So I’ve been experimenting with a new feature I’m adding to the Inkscape plugin – basically it allows for assisted double-sided cutting with the laser. You can run the laser at less power (or higher speed) by cutting halfway through one side, flipping over the material, and cutting through the other half.
Here’s how it works:
You set the dimensions of your work space (eg under File, Document Properties) to match that of your material. (only the height is really necessary) Measure your material for best results, and note which edge you measure if it isn’t square.
Launch the plugin, click on “Double-sided cutting” and export
The plugin will export everything you’ve selected, but it includes a copy flipped vertically and shifted up by the page size.
When you put your material in the laser be sure it is lined up accurately with the table coordinate system (look for the marks on the table bed – thanks Adina!)
You can run the job at half the normal power (or less – in my case about 1/3)
Run the job as you normally would. When it comes time to laser the inverted geometry EMC will pause with a tool change operation. That gives you a chance to flip the material over. You want to flip it long-wise if that makes sense. Basically flip the material the same way it gets flipped in Inkscape (eg vertically in Inkscape).
Resume the job and that’s it!
It does a pretty reasonable job, but alignment and measurement is critical especially on large pieces. These were cut at 400 mm/min at 5mA and turned out nicely aside from some alignment issues.
These pieces are about 11″ long and the alignment was off by maybe 1mm or less. I’m making some wooden blocks that folks can use as guides for aligning material. Stay tuned for updates!