March '23

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7 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z A T I O N control system — anything that provides you with settings for each material type. I'd begin by running trial pieces using the factor y's recommended settings. Regardless of the result, try experiment- ing with different settings for power, ppi, and speed, and try running a second pass with the beam slightly out of focus. You are likely to be surprised at the different effects that you can achieve. On top of that, each laser tube has its own set of char- acteristics, so make adjustments until you think you have the optimum end result for your machine. is will also be true when, as frequently happens, you have to replace the tube. Try out some pieces on scrap material and make sure you're happy with the new tube. Hopefully, you nego- tiated with your rep and got the factory to include a rotary adaptor and a cutting table. Of course, there may be some costs associated with that, but you will recoup what you may pay to get the most out of your machine. My first machine came with the rotary adaptor but not the cutting table, so I "made do" for seven or eight years using different "gridded" materials in lieu of the honeycomb cutting table. Did they work? Well, yes — but there is no substitute for the depth of the cutting table. Speaking of focus — your machine may have come with a focusing tool. It may have come with software allowing for "automatic" focusing. I began trying both, but ultimately cut out my own focus tool. As always, this is my choice based on my experience. Among other things, I made the piece to be more useful for focusing curved pieces where you may have to account for curvatures to get a consistent result. e cutting table and rotary adaptor? While you can get by with a substitute for the cutting table, a factory cutting table provides an exact fit for your machine and the depth necessary for adequate smoke extraction. Always remember you are working with delicate optics, and they need to be looked after. If you plan on engraving anything with pronounced cur- vature, a wine glass for example, the rotary I cut this out of sheet stock. I found this a much more consistent "tool" for focusing than the piece furnished with the machine. However, be very careful if you use something like this. Make very small adjustments when raising the cutting table so you don't force the head out of position.

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