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Hong Kong's First Hackerspace

Our customised laser cutter

Hacking it

We are happy with our Laser Cutter, especially once we hacked it a bit by:

  • Adding a webcam inside to view the laser cutting safely from a screen, away from unwanted reflection that might cause damage to skin and/or eye-sight,
  • Adding a switch to stop the laser when the front door is opened,
  • Adding an Arduino with a temperature sensor (DS18B20) to monitor and beep when the cooling water is getting too high – very useful in summer time,
  • Finding a software more appropriate than the software provided (a CorelDraw 13 in simplified Chinese) with the machine. Now the Laser Cutter is fully working from a Linux PC (software we use).

Inkscape

The new software found by one of our members is an interface on top of an other Open Source software for designing with vectors: Inkscape – very similar to Adobe Illustrator, but free to use on

  • Windows,
  • Mac,
  • Linux,
  • Raspberry Pi, …

With plenty of add-ons to easily create shapes such as:

Laser Cut Software

The Laser-cut software allows 3 types of cut and/or engraving within the same design by using 3 different colors:

  1. Red lines to indicate the paths to cut
  2. Blue lines to indicate vector engraving
  3. Black indicates engraving raster (this can be shapes, paths or images)

Like this you are always sure that the 3 steps of cuts and/or engraving will be exactly as you design it with a tiny tolerance of less than 0.01mm.

 

Halftone (gray-scale) images

Haftone picture burn with a Laser Cutter

In addition to red, blue and black you can also do grey-scale. However, gray-scale can be created by creating a halftone image (dithering) of the raster image. Below is an example of an image that was engraved with the half-toning option turned on.

 

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