Operating Instructions

These notes were originally taken by Steve Ward -- thanks Steve.

Additional notes:

  • If you don't need as much precision, you can reduce the DPI and get the laser to engrave your image more quickly.
  • Whatever in your image is NOT marked as red (and also very thin - around 0.001" in width) will be ENGRAVED, not cut.

(1) Log into the computer hooked up to the laser.


(2) Turn on the laser cutter. There is a rocker switch behind the cutter - the back left corner.

(3) Start Job Control.

  • Double click on the Job Control icon on the desktop (the icon looks like a blue square). Then you will see the following screen:
  • When the program is running, click on the icon that looks like a plug on the toolbar up top; this will get the computer & the laser talking. (note: The laser hooks up to the computer via a serial cable -the serial connector is on the back of the computer.)

(4) Focus the laser.

  • The controls for moving the laser head and for moving the platform (the bed) are on the panel on the cutter.
  • Place the material you will be cutting/engraving in the laser cutter bed. Iif need be, move the bed down so you have plenty of room to put in the material - you will have to re-adjust the depth anyway).
  • Move the laser head so that it is over the material and positioned so you can easily place the focusing piece on it.'''
  • The piece used for focusing is on the lip inside the cutter—it MUST go back there when you are done using it. Take the piece and hang it off the edge of the laser: there is a thin ledge on the right-hand side of the actual laser (there is no other edge to the right of it or below it).
  • Move the bed up so that it comes close to the focusing piece. IMPORTANT: There is a lag between releasing your finger on the panel and the bed actually stopping. So, when the material on the platform STARTS TO GET CLOSE to the focusing piece, BE DELIBERATE IN MOVING THE BED UP - MOVE IT A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME. (Care must be taken so the material does not smash into the laser—please pay attention.)
  • Deliberately keep moving the material up until it pushes the focusing piece off of the edge, and the piece falls off. The laser is now focused. Put the piece back on the lip.

(5) Start Corel Draw 9. Double-click on the CorelDRAW icon on the desktop. When the program starts, a window will pop up - click on "Graphic" to start the program in "graphic" mode.

(6) Draw the picture.

  • Import your image or draw it in Corel Draw 9.
  • The edges which are supposed to be the CUT edges (where the laser cuts as opposed to engraving), must be made to be 0.001 inches in width, and must be colored red. Right-click on these cut lines, select "Properties," and click on the outline tab. Select "Color," then "Other," and the "Trotec palette"; then make the color red (RGB 255 0 0). Hit "OK" and then "Apply."
  • Text can be placed in the image, pictures can be pasted in, etc.
  • Save your image.

(7) Still in Corel Draw, print the image.

  • SELECT the image you want to print (click on it once, so you see the box around it that means it's selected).
  • Make note of the size (width & height) of the image; these values will appear on the top tool bar.
  • Click on the print button. Check off the button to just print "Selection." Then click on "Properties," enter in the appropriate width and height - this should be just larger than the width and height of your image, to make room for printing the image (round the values you took note of up).
  • Select a template (there is a drop-down menu) for power settings for the laser appropriate for the material you're using.
  • Hit "OK." If a window pops up, asking if you want the program to do things automatically, hit "NO."
  • Now you're back to the print dialog window, so click on the Layout tab. Select "centered" (it's a drop-down menu choice).
  • Hitting "print preview" will let you see what will print.
  • Hit "Print" - when prompted, give your job print job a name.

(8) Go to the Job Control program window.

  • The job you just printed from Corel Draw should appear in the panel on the right-hand side of the Job Control program.
  • Select your job, and drag & drop it into the main screen.
  • Your image will appear as a box on the screen, and you can drag and drop the image and/or the laser head (the laser head is on the screen as a rectangular cross-hairs kind of thing) to match up the positioning of where the image should actually be cut/engraved in the laser bed; of course, physically position the material in the bed to match things up with where the image will be cut/engraved.
  • If the power parameters are not good, double-click on the background of the main screen of Job Control. A window will pop up so you can alter the settings - particularly, the two rowsmarking percentages of power for engraving as well as for cutting. After making any changes, hit OK. The dialog looks like this:
  • If you want to see what the engraving will look like, go to the "View" menu and click on WYSIWYG mode.

(9) Close the cover of the laser cutter.

  • Enough said.

(10) Click on the green arrow (on the tool bar up top in Job Control) to start the laser!!!

(11) Be attentive during the cutting/engraving to watch out for fire. If stuff catches on fire, open up the cover (this will stop the engraver) and stamp the flame out.

(12) To get rid of your job from Job Control, right click on the image in the main screen and hit "remove job" to take it off the screen, but put it back in the job palette (so you can re-use it!) - if you want the job altogether gone, click on "delete."

(13) Enjoy your masterpiece.