What is laser programming?
Laser programming is an improved method of burning and erasing information in digital media, such as CD’s and DVD’s. It can also be used to etch graphics onto physical objects, such as jewelry.
Traditional methods of recording data or graphics on a disc involve burning tiny holes into the surface of the disc, which becomes read as a 0 , while the absence of a hole becomes a 1 . This is called “burning” or “burning an image”, and its name comes from the idea of burning holes into the disc. Laser programming, on the other hand, is done by erasing bits (or turning them to 1 ) with lasers.
This method has several advantages over the traditional method of burning or erasing with lasers. For example, it is possible to revert data programming by exposing the disc to strong heat, which can easily be done in a household oven.
Another advantage is that laser programming does not require special hardware or software. Any CD/DVD drive that supports multisession discs (basically any modern drive) can be used to program discs. It is also possible to create backups of the burnt programming data by writing an image file created with special software onto a multisession disc.
More information about laser programming, including how it works, advantages and disadvantages, can be found on these sites:
Why does this matter?
Laser programming is a very interesting method of data storage that allows anyone to create custom discs, such as programming discs. This means that it is much easier to program and burn data than using traditional methods, and creates extremely durable and long lasting data storage discs.
The information below covers how laser programming works: the different types of optical media it can be used on; how to create images for programming discs; how to program discs, and various software packages that can be used.
How much does a laser system cost?
It depends on the type of system. Generic laser pointers can be bought for as little as 10€, while high power lasers are often used for hobbyist applications and cost around 2000€.
Is a laser cutter a good investment?
Laser cutters are useful for small jobs, but can often be replaced with a 3D printer. Laser cutters are much more expensive than 3D printers, and it is possible to create just about any geometry using a 3D printer rather than a laser cutter.
A low cost open source solution for cutting vector graphics with lasers is the Camatte57 (see the Camatte section on this page for more information).
A laser can be used to cut materials such as wood, paper and plastic. A high power laser is really needed for cutting through thicker materials such as metal or glass.
How does a laser cutter work?
Laser cutters are similar to a computer printer. It creates an image by melting materials with a laser, and this process is called ablation. The image to be cut or engraved is created as vector graphics on a computer, and converted to a format that can be used by the software on the laser cutter (usually Gerber). Then, this file is sent to the laser cutter, which uses a laser (either CO2 or fiber) to ablate the material that is underneath where the image is located.
What software is used for laser cutting?
Most laser cutters come with an application to create vector graphics for the laser cutter. However, there are many better programs available that can be used instead, such as Adobe Illustrator. Other software is also available for converting files to formats usable by laser cutters (for example, CamBam).
What is the best software for laser cutting?
Vector graphic editors such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw are very useful for laser cutting. These applications can be used to create vector graphics, which is the best way to design pieces to be cut with a laser cutter.
Image-to-gcode conversion programs are also available, which allow creating images for engraving on a computer using a normal digital camera. These pieces of software take a picture as an input and create gcode that can be used by laser cutters for engraving the image on wood, plastic or other materials.
G-Code is a language widely used in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines such as laser cutters, milling machines or 3D printers.
Are laser cutters profitable?
Not in general. Laser cutters are expensive and require a high initial investment, and the markup on materials is very low. However, laser cutters can be used together with 3D printers to create custom pieces of jewelry or other small objects that would not be profitable if manufactured conventionally – see the section below for more information about this.
How is a laser cutter controlled?
Most laser cutters are controlled with Gcode which is a textual language used to tell CNC machines how they must operate. There are several programs available that can be used for laser cutting, including Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, but these applications are meant for creating images not CNC code. To use vector graphic software, the image must be exported to a format that can be used by the laser cutter.
Other software packages, such as Vectric Cut2D and Cut3D (http://www.vectric.com/) and CamBam (http://cam.autodesk.com/), can be used for converting images to Gcode which can be used by the laser cutter.
Which software is commonly used for driving the laser cutter?
Most laser cutters are controlled with Gcode which is a textual language used to tell CNC machines how they must operate. There are several programs available that can be used for laser cutting, including Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, but these applications are meant for creating images not CNC code. To use vector graphic software, the image must be exported to a format that can be used by the laser cutter (this is usually done with Gerber RS-274X).
Other software packages, such as Vectric Cut2D and Cut3D (http://www.vectric.com/) and CamBam (http://cam.autodesk.com/
How much does a CNC laser cost?
CNC lasers cost about $10000. The laser tube, which is the most expensive part of a CNC laser cutter, costs up to $5000.
What is laser EDM?
Laser EDM, or Electrical Discharge Machining, is an additive manufacturing process in which a high-powered laser removes material from a conductive workpiece.
In this technique, a computer controls the motion of the wire and the wire speed. The wire is fed through two spools that control its path and rate of material removal. As the wire moves through the coolant, it becomes electrically charged because of friction. The positive charge attracts negatively charged electrons from the work piece, creating a conductive plasma field near the tip of the wire. This plasma field is what does all of the cutting by eroding away material in its path.