View Full Version : Artcut 40 Help for Coated Aluminum

Kevin Humphrey
04-22-2009, 9:17 PM
I'm new to laser and this forum. I have a new artcut 40 and have it to a point where I can engrave a faint outline of text on anodized aluminum at around 12ma. I've tried several speed and cut settings - they don't make much difference. I bought the tags from Chewbarka Tags, and they are supposed to turn white when co2 lasered. I could use some help, and I also can't find where to change the text from outline to filled. Thanks, Kevin

Zachery Thomas
04-22-2009, 9:34 PM
Hi Kevin, I have the same machine and you should not have any problems marking those tags. The current doesn't really indicate much, except the tube is receiving power - how many turns do you have dialed in?

Have you used the machine before, for engraving/cutting without issue?

I have done anodized aluminum tags at 12cm/s with the power set at 2.5 turns (~10W) since it seems to be fairly linear.


Kevin Humphrey
04-22-2009, 10:11 PM
Hi Zax, it's about 3 turns out for the power. I may have something set wrong in newly draw options. This is my 1st laser, I have a couple of Roland engravers. The printed manual that came with the artcut says
Speed 5-10 (I assume this is "Scan Speed")
Power 5-15 (I assume this is ma as read on the meter)
Step .05-.075 (I'm not sure if this is "Line Gap" or not)
Depth .01-.1 (I don't know where the depth setting is - I see "Top Depth" and "Bottom Depth" but they are both grayed out)

I still don't see fill for printing solid text.

Thanks for the help!

Zachery Thomas
04-22-2009, 11:47 PM
It looks like the parameters you have are pretty close to what I've used.

Speed = Scan Speed (they have 5-10, I used 12)
Power = Watts (recommended 5-15, I used ~10 and you used ~12)
Step = Line Gap (I would use 0.10mm which is 254 DPI)

I imagine the depth is the anodizing thickness.

You select solid text by changing the setting just right of the Scan/Cut mode drop down on the main design screen. It has 2 options, one causes all shapes to fill (so the center of an O would be filled) and the other does what you probably want which is like a combine mode.

That actually answers the problem I think, if you only have the text outline and use scan mode you will hardly get any mark unless you crank the DPI up to max. It's just too thin of a line.


Kevin Humphrey
04-22-2009, 11:59 PM
Thanks Zax,
If you are talking about the Scan Mode Section of the Engrave popup window, everything is grayed out. The pull down below Scan Mode says Mono, reverse and slope are unchecked, Bott W is 2 mm, scan out is 0 mm, Bold H and Bold V are both 0, Top Depth is 20 and Bottom Depth is 200. Is this the area you are talking about changing to solid text?

Zachery Thomas
04-23-2009, 6:48 PM
No, back on the main design screen - not on the engrave screen.

On the engrave screen, you mention some items being grayed out... 'mono' isn't though - right? If it is, you only have vectors selected.

I would send some screenshots but I'm away on business at the moment and don't have access to my Newlydraw dongle.


Kevin Humphrey
04-23-2009, 8:44 PM
Yes, mono is grayed out, I don't see anything for selecting vector or rastor.
I tried to print a filled circle by selecting mode 1 and drawing a circle, it appears solid black on the screen, but when I go to engrave it, the start engrave button is grayed out - it seems to only like outlined text at this point. If anyone can help talk me through this sticking point, my cell is 208-755-4036. I'm in the pacific time zone and usually up till 9pm. Thanks,

Kevin Humphrey
04-23-2009, 8:55 PM
Progress, I managed to get filled text by changing to scan and mode 1. And now it is trying to print the filled text, but the power is very low. When I test fire the laser manually, it burns a nice spot at about 12ma. When I engrave, the power bounces around 1-2ma. Also, now the "Scan Mode" section on the engrave pop-up is NOT grayed out. Are there setting on the software that affect the ma? Thanks, Kevin

Zachery Thomas
04-23-2009, 10:25 PM
Kevin, I'm glad you are making progress.

I'm in Taiwan at the moment and calling back home is $3/min. on my cell but I'll try to help via the forum.

If you have vectors set as 'cut' the scan options are grayed out, but if you have vectors set as 'scan' and/or rasters selected the options are available. The machine acts very different because in scan mode it will use the pulse frequency determined by scan gap setting.

In scan mode the current reading will appear much lower as the pulses are so short the meter does not have time to show the full power being used. Scan mode speed is usually considerably higher, so power density is reduced (but typically desired since this would be for engraving and not cutting).


Kevin Humphrey
04-23-2009, 10:31 PM
Thanks for all the help Zax! I'm getting closer, when I turn up the current regulator more, I get a bounce to about 5ma in the scan mode. It doesn't show up at all on the coated aluminum tags from Chewbarka, but it does burn a pretty nice solid black letter on typing paper. Sounds like it should be working on the tag too. Any Ideas?

Zachery Thomas
04-23-2009, 10:41 PM
I agree, it seems strange you aren't seeing a nice clean engraving at those settings.

At 10W and 12cm/s I get excellent results in anodized aluminum name plates (haven't tried tags yet).

How does the machine do on other materials? I would check beam alignment and clean the lens/mirrors.


Kevin Humphrey
04-26-2009, 2:06 PM
It's getting better, I find that I can do outlined text with the power knob 8 turns out (maybe 3/4 power) and the Line Gap at .05, when I change to scan and mode 1 for filled text, it works, but has sloppy lines and rough edges.
I've double checked the mirrors and lens, and I'm using the table height gauge that came with the laser. Measuring from the top of the work surface to the plate that holds the lens assembly. Any ideas? My scan speed is 10 and cut speed is 1. Thanks,Kevin

Dave Johnson29
04-26-2009, 2:28 PM
but it does burn a pretty nice solid black letter on typing paper.


This has got to be a beam alignment issue. I cannot set my 25W low enough to burn paper it cuts right through.

Do you have a beam alignment process in the manual?

A cut speed of 1 with any power setting should "poof" smoke and flame paper.

If it is not beam alignment then it is a fast dying tube.

Is there an interlock over-ride device or option? More suggestions for you on the answer to that.

Kevin Humphrey
04-26-2009, 7:10 PM
I haven't tried the cut speed of 1 on paper, I was scanning when it blackened the paper, I'm getting the outline (cutting or Scanning) now, but can't get the solid text to look good, it is distorted looking, the outlined looks sharp. Double checked the mirrors and focal point. Does the distance from the laser tube to the 1st mirror make a difference. In the setup video's it appears the end of the tube is a couple of inches from the 1st mirror. Mine came with the end of the laser almost touching the 1st mirror bracket (very close).

Dave Johnson29
04-26-2009, 7:30 PM
Does the distance from the laser tube to the 1st mirror make a difference.

Nope, the beam is pretty collimated (parallel) so a few inches is not going to matter.

When you say you checked the mirrors what do you mean?

By alignment, I mean checking that at each mirror you get a full round dot about 1/8" to 3/16" diameter in the center of the mirror aperture. Start at that first mirror and check the other 3 in turn.

I am not familiar with that particular laser so not sure what the alignment procedure is, but it sounds like the beam is not in the center of the mirrors all the way through.

If the beam is correctly aligned all the way through then the tube is a gonner.

Is that aligning video online anywhere so that I can take a look at it?

Kevin Humphrey
04-26-2009, 8:39 PM

The laser burns a nice hole in paper when I use the test button. It also burns paper in the cut mode, in the scan mode (which I believe is what I need for filled text) it's turning white, just sloppy. Here is a link to the setup videos,
http://www.mbkpinternational.com/videos.htm I am getting a hole in the middle of each of the 3 mirrors. Thanks,

Dave Johnson29
04-27-2009, 10:47 AM
Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the link. If you have done all of that and still cannot mark anodized aluminum then I suspect it is a tube or the tube electronics.

Something just ain't right. Have you called Artcut?

The knife in this picture was done with 40% power, 60% speed on a 25W laser. The text was raster and the oval vector.

Kevin Humphrey
04-27-2009, 3:51 PM
Nice knife engraving Dave! I can get the laser to print outlined text, the problem now is that when I do filled (solid) text, the edges are rough and sloppy. You said you used raster for your text? Does that mean you used a .bmp or .dxf of your text?

Dave Johnson29
04-27-2009, 3:58 PM
You said you used raster for your text? Does that mean you used a .bmp or .dxf of your text?

Hi Kevin,

My laser (ULS-1700) has a printer driver and it looks like a printer to Corel. I use Corel to create the graphic and then just "Print" and the driver takes care of the decision between raster and vector. It does all the raster first then all the vector.

I attached the pic to show the result at the figures I gave. Here is a close up of it and it is by no means sharp but under normal viewing the edges look fine.

So are you saying you can mark the anodized stuff, but it has rough edges or is it barely marking at all. I have been assuming the latter of those two.

Kevin Humphrey
04-27-2009, 8:52 PM
after turning it up 8 turns on the power (about 15ma) it does a good job outlining text on anodized aluminum, but filled text is rough. Guess I need to play with the settings some more, I'm not sure if you reduce the scan speed and the power to get clearer printing or not.