Tools and Supplies

Purchasing the laser machine is the biggest decision. Recieving the laser machine is nearly the easiest thing to do. You will also need some Setup tools and daily supplies. The tools will be used to: unpack, install, setup, do alignment, do daily cleaning, maintenance, and daily uses.

 

 

Scissors
Use scissors to cut the right length of tape. Cut the non-slip pad to match your honeycomb table or just the immediate project. Always very handy to have around.


220VAC Plug and Receptacle
These are the recommended plug and receptacle for connecting the 220VAC items of your laser system.

The part numbers from Lowes are:
Cooper Wiring Plug: Item#96979 Model#4509AN-SP-L
Cooper Wiring Plug: Item#71327 Model#4509-SP-L
Receptacle Item#65748 Model#1876W-SP-L.

All laser machines that use 220VAC can use this connector. If you are installing a breaker and outlet for the laser system, then you should install a 20 amp, two pole breaker. The breaker will utilize the two available 110VAC branches to produce 220 VAC single phase power. It is recommended to use electrical wire that is rated as 12 gage plus ground wire. The normal color of the wire is red, black, and bare wire. This is often called 12-2 wire. You can also find red, black, white, ground.. called 12-3 wire.
* The RL-80-1290 should require near 12 amps current. The RL-150-1290 will require near 15 amps current.
* The nominal expected voltage for the 220VAC system is 220VAC, but the laser machine can function safely with voltage as low as 208VAC or as high as 245VAC. We have experienced that the laser tube will output highest laser power at 235VAC provided to the laser power supply.

If you purchase a 40 watt or 60 watt machine, then it is MOST likely that it uses a 110VAC system with normal plugs and outlets.

Any laser system should be placed on its own breaker.


Electrical Tape
Used during setup/installation of the laser machine to ensure the wires are safe from connecting voltage to the wrong places. Also used to fasten the wires and hoses to the laser tube. This prevents the wires from undue tension, which could damage the laser tube.

High Voltage Electrical Tape
HV Tape is used to insulate the electrical connection at the laser tube. The voltage going into the tube will exceed 23,000 Volts. It is very important to use plenty of tape and be CAREFULL. If not properly insulated, the laser spark will arc to the frame. The arced power could feed back to the motion controller and cause permanent damage.

Masking Tape
Masking tape is used during daily operations to protect the surface of the materials from residue. Example: Place a wide stripe of tape on a piece of wood and engrave your name thru the tape. The fumes/residue is blown down onto the tape.. not into the wood. Redmove the tape after the residue is dry. The wood is protected from discoloration. The best tape for laser application is found at Harbor Freight. The Harbor Freight product has much less glue to burn, less plastic in the "tape" to burn, more paper in the "tape" that burns easily for marking and cutting. My experience says the Harbor Freight tape works very well and is a fair price.

Aluminum Foil Tape
Used with masking tape.. as a method to test where the laser will fire, but does not allow the laser to penetrate thru.

Acetone
Chemical for cleaning. Use this for cleaning mirrors and lenses. Keep away from electronics and anodized aluminum. Will also dissolve plastics, paints, ..etc. Use Acetone for removing wood sap residue. Do not use this to remove acrylic residue from lenes or mirrors as it will smear the residue.

Denatured Alcohol
Chemical for cleaning. Use this for cleaning mirrors and lenses. Do not drink! Use this to remove residue left from engraving/cutting acrylic. Has an oily consistancy, but should evaporate completely. If the Denatured Alcohol leaves a residue, clean this residue with acetone or use more clean alcohol.

Isopropyl Alcohol
Chemical for cleaning. Use this for cleaning plastics and woods. Do not drink! Use this to remove residue left from engraving/cutting acrylic. Has a thin watery consistancy, but should evaporate well. The level of evaporating depends completely on the amount of water and unknown stuff inside. You will find a variety of this sold at drug stores ranging from 40% to 99.9% pure alcohol. If the isopropyl alcohol leaves a residue, clean this residue off with acetone or denatured alcohol. Using too much alcohol on plastics can harden the plastic and cause it to crack or craze.

Mineral Spirits
Chemical for cleaning. Use this for cleaning woods and other project materials.

Paper Towels
Use paper towels for cleaning items that will release a stain or nasty result. I suggest "Avia" brand towels as they do not release so many loose fibers.

Power Outlet Strip / Surge Protector
There are often not enough power outlets in the area for computers, printers, monitors..etc. Use a power surge strip to protect your electronics from typical power problems. A good UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply) would be better.

Small Set of Screw drivers
Used during cleaning of mirros or lenses to remove parts. A set of small screw drivers are handy to have around.

Rubber Drawer Liners
Use the rubber drawer liner on top of the honeycomb to prevent the honeycomb from scrathing the back side of your lasered product. In the case of lasering mirrors, the mirror is placed face down on the honeycomb. The non-slip pad prevents the honeycomb from damaging the glass front face. Expect to buy more of this stuff from time to time.

Dental Pick
A dental pick is used to grab and remove the retaining rubber washer inside the focal tube. This washer protects the laser lens, but can often trap the lens in place. Using the right tool and being delicate can save lots of time and costs of lenses. We have found that wooden toothpicks can do a good job with less likelyhood of scratching the lens... A diagonally-cut Q-tip is even better.

Needle Nose Pliers
Used during setup.. Generally handy tool.

Wire Cutters / Wire Strippers
Used during setup.. Generally handy tool.

Wire Cutter / Diagonal Cutters
Used during setup.. Generally handy tool.

Bent Needle Nose Pliers
Used during setup.. Generally handy tool.

Utility Knife
Used during setup.. Generally handy tool. Also used in daily cutting of masking tape or marking wood.

Extension Cord
With electrical boxes scattered around the shop, you might need an extension cord to get to the power you need. Don't skimp on a good cord. You don't want to underpower the laser machine or your computer systems. Use at least a 14 gage cord or thicker.

Assorted Pens and Pencils
A red pen is used during laser alignment. Assorted pens are used for notations.. Pencils can be great for locating the center of a square target and still able to remove the mark later.

Q-tips
Used for cleaning lenses and mirrors. Be sure to purchase and use only the Q-tips with paper sticks and cotton swab tips. Some cheaper versions of plastic sticks can dissolve onto the lens or mirrors. Use once .. Throw away. The costs of q-tips is nothing compared to the cost of one laser lens.

Silly Putty
Used as a fast clamp to hold an irregular shaped engravable item.. like custom turned pens and pencils. I combine about 4 packages together to make a sizeable chunk. Be careful to not let it sit too long or else it will ooze out of shape. You can also put the putty into a small soap dish to keep it from oozing through the honeycomb mesh.

Funnel
Use to add water to the chiller. It isn't worth a mess to try pouring without a funnel.

Windex or other surface cleaner
Use to clean the machine on a daily basis. Don't use alcohol or acetone to clean the machine.

Microfiber Towels
Used to clean the machine.

3n1 Lubricating Oil
Use a paper towel and 3-in-One oil to lubricate the linear axis. Keep the axis clean of gunk. After oiling, the axis should be slightly wet to the touch.

Egg Crate
Place items on top of the egg crate to prevent a focused laser beam from reflecting up from the honeycomb top. This removes most all effects of "flashback spurs" and results in a cleaner edge cut.

Aluminum Flashlight
... Used to see things better.

6 inch Vent Duct
The exhaust vent on Rabbit laser machines are 6 inches diameter. Use a 6 inch duct vent to get the fumes outside the building. It would be even better to extend a pipe further from the building wall. Make sure the vent duct has a screen (to stop those pesky birds) ...and a spring return to close the duct when not being used.

We recommend Home Depot Model# SM-RWVD 6 ... 6 in. Round Galvanized Wall Vent with Spring Return Damper

Magnets
If engraving more than ten products, it can save time to build a template to hold parts in place. Less than ten engraved parts can use a temporary solution. Use magnets to create a temporary jig/fixture to align products for engraving.

Digital Multi-Meter
It is good to check the input voltage to the laser machine (transformer) to make sure the equipment is not being abused by your local electric company. The DMM can also be used to help track down other possible problems with a laser machine. Make sure to purchase a good multimeter. Spend at least $20 for a meter... You get what you pay for. I recommend Tenma brand from mcmelectronics.com
** Don't try to check the laser tube voltage coming out of the laser transformer. The laser tube voltage is VERY high and can KILL you.

Art Explosion 800,000

It might seem odd to place this artwork with a list of tools, but it really fits. All shops with a laser also need a great supply of artwork to draw from. We recommend to purchase this artwork set from ebay.com because it is more likely to get a better price and purchase the set with the full printed catalog.

Corel Draw Graphics Suite X4

Working with laser artwork means having the right graphic development software. The LaserCut 5.3 software has a VBA application that runs directly inside the Corel X4 environment. Not yet compatible with newer versions of Corel. We have confirmed that Corel produces good DXF files and is easier to work with than other software packages. Corel also has many advanced features for tweeking the design into what you need for the laser. One great feature is to use the PowerTrace function to convert your raster Images to vector lines. We recommend to NOT purchase this software from ebay.com because it is most likely to be pirated software.
* Rabbit Laser USA is an authorized OEM distributor for Corel software products.

PhotoGrav 3

Working with photos on any laser machine means having the right development software and this is it. The PhotoGrav 3 software is made by ImageLaz LLC and is run as a pre-processor. This means that you import the photo into PhotoGrav and compile a Bitmap that would be imported into most any laser application. The Rabbit laser machines are featured inside the PhotGrav software making it easier to work with. We recommend to NOT purchase this software from ebay.com because it is most likely to be pirated software.
* Rabbit Laser USA is an authorized OEM distributor for PhotoGrav software products.

Most supplies can be purchased at stores such as: HarborFreight.com, Home Depot, Lowes, Rite Aide Pharmacy, Walgreens Pharmacy, General "Dollar" stores.

 


*Click here to see a quick shopping list.