Etching glass in the lasercutter

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1. Prepare your drawing

The differences between lighter and darker color don't show too well on glass, so initially it's better to have a picture with just one color. You can experiment later. Dark grey is a good choice, since full black would make the cutter use a lot of heat and the picture ends up flaky. I prefer to put a value of 30 in all three colors, red, green and blue.

2. Check the measurements of your picture

Will it fit on your glass? The area you are going to etch on should be evenly curved in one direction and straight in the other. Measure the length and width of the area you want your picture on and scale your picture accordingly. Save the picture as a pdf with 600 dpi.

3. Preparing the lasercutter

a) Press "turn X/Y off" and "GO", push the down arrow until the bed has moved all the way down.

b) Turn up the rulers on the sides of the cutting bed and carefully lift off the bed. There are some shelves to hold the cutting beds underneath the machine, slide it onto one of them.

c) Take off the bar in the middle. Put it somewhere you will find it after you're done.

d) Turn off the lasercutter. This is important.

4. Install the rotating part

The part used for conical objects is stored underneath the machine, usually Banana. You should find it behind the compressor. The part is roughly shaped like a T and has three small knobs underneath. They fit in three small holes on the bottom.

Put the part carefully in place and connect the wire of the part to the socket that you can find near the bottom. Make sure the wires are not in the way of anything. Do not turn the lasercutter on yet.

5. Place the glass

The rotator can be expanded and adjusted to fit objects of different sizes. The movable part has a small lever which allows you to move it right and left or be locked in place, and a knob which you can turn to adjust the height. The end facing left also has a small removable part that kan be used to secure a glass on place.

Use a water level (hallamál), hold it on resting on top of the glass and adjust the height of the right end of the rotator until the side of the glass is in a straight vertical position.

6. Align the laser

Turn on the lasercutter. It will find the position over the glass. Use the measuring stick as usual to determine the correct height for the bed; put the stick in place, press "X/Y off", confirm with "GO" and use the up arrow until the point of the stick is on level with the upper side of the glass.

Turn on the red pointer. Search for the midpoint of the area you want to etch on, and move the lens so that the pointer is marking the middle spot. Use "Set home" and press "Reset".

7. Open and send the image

If your file isn't open on the lasercutter room computer yet, open it. Think about the rotation - mind that the glass' top is not facing to the 'top' direction of the printing area. While wieving your pdf, you can rotate the image clockwise or counter-clockwise from wiev/rotate in the top menu.

When you're sure your picture is facing the right way, choose "print" from the top menu. Choose the lasercutter you are using from the dropdown menu. Check that the settings are on "actual size" and "portrait". Open "properties".

Of the raster/vector/combined setting, choose "raster". Set your preferred dpi, or just set a default of 300 as in the instructions on the wall. In rester settings, set speed at 25 and power at 100. Tick the box that says "center-engraving".

Then, choose "OK" to close the properties window and click "print". At the lasercutter, make a quick check that everything is ok and the display is showing your filename. If everything is as it should, press the green GO button.