K-40 Laser Stencil Cutter
|Material||Minimum Thickness||Maximum Thickness|
|Acrylic||1/16 in||1/4 in|
|Bamboo||1/32 in||1/4 in|
|Cardboard||1/32 in||1/4 in|
|Masking Tape||1 layer||2 layers|
|Paper (Printer)||1 sheet (held down)||10 sheets (held down)|
|Wood (General)||1/8 in||1/4 in|
|Wood (Ply)||1/8 in||1/8 in|
Ask a manager if you would like to cut any materials not listed above.
MANAGERS: Absolutely no PVC nor Vinyl is to be used in the Laser Cutter under any circumstances whatsoever. Also we don’t allow the use of that compacted brownish material the Architecture students use under any circumstances either.
Cutting Solder Stencils for an Eagle Designed Board
Part 1. Exporting the DXF File
- Eagle Board (.brd) file
- Parchment Paper
Exporting from EAGLE
NOTE: If doing this in the EPL, you can skip straight to “Exporting DXF File from board file”. Copy cream-dxf.ulp to your EAGLE ulp folder.
- Right click the link above and click “Save Link As”.
- ULP Folder Location is in “My Documents/eagle/ulps” for Eagle 9.1.1 and above
- For older versions of Eagle, it’s located in your Eagle folder in “C:/Program Files/eagle/ulp” or where-ever you installed Eagle.
Exporting DXF File from board file
To export DXF files for top and bottom surface-mount pads (cream layers):
- Open the board file.
- File/Run ULP -> cream-dxf.ulp (the DXF exporter above). (or type ‘run cream-dxf.ulp’ into the command line)
- Uncheck “Cut two times…”
- (Leave “Cut off corners…” unchecked.)
- (Leave shrink width at 0.05 mm, or alter as you see fit.)
This will generate filename-tcream.dxf and filename-bcream.dxf files in the folder containing your filename.brd file. The tcream file is the top stencil, and the bcream file is the bottom stencil for two layer boards.
a. Note: DXF files do not typically encode units. This DXF exporter assumes millimeters.
Save these DXF files to a flash drive and take them to the K-40 Laser Cutter Computer
Part 2. Setting up your Laser Cut Job
Login to the K-40 computer and open up “LaserWeb”.
Click “Add Document”
Find the DXF file you’ve created from Eagle on your computer and open it up in the browser window that pops up. (You may choose either tcream or bcream depending on which you want to do first.)
Drag the file from the Documents section to the GCODE section.
Keep the type of process as “Laser Cut”.
Change the Cut Rate to a value between 1 and 50,000. A good rate to start with is 10,000.
Click the “Generate” button, and you should see your cut job turn red, with a green line between each shape. The green line is the path of the laser.
Part 3. Setting up the Laser for Cutting
Cut a piece of parchment paper out approximately the size of the laser bed of the K-40 laser.
Tape the parchment paper down to a piece of banboo or other equivalent support material with blue tape, and ensure that it is completely flat.
Place the taped paper and board into the K-40 Laser bed
a. It is also a good idea to tape down the board to keep it from moving.
Turn on the CW-3000 Industrial Chiller
Turn on the Hakko Fume Extraction System
Turn on the K-40 laser.
a. Ensure that the laser switch is in the “Off” position for now.
b. Ensure that the current regulation is set to the appropriate value.
Part 4. Cutting your Stencil
On LaserWeb, click the Comms button on the left toolbar.
Click “Connect”. The command line should show that the machine has connected. A blue dot should appear on the workspace that shows the current position of the laser head.
Click on the down arrow next to the X coordinate and click “Home X Axis”.
Do the Same thing for the Y-Axis
Use the Jog Buttons to move the laser head so that it is over the top left corner of your parchment paper.
At this point you will probably need to move your artwork so that it is in a logical position relative to the laser head. To do this, click on “Files”. Click on the document name to select it.
Drag it so that the job is to the bottom right of the laser head. Click on Generate to regenerate the job.
Open the Control menu again. Again ensure that the laser switch is in the off position, and run the job to ensure that the entire job will fit on your paper. (or use the jog buttons to jog across your job to see that it fits).
When you’re ready, move the laser head back into an appropriate position with the jog buttons and put the laser switch into the “On” position. Then hit “Run Job”.
If the laser doesn’t cut, go back to the Files tab and reduce the “Cut Rate”. If the paper is burning too much (your holes will be too large), increase the cut rate.
a. Note: Remember to click “Generate” after doing this or the changes won’t apply!
Move to a fresh piece of parchment paper if needed and run the job again.
a. Should you ever need to abort a job that is in progress, you will need to click “Abort Job” and then “Clear Alarm” to be able to start cutting again.
Part 5. Cleaning up and Shutting Down
Remove your stencil from the laser bed. If it all looks good, make sure that you toss any scraps of parchment paper that have been cut, and the blue tape. The board itself may remain in the laser cutter.
Turn off the laser.
Turn off the Hakko Fume Extraction System
Turn off the CW-3000 Industrial Chiller.
Close the Laserweb Program.