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K40 Laser Engraver

Name K40 Laser Engraver
Owner Sam Harmon
Location Electronics
Training needed Yes
Hackable No
Model K40
Serial NA
Arrival Date 3/17/2018
Working Yes
Contact Sam Harmon

Current Status: Sort of operational (It's a K40…)


  • Power output: 40 W (theoretically, anyway)
  • Cutting area: Clamp area is a little less than 8“x4”. 7“ x 3.5 should easily fit inside
  • Coolant: currently a mix of distilled water and RV antifreeze (3:1 ratio), a few drops of algicide, and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Exhaust: Fume extraction via a BOFA AD-Access fume extractor/filter

Fixes implemented:

  • Bad connection on the power inlet between the hot and fuse. Re-soldered.
  • Jumpered water break detection since detector is seemingly NFG.
    • Test again with new coolant pump to make sure it wasn't just low flow?
    • Tested again. Maybe backwards? Maybe NFG.

Fix needed:

  • need to replace K+/K- cable. We should have a pile of the correct kind in the through-hole connector bin (hooked up to thermistors, but one can be sacrificed for this)
  • Figure out proper solution to water break sensor (a: try better pump? b: replace sensor?)

Laser does work

Software: I suggest K40 Whisperer, as the LaserDRW thing it came with is not so hot. MeerK40t is also good, though has trouble parsing certain SVG files.

Usage: It's not ready for production jobs yet, so DON'T USE IT. We're getting there…

  • How to format your SVG drawings for K40 Whisperer:
  • Basic concept- using K40W, move the head over the upper left hand part of your work. maybe use the “laser test” button to make sure you're actually over the work. and then choose whichever of your engrave/cut options (do engraves first, and cut last).
  • Specialized documentation: HOWTO Inkscape for the Laser

Safety considerations:

  • NO ABS - Cyanide gas is bad for you!
  • NO PVC OR VINYL-BASED MATERIALS - Chlorine gas is bad for you!
  • Wood and Acrylic are OK. ATX Hackerspace has a recommended list of materials here- don't consider it gospel just yet, but a series of recommendations.

Power levels:

  • Wood (engraving) - 8% does a fine job on the random wood pieces we've tested with.
  • wood (cutting) - 11% was sufficient to cut 3mm baltic birch plywood?
  • Acrylic - 25% was great for engraving, but slightly insufficient for cutting (the cut edges did snap off easily, though). 33-35% should be good for cutting at 10mm/s.

Upgrades to consider in the near term:

  • Dedicated computer w/ K40 Whisperer?
  • Fire Extinguisher done
  • Air assist (pump acquired, need to get tubing/fittings/etc.)

* honeycomb base ( for a good way to do it) done

Upgrades to consider eventually?:

  • improved controller board (Smoothie? DSP?)

Documentation dump:

k40_laser_engraver.txt · Last modified: 2021/07/13 23:24 by sdh7

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