Currently the only laser cutter at the Future Forge is a Chinese K40 Machine.
We've hacked it to make it a lot better. Here is a list of modifications we've made to make it better:
Added an air assist - Air pump/nozzle/button wiring
Added better LED strip lights
Added a LCD screen to display laser power levels better
Upgraded exhaust fan
Utilizing better laser controller software
This machine utilizes a bit of open-source software to run its functions called K40 whisperer.
You can find this software and more info for free HERE.
In order to create the designs we use Inkscape. Inkscape is an open-source free, powerful vector graphics software. It can create drawing lines as well as full pictures for the laser-cutter to use.
Simply create a drawing in Inkscape and depending on the colors of the lines and use of imagery, will tell the laser to operate in certain ways.
Red lines will be interpreted as Vector Cut lines.
Blue lines will be interpreted as Vector Engrave lines.
Any other 2D filled image will be interpreted as Grey-scale Raster Engraving.