Trotec Speedy 100R

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1 Introduction

This page will document the Trotec Speedy 100R that TECFA (me) that we just acquired - Daniel K. Schneider (talk) oct 2016

As far as I can tell for now, we will use this machine to create three types of objects:

  • 2D objects, e.g. badges, games and toys (created from simple SVG drawings)
  • 3D structures to assemble from 2D elements (created from simple SVG drawings), e.g. animals
  • 3D structures glued together (made from sliced 3D objects). The slicing can be done with various tools, e.g. Netfabb, Slice3R, 123D Make.

All cut parts also can be engraved, either vector engraving or raster engraving (typically from pictures).

2 Specifications of the 100R at TECFA

Speedy100-atmos-compact.jpg

This system easily fits into an office and it just needs two electrical standard plugs.

Speedy 100R

  • 50 W CO2 laser (Iradion tube)
  • 2 inch lens (standard)
  • 61cm x 30.5cm working surface
  • 180 cm/sec speed
  • Box size: 982 x 780 x 457 mm
  • 80 kg
  • Air cooling

ATMOS Compact exhaust fan

  • 815 x 675 x 555 mm
  • 88kg

Official home page:

3 Laser cutting parameters

There are several parameters that must be set (you can create profiles for that)

Basic

  • Cutting power, typically 100
  • Cutting speed, typically 1
  • Cutting pulse (faster = stronger, but more inflammable), typically 1000
  • Engraving power, typically 50
  • Engraving speed, typically 100
  • Engraving resolution, typically 500PPI
  • Material thickness, typically 2-5mm

Advanced

  • "Print file creation" parameters can define whether using the standard color scheme (e.g. hairline red for cutting and black for engraving) and how to render pictures, etc.
  • Repetition for both cutting and engraving. Some materials need 2-3 passes.

4 Outline of the workflow

4.1 Preparation steps

(0) Clean the lens (with a microfiber cloth or equivalent)

(1) Switch the machine on

(2) Place work piece

  • open cover
  • Place piece into upper left-hand corner, against horizontal and vertical rules

(3a) Focus laser beam (manually)

  • By default (for the mid-resolving lens) the beam is located 5.08 cm (2.0 in) below the lens.
  • Position the processing head over the work piece
  • Hang the focus tool on the external ring of the working head
  • Then, move up (by little steps) the working table

(3b) Alternatively, focus laser beam with software

  • Click the icon “focus laser” in the Trotec JobControl (make sure that material thickness, table height and lens type are OK !)

4.2 Create a graphic

  • Any vector graphic will do, since jobcontrol will work from the print file, i.e. the control software will analyse the postscript and let you configure the print from there.
  • However, we noticed that something doesn't work properly with Inkscape drawings (old 0.4x version), i.e. TroTec Job control cannot identify some vectors. Try producing a PDF first ("print to PDF file" in Inkscape), then print the file from PDF. Anyhow, make sure to install the latest version of Inkscape and read Using Inkscape for laser cutting

4.3 Preparing the print file

From your drawing or rendering software, File->Print the drawing

  • Select as printer Trotec Engraver
  • Click on Preferences
  • Define (at least):
    • Material parameters, e.g. a setting you defined for a given type and thickness of Material (these parameters, however can be changed later)
    • Algorithm (e.g. for simple vector-based cutting and engraving use color, if there are pictures, you could try Optimization, Stucki, etc.)

Then click bottom "print" icon and "print" again from the Windows software. Trotec JobControl now will open and the print file should appear in the jobs queue to the right.

4.4 Job Control software

In the Job Control software, verify or specify all the parameters

  • Establish Connection in JobControl
    • On the laser move the cutting head to the position where you plan to start
    • Position the job on the plate with a double click
  • Verify engraving material
  • Associated Power, velocity and Pulse parameters
  • Thickness (important in case you do more than one passage)
  • Color codes for engraving and cutting (check the panel to the left). Click update. If you see a warning about unidentified vectors, go back to you drawing tool and make sure that each object does have a good color (e.g. black for engraving). Inherited colors, in Inkscape for example, do not seem to work. Ungroup everything, select stuff to engrave and make sure that it has either stroke, fill or both.
  • <Double click> on the workspace to bring up the Material library where you can change all parameters.

You also can change

  • orientation of the work piece (right-click on the object)
  • orientation of the plate

Once the situation feels allright, click the Print button (lower right)

4.5 Print

  • Establish Connection in JobControl
  • Verify Exhaust Ready in Engraver Control (green arrow) in the Control of the JobControl
  • Press START button (green arrow) in Job Control.


4.6 Wait

  • After printing slightly toxic materials, e.g. MDS (glues) or foam (styrene), wait at least a minute (until the aspiration ventilator stops). This will help keeping the lens clean and also help your breathing...

5 Preparation of drawing

Principles:

Input

  • Any 2D CAD or drawing file.
  • For cutting, the stroke of the vectors should be less than than 0.01mm (or 0.25pt), i.e. hairline of a same color. At TECFA, we use red for cutting.
  • Other elements will be engraved, depending on the settings
  • If you use the standard "Color mode" to identify objects, pick the colors from the limited set of the basic RGB colors.

Colorcode at TECFA:

  • red = cutting
  • black = engraving (simple or double, depending on the profile)
  • blue = simple engraving

6 Software

We suggest creating all models in SVG. That way they can be displayed directly on the web. Most drawing programs can import/export SVG

(section to be moved some day)

6.1 Online tools


7 Process Options and parameters - Tables for cutting and engraving

Let's recall the basic principles. Engraving depth is varied through the laser power or the speed (energy per area unit principle) For cutting, Hz settings (pulses per second) should be set to low, in particular if materials are flammable. Vector lines are color coded and for each color one can assign a cutting/engraving parameter. I.e. one could use "red" for cutting" and "greys" for engraving. A print job can include cutting, or engraving, or both.

In addition to these basic parameters, one can define so-called "process options", i.e. instructions on how to create a print file.

  • Process Mode will identify major algorithms used to transform a drawing into a "cuttable/engraveable" drawing
  • There are various options that depend on selection of "Process Mode".

To learn more about parametrization, one could look at published examples, for example:

Process options are defined before printing. Here are the steps

(1) Step 1:

  • From your application, e.g. Inkscape, Illustrator or PDF you will print your design.

(2) Step 2:

  • From the Windows print menu select Trotec Engraver Vx and then click on Preferences
  • In the Printing Preferences window, make sure that you are in expert mode (select the general tab)

(3) Steps 3 and 4: Define material settings and process options

In the Print tab you then must define the print process:

  • Select <user defined size> in size settings and tick minimize to job size and take from application. This way you can print several designs at the same time. If you leave the full dimensions (i.e. 600x300 you cannot).
  • Select material settings (you can change these later again)
  • Define the process options (these cannot be changed later, since the print driver must create the printable design)
Windows Print Options and Troctec Process Options

More details are given below.

7.1 Process Mode

Process mode identifies the type of processing, i.e. how a drawing is interpreted and "translated" for laser cutting and printing

Standard

Several design colors (at least two) will identify how a given object will be cut or engraved.

Stamp

Is used to create rubber stamps.

Relief

“This type of processing controls the laser power depending on the gray-scale value of the graphic.” [1]

This configuration requires 256 gray scale (8-bit). Lighter means less power and darker means more power.

  • white = no engraving
  • black = full power
  • levels of grey = depends.

Therefore one should use pictures or drawings with good contrast. Also, to see an effect, materials should be fairly soft so that the laser can remove enough materials in one pass.

Layer

Layer is similar to relief but works with several passes. “Gray-scale graphics are engraved in several passes. The number of passes can be set in the range from 2 to 255” (page 31), i.e. each grey value is translated to a number of passes. This allow to create stronger reliefs.

Photo

Allows to engrave high resolution pictures without prior vectorization.

Seal

Allows creating seals.

Cut

Same as standard mode, except that all non cutting objects are eliminated from the job before processing.

7.2 Other options

Engraving resolution

Resolution

defines engraving resolution in dots/inch (DPI) e.g. in dots/2.54cm2.
Recommended size is 500 in most cases. Going higher means much longer printing time and you won't see the difference with most materials. Higher also means increasing the engraving depth. As an alternative to high DPI, you also could engrave in two passes.

Cut line

  • None: Normal operation, i.e. cutting will only happend along your cut lines.
  • Rectangular: Will create a cutting line that follows the job margins (is that the document size ?)
  • Circular: Same as above, but will create a circle
  • Optimize: Creates a cutting line that is ajusted to the contour of all engraving objects. Warning: Do not use "optimized" unless you need this. Cutting along the contour doesn't make sense, usually.

Automatically created cuttin lines (rectangular, circular and optimize) are always created in red. Therefore you also should make sur the "cutting color" is set to red.

Half tones

Halftone options will convert (or not) grey-scale or color images to black and white images. Various levels of grey or color "heat" is translated to different dot sizes and pitches that will still allow recognizing the original more complex picture. This process is called dithering (Wikipedia). Not available for relief and layer processing (since these require grey levels). There are three advanced dithering algorithms (Stucki, Jarivs and Floyd Steinberg). For more information about [ dithering], read Image Dithering: Eleven Algorithms and Source Code

ordered dithering

Creates soft constrasts between brightness gradients

Stucki

Probably the most advanced Dithering algorithm for photo engraving.

Jarvis

Advanced Dithering algorithm for photo engraving

Floyd Steinberg

The first well known advanced Dithering algorithm for photo engraving

Color

Deactivites the halftoning, i.e. engravable objects will be engraved if they fit a engraving color defined in the Materials.

Black & White

Will transform each pixel to either black or white according to a threshold level

7.3 Checkboxes

  • We suggest ticking enhanced geometries and innner geometries first.

7.4 Material settings table

Since we just started with laser cutting, please consider the following very provisional ! In principle, the settings should work for a Trotec 50W CO laser... but they are by no means optimal (yet). Various materials that one could use with a CO2 Laser like the Speedy 100 are described in the laser cutting article.

Often there are different solutions that lead to similar results. Remember that laser power received is a function of power and speed, and pulse (in case of cutting)

(Maybe outdated) profiles are in this web directory (selected groups)

Material Cutting power Cutting speed Cutting Hz N cutting passes Engraving power Engraving speed Engraving resolution Notes
MDF 5mm 55 1.1 1000 2 50 100 500 2 passes reduced burning
MDF 3mm 80 1 1000 1 50 100 500
Maple Wood 5mm 80 1 1000 1 100 70 500 To create darker engraving, reduce speed a bit. To go deeper, do 2 passages.
Plywood poplar 5mm 80 1 1000 1 100 70 600 Poplar plywood is not very strong, but easy to engrave and to cut.
Plywood birch 4mm 100 1.2 (for large objects maybe a bit less) 1000 1 80 (or better 2 at 60) 100 500 Birch plywood is strong quality but difficult to laser, in particular larger than 4mm sizes.

Watch out for flames

Plywood birch 6.5mm (difficult) 80 0.5 1000 2 60 (2x) 70 500 Set correction to 15. These are minimal settings to test and some larger cuts with lots of details could fail. Result is very black and requires washing. You could put some painters tape on the cut lines to avoid blackening of the surface.
Plywood birch 6.5mm (variants) 100 0.5 - 0.6 2500 - 5000 2 80 70 500 Result is always very black and needs washing. More pulse and more power doesn't change that much. Result looks similar and flames are a bit bigger and will destroy thin elements. Also try three passes with a bit less power or higher speed.
Plexi 10mm 100 0.5 10000 2 80 100 500 Better, position the plate on top of some wooden blocks, not directly on the grid.
Plexi 5mm 100 0.75 4000 1 80 100 500 Better, position the plate on top of some wooden blocks, not directly on the grid.
Plexi 4mm 100 0.8 4000 1 80 100 500 Position the plate on top of some wooden blocks, not directly on the grid.
Plexi 3mm 100 1 4000 1 80 100 500
Plexi 2mm 100 1.2 4000 1 80 100 500
Trolase Textures 1.6 mm matte 50 0.8 4000 1 100 50-60 600 This is a bi-color acrylic plastic from TroTec, much cheaper than Plexiglass, i.e. a 60.5 x 30.5cm costs 12.20 CHF. Extra settings: Z-offset is 2 (as opposed 0) in order to make the laser a bit thicker. (2) Start position at bottom (right-click, select properties)
Trolase 0.8 mm smooth 50 1.5 1000 100 50-60 600 Z-offset = 2. Verify.
Ondulated Cardboard 75 3 1000 1 60 100 1000 Rough settings, thickness and density is widely different. If the first layer is thicker you can go with engraving P = 80
Ondulated Cardboard (cuts) 20 1 1000 1 7 3 5000 Rough settings. Engraving parameters are meant for engraving lines, i.e. cuts defined with another color ! Both speeds could be higher. Please test first with a small design.
Thick paper 0.25mm ? 30 3 1000 1 80 100 1000
Cotton (pants) 30 3 1000 1 90 100 1000 Test this, engraving effects differ for each type of cotton. I made a Halloween mask from a cut off pant leg)
Wood Wine box 7mm 100 1.5 1000 2 60 70 500 Nice and easy
Anodized aluminum, e.g. Laptops (this needs to be tested !) - - - - 100 ? 100 500 Not tested, probably also depends a lot on the coating. Use weaker settings for plastic cases !!
Material

8 Cutting to engrave

Let's assume that you only want to draw some lines, e.g. for a large board. This can take up to an hour of raster engraving.

Alternative:

  • Define another color for cutting, e.g. blue
  • Then set to something like power = 100 and speed = 20 and defocus by z=1. This will lower the platform and make the lines fatter.

9 Links

9.1 Models

9.2 Various tutorials and other useful texts

9.3 Local (Geneva area) shops for materials to cut

  • Migros Materials (local do-it-yourself shop)
    • Wood, Plywood, MDF,etc.
    • Plexi XT, e.g. verre acrylique (500 x 250 x 5 = CHF 12.90)
  • Polyplast
  • Serex

9.4 Trotec online Shop

(materials)

10 Références

  1. Trotec (2015), Operation Manual Trotec JobControl. Basic, Advanced, Expert. Retrieved from https://www.troteclaser.com/fileadmin/content/images/Contact_Support/Manuals/JobControl-Manual-EN.pdf, page 31