under the masking tape could stick to your material.

FAQ item was submitted:

10/24/2009 By: Raymond L. Scott 

Raymond L. Scott  ... Owner Engineer
601 North Verity Parkway
Middletown, OH 45042
(513) 217-5707

Related Topics:

test, pointer, location