Back to the laser cutter page, read this first


Window Fans

The window fans sit in a custom housing above the workstation by the window. They are operated by a timed dial switch that is mounted on the workstation. Turn the dial clockwise to make the fans stay on longer, and turn it counter-clockwise to decrease the time.

The housing is sealed by closing the two hinged pieces, locking the slide, and putting a bungee cord over the top and over the bottom. This prevents rain and other precipitation from falling into the room.

Carbon Filter

The carbon filter is the array of boxes that sits between the engraver and the window workstation. It is turned on using the power switch near the base (bottom) of the unit. Particulate matter shortens the lifetime of the filter drastically, so try to avoid cutting high particle materials (wood and anything else that makes smoke when engraved or cut).

Engraver Fan

The engraver fan is mounted above the carbon dioxide laser emitter. It should be controlled automatically as long as the machine is on.


Engraver Controls

The engraver has several important controls. The first is a rocker power switch, which is on the back-left side of the machine, just out of sight. Flip it to the right to turn the unit on, and to the left to turn it off.

The four arrow buttons arrayed in a diamond control the position of the laser lens. These buttons allow you to move the laser head in order to focus the laser and check the size of your design before engraving. The position of the laser does not matter when an engraving job is started.

The two arrow buttons that are arrayed vertically are the bed controls. Always watch the bed when you are using these controls, there is not a safety interlock to prevent the hexagonal grid from jamming into the head of the laser.

The button with the fan logo should control the filter box, and the button with the circles controls the lighting on the machine. The pause button can be used to pause the machine.

The lid

The lid of the machine triggers an interlock which will immediately power off the laser when it is opened. It is mounted on hydraulic hinges, so please be gentle and don't slam it. It cancels all harmful radiation so that eye protection is not required, but the laser can temporarily affect your eyes on high power levels if you stare directly at the reflection (so, don't).

Checking project size

  1. Move the laser head to the top-left of where you want to engrave, use the laser indicator as a guide
  2. Adjust the position of the project on Job Control so the top left corner is on the laser indicator
  3. Move the laser head to the right until the indicator has cleared the project on Job Control
  4. Make sure there is material between the points
  5. Trace the laser head down until it clears the bottom of the project on Job Control, then trace it to the left
  6. Adjust the location of the project if there are gaps in the material between these four points, and check the size again each time

Focusing the laser

  1. Put your material onto the engraver bed, lying flat on the hex grid
  2. Adjust the bed so there is at least an inch between the laser head and the top of the material
  3. Adjust the position of the laser to be over the material
  4. Attach the small red focusing tool to the rail on the side of the laser head (it lives on the a small lip inside the front left of the machine)
  5. Slowly and carefully move the bed upwards until the focusing tool falls off of its rail
  6. Put the red focusing tool back where it lives so it is nice and comfortable

Computer Info

Username is "Administrator", password is "4o6ot".

Save to the "My Documents" folder. Other folders will not necessarily be backed up on system reformat.

Both Corel Draw 9 and the latest version of Inkscape are installed.

The computer connects to the engraver with a COM port, and the communication is controlled by the Trotec Job Control program (and it's virtual print driver).


  1. Do not install anything on the computer terminal
  2. Do not add or remove shortcuts or personalize the theme
  3. Please do not use the computer for anything unrelated to sending projects to the engraver (facebook, twitter, games, etc.)
  4. Do not make major design edits or changes to your projects on this terminal, please use the CS computer lab down the hall
  5. When you are finished, please clear your items out of the Trotec Job Controller queue
  6. Please do not leave any computer windows or programs open when you leave

Raster versus Vector

Vector and raster are two very different ways to represent images. Raster images are probably what you are most familiar with, they are a finite number of dots with color information. Vector image formats save images as sets of mathermatical functions and formulas, which the computer must analyze and render onto what you have always known as computer displays, which present raster images. The major difference is that vector images are infinitely scalable, which means that you can zoom in and out without any noticeable loss of quality. Raster images must be stretched when enlarged, resulting in pixelation, or are filtered when shrunk, which can result in a loss of clarity.

The Job Control program will only recognize extremely thin (less than a hundredth of an inch), 255 red vector lines as valid cut lines. It actually traces vector lines when cutting them. If you have a vector line but the program is still engraving it, go into your vector editor and decrease the width as low as it will allow (in CorelDraw, this is .004") by adding a bunch of zeroes after the decimal.

Job Control

  1. Job Control will open automatically when the printer driver sends a project to it
  2. Click the "Connect" button (looks like an unplugged white cable in the top left) to link up with the engraver, the status lights will change to green, the fan will be shown as online, and the laser head indicator will show up once it is connected
  3. The red cross on the plate is the laser indicator, it shows where the laser is in relation to the plate, and this all actively represents the location of the head in the actual engraver
  4. Decreasing the DPI for engraving will make the machine finish the project faster, but at a lower quality
  5. Black engraves, red cuts, other colors may do various things
  6. Right click items on the plate to change their state (reset a job which has started engraving, delete a job, etc.)
  7. Click and drag to move items between the queue and the plate
  8. Click and drag items to move them around on the plate
  9. Items will be engraved exactly where they are displayed on the plate representation, regardless of where the material or the laser actually might be when the engraver starts
  10. The WYSIWIG button looks red with lines in the middle, and shows a crude render of the project's instructions
  11. Click on the green arrow to start engraving and to pause once started
  12. Please don't edit material settings unless you know exactly what you are doing


  1. Try to find a material setting in Job Control that exactly matches the material you have chosen
  2. The work station that holds various sheets of acrylic and other materials (it has the drill press and belt sander on it) is reserved for ECG use only, please do not use them
  3. There is usually a small supply of cardboard freely available (between the doors) for quick design tests, but please bring your own if you plan on using a lot
  4. The laser can engrave lots of things, including plastic covers for electronics, fabric, even paper towels; not just acrylic, wood, and cardboard