Laser Cutter/Software

Overview

In order to create your first design, you should install one of the following:

For cutting you'll also need Visicut
Whatever you're using, it's recommended to install Inkscape as that can be used to tweak designs prior to importing them for cutting or etching.

Inkscape

Inkscape is basically an open source vector drawing package that's also good for laying out your designs for the laser cutter

Visicut Extension

To setup the Inkscape extension for Visicut within Windows

  • Open Visicut
  • Select Extras / Install Inkscape Extension
  • For Windows 7 this should install into the directory C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\inkscape
  • The Extension will be visible within Inkscape under Extensions Menu -> Lasercut Path -> Open in Visicut

There's also a link here http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/visicut_inkscape_plugin

There's also a patch here if you have problems getting it to work under Windows: https://github.com/grbd/VisiCut/commit/5f7cc687527e16a7806d0470fd9e2ecc9b9c4c2f

Tabbed Box Extension

For making boxes with the laser cutter, there's a tabbed box maker extension for Inkscape

Visicut

After you've put together your design for cutting, Visicut is used to convert files into the format needed to drive the laser cutter.

HacMan - Visicut Settings

The current way to get the latest settings for Visicut is to

  • Open Visicut
  • Select Options -> Settings -> Download recommended settings -> United Kingdom, Manchester: Hackspace
  • You may get an error about downloading the settings, ignore this
  • Restart Visicut
  • There should now be two laser cutter settings for the blue and orange laser cutters on the right hand side

For reference the original link to the Visicut settings was https://github.com/hacmanchester/visicut-settings But this is no longer in use.

As time goes on the settings for the orange laser may be updated / added to for different types of materials so you may want to try re-downloaded the settings every now and again just to refresh them with new presets for different materials

Windows Setup

To clone the settings on a Windows machine

  • First install Git
  • create a directory for git files (e.g. C:\GITHUB)
  • Clone to a local directory
cd C:\GIHUB\
git clone https://github.com/HACManchester/visicut-settings.git

Another way is just to click the Download Zip button on github and extract the files

To install the files for Windows:

  • Startup Visicut for the first time, this should create a directory with some default files in under C:\Users\[username]\.visicut\
  • Close Visicut
  • Copy and paste the files downloaded from git over the top of the default Visicut settings files
  • C:\GITHUB\visicut-settings -> C:\Users\username\.visicut\
  • Startup Visicut

Linux Setup

To get the settings in a terminal type:

cd ~
rm -rf .visicut
git clone https://github.com/HACManchester/visicut-settings.git .visicut

To get updated settings, either repeat the above, or type:

cd ~/.visicut/
git stash
git pull origin master
git stash apply