Laser Cutter/Engraver

Our laser cutter is a Beambox Pro laser capable of cutting perspex, glass, wood and MDF, as well as etching and engraving on many surfaces. 

It has a bed size of 600 x 375 mm and a cutting thickness of 0 - 10 mm (varies by material)​.

The Beambox Pro

The software driving it (Beam Studio) works from images in many formats (SVG / PNG / JPG / DXF / PDF / AI), with different layers representing different laser power settings and feed rates. These can be vector or raster images.

The Beambox Guide provides lots of useful information.

Here it is cutting apart two slide rule scales that it has just engraved.

Suitable materials

Some suitable materials for cutting with the Laser Cutter are:

  • Timber based
    • MDF
      • up to 8mm in thickness
    • Plywood
      • up to 6mm in thickness
      • ply needs to be watched closely during cutting as it can flare up easily
  • Plastics
    • Acrylic (Perspex) sheet
      • clear and coloured
      • up to 6mm in thickness
        • Thicker material can be cut using multiple passes and adjusting the focus between passes

A much wider range of materials are suitable for etching, including:

  • glass
  • stone
  • multi-layered acrylic (“Traffolyte”, Lasermark™, Gravoply™, etc)

See the Beambox materials recommendations for more details.

🔴 Unsuitable materials 🔴

Certain plastics (eg PVC, ABS) are not safe for laser engraving or cutting because they emit toxic gases when heated. Please check with the Beambox safety advice before considering using something new.

(something here from Alistair and/or David Morton)

Safety Warnings

  • All covers and interlocks must be in place while operating this machine. Do not attempt to operate this machine with any covers off.
  • This machine must only be operated under Constant and Direct supervision. You must pause the job if you leave the room for any reason or any length of time no matter how short.
  • All operators of this machine must have completed our Fire Safety Induction and Fire Extinguisher training.
  • All fans must be in operation when the machine is in use with the extraction hose vented out of the chimney nearest the laser cutter.
  • All power points to this machine must be turned OFF when finished. Beambox-safety

Fire safety

We are fortunate to have several fire fighters as members of the Hackerspace, so all users are given detailed fire safety training prior to being allowed to operate this machine without a fire-trained member present.