Setup and Maintenance of a 40w Laser Cutter from eBay

2014-10-09 22.43.31
The 40W eBay Chinese K40 Laser Cutter

Article by Richard Grisafi

I’ve had my 40W Laser Cutter for just over three months now and I feel that I’ve got a good grasp on how it operates. Overall this is a good machine but it leaves a lot to be desired and the quality control is certainly lacking. The manual (at least the one I received) is written in poorly translated English and it really just skips over many important functions of the laser cutter. In addition, the pictures in the manual were inaccurate and there were various ports/connections in the manual that just were not on my model. Being that I’m a mechanical engineer who is used to accurate documentation, this is just deplorable.

Try to search online about the” 40W Laser Cutter” , “Chinese laser cutter”, “eBay Laser Cutter” or “K40 Laser Cutter” for information. You might see some reviews or complaints but there is very little information about its operation or maintenance. Understandably, this is going to frustrate people who shelled out a few hundred dollars to purchase this machine so I figured I’d be the one to do a write up and potentially save you some headache from my experience.

I’m writing from my experience only and I’m not responsible for any damage you cause with information you’ve read here or anywhere else. A laser cutter is a powerful and dangerous tool and it’s not a toy. Use it at your own risk. That being said click below to read on.

Unpacking and Setup

First of all, I open the laser cutter to find my vent duct completely bent. It’s still perfectly functional but it’s not a good sign to see something bent and crammed carelessly into your new toy. It was not off to a good start

2014-10-09 22.25.09
Mangled Vent Duct

Next I notice the exhaust fan is too tall for the laser cutter. The fan actually sits slightly above the top and leans back. I’ve seen others like this so I guess it’s normal although unsightly. As a designer if I couldn’t have found another fan that fits, I probably would have increased the height of the laser cutter. I have no idea why they thought this was acceptable.

I feel like it’s a popular misconception that this fan was provided for cooling the laser or mirrors. It’s only to remove smoke and avoid poisoning everyone in the same room. It also helps the laser to cut without interference from smoke. There is another model (minor upgrade) that provides an aquarium air pump which blows air onto the work piece and prevents smoke from interrupting the laser path.

2014-10-09 22.30.30
Fan Sits Loosely Leaning Back – I removed the vent duct for the picture

There was a screw holding the laser tube compartment shut as well as the control panel compartment. Although I feel it was necessary for shipping, it’s not necessary to keep the screws there. You may discard them if you’d like. Just out of curiosity I opened the laser tube compartment and noticed it was filled with bubble wrap. I removed it but I’m about 80% certain this would have been an instant fire had I not since it was actually blocking the laser path. They also put a sticker on the laser tube which I don’t think was a good idea since I couldn’t remove it.

2014-10-09 22.30.59
Laser Tube Compartment – Note the sticker that I could not remove

Next you will note the water pump. My first thought was “This can’t be an aquarium pump can it?”. Just to clarify – Yes it is. It’s not even a very good aquarium pump at that. You also need a water reservoir. I use a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot but anything that can hold several gallons of water should be fine. As a lesson in heat transfer, the more cooling water you have in your reservoir the more heat you can absorb so it benefits you to have your bucket nearly filled. Make sure to use distilled water or at the very least purified water. It doesn’t hurt to add frozen ice packs or ice cubes if the water starts to get warm during operation but remember not to get the water too cold. We all know what happens to hot glass when you fill it with cold water. If you notice the water is getting too warm then either quickly cool it off or stop the cutting process. Overheating it just once can and likely will be enough to kill it.

As for the connections, my instructions had it totally backwards from how it was on my laser cutter. In the manual, the input was on the opposite side that it was supposed to be on. It was correctly labeled on my laser cutter but if I just followed instructions blindly I’d probably have a broken laser tube. So just to make sure, the water input on the laser cutter is connected to the pump output.  The pump is supposed to sit at the bottom of your water reservoir where it draws in cool water through its vents. The output tube from the laser cutter can be loosely hanging into the reservoir. The tubes in my laser cutter were already filled with water (?) which naturally leaked everywhere during shipment and the control panel shows evidence of being wet.

2014-10-10 02.52.14
The Wonderful Aquarium Pump – This is only above the water line for the photo. It should be at the bottom of the bucket.
2014-10-09 22.31.25
Control Panel – Note the water stain around the power switch from the coolant tubes.

 

Mirror Alignment

Maybe I’m unlucky but mine had misaligned mirrors when it arrived and of course the manual had no information describing how to align the mirrors. I thought the laser was broken because it would just sort of trail off and stop cutting through the material.

2014-10-09 22.45.13
This was supposed to be fully cut. Not engraved. As you can see the component on the right is just etched due to mirror misalignment. The other component had to be forcibly broken out because it wasn’t cut all the way through.

As it says on the control panel “The non-professionals are forbidden to adjust route of light”. Well I guess I have to call my local laser cutter repair technician right? No. It’s fairly easy to align the laser especially with such a small work area. I’ll show you how.

You will need thermal receipt tape (I’ve seen people use mailing labels also). I took some receipt tape from my friend’s restaurant but you can use an old receipt if that’s all you can get. I’ve noticed lately CVS gives you a five foot receipt if you purchase a pack of gum so that should leave you covered.

2014-10-09 22.32.02
Start in this position – The two mirrors are at their upper limits.

You start with the mirrors in the upper limit or home position and then you wrap receipt tape around the Y axis mirror as shown below. Make sure this is tight and try to keep the receipt tape flat against the mirror. If you wrap it around more than once that’s fine too. You may tape it in place as long as there is no tape in the laser path.

2014-10-09 22.37.17
Y axis mirror wrapped in receipt tape in the home position

Close the door and quickly tap the “Test Laser” button once. Unless you’re unlucky the laser will make a hole right through the receipt tape. Next, without disturbing the receipt tape, move the Y axis mirror all the way to its lower limit. Once again, close the door and hit the “Test Laser” button. If your mirror is aligned it will look like the picture below.

2014-10-09 22.37.45
If there is only one round burn hole the first mirror is correctly aligned.

If you see two holes, one elliptical or elongated hole, or nothing at all, then your first mirror needs to be adjusted. This is the mirror directly in front of the laser tube (Shown below).

2014-10-09 22.31.08
First mirror – Note the three brass thumb screws to adjust the alignment

Fortunately my first mirror was correctly aligned (Good thing I had all that bubble wrap filling the compartment). If your not as lucky as I was then you have to adjust the mirror. If the second burn hole was higher than the first then you have to angle the mirror slightly down by turning the upper thumb screws. If it was slightly lower then angle the mirror up. Repeat the whole alignment process with clean receipt tape until you have a nice round burn hole. Then remove the receipt tape and clean the mirror. I recommend Zeiss Lens Wipes available on Amazon. You don’t want dirt or carbon deposits on your mirror because the dirt will absorb heat whereas the mirror is supposed to be reflecting it.

Once you have a nice round burn hole and a clean Y axis mirror then set the mirrors back into the home position and wrap receipt tape around the X axis mirror. This is the same concept as the Y axis mirror so make sure the receipt tape is tight and is not easy to disturb.

2014-10-09 22.40.27
Home position with the X axis mirror wrapped in receipt tape

Once it’s ready, close the lid and hit the “Test Laser” button. Unless you really blew the last part there will be a hole in the receipt tape. Next move the X axis mirror all the way to the right limit without disturbing the receipt tape.

2014-10-09 22.40.41
X axis mirror at its limit

Once again, close the lid and hit “Test Laser”. If  it’s aligned correctly then it will have a single round hole like the one shown below.

2014-10-09 22.40.51
Correctly aligned mirror

If you have more than one hole or an elongated hole the Y axis mirror must be adjusted by turning the brass thumbscrews on the back of the Y axis mirror. If the second hole is higher than the first the mirror must be angled down slightly. If it’s lower than the first then the mirror must be angled up slightly. Note that I had to use pliers to turn my thumbscrews because they were very tight. Repeat this process with fresh receipt tape until you have a clean round hole. Once this is done your mirrors are aligned correctly. You may  now discard your pile of burnt receipt tape.

Software

So I opened the envelope included in the package and there are two DVDs and a USB Dongle with no explanation of either. One DVD contained Corel Draw with a product key (I’m sure it’s legit) and the laser driver software called CorelLaser which seems to be an add-on package for Corel Draw. It also contained LaserDRW which I didn’t install. I have my own copy of Corel Draw which was ironically the same version so I didn’t install theirs. I installed CorelLaser which appeared to install correctly but for some reason I couldn’t get it to work with Windows 8. It just said “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000142). Click OK to close the application”

CorelLaserError
CorelLaser has a few issues

So I tried two different Windows 8 machines and the same issue happened with both of them. I tried it on an old Windows 7 laptop and it worked just fine even with my legitimate version of Corel Draw. Either it’s not compatible with Windows 8 or it’s some flaw with two of my computers (doubtful).

I checked the other DVD and it seemed to have training videos which were basically incoherent as well as some sample graphics to get started with.

So that leaves the USB dongle. I thought “Oh great more software” but it’s not. It’s sort of like a hardware key to use their software. I believe CorelLaser can be freely downloaded but it can’t be used without this key. It’s like a product key (The one they included with Corel Draw) except it’s a physical key.

2014-10-10 02.07.32
The key to the software

Don’t lose it. I’m assuming this is not easily replaceable. The software company has a site 3wcad.com and it’s entirely in Chinese. If you want support for this just pray to the support fairies. You’re not going to get it from them so just search around the Internet and hopefully you can find someone who knows the software better.

I believe some other similar laser cutters have Moshidraw included which from what I understand is even worse. I don’t know anything else about it though. CorelLaser uses the Corel Draw interface which is why you need to have Corel Draw installed. There’s not much of a learning curve especially if you know how to use Corel Draw.

Tips, Warnings, and Suggestions

Watch out for the hole – Alright so I cut my first piece of acrylic and it’s going pretty well. I know you’re not supposed to look at the beam but I smell something burning so I quickly glance. There is an open hole in the base of the laser cutter and apparently the laser is powerful enough to cut through the material and halfway into your desk. I quickly inserted a piece of acrylic to prevent more damage to my desk. It’s not a bad idea to purchase a honeycomb bed on eBay. Just search for “honeycomb bed laser”. My laser cutter is sitting on top of a $70 desk from Ikea so I’m not going to lose sleep over it but be careful especially if you have an expensive work table.

Protect your eyes – This should go without saying but NEVER look into the beam. You can’t see a CO2 laser with your eyes but you can burn your retinas out in a fraction of a second if the beam is reflected into your eyes. Purchase CO2 laser safety goggles if you plan on doing a lot of cutting.

Be careful what you cut – Wood, cardboard, and acrylic should be safe. Don’t cut anything containing chlorine which includes PVC and Vinyl. Polycarbonate (Lexan) is not safe to cut due to fumes. Polystyrene (Styrofoam) is known to start fires which are difficult to put out so avoid cutting that. Although I’ve heard glass can be engraved you will not be able to cut it. Cutting metal and reflective surfaces can reflect the laser back into the tube which can damage it. There are tricks to engraving metal and I know it’s possible to cut thin metal however I’m not going to do it. If you’re unsure, then it’s best to err on the side of caution. Do your research before you cut a new material.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy – This should go without saying. Fortunately I’ve never needed mine and I hope it expires without being used. If you notice a piece catch on fire the last thing you should do is panic. Calmly stop the laser cutter, open the door, and try to put the fire out. If you can pick it up and bring it to a sink then do that. If it’s starting to get big, just spray it with the fire extinguisher. Worst case, you need a new laser cutter. It’s cheaper than a new house. I only had one instance where a fire started. I was cutting cardboard too slowly and it just ignited. I shut the machine off and tried to blow the fire out. The exhaust fan is ironically fanning the flame by drawing in fresh oxygen so I removed the piece and just ran it under water. Disaster averted.

Get a DSP controller – If you’re absolutely fed up with the software and you are tearing your hair out trying to get it to work, then you can purchase a DSP controller for a few hundred dollars. This will allow you more freedom to choose the software you want. It’s an expensive upgrade but it’s a great one. Just search eBay for terms like “DSP Controller 40W Laser” or some combination of that.

Conclusion

I’m going to be honest. This is not the best laser cutter money can buy. In fact, it’s probably the worst. It has many flaws, there is no support, quality control is just out the window, and it’s pretty weak. It comes with poor software and it’s hardware is pretty low quality too.

That being said, if you don’t have a laser cutter then mine is certainly better than yours. I only paid $478 for mine. It has cut through plenty of materials and it’s incredibly accurate. If you purchase a high end product where the manufacturer holds your hand then you’re never going to learn anything for yourself. I could have blown $3000 for a similar laser cutter made in the USA and it would have the same abilities. It might have better software and support and it might have shown up without misaligned mirrors. While I certainly value my time, the six to seven hours I spent tweaking this laser cutter to perfection have saved me up to $2500 on a better model. If you’re like me, you don’t make $2500 in a day at work so it’s worth a few headaches. If this one breaks, (I mean WHEN this one breaks) I will have the skill set to repair it or I may just buy a more powerful one. I’m overall very happy with this and I hope to use it for many of my personal projects and inventions. If you’re on the fence about buying one I recommend it as a great starter model to get your feet wet.

I hope I’ve helped you in some way. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.

-Richard Grisafi

294 thoughts on “Setup and Maintenance of a 40w Laser Cutter from eBay”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write and post this! I bought one that looked like it had been owned by stig of the dump before it was in a car accident, I thought it was worth stripping to have a play if nothing else!

    It didn’t come with a dongle though, should be interesting 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks for the kind words. If nothing else you will learn something. These things are surprisingly tough on the outside. If your laser tube is in good shape then you should be alright because all other parts are pretty low cost.
      I’m pretty sure you can buy new software and a dongle if that is your only problem. Let me know how it works out and if you need any guidance don’t hesitate to ask.

      -Rich

      Like

  2. Thank you for this post! I recently purchased the same one, and I’m trying to cut some acrylic. I set it on triple cut, but by the time it gets to the third cut, it randomly stops. I have to turn the cutter off and back on, then restart the job (if I’m lucky). Sometimes, at the third cut, it just stops then goes off track. Any ideas? I adjusted the mirrors according to your instructions, but it didn’t seem to improve at all… :/

    Like

    1. So I was able to cut straight through 1/8″ (3mm) Acrylic on one pass and I realized it was even cutting a good amount into my wood desk where the hole in the laser cutter is located. You should be able to easily cut through 1/8″ (3mm) in one pass. If you told me it was cutting through 1/4″ (6mm) I would believe you but you should even be able to cut that in two passes at most. Anything thicker than that is really not suited for a 40w hobby machine.
      I’ve had mine go off track before but only when I was cutting near the edge. It did stop just like you said and I had to turn it off and on again. Try to cut in the center of the cutting area if possible. I realize there’s not a lot of room to work with and it’s not always going to work out that way. The software will send the laser into infinity without questioning anything so if you send it beyond 260mm or about 10″ then you’re going to hear a horrible grinding noise and throw off your entire workpiece. The maximum item size for mine (probably yours too) is 260mm x 220mm x 70mm Or about 10.24″ x 8.66″ x 2.76″.
      Adjusting the mirrors will only help if they are misaligned. See the picture above (1/8″ Acrylic) where the cut just sort of trails off as the X Axis increases. I could cut just fine on anything less than about four inches wide but until I adjusted my mirrors I couldn’t cut further.
      It’s possible that your lens is out of focus or your power is set too low. The power can be adjusted by turning the dial above the “Test Laser” switch labeled “Current Regulator”. If you have this too low it will not be able to cut through anything. Focus can be adjusted by turning the lens at the bottom of the cutting mirror. Also please make sure your mirrors and lens are clean.
      I hope I’ve helped. Please let me know how it turns out. Thanks a lot for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  3. i think i messed up my laser i damaged the adjustment screws for the tension band on the x axis actually i thing i damaged more than the screw

    Like

  4. Hi Richard,

    Thanks for the helpful information I have only just purchased one of these and its a great laser but I’m having issues with alignment so i’ll try this:) What power settings and speed do you have it set on to cut 3mm acrylic in 1 pass?

    Thanks Dean

    Like

    1. Hi Dean,

      Thanks for reading my blog. You don’t set the power via software in CorelLaser. With my model at least you may only limit the current. I have my dial set at about 50%. You can just barely see the white line in the first image on this article to get an idea of where 50% is for me.
      To cut 1/8″ Acrylic (Not sure if it’s really slightly thicker than 3mm or just nominal measurement) I set the cutting speed to between 5mm/s and 10mm/s. For some reason my favorite clear acrylic can be smoothly cut at 8mm/s whereas a black acrylic I use which is of the same thickness cannot be cut at anything more than 5mm/s. I find that if I use the slower speed on the clear acrylic it melts the top a little and looks unsightly.
      Personally I like to remove the protective film from the top of the acrylic cutting surface and leave it on the bottom. I’ve found that if I leave it on top the film tends to fuse with the acrylic.
      You’ll just have to experiment to find the sweet spot for your particular thickness and laser cutter but it will likely be in that general area. If you find it’s not cutting through all the way, go slower and if it’s melting go faster. 1mm/s makes a difference when you consider 8mm/s is 60% faster than 5mm/s.
      Engraving acrylic is a little less of a science and you should be able to do it between 100mm/s and 200mm/s depending on how deep you want to engrave.
      Let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll be happy to help. Once again thanks for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  5. Thanks Richard 🙂

    I have finished the alignment it seems to have gone well 🙂 so thanks for your advice, As for the power I meant mA setting 🙂 I’m just doing an engrave now working on getting the mA right and my speed is set to 250mm/s, I have seen people say anything over 10mA reduces the tube life and can damage it, so I have not attempted to go over this as yet lol. The machine you have looks basically the same as mine so the settings you have given me should help heaps Thanks again 🙂 Also one last thing what is the distance between your laser lens and your bit of material? the table was a little bent when I got this machine so I’ve had to do some repairs :).

    Dean

    Like

    1. Dean,
      Glad I could help. I try to avoid going over 10mA myself because just like you I’d like to avoid replacing my laser any time soon.
      So I measured the distance between the 1/8″ (3mm) acrylic top (My standard material) and the bottom of the laser to be 1.915″ (48.64mm). Small differences shouldn’t have an effect.
      If I try to use a honeycomb bed which is 0.878″ (22.32mm) high without adjusting the laser lens it doesn’t cut. I just don’t use the honeycomb bed because I don’t want to deal with it and it further limits the already small cutting area. I find I can squeeze a 12″x12″ (304.8mmx304.8mm) sheet of acrylic in there without the honeycomb but I obviously can’t cut the entire surface because it exceeds the maximum reach of the laser.
      Good to hear your up and running. It’s a lot of extra effort to work with these but the cost savings is unbelievable.

      -Rich

      Like

  6. Do you have any experience cutting 3mm plywood? it is driving me up the wall, it seems to almost cut through but can’t quite make the final push. 3mm Acrylic cuts fine. Thanks

    Like

    1. Hi Paul,
      Personally I’ve never cut 3mm plywood with my 40W laser cutter although I’ve done it on a 60W before. I’ve used some acrylics that give me a hard time like this particular black acrylic from McMaster Carr. My laser just has a problem with that one black acrylic. I would think black of all colors should be the easiest to cut. A 40W Laser should be able to cut through 3mm plywood but there are a few things that may prevent this.

      1. Cutting Power – Increase your cutting power with the dial on the laser cutter. It is definitely more difficult to penetrate plywood than acrylic so you’ll likely want to increase your power. This will reduce the life of your laser tube if you set the power to max for a long period of time.

      2. Cutting Speed – I would guess that you should be between 5mm/s and 10mm/s. The faster you go the less penetration power you have. The slower you go the greater the risk of fire.

      3. Plywood Type – If you’re using some exotic plywood, treated plywood, or even just a particular batch from a particular mill it may just be too difficult to cut. Plywood is really a general term which could mean any particular wood or adhesive sticking them together. If the laser power and speed don’t work try a different source for your plywood to see if it’s that particular type.

      If all else fails just set CorelLaser to use 2-passes. You can cut through just about anything if you’re willing to do multiple passes.

      -Rich

      Like

  7. I just bought a similar laser cutter and it didn’t come with manuals or software though it did have the USB dongle. This post was very helpful so I wanted to say thanks.

    Like

    1. William,

      Thanks so much. Glad I could help. If you have any questions feel free to post them here.
      The experience you get dealing with the inevitable issues you’re going to have will prepare you for higher end laser cutters and CNC equipment. It may seem frustrating but with persistence you can solve any problem you’re going to have. Once again. Thanks so much.

      -Rich

      Like

  8. Hello, first of all congratulate you for the detail commented.I got the machine a week ago. Yesterday I had a problem since I started using the laser with coreldraw (not with laserdraw). and began working funny, sometimes slow and sometimes fast, until there was a short circuit,
    I checked and the fuse blew, and repeatedly replaced and it burns again. I could not find where the short is. You will have there some manual or circuit detail to find out where the problem might be.
    Thanks.
    David Marquez

    PS: sorry if I did not express well, my best attempt with my basic English and help from google, greetings from Chile

    Like

    1. David,

      Thanks so much for reading. Greetings from America. Your English is just fine.
      I’m going to guess that you likely have a faulty power/control board or faulty wiring. The quality control on these is basically non-existent and you’re going to have a hard time collecting on the warranty if there even is one.
      It’s possible you have a loose or frayed wire somewhere. If it’s not shorting immediately then determine where the laser head is located at the point it shorts.
      Is it when the laser is getting power? If you jog the stepper motors to the same point through software with the laser tube turned off is it still shorting?
      When you say it’s working funny is it the motion or the cutting? If it’s the motion is it the X or Y axis?
      I can tell you that there are not many connections at all and this is much less complicated that it seems. The wall power is connected to the power supply. The power supply is connected to the control panel on the top which is basically just controlling the power state and current level. The power supply is connected to the control board. The control board is connected to the stepper motors (White Ribbon Cable) and the limit switches. The laser tube is also connected to the power supply.
      If nothing else try turning the power down. I’m not sure if you’re blowing a fuse in your house or a fuse in the laser cutter. I don’t think mine has any fuses so I’m not sure what you’re seeing.
      Also check to make sure there are no leaks in your cooling water. My laser cutter arrived wet because I’m assuming they ran a factory test and left water in the tubes. I have rust on my power supply but it still works.
      Worst case try to get a warranty replacement. If they won’t accept it you can always buy a DSP Controller and upgrade it.
      Please let me know how it works out and thanks again for reading. Best of luck. It will be worth it when you get it working.

      -Rich

      Like

  9. Thanks for your reply Rich, I with a friend review the machine and saw the problem, We burned a NTC Thermistor, we will replace it but I need your help, because just got burned in the part that indicates the type of thermistor, I upload the photo to see if you can see that in your machinne or someone in this blog . Say “NTC XXD-15”, I do not know what is written in the XX. https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-i8JLWRUKCtU/VS56dAQa1DI/AAAAAAAAClM/qGh8LDOfZzo/w311-h553-no/Placa.jpg

    Please your help,

    Best Regards.
    David

    Like

    1. David,
      For some reason your second comment went into my junk mail so I’m just now reading it. I hope you’ve solved the problem by now but if not I’ll do my best to help.
      So I actually went through all the trouble of taking my power supply apart and found what’s likely to be the same thermistor with a label so faded it was unreadable. I searched for the part and if I had to guess it’s an NTC 15D-15 or NTC 47D-15 which means it is 15 ohms or 47 ohms respectively.
      The next question is why are you burning that? This is an inrush current limiter. It’s supposed to act as a last resort fuse so you shouldn’t be blowing this ever. If you can determine the part and replace it there’s a very good chance of the same thing happening. This is probably what was protecting you from starting a fire when it was shorting. When too much current rushes through this it cuts the circuit. When WAY too much current rushes through this it burns just like yours did.
      If possible replace the whole power supply. Let’s face it, when they were manufacturing this, the quality inspector was taking his lunch break…while working from home. If you insist on replacing the thermistor just leave the top to the power supply off when you try to run it again and watch for sparks. It may give you a clue where your short is.
      Once again thanks for reading and sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Let me know how it turns out.

      -Rich

      Like

  10. Hi richard,
    Very helpful blog – thanks!
    I’ve got a problem that I don’t think I’ve seen discussed yet. I am engraving onto very small round wooden boxes (3-8cm across) and my engraver misaligns inconsistently. Imagine a centered geometric design. First one comes out perfectly; the next is no longer centered, with the engraving of the same design a millimeter or two to the left, or the right or upwards. Sometimes only *part* of the design is misaligned (imagine concentric circles that are occasionally not concentric). No consistency in the misalignments. Ive ruled out the possibility that the base platform or the boxes themselves are slipping during the engraving process. I’m losing 10-20% of my boxes, which is obviously expensive and requires sanding off the design in order to recover them. I’m speculating that the problem could be something related to the machines memory of x/y starting point, or something mechanical. Tried the general maintenance things: The y axis belts seemed super loose; i tried tightening them but the machine sounded stressed, so I reloosened them. Also oiled up the y axis runner bars and the wheels on the engraver head mechanism. Nothing has been helpful yet. Any ideas?
    Many thanks!
    Cheers
    Ana

    Like

    1. Hi Ana,

      Thanks so much for reading my blog. I’d probably need some more information but if I had to guess, I’d say this is a software issue. When you go to preview the engraving in CorelLaser it is at the upper left limit of the drawing by default. Which means if you could draw a rectangle which completely encased what you’re trying to engrave, the laser head would (hopefully) start in the upper left hand corner of that rectangle.
      Also note that there is a clamp in the middle of the laser cutter bed. If your wooden boxes aren’t incredibly delicate you should be able to use this clamp to ensure that your work isn’t moving.
      It’s not odd for the belts to be somewhat loose. They only have to be tight enough to avoid falling off. If they’re too tight they will make it difficult for the motor to spin (hence the “stressed” sound).
      Now if the belt slips even one tooth you will loose a mm of alignment or more. It seems like you’re successfully completing a box, then putting another one down and hoping it will be in the same position. I know for a fact if you cut the power to the laser cutter and then turn it back on it will find “home” and reset itself. I’m not entirely sure what the cause of your problem is but I have a feeling this is a good workaround until you determine the cause. You could also put a piece of paper down and fire a test shot by pressing the “Test” button the control panel. Then just align your work piece to the starting point of the laser. This will work every time providing you measured correctly.
      If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Once again thanks so much for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

      1. I’m reading this blog for exactly the same reason – and I’m convinced that the machine is losing steps when it accelerates rapidly on an axis. In my case I’m using a vector cut at 1mA on acrylic to “engrave” the lettering on the top plate of an enclosure, then running the same pattern (sans lettering) to cut the outline. I can see individual articles misaligned – and all errors accumalate so the next cut item is offset accordingly and so on. Personally I think I need to look at the stepper controllers – are these overheating and shutting down (a problem with some 3d printer controllers)… In the end I might simply replace the steppers and controller and go to the time-tested mach3 solution.

        Like

      2. Hello Mike,

        My apologies for the late response. I haven’t been on top of this lately and many comments have built up. I hope that you have solved your problem but I’ll respond anyway if nothing else than to help others.
        First things first I would check the belt to make sure it’s not missing teeth. Does this skip in the same location and on the same axis all the time or is it somewhat random? See if you can get it to replicate the missed step. Then make sure the belt has enough tension but not too much. My guess is that there is a belt tensioner somewhere on the belt. If it’s too loose it will skip. If it’s too tight you may hear the stepper motor grinding.
        I tend to doubt it’s the connection to the stepper but it’s certainly possible. If it were to drop a step at every revolution that would add up to a large error very quickly.
        If you decide to replace the entire controller you can just search “Laser DSP Controller” on eBay. Be forewarned that these are likely more than the laser itself. It would be a nice upgrade but I don’t personally feel that it’s worth it.
        Thanks so much for reading and please let me know if you have any more questions.

        -Rich

        Like

    2. You’re engraving too fast. If you try to move the cutter head around too quickly, the belts will jump a tooth. Since this machine does not use servocontrols, the controller board does not actually know where the laser cutter head is, it only knows where it’s *supposed* to be. With my particular laser cutter, attempting to engrave at more than 400 mm/s, or trying to engrave faster than 40mm/s, will probably cause the belt to jump a tooth.

      Like

    3. I had a problem with the Y axis getting momentarily stuck and making a terrible noise while skipping steps, so I cleaned the rails and surfaces where the roller bearings run and used a general purpose air tool and sewing machine oil to oil the carrier and rails. On the far right side where the Y axis roller bearing travels there’s a metal channel (not visible, facing the outside edge) that it rides along, when wiping that down with oil I found a bunch of metal debris / filings as well as charred debris from my cuts. Once I cleaned that out and oiled everything with the right oil I was back in action. I would have checked belts next, but we always forget that friction is a massive factor. Hope this helps someone.

      Thanks Richard for making this blog. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

      Like

  11. Hi

    I’ve bought one of these and as you found the instructions so poor I’m getting so frustrated I’m almost regretting buying this.

    The coral draw they sent me won’t download and I’ve put the key in the computer and everywhere I click says needs a serial number which I obv don’t have but thought the key (Dongal) would allow me access and it didn’t.

    Also every time the laser is working it’s not a fine laser it’s almost like a bolt of fire. Burns the whole wood area so it’s all black. If I out card in it sets on fire. I’m using laserdrw which is as useless as the machine to me at the moment and nowhere to turn to find help

    I would appreciate if you could help me in some way 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi Zoe,

      Thanks so much for reading my blog. I’m not going to lie, this is an incredibly frustrating tool. It ultimately can’t be made well for the price they’re selling it. I couldn’t find anything about it on the Internet which is why I felt it was time to create an article for it.
      For me they included the Product Key to Corel Draw on a CD in a folder called “CorelDraw” inside another folder called “CorelDraw”. There was a file called SN.txt which contained the product key to Corel Draw. I’m sure this is totally legitimate and this is how Corel distributes it… Or not. I actually had a known legal copy of Corel Draw so I ended up not using their shady version. If you can get a legal copy of the same year on the CD like me then it’s probably best to use that.
      The included USB dongle is only for CorelLaser. It’s more like a physical key and you must have it plugged in to recognize the laser cutter.
      If you’re burning anything there’s pretty much only two reasons for that. One is that you’re going to slow and the other is that your power is set too high. I’ve never had to go slower than 5mm/s for 1/8″ (3mm) acrylic. I typically set that at 8mm/s for most acrylics. If I’m cutting cardboard or cardstock I’ll typically set it at 20mm/s or slightly higher. As far as power goes my dial isn’t labeled however I can tell you that it’s about a quart of the way to max. You want this as low as possible while still being functional. The lower you set this, the longer your laser will last.
      I have found CorelLaser to be superior to LaserDRW so I would get that working as soon as you can.
      Thanks so much for reading my blog and let me know how it turns out.

      -Rich

      Like

      1. Hi Rich

        Thank you so much for your reply. Was very helpful. I set the speed at 35 for card stock as any lower I was still getting few bad burns/little fires. The only problem having is using 3mm mdf and cut a square at 8 speed and cut perfectly. But anything like letters it badly burned the wood send if I increased the speed the letters wouldn’t cut through, it’s just engraved the letters rather than cut them out. The dial was at 40 so is powerful enough. I wish there was more information out there as like you say it say non professionals use the machine and certain areas so it’s potentially a dangerousness piece of equipment but they don’t supply enough support/help/guidance so you are left to trial and error this potentially harmful machine.

        Thank you Rich 🙂

        Like

      2. Hi Zoe,

        You said that you set your power to 40w (Maximum). I wouldn’t do this unless you’re really having problems cutting through a particular material. It’s going to greatly reduce the life of the laser to be run at full power all the time. You’re better off slowing the cutting speed. Try about half power and 5mm/s to cut MDF. It’s 60% slower but only 50% the power so my guess would be that it’s going to cut better.
        You certainly don’t need 40W to cut card stock. In fact if you frequently cut through card stock it’s probably best to invest in either a Cricut ($219.99 Amazon) or a Brother Scan N Cut ($399 Amazon). Sure neither of them can cut through MDF but you’ll never get any burn marks and they both make highly precise cuts from more polished software.
        I’ve personally never cut MDF but I’d imagine a little burning is going to come with the territory. After all the laser is doing nothing more than vaporizing the material in it’s path so it’s bound to show some sort of indication.
        If we all share information about our experiences with this machine the trial and error is done and we no longer need a poorly translated manual. Thanks for sharing and keep me posted.

        -Rich

        Like

  12. Hi Rich,

    I’m thinking about buying one of these machines. What’s it like at cutting intricate detail out of thin card? I’m a bit concerned about burning with such a thin material. All I see on the web is demos with wood or acrylic, but nothing with card.

    Thanks for this blog, it’s very much appreciated considering the lack of reviews / support for these devices.

    Paul

    Like

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for reading. I’ve cut my initials into white card material before (Probably a little thinner than card stock) similar to a paper folder. Here is what it looks like.

      RG laser cut into card stock material

      As you’ll note around the edges and particularly the corners there is some burning going on. This is actually the reverse side of the card stock (Image was mirrored) as the front was blue and showed no signs of burning.
      Was it dead on accurate? Yes. Was it fast? Yes it took less than 30 seconds. Would I use it for professional material as long as I knew it wasn’t going to be examined with a magnifying glass? Yes. It would certainly cut incredibly fine detail into card material if necessary. Even 1/8″ acrylic is no problem for a 40W cutter.
      You’re going to have to play with the settings to get it somewhat right. It took me a few tries and I have to admit I started a small fire when I used an all black card stock. In this case I just increased the speed about 50% and it no longer started fires. I believe I ended up with 25mm/s at about 25%-40% power but your settings will likely vary somewhat depending on the exact material.
      If you’re only cutting card or paper I would invest in a Cricut or Brother ScanNCut. They’ll never show any burning and they’re polished “consumer-ready” devices that aren’t going to cause headaches. On the downside they’ll never cut acrylic or wood and I don’t think they can engrave either.
      If you have any more specific questions just feel free to ask. Thanks so much for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  13. Good, excellent information on these economical and reliable but somewhat complicated to understand,
    have an equal but I have not managed to cut anything in it, I did the alignment of the mirrors but just does not cut anything,
    I only cut paper and thin cardboard, I have noticed that the marker does not pass power of 5 Ma. for more rotation
    potentiometer knob to the maximum, does not exceed 5, will be a problem with the power supply? … I changed the
    potentiometer but the same result, if you can guide me that I would greatly appreciate you review, greetings from
    Venezuela. David

    Like

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for reading. If you can cut through anything (even paper) I would say your mirrors are correctly aligned. I noticed you didn’t mention anything about speed so as a precaution I’m going to let you know that the speed I typically use for most materials is between 5mm/s and 8mm/s. At 20mm/s to 30mm/s I have no problem cutting though paper but I couldn’t cut much else. I do keep the power at about 30% but no more than 50%. It rarely gets above 5ma and I have a 40W laser. The more power you have going to the laser the faster you’ll be able to move it. I’ve seen a 150W laser cut though steel pipe faster than I can cut cardboard.
      If the speed is set correctly and the mirrors are aligned correctly my next guess would be the power supply and then the tube itself. I would probably exhaust all other options before I went replacing things.If you’re able to cut anything at all it’s probably not the tube. I feel like that would either work correctly or not at all.
      Also make sure you’re not able to set the power from the software. I know I’m not able to alter the power from the software but I’m not sure what model you’re using or what software you have.
      Please keep me posted if you get your problem fixed as you could potentially help others. Let me know if there’s any other way I could help. Thanks so much for reading and best of luck.

      -Rich

      Like

  14. Hi Rich, thanks for your prompt response,
    I again raise the issue (maybe the google translator
    I did not do well, lol) … I have a 40W laser K40, and have failed
    to cut anything except paper and thin cardboard, I tried to cut MDF
    5mm. with speed of 10, 5 and even 3 mm / s and not achieving cutting, etching if it does well,
    I’m using Moshidraw for corel x5 (Moshidrawn_X5), try to adjust the mirrors again to see
    if the problem can there be, as any suggestion is welcome !, greetings

    Like

  15. I have a K40 moshidraw laser and there is no way I can get it to cut 3mm MDF if I run it low power and slow it just goes about 1mm into the MDF if I go high power and quickly it goes about 1mm into the MDF and if I go high power and to slow it burns I am now thinking do I need air assist to stop the burning.Any idea’s
    Cheers
    Bill

    Like

    1. Hi Bill,

      Thanks for reading. My apologies for taking so long to get back to you as I was away for a week and you comment was buried in my other messages.
      Truthfully it sounds like you need to calibrate your mirrors and/or focus your laser. You shouldn’t really have a problem cutting 3mm MDF at pretty high power and about 5mm/s to 10mm/s speed. The faster and lower power you can do this obviously the better. Air assist is going to supply more oxygen to the cut and actually increase the likeliness of burning or a fire. It’s really only to protect the lens and prevent smoke from blocking the laser beam.
      If you have a hard time cutting 3mm acrylic, cardboard, or anything else then try to recalibrate your machine. If you cut through these with ease then just change your MDF supplier. It’s possible that your particular MDF is being held together with some exotic adhesive that’s difficult to cut. I don’t believe there is any concrete definition of MDF other than “Glued together wood fibers”. They could be using a fire resistant glue for all we know and good luck cutting through that.
      If you have any other questions feel free to respond. Otherwise thanks for reading and have a great day.

      -Rich

      Like

  16. Hi Richard,

    Enjoyed you post. Looks like I bought the same machine you have except the CE, FDA and ISO9001 marks are conspicuously absent on my machine!

    I couldn’t get any of the software to load on my Windows 7 machine. It would appear to install correctly but then crash when I tried to run it. Corel Draw wouldn’t install at all. The only CD I got had a file on it called, CoreDraw12-english.rar

    On a lark, I bought my machine on E-bay, thinking it was about half the size it turns out to be–maybe like an inkjet printer–not the size of my kitchen table. I am a complete novice, and in my hands, this thing could be freaking dangerous! No interlocks, high voltage, electronics, water, and invisible beams capable of starting fires: What could possibly go wrong?

    Are you aware of any sites which offer instruction documents or software? For sure, I don’t think I’m going to be able to use the stuff that came with the machine. As a start, would you mind outlining the pieces of software I need to have and what they do?

    For example, I don’t have Corel Draw, but I do have AutoCAD. Is the K40 software just a driver for Corel Draw or is it a separate program that processes files made by Corel Draw? What is the minimum necessary to actually make the machine do something? Even a demo file.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks for your time and willingness to help others.

    –andy

    Like

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thanks for reading and my apologies for taking so long to get back to you. I’ve been away for a week and then your comment was buried in my other messages.
      Don’t be alarmed by your missing CE, FDA and ISO9001 marks. Realistically mine are probably fake. If the manufacturer was this proud of their processes they would have put their company name on their product. When you find this on a Versalaser or Universal Laser or any other “legitimate” laser it’s going to be real. I have a good reason it was printed on mine to appease people who look for this. Being as this is manufactured in China my guess is that one would have little recourse in prosecuting them for their false advertising.
      Funny you should comment on the size. I expected it to be much smaller and the day it was delivered there was a huge wooden crate outside my door that I had a hard time carrying over to where I wanted it. I actually intend to reuse the crate for another project because I thought it was the perfect size for something else I’ve been working on.
      All laser cutters are pretty dangerous but then again so are saws, sanders, and drills. Just don’t look into the beam and leave the door closed when it’s operating. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and DON’T walk away especially when you’re cutting. If I had an easy way to use this outside on a sunny day I would do that instead of try to vent from indoors. I don’t really want to breathe vaporized plastic fumes but I guess that’s how it works.
      I use a Windows 8 desktop computer as my main computer for pretty much everything and I have a Windows 7 Laptop which I use for any time I need a laptop. I tried everything to get this running on my desktop. It’s where I do my 3D Modeling and any engineering work I do. Although I had no problem getting Corel Draw to install and run I couldn’t run CoreLaser. It just gives me an error.
      To create most of the objects I cut or 3D Print I use Autodesk Inventor and I export to dxf for cutting and STL for 3D Printing. It’s my favorite software to use. AutoCAD would work just fine for cutting and it’s probably even easier than Inventor since dxf was the original native format. Unfortunately the only way to make the laser cutter operate is through their included proprietary software. In my case this is CorelLaser. Although I create everything on my Desktop I transfer the dxf file to my laptop which I connect to my Laser cutter. It’s not doing any real work so I can tolerate the slow performance of my laptop just for cutting. Try installing this on another PC or older computer. Even if you have to borrow one. It doesn’t seem to like “New” operating systems like Windows 8 even though I had no problem installing it on Windows 7.
      The other option is to get a DSP controller which will allow you to use any software you want. The problem here is that it costs about as much as the laser cutter does and it’s going to be a good amount of effort to install.
      To summarize, for now you absolutely need CorelLaser and the included USB Dongle if that’s what you were given. I believe MoshiDraw works the same way. You might have to make some compromises and use another computer or even try a virtual machine within your Windows 7 computer although I wasn’t able to get it to work like that myself. If you can get the software to run then your computer is good enough. I would say anything that can run XP or better should be fine. You can design in anything you want but ultimately you must import into CorelLaser to cut. If you have any other questions feel free to respond to this.
      Thanks so much for reading and have a great day.

      -Rich

      Like

  17. Hi Richard, I clicked the “But it now” button just before I found your blog and I have to admit I kind of regretted buying this machine, but also as you said, it’s an entry point, it’s cheap and its worth the hassle, I just hope what I get is not as messed up as the other buyers I see have replied to your post. I wanted to drop you a line just to show my appreciation as your post and your replies to other peoples questions will make my experience much easier, it should arrive next week, I’ll let you know how it goes 😉 Thank you!

    Like

    1. Hi Missael,

      Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading.
      To be fair there are probably very few people who came here to leave a comment about how wonderful their laser cutter is working. People don’t end up here after searching “Awesome Laser Cutter from eBay”. They get here by searching “Laser cutter problem”, “Cheap Chinese Laser Cutter from eBay Setup”, or “Laser Cutter Calibration”. That being said there’s only a handful of people who are having serious and unrecoverable problems. The quality control is basically non-existent but I for one only had some minor set backs getting this up and running. I had to learn how to calibrate it and set it up with poorly translated instructions. It took a few hours more than a high end system would have but I saved thousands of dollars. If your time is that valuable that you can’t dedicate a few hours to save thousands of dollars than you probably have people working for you to operate this anyway. I can’t see purchasing a high end 40W laser cutter for hobby work.
      So don’t regret your decision. The comments are misleading because the majority of people having problems are the ones leaving comments. I feel the majority of people who purchased this are not having problems and their voices are going unheard.
      If you have a good experience. I’d be happy to hear about it. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you find the information helpful when your laser cutter arrives (likely a week or two).

      -Rich

      Like

  18. Hi Richard,

    Just an update on how I am going with my machine and some more information for other’s 🙂 I have done a bit of work getting this machine to a point I can have 100% confidence in what i’m cutting/engraving, I’m cutting 3mm MDF at 7mm/s easy it can go 8-9mm/s but i’d prefer to have clean cuts all the way through 100% of the time, I also cut 3mm acrylic at 5mm/s both at 6mA power setting, I have not tried cutting any thicker but have no doubt with 2 passes you could cut 6mm mdf and acrylic. The biggest issue’s I had was 1. The alignment of the mirrors I sat down for 4-5 hrs 1 night to get all mirrors aligned most tedious job to date lol 2. The base/table I pulled the aluminium it came with out and used an old aluminium radiator(cut to size) from a car which I have no doubt works the same as honeycomb would 3. I fixed the exhaust fan and made it fit tight so no fumes can escape, I also put some silicon around the acrylic in the lid which seems to have reduced fumes coming out by heaps. 4. I reduced the belt tensions for both stepper motors which seems to make the machine run a lot quieter and smoother, I found they were a little to tight. 5. I adjusted the height between the laser and work piece which makes a huge difference when it comes to KERF and also edge quality on your work mine is set at 51.5mm from the top of my work piece to the bottom of the aluminium casing for the lens. I had no instructions at all with my machine and I’m sure what comes with the machine if you get it is barely readable lol, All in all I think they are a great 1st machine for the price, I have learnt a lot about how they run and how to fix them and they are more then usable, great for starting out in the laser cutting industry or just for playing around with 🙂

    Dean

    Like

    1. I’d also like to add unlike Richard’s machine my mA gauge goes upto 30mA not 15mA, I can’t find any information regarding this or what the recommended max mA is for these machine’s, I’m only cutting at 20% power if it truly goes up to 30mA I’m just not prepared to test it lol, My dial is set to about 33% of the total way around

      Like

    2. Hi Dean,

      Thanks so much for the update. I was just saying earlier how there are so few people who comment with their success stories. This is what I’ve been saying all along. These machines have lots of room for improvement but they teach you things you’d never be able to learn on a high end expensive machine. Overall when all is said and done it’s a great purchase especially for a hobby or first machine.
      Excellent information as well. It’s always good to help others.
      Thanks so much for sharing and keep me posted on anything new.

      -Rich

      Like

  19. Ok, I’ve made my research with no success and I HAVE to ask, first, could this 40w laser produce injuries in fingers/hands should they for whatever unexplained and foolish reason be in the path of the laser while working? Also, is the Orange Acrilic in the cover somewhat prepared to stop any reflection of the laser from coming out of the enclosure? I mean if you have the lid closed and are watching the machine cut, is there any risk? Thank you!

    Like

    1. Hi Missael,

      Without a doubt this would cut right into a finger if not cut it cleanly off. Don’t every put fingers or any other body part you want to keep inside while the laser is operating.
      I believe you’re correct that the orange screen is meant to shield the user from the laser radiation. I would still advise against looking into it. I don’t have the orange shield for whatever reason. Mine is clear and most definitely does not protect against anything.
      If you want to watch the machine buy laser safety goggles for the CO2 wavelength. I keep meaning to get them but instead I just don’t look into the beam. Those can more or less be trusted.
      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with. Thanks so much for the kind words and I’m glad I could help.

      -Rich

      Like

      1. Hi Again Richard, I’m guying this machine mostly for my wife as she does a lot of crafts and stuff, i wonder if the machine has some sort of switch that would turn off the laser if the cover is open, if not that would be the first thing I think I would modify, also, there’s no need for her or me to watch the machine working it would be more to check for fire and stuff, in any case, would this goggles be the right ones to buy? Thank you so much. http://www.ebay.com/itm/CO2-Laser-Vision-Laser-Goggles-/271911654845?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f4f3295bd

        Like

      2. Hi Missael,

        I can confidently tell you that there is no cover switch on mine. I could easily open the running machine and stuff anything right into the path of the laser. But I guess it’s not so bad because I could do the same thing with a table saw, drill press, or even the blender in my kitchen. Of course having an “invisible blade” doesn’t sound very safe.
        As for the safety goggles the description says they were used for a cosmetic medical practice. While it’s probably exactly the same thing as the ones used for cutting lasers I would go with something specifically for that purpose. That being said if you’re just trying to watch for fires that’s easy. The entire interior of the laser cutter will glow orange and it’s very easy to tell that there’s a fire. I just run over, kill the machine power, kill the exhaust fan and calmly walk over to the sink with a flaming work piece. You might ask “Why kill the exhaust fan?”. Because it’s drawing oxygen in and essentially fanning the flames. I’ve started several small fires mostly experimenting with speeds and powers. I’ve attempted to just kill the laser cutter power and blow the flame out but it just starts up again because the exhaust fan is feeding oxygen to it. By the time the fire starts whatever you were cutting is likely ruined anyway.
        Let me know if you have any more questions. I’d be happy to help.

        -Rich

        Like

      3. “most definitely does not protect against anything.” I think you’re wrong about that. Mine also has the clear panel, which I’m pretty sure is polycarbonate. One day I noticed what I thought was a smudge on one edge of it. I tried to clean it off, and discovered that it was a rough spot on the inside surface. I’m fairly certain it was caused by something bouncing the laser upward. The clear polycarbonate, just like glass, is opaque to IR frequency light. The laser beam can’t hurt you with the lid closed unless it first burns through the polycarbonate.

        Like

      4. Hello Dave,

        It’s possible that you are right however I wouldn’t bet on it. Without getting too technical it all depends on the wavelength that the window is able to absorb. IR Pass filters can be made out of acrylic which of course allows only IR light to pass through. You can do plenty of damage to your eyes by staring at the sun through one of these filters because your retinas will not respond to the large amount of infrared light passing through the filter.
        While it may block 100% of the IR light I wouldn’t take any chances. You certainly don’t need the full 40W laser to cause permanent eye damage. Only a few watts can accomplish this just fine. Please be careful and don’t take unnecessary risks especially when there is likely no recourse to go after this manufacturer legally.

        -Rich

        Like

    2. One day I was cutting something or other, and noticed something was out of place, so I opened it up and adjusted the piece. There was a sudden intense pain on one fingertip. I snatched my hand back, and discovered part of one fingernail was badly discolored. I don’t think the beam got me directly, so it was probably a reflection. Also, the laser was probably running at either 5% or 15% of full power, because that’s usually what I run it at.

      I no longer open the lid while the machine is cutting. Ever.

      Like

      1. I bought a new K40 laser from an engineer who had not used it more than 10 minutes. My problem is corelaser program is shrinking my files sent to the laser by 50% in heigth and width. I can’t find a solution to get a 1:1 transfer of work from corel draw to the laser. Did you have any problems with size change in the transfer of work to the laser?

        Like

  20. hai richards, your post is very helpful, I have a 40-watt laser machine golden brand JG-10060, and I have a question, what is the relationship between the current regulator with laser power? do I have to manually turns it to below 10 mA to be durable to the tube? and what is the relationship between setting power / speed in software and setting power / speed in the control panel of the machine? do i need to equate it with that in software? Thank you very much

    Like

    1. Hi Riadi,

      Thanks so much for reading. The speed and power can be varied depending on the material you’re cutting and the speed you want to work at. Typically going slower is more likely to cause burns but it’s more effective at cutting deeper when using a lower power. Using a higher power is certainly not great for the laser but if you’re having problems cutting something feel free to turn the power up for a while. I typically leave mine between about 25% and 50%. I’ve yet to turn it all the way up and I’ve been able to cut everything I tried if I slow the laser down enough.
      My laser power cannot be controlled by software but I’m not sure about your model. My software is only able to control the laser speed. I find I can cut most 3mm thick materials between 5mm/s and 8mm/s. Paper and cardboard I would set to 20mm/s to 40mm/s and I’ve had no problem. Your results will vary slightly.
      Let me know if you have any more questions and I’ll be happy to help.

      -Rich

      Like

  21. Hi Richard,
    Thankyou for such an informative post. I am a hobbyist and have just purchased one of these lasers. I don’t have a clue about lasers, but have checked all wiring is secure, have got an upgraded fan and have made a tighter correctly fitting cover to attach to the vent and a better more flexible hose. The water pump is in and running. Some of my plugs supplied were Chinese fitments, but I have rectified this. My question is, before I attempt to fire it up, I need to ground it. How did you ground yours please? Would adding a earth wore from the earth point into the UK plug suffice? Would this even work? Or should I use a grounding rid or similar outside? Sorry to ask, but I want to give it the best start possible lol and I’ve also heard incorrect grounding can cause issues as well as the obvious. Many thanks, Samantha x

    Like

    1. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for reading.
      Mine came with a US three prong outlet which I’m assuming is grounded. To be honest I didn’t check all the wiring. My control panel was wet when it arrived and the power supply cage has rust all over it. They stuffed the water tube into the laser cutter after testing it and the tubing was still filled with water. They couldn’t even be bothered to empty it out. You can even see the water marks in the picture above.
      It’s a miracle this even worked out of the box with the exception of mirror calibration.
      It’s my understanding that these are loosely tested before they leave the factory. If it didn’t start a fire there, it’s unlikely to start a fire in your home the second it’s plugged in.
      It’s not a tool for the feint-hearted and you should ALWAYS keep a fire extinguisher handy and never walk away more than a few feet. I have used this for over 100 hours and I still don’t trust it as far as I can throw it. I wouldn’t think twice about leaving my 3D printer running while I go out grocery shopping but I wouldn’t even go to the other side of the room with my laser cutter running. You’re almost guaranteed to start a fire sooner or later and you should be prepared for it. Fortunately I’ve never had a dangerous fire. Only a few small ones when cutting cardboard. Just kill the power, kill the exhaust fan (actually feeding oxygen to the fire), remove the work piece and put the fire out. Preferably without using a fire extinguisher.
      Sorry I can’t offer better advice for grounding but I hope I’ve helped you get started. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have. Otherwise best of luck and always be careful.

      -Rich

      Like

      1. Hi Rich,

        Many thanks for getting back to me 🙂

        Mine also came with a UK 3 prong plug, but I’d heard stories the earth wasn’t in there and the instructions clearly state to ground it. However my husband had a tester which I didn’t realise lol so we tested it, it was earthed, so alls good there, however due to the painting of the machine, some of the body areas were not contacting as they should and in effect were not earthing out and do could potentially be dangerous, I scraped paint on certain areas to ensure good contact between all panels, so that I am now confident the whole thing is earthed, it may be something you want to check 🙂 As for fire, I bought a fire extinguisher before I even got the laser out of the box lol, I was more worried about getting electrocuted or blowing the laser. I fired it up for the first time last night, had to re align the mirrors, boy what a pain that was lol. Mine to has rust in areas, although the pipes were tucked in with the laser on mine so not quite as bad. But other than now trying to learn what settings to have things on, I was quietly impressed with the results. Thanks again, Sam x

        Like

      2. Hi Sam,

        Glad to hear it’s working out for you. Sounds like your experience was pretty similar to mine. I had to align my mirrors which was an annoying process to learn but I otherwise didn’t have any serious issues. It’s a really useful tool and you’ll work through all the issues through experimentation.
        Best of luck and thanks for reading.

        -Rich

        Like

  22. Hi everyone, just got my machine last Sunday and was I lucky! The packaging was perfect, no mirror alignment was needed, CorelLaser worked perfectly with my preinstalled Corel Draw X7 in windows 8.1, starting cutting within minutes of unpacking and installing and I have to say I am extremely surprised with the precision of the machine. So far I have tried 3mm MDF and Acrilic and 1inch styrofoam Thank you Rich 😉

    Like

  23. Thanks for the info. Good “coherent” info on this unit is hard to find. Its either a horror story or praise. I just ordered one of these gems and I hope to spend many hours of my life just to get it working. Ya, I’m like that. If it doesn’t work “out of the box”, I’m just as happy (as long as parts aren’t bent, bitten or broken off). Thanks again.

    Like

    1. Hi Lars,

      Yes. I 100% agree and that’s why I wrote this post. Glad I helped you make your decision and I hope you’re one of the lucky ones who receives a unit without problems. It’ll be worth it either way. Best of luck and thanks so much for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  24. Thanks Richard and all the people who commented.

    I have been debating getting one of these machines but held back with all the mixed info. This has cleared everything up and I can now order the cutter/engraver with reasonable peace of mind that I should be able to set up and deal with any niggles myself rather than buy one and be stuck paying more for someone local to come and set it up correctly.
    Very useful info well written. Bookmarked so I can refer back to here easily.

    Like

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for reading. Although you could have spent thousands and purchased a “high end” unit you probably saved a ton of money by buying this one. I spent some time setting it up and dealing with headaches but it was well worth it and I’m glad I bought this instead of a “professional” model.
      Enjoy it when it comes and let me know if you have any problems. Thanks so much for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  25. Hi Rich, I’ve got a question for you, I’m engraving and cutting and I’m using the tasks feature of the software so it works progressively. Thing is, by default the cutter is set to engrave in WMF and cut in PLT, the result is the engraving and cut is not aligned, as the laser moves to the right it skews or spends the cut. If I set WMF for both engraving and cutting then the end result is aligned but the cutting is made double even when set to 1 pass in the software and the laser main mirror moves without cutting more than needed throughout the cutting space and returning to cut where it should. If I set PLT for engraving what I get is a blank engraving, any ideas of what I could be doing wrong? Thank you

    Like

    1. Hi again Missael,

      To be honest I could never get that to work correctly myself. My workaround was that I would do an engrave operation where I would engrave everything (including the areas that I intend to cut). I would then just delete the area I don’t intend to cut and perform a cutting operation on the rest of it. The laser cutter was aligned correctly every time because it’s starting in the same position. I thought it would affect the look but it didn’t at least for acrylic. Worked every time.

      -Rich

      Like

  26. Hi Richard, Thanks for the post. I purchased a K40 and it worked great for about 10 days. Then all of a sudden in the middle of a low powered engraving job, the X axis stopped moving properly, and started to make a terrible noise. I aborted, and tried a series of resets, etc. I tried cutting a simple square from cardstock as a test, and it comes out a very tall think rectangle, suggesting there is something wrong along the X axis.

    Have you come across this sort of thing? Any suggestions on where to begin troubleshooting?

    Like

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Unfortunately it sounds like your X-Axis is broken or misaligned. First things first, check the belt to make sure it’s still securely connected to the stepper motor and idler pulley and it’s not stripped. It should be relatively tight. Check against the Y-Axis which seems to be working for you. If that looks good check to see if it’s moving at all. Is the motor vibrating, skipping steps, etc?
      Next check the connections. If the connections are solid and the belt is attached you may need to replace your X-Axis stepper.
      To answer your question this hasn’t happened to me with my laser cutter yet but it’s happened with a CNC Router I was using. The belt was too tight.
      Let us know how it works out for you. Thanks for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  27. Just a word on the pump situation. After two hours of use my water pump failed and I almost burned the laser tube. I see now it is imperative to purchase a better pump (even a harbor freight pump is better) and a waterflow switch connected to some type of alarm Or shut up circuit.

    Like

    1. Hi Lars,

      Thanks so much for reading. Mine was a common aquarium pump. Any cheap aquarium pump should do the job. Before you start cutting always make sure the water is flowing. If you’re cutting for an extended period of time it might be wise to check the water temperature. Mine has become quite warm before and I ended up adding cold packs to the water to cool it down a bit. Do this sparingly however because you don’t want to create thermal shock and shatter your laser tube.
      Glad you were able to save the day. Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

      -Rich

      Like

  28. Hi Rich,
    I just picked up one of these lasers for my business. Is there a way to change the working scale in LaserDRW3? From mm to inches? Also when I send my artwork over from Corel it changes the scale. What is causing that? Thanks for the review it was one of the reasons why I went ahead and bought this machine.

    Like

    1. Jon,

      Unfortunately there are only three countries worldwide that don’t use the metric system and they are Liberia, Burma, and of course the U.S. . Both my laser cutter and my 3D printer require drawings/models in mm scale. You would think U.S. engineers and scientists would be using metric anyway but it’s simply not the case and the rest of the world doesn’t bend to our desires. If you’re having an issue and you already created your designs just scale it up by a factor of 25.4.
      So to be honest, I don’t think this is possible. I couldn’t find such a feature myself and I looked for it. Sorry I can’t offer any help but I myself just create metric drawings to avoid this situation. Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks so much for reading and have a great day.

      -Rich

      Like

      1. Hi Rich,
        One other problem I have is even when drawing in mm scale in corel draw, when I bring the file in to laserdrw it makes the drawing larger than the original.
        Thanks for all the help!

        Like

  29. hola como estas tengo un problema con la laser china de 40 w usa el corellaser 12 cuando corta pasa 2 beses por el mismo lugar como se puede hacer para que pase una sola ves para el corte pues lo corta y luego lo vuelve a cortar garcías

    Like

    1. Hola Luis,

      Gracias para mirando mi blog. Lo siento pero Espanol no es mi idioma primera. Si se corta más lentamente usted será capaz de cortar en una pasada. Yo uso 5mm / s para cortar la mayoría de acrílico y maderas no más de 3 mm de espesor. Lo ideal sería que usted debe tratar de evitar el uso de 2 pases ya que esta máquina no es profesional . Espero haber sido capaz de ayudar. Si tiene más preguntas por favor no dude en preguntar. Muchas gracias y tienen una gran noche.

      -Rich

      Like

  30. Hi All,

    Just an update on my machine and how it is going, It seems my laser tube has been dodgy from the start and decided to die a few days ago, I got a new 40w tube shipped and wow it made a huge difference, I am cutting 3mm mdf at 9mm/s @ 6mA and 3mm acrylic at 7mm/s @ 6mA, I am waiting for the arrival of my air assist head as well as a 38mm focus lens, I will update everyone on how much it improves the machine when I get them.

    Dean

    Like

  31. Hi Dean, do you happen to have the ebay seller that you purchased the laser from? There are so many on ebay. Thank you.

    Like

  32. Hi Rich,
    Thanks so much for this post. It has made me a lot less apprehensive about purchasing a cheap laser cutter.
    I primarily cut paper with a blade cutter at the moment, and am wondering if you have used your 40W machine to cut paper with much success? I’m concerned as most videos I see of the operating machine are test cuts, and there is generally a large amount of burn residue left on the paper’s rear and edge. Do you think this is avoidable with enough tweaking of settings, or will this always be an issue?
    Thanks,
    Anita

    Like

    1. Hi Anita,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I’ve cut paper and I’ve cut a folder before (thickness similar to cardstock). Somewhere in these comments is a photo of the paper folder where you can see burnt edges if you look closely. If you’re only cutting paper I would likely recommend staying with the blade cutter. It’s probably a little slower but you’ll obviously never get burning or need cooling water. I feel like using a laser to cut paper is like using a miter saw to cut butter. It certainly works but it’s overkill.
      That being said if you’re going to cut paper, the faster the speed the fewer the burns. You will need to experiment to find settings for every thickness and potentially paper color. While I cut right through a white folder with ease I started a small fire with a black folder using the same settings. As long as you’re paying attention it’s nothing to worry about.
      Thanks so much for reading and let me know if you have any more questions.

      -Rich

      Like

  33. Dear Richard Grisafi,
    pretty honoured to read your blog.
    and I think you are a expert for this mini laser engraving machine.
    we make some improvement on this machine:
    1.such as with the speed square linear rail on the X axis, and rail rail on both Y axis to improvement the high speed and high precision
    2.add the worltable without the clamp.
    ….

    Like

  34. Hi,
    I boght the same machine, but there was no DVD delivered, just the “USB-Stick” as Dongle or “Soft Key”
    I have daownloaded Moshidraw from http://www.moshisoft.com. But i doesn’t work. In my Opinion my Computer does not communicate with the machine. Have anybody a driver or something?

    I want to laser dxf files, but i can only push the “TEST Switch” Button 😦

    Any Ideas?

    Jo

    Like

    1. Hi Johannes,

      Thanks for reading. Just like CorelLaser I believe Moshidraw requires the USB Dongle to operate. If you need to get CorelLaser it’s available at http://www.3wcad.com/download.asp . If you don’t speak Chinese you’ll need to hit “Translate”. If you have the matching USB Dongle this will fire right up.
      That being said they should have included software. Mine came with two DVDs. One was filled with software and samples and the other was filled with poorly translated training videos that were essentially useless. I would ask the seller if I were you. It’s likely they just forgot to include it and this is something they could just let you download quickly so you can get started.
      Once you get up and running you’ll have forgotten all about the headaches this has caused you.
      If you have any other questions or there is any way I can help please let me know. Thanks so much for reading and have a great day.

      -Rich

      Like

  35. Hi Richard, I just got the same laser from the same buyer you had told me in an earlier post. The laser looked like it was used and dented. No, not complaining.. just have a couple of questions if you could help.

    I do have 2 questions.

    1.The X axis is not even with frame is this adjustable? Or is this normal?

    2. Also area with screws is un even and Lois like screws were put in too tight or it’s dented not sure yet will this affect the performance of the laser ?

    I have pictures but not sure how to post it here. Your help is very much appreciated.

    Like

    1. Hello Azza,

      My apologies for replying so late. Admittedly I haven’t been on top of this like I should have. I imagine you’ve solved your problem by now but I’m going to respond anyway in case it helps others.
      I do not believe the X axis is adjustable in any way and unfortunately it is probably just misaligned.
      If the laser is able to move correctly then I wouldn’t worry about it. If being somewhat misaligned or dented affects the performance in any way then you should likely return it even though it will probably be quite the effort to pack up such a machine.
      I’ve said it many times that these are in no way high quality but we should at least expect them to work out of the box.
      Best of luck and let me know if you were able to get it to work. Thanks so much for reading and have a great day.

      -Rich

      Like

  36. Awesome blog btw, we just got one for the office. It arrived here back in June but we finally plugged everything and got it going, only thing is we’re getting an ERROR saying the USB is not plugged when the USB dongle is. Everything else works fine, Just need this last thing to work. Any recommendations to troubleshoot?

    Like

    1. Hi Ashley,

      My apologies for the late response. Quite a few comments built up on here and I got somewhat overwhelmed. I hope you’ve solved your problem but I’ll answer anyway in case I’m able to help others.
      I actually had a lot of problems with the USB dongle. I wanted to run my laser cutter from my main desktop however CorelLaser is supposedly not compatible with Windows 8. I then tried to run it from a Windows 7 virtual machine on the same desktop and I couldn’t get the dongle to be recognized. I then tried it on a Windows 7 laptop which in my opinion was not really fit for the job but it actually worked quite well. I now just design everything on my desktop and transfer the files to the laptop for cutting/engraving.
      The software is available at http://www.3wcad.com/ (You will need to translate this as it’s in Chinese). If I remember correctly I needed the serial number on my board to eventually run the software.
      This was all a huge headache and it was one of the biggest problems I had which in retrospect doesn’t seem that bad.
      Please let me know if you were able to fix your problems. Thanks so much for reading.

      -Rich

      Like

  37. Hi – Ive been roaming about the internet for a few days now looking at these 40W laser cutters and have come across this blog more than a few times answering a few questions ive had. Do you have any follow ups I have missed somwwhere with examples of how finished items look, size, quality etc?

    From the looks of the Control Panel image you posted it looks like ive just ordered the same bit of kit from Amazon today (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B011KKMK4C). With the dial instead of digital adjustment and with the recommendation that the current only really goes up to 6mA (comment somewhere in a youtube video quoting the dodgy English translation) to 10mA (comments on here), how are you working out the power output of the laser tube?
    Do I take 6(ish)mA as the upper limit, call a setting of 3mA, 50% and 1.5mA, 25%? of is there another way to work this out?

    Thanks in advance,
    Peter

    Like

    1. Hi Peter,

      My apologies for such a late response. I received lots of comments all in the same day and I got somewhat overwhelmed and ended up responding to none for a while. I hope you’ve answered your questions by now but I’ll respond anyway so I can hopefully help others.
      Once I got this set up and aligned I was very happy with the performance. The accuracy is fantastic and I’m overall very pleased with it. To be honest I haven’t created any follow up posts regarding the 40W laser cutter although I intend to at some point.
      The one you ordered actually seems a little superior although probably very similar overall.
      I set the power to about 25% to 50% of the maximum. I’m sure you can imagine that this was poorly manufactured and thrown together with very few concerns for safety or quality control. Frankly I just don’t trust it. That being said I have had no problem cutting 1/8″ (3mm) acrylic or wood at 5mm/s at that power level. I don’t often see the dial go to 10mA but it may just not be responding fast enough.
      If I were you I just wouldn’t push the limits of the machine. I can assure you the assistance you receive from the manufacturer is going to be nonexistent.
      I hope everything works out with your new laser cutter. Thanks so much for reading and good luck with it.

      -Rich

      Like

      1. Mine has the mA type scale and will go up to 20 mA . I do most of my cutting with ti set to 6mA. Of course I have no way of knowing if the scale is accurate or even linear so I’m just hoping it is both.. and I am cutting at less than half power..

        Like

      2. Hi Again,

        I typically leave it at about 25% power. The lower you can leave it the better. I tend to not raise it unless I’m cutting something difficult. One particular brand of acrylic gives me some problems here and there but everything else I try to cut is easy. I rarely see the needle go much above 5mA when cutting.

        -Rich

        Like

  38. Thank you for taking the time to keep this BLOG updated ! after reading all of this I ordered a K40 unit and it arrived a couple days ago. wiring looks great, mirrors were good. going to setup the water system and exhaust this weekend and start trying it out. I do keep reading a lot of issues about the Moshi board and may decide to rip everything out and use an Azteeg X5 controller with smoothieware etc. at this point and until I try to do some cutting I have no clear idea what the limitations are with the Moshi board. I’m trying to find a pros/cons list so that I can weigh the effort of swapping out all the electronics. lol.

    Like

    1. Hi David,

      My apologies for the late response.
      Upgrading the electronics is a nice modification although it sometimes cost more than the laser cutter itself. I can attest to the fact that the Moshi Board is low quality but I can’t expect much more for this price.
      Thanks for the kind words and I hope you enjoy the laser cutter.

      -Rich

      Like

  39. Dear Rich,
    I wish I had found your blog about a year ago having struggled with many of the issues you describe, but by perseverance and a casual attitude to safety managed to fix… I am now onto my second laser tube and about a month ago fitted a new final lens. After re-aligning the mirrors and adjusting the table height to match the focal length of the lens, it is cutting better than ever.
    It should be made clear to any potential buyer that these lasers are not a polished turnkey product with full factory support, but I think for the money, they are incredible value.
    Having said all that, I have a problem. Half way through an engraving operation it suddenly stopped mid traverse. All the lights are on, the fan runs, the water pump does its thing and the test laser fires, but the laser head will not move. Whenever I try to get the machine to cut or engrave I get a windows type error message “Detect Exception” and Error ID:1. It is as if my laptop cannot fully communicate with the controller in the laser. My lap-top recognises when I pull out the USB cable and when I plug it back in I get all the right messages. I have Googled Detect Exception without success, have you or any of your acolytes seen this problem and hopefully, know what the solution is?
    Ever yours,
    Chris

    Like

    1. Hi Chris,

      My apologies for such a late response. This was 1 of about 10 comments I received that day and I got a little overwhelmed. I hope you came to a solution by now but I’ll weigh in on what it might be in case it helps others.
      If it’s always exactly halfway through then my guess is that you’re facing a software issue. I had a lot of problems trying to get Corel Laser to work correctly with my main computer and ended up using a Windows 7 laptop to do all my laser cutting. It’s not an ideal situation but for some reason the laptop works perfectly. I was going to get rid of that laptop but I keep it solely for my laser cutter now. First thing to try would be another computer because frankly this software is riddled with compatibility issues.
      If this issue happens in one particular cutting area my guess would be that you have a mechanical failure and the motors are locking up. If you have a tooth missing from the belt or the belt is too loose then that could be your problem. If this is the case your problem will occur in roughly the same location every time. First step would be to determine which axis is causing the problem and then search for mechanical issues.
      Please let me know how this worked out if you were able to fix it. Thanks so much for reading and best of luck.

      -Rich

      Like

    2. I had a similar problem, but with ID:0 that turned out to be the printer losing connection to the PC. It usually, but not always, happened fairly early in the cut, but was pretty consistent for each object.
      I replaced the crappy included USB cable and the problem went away.

      Like

  40. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for your blog. I studied it extensively before buying a Chinese laser cutter so that I knew what I was getting into.
    My K40 had all the usual faults and dangers described but once corrected it is great value for money . Dangers were dodgy wiring n the fan, no interlock for the laser beam on door opening, no laser warning labels. All easily corrected.
    Faults were mirror mis-alignment, no water flow protection, dirty lens and badly fitting fan.
    The fan was improved with a bit of gentle brute force, forcing the bottom over the ledge it sits on. It fits and extracts better now. The clamp and table have been removed and a scissors jack has become the basis of a new table, which allows me to focus the beam on the workpiece by raising or lowering the table through a small hole in the front of the case.
    Air assist has been added with a small copper pipe fixed to the carriage and aligned to the beam impact point. Air assist makes a huge difference to the cutting of wood which is my main target.
    I have no complaints with CoreLaser and CorelDraw 12 working under Windows 10. I had to select 6C6879-LASER-M2 as the board type in the settings to stop it going crazy.
    How good the meter is I don’t know but I cut three millimeter plywood at 5 on the current knob (4mA on the meter?) at 6mm/sec for one pass or 12 mm/sec for two passes.
    5.5 mm plywood 5 on the dial and 7mm/sec for two passes. One pass can be made at 10 on the dial but I prefer to keep the power and speed down.
    Now to the one problem I haven’t been able to solve yet. It appears my beam is not vertical. For example when cutting a circle in something with a bit of thickness the north and south edges are essentially vertical but the east and west are sloped with the top of each side more to the west than the bottom. Quite noticeable to the eye and can cause problems with the meshing of the gears I cut. Replacing the lens with a disc of paper gives a burn spot that is central. Could the lens be defective? Have you come across this before?
    I am sorry to be so long winded but I thought I would share my experiences so that other people know that with a bit of effort these can be made into a safe and workable machine that is excellent value for money.

    Like

    1. Hi Nigel,

      I responded to your more recent post. My apologies for the late response but your comment got buried under a bunch of others.
      Thanks so much for reading and let me know how it turned out.

      -Rich

      Like

  41. Hi Rich,
    Thank you very much. I studied your blog extensively so that I knew what I was getting into before I bought my K40. What a fabulous and great value for money macine when the dangerous/poor design bits are sorted.
    One feature I can’t quite sort though and maybe you have come across it before.
    Most obvious when gutting a circle in 3mm material, the edges at the north and south cut vertical but the edges at the east at west both slope in the same direction. This is quite noticeable to the eye and causes me problems when trying to mesh gears.
    A further experiment by firing the test button on card, then rotating the lens holder by some degrees by unscrewing it a little( thus rotating the lens) and firing the laser again. Repeating this for a full circle and more produces a series of spots on a 4.5mm diameter circle.
    Replacing the lens with a 12mm disc of card produces a mark in the centre of the disc so I am confident the beam is aligned well.
    I can only think the lens is defective, or is there a simpler explanation.
    Best Wishes
    Nigel

    Like

    1. Hi Nigel,

      My apologies for such a late response. I sometimes get overwhelmed with comments and your was buried. I hope you’ve solved your problem by now but I’ll respond in hopes that I can help others.
      This has actually happened to me on a lesser scale. I can tell you that when cutting thicker material like 1/4″ (3mm) acrylic there is a small but noticeable difference in cutting width between the top of the material and bottom of material. The top being closer to the laser absorbs more of the heat and the cutting width is slightly wider. You can certainly experiment with cutting speed and power to reduce this. When cutting gears I try to go slow because the laser seems to burn a more even amount of material which makes a more vertical cut.
      The fact that this is only happening in a single area is leading me to believe that you have an alignment or lens issue. If it’s cutting correctly in one area but not another it means the laser is either not hitting the center of the lens, or (less likely) the lens is deformed or dirty.
      It took me a while to correctly align my lens. I thought I had it right and then I did it again, and again until I was finally satisfied.
      Please let me know how this works out. Thanks so much for reading and best of luck.

      -Rich

      Like

  42. what a fab blog iv’e got the same engraver as you and the tips ive got from you have been very help full
    the problem i am having is the starting point of the laser it starts about a inch over the exhaust i cant get past it i have set it on the coral page as 30cm x 20cm i have no problem with the engraving i just cant get it to fit the work area
    i dont really know much about corel finding it very difficult to grasp

    hope you can help with the software issue
    regards
    colin james

    Like

    1. Hi Colin,

      Your comment was buried so my apologies for such a late response. I hope you’ve solved your problem by now but I’m responding in hopes that I can help others.
      If I start my laser in the upper left limit I hit the exhaust and it essentially destroys whatever I’m cutting. To fix it I just start the cut just below the limit a little. I’ve never needed the full cutting area.
      Vector drawing programs can be difficult to grasp. If you’re better with AutoCAD you can just import .dxf files to Corel Laser. I learned on Adobe Illustrator several years ago and just browsed around for tutorials until I got a good idea of how it works. Corel Draw and Inkscape are both pretty similar too.
      Thanks so much for reading and let me know if you have any more issues.

      -Rich

      Like

  43. Great advice and thank you. I have had the K40 for about two weeks and after mirror alignment it runs well, I cannot fault the machine for the price. The blower and pump are obviously thrown in to get you going but they do the job. My problem has been with the software, the Corallaser sets up the laser very well but I cannot get it to scan at full size, it always scans at about half my setting size. My setting size is about A4 or 120X120 etc. However when I use the Laser draw software alone it produces the correct size but plays up when I alter the speed settings less than 400 or more than 500 mm. If anyone has suggestions on this I would be grateful to read, thank you all.

    Like

  44. hi there richard, thanks for the article, i have the same machine but it doesnt cut through the material, to cut a 3mm acrylic i had to set it to a 2mm/s speed and to maximum power and it didnt even go through the whole material, do you know what might be the problem? the power was also to the which showed 20 to 25 out of 30 ma, thanks!

    Like

  45. Interesting read, Thanks for the time and patience to blog this lot.
    I’m thinking of buying one of these and probably will over the next few weeks. Has anyone one here given up on their project and want to sell it to me? 🙂 I would think a safety switch on the lid is a must, this could be tied in with a float and weir system on the coolant return line. Plus for the cost of it, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to fix a co2 bottle to the enclosure. Something like the beer gas or welding bottles. If piped direct to the enclosure then any hint of a fire simply crack the valve a bit and flood the whole machine with Co2 dealing with any fire pretty quickly.
    My hesitation on buying one is it’s ability to cut 6mm plywood. Reading info on the net seems like it maybe on the limits of this machine. Unfortunately a bigger 60,80 or even 100W’s are out of my limits…lite laser ply maybe do able. Have you tried to cut anything this thick ?
    Is it better to run the laser at half the speed and half the power or twice speed , twice power. The effective watt hours is the same ??
    Thanks again Rich….

    Like

  46. Hi Richard – thanks so much for your blog. This is really really helpful.

    I got the Moshidraw to work. It appears there is a power setting on the moshidraw software to control the laser.

    There is also a knob on the front of the laser machine itself. In order to adjust the power,do I need to adjust both the knobs and the software together? Or does one override the other?

    Like

    1. Hello Nikhil,

      My apologies for such a late response but it seems every time I respond to five comments I receive ten more the same day and I get somewhat overwhelmed.
      My laser actually came with CorelLaser which I’m assuming is pretty similar to Moshidraw. Before I was able to focus my laser I thought I was having a problem with the power of the laser so I searched for a power setting within CorelLaser. I was not able to find anything referring to laser power within the software.
      If you have a power setting in the software I would just set it to max and control the power with the dial alone. It’s much easier to control in the middle of cutting and it’s easier to visualize with the ammeter located on the control panel.
      If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks so much for reading and best of luck.

      -Rich

      Like

  47. HI Richard,
    excellent blog. Thanks for that.
    We have just purchased a 40W Laser from eBay.
    It came ok,unfortunately no DVDs included.
    Had contacted the seller (from Hong Kong), they sent us some digital files instead, as well as link to the
    http://www.3wcad.com/download.asp page.

    We managed to download Corel Draw, LaserDRW and WinSealXP.
    They all installed ok, I can run them on WIndows 10 laptop, but WinSealXP does not recognize the USB dongle – not sure would it work with the Laser (haven’t come to that part as yet). However, LaserDRW does recognize it ok (it authenticates).
    Unfortunately, CorelLASER (download from their page) does not install at all due to the missing Assemble.dll ?!

    Anyhow, my understanding is that these are used to import a file from CorelDraw and send it to the laser (like an interface or such). Is that right?
    We are trying to figure out what are all 3 apps used for. Do we need them all – i.e. are they practically the same thing; or, are they used for different things? Would you have any idea?

    Thanks.
    Warm regards from Down Under,
    Nenad

    Like

    1. Hello Nenad,

      My apologies for the late response but I get buried in comments from time to time.
      CorelLaser is more like a plugin to Corel Draw. I’m not entirely sure how it works myself but I was unable to get it running on my main computer. I found out the hard way that it was not compatible with Windows 8. You almost don’t have to bother trying Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. I had a similarly cryptic error message and tried a whole bunch of solutions but I ultimately just gave up and installed it on a Windows 7 laptop which worked flawlessly the first time.
      LaserDRW gave me the same error message but I didn’t bother installing it on my laptop because CorelLaser works well. I can confirm that CorelLaser will allow you to import files from Corel Draw, Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, or DXF from AutoCAD. I’ve done all of those things and they worked well. I don’t think WinSealXP has any real use but I wasn’t able to install it any where anyway. I’m assuming it was meant for Windows XP which I have given up long ago.
      My best advice would be to find another computer where you can install CorelLaser. It’s pretty good once you get it working. If you have any other questions please feel free to post them here. Thanks so much for reading and best of luck.

      -Rich

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s