Equipment & Software
- Epilog Mini 18 40 Watt Laser
- PrintrBot Simple Metal 3D Printers
- GCC Expert LX 52" Vinyl Cutter with Stand Vinyl Cutter
- Sailrite Ultrafeed LS-1 Industrial Sewing Machine
- Electronics station with soldering iron, power supply, and various components
- Various hand tools
- Solidworks 2016
- Autodesk Fusion 360
- Google SketchUp
- Repetier (w/ Slic3r)
The Epilog laser can be used to cut or engrave various materials. It has a working envelope of 18 inches (width) by 12 inches. The laser is 40 watts which allows it to cut into wood-based materials such as plywood, cardboard, fiberboard, and paper products. It can also cut acrylic plastic. The maximum thickness of these materials is around 0.25 inches. The laser also has an engraving function to engrave vector and raster based images.
It can engrave the cutting materials listed above, and other materials, such as certain metals. Text, logos, and images are commonly engraved. The laser will leave burn marks on wood which in some cases can be sanded off.
The laser creates very precise cuts and can be used to make parts which fit together. To create files for a laser job, you can use most vector based programs such as CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. The training process involves an instructional portion and a demonstration of knowledge, which includes cutting and engraving using the laser.
Currently we offer the use of PrintrBot Simple Metal printers. They have a working area of 6″ x 6″ x 6″ (150mm x 150mm x 150mm). The maximum resolution is 50 Microns and they use filament with a size of 1.75mm. These 3D printers are best suited for aesthetic models. Certain models which involve mechanical interaction, such as gears or threads, may not have the required print accuracy, but you are welcome to give it a try. The software we use for the printers is Repetier, which includes a slicer for your .STL files.
The training process for the 3D printers is an overview of the process of setting up the job and machine, which includes starting a print. A demonstration of knowledge is expected to become qualified to operate the 3D printer. If you intend to print a model which uses a considerable amount of filament, please bring your own spool (1.75mm PLA).
The vinyl cutter is used to create “decals” which are adhesive backed. The decals can be stuck to a variety of surfaces. The vinyl cutter uses a roll of vinyl (typically single color) which feeds into the back side. A computer controlled knife cuts out the outline of a vector based image in order to produce the decal.
The training process for the vinyl cutter is instruction of the use of the cutter control software and a demonstration by a mentor of the physical setup and machine specific setup instructions. A demonstration of knowledge is required to be qualified on the machine. If your design requires a considerable amount of vinyl stock, please provide it yourself.
The electronics station includes a soldering iron, power supply, prototyping breadboards, a variety of electronic components, and other tools. Proper electrical safety procedures must be observed while using the equipment.