View Full Version : Whats your favourite handy gadget for your Laser ?

Chris J Anderson
06-18-2014, 12:49 AM
What little gadgets have you made / purchased to assist with using your laser ?

My favourite so far is these magnets.
They work well for keeping sheet material flat, including stainless steel plates.



Mitchell Tutty
06-18-2014, 2:19 AM
I'd second you on the magnets, using the exact magnets on your bed and work a treat.

Rodne Gold
06-18-2014, 2:35 AM
By far the best item to have , is a 10x loupe or a printers loupe
You can diagnose all sorts of laser issues using one.

David Somers
06-18-2014, 10:29 AM
Good morning Rodne!

Can you expand on your use of a loupe for those of us pre-newbies out here?


Chris DeGerolamo
06-18-2014, 10:31 AM
I wouldn't call it a gadget, but a stack of post-its makes a great adjustable shim.

Henri Sallinen
06-18-2014, 10:39 AM
Some iron blocks that are thin enough so that the laser air assist nozzle can go over them. I use them to hold curved materials down. I've covered the blocks with some tape to ease the hard corners. These are the most used "gadgets" that I use.

The magnet idea would be great if you could utilize it with the honeycomb! Mine atleast isn't magnetic...

Tim Bateson
06-18-2014, 10:44 AM
A 'D-cell' battery wrapped in duct tape. I place it inside most things that go on the rotor. Keeps lightweight objects like wine flutes in good contact with the rollers.

Doug Griffith
06-18-2014, 11:44 AM
Not a gadget but I fold up the edges of aluminum foil to build a tray that sits within the OEM tray beneath the cutting grid. It catches all the small parts that fall through and makes the machine easier to clean. So... aluminum foil. And a small mirror to lay on the bed beneath the lens during cleaning. It and a flashlight help to make sure the lens is clean. I would clean the lens less often if I had to remove it every time.

Tim Bateson
06-18-2014, 1:14 PM
I forgot my latest improvement - Added LED lights inside the cabinet - Front & back. Makes a HUGE difference on the Mini. It's been a few months now, but it seems they've been there forever - seems so natural - I wonder how I ever worked without them.

Kev Williams
06-18-2014, 1:56 PM
My 'gadgets' are similar to Henri's- I have about 20 each 12" long x 1" x 1/2" thick steel bars, and ditto for some 12" x 3/4" x 1-3/4" bars. A customer made them up for me for free. They hold down leather so it won't pucker up. They hold down the edges (and middles if there's room) of warped aluminum and plastic. They hold down the edges of SS panels that warp while Cermarking. I push 'em against whatever I have pushed against the rulers so it can't walk. I set them against matrixed batches of plates so they all stay together. The 2" bars usually weigh enough, but if I need more weight I can set one or two of the 1" bars on top, and there's still clearance for the lens to pass over them. I probably use them 80% of the time I use a laser.

A 1" bar is keeping this piece of aluminum in place...


Jon Sollee
06-18-2014, 2:06 PM
Also added a 48" strip of super bright LED lights on our VYTEK LSTAR gantry. We have a controller as well to dim the lights from 100%-25%. Way cool.

Rich Harman
06-18-2014, 3:06 PM
I use magnets too but those tiny ones in the first post would do nothing for me. I use a dozen 1/2" x 1/2" x 2" neodymium magnets to hold down 1/4' ply and acrylic. When they land on the bare honeycomb it takes two hands to pull them off.

I also always have a dental pick-like tool handy for checking to see if pieces are getting cut all the way through. It also helps in removing the cut pieces sometimes. An exacto knife works almost as well.

Dave Sheldrake
06-18-2014, 3:27 PM
+1 on the dental picks :)



ps: my most often used tool...a router digital height gauge with a tab on the lens barrel to make tiny height adjustments or my adjustable height bed mod

Brian R Cain
06-18-2014, 3:40 PM
My 'gadgets' are similar to Henri's- I have about 20 each 12" long x 1" x 1/2" thick steel bars, and ditto for some 12" x 3/4" x 1-3/4" bars.

Yep, same here except mine were a set of engineers parallels - precision ground bars 6" long x 1/2" thick and in pairs of varying height from 7/8" up to 2". They were great for some set ups, particularly when using very thin materials on the honeycomb bed as sometimes the material would slip under the rulers whereas the ground edges of the parallels prevented this. Plus I knew exactly how far away from the rulers I was working. Also very good for raising the material off the bed to prevent flashback. One setup I regularly used was for cutting large odd-shaped pieces out of 1/2" acrylic where any flashback was unacceptable. I could arrange the parallels underneath the material to support the cut piece as well as using others as registration stops.

J&L Industrial Supply often sell sets of these on special offer at bargain prices and they come in a nice box to help you look after them, so if you sign up for their monthly mag, you'll know when they are around, plus they may have other goodies you fancy. Don't worry, they don't pester you just because they have your details. Definitely something for a wish list. You can also get sets in other thicknesses, which as an engineer I also had. The 1/8" thick ones were just right for keeping things flat and avoiding the cone hitting them.

Mike Chance in Iowa
06-18-2014, 4:18 PM
Dental pick
wheel weights - to keep items flat
dish rack - a wire rack for drying dishes. This works great to stack a bunch of plaques, name plates or whatever and let the paint dry without them touching or taking up too much space.
old business cards (Quality card stock. Not cheap paper) - these are great for weeding transfer tape or paint fillling
JDS 6" plastic ruler - I use that thing every day!
Wood blocks similar to Ken's, but I stack them on top of the rulers when I have an item that cannot make contact with the ruler guides to line it up properly.

Last, but not least, we've all seen them... a chair cushion made for wooden chairs. It seems I'm always kneeling down to work on a project to save my back. Tossing the chair cushion on the floor makes it much easier on the knees!

Forgot to add my dial calipers. I keep them right in front of my keyboard too!

Bruce Volden
06-18-2014, 5:58 PM
I too use magnets but my go to seems to always be my dial calipers. Seems nothing I buy from the warehouses is "perfect" so I double check (twice and engrave once). I also bought a sheet of galvanized metal to my bed size for the magnets to stick.


Kev Williams
06-18-2014, 11:57 PM
My NH rep loaned me a twin to my ULS once, he had the table covered with black/gold laser-steel for magnet use...

Keith Colson
06-19-2014, 4:39 AM
I really like this gear generator program (https://www.google.co.nz/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=hKGiU4T2Ju3C8geKrIG4AQ&gws_rd=ssl#q=gear+template+generator+matthias+wand el&spell=1) if you like to make gadgets that need gears chains and racks and pinions etc.


Rodne Gold
06-19-2014, 4:40 AM
With a loupe , you can see exactly what the laser is doing , for eg you can see of the bi directional firing is out of alignment , you can see the dot or path structure , whether there is a lot of melt , whether the beam is "burning" or vaporising and generally inspect the quality of engraving

Helps you diagnose machine/bream/processing issues

I like the alcan foil tray idea and the dental pick as well as the dish rack thing and the extra LED lights... will implement em


David Somers
06-19-2014, 12:12 PM


Are there any documents or publications out that you are aware of that might show what those things look like? I have been a bit surprised so far to note there is very very little in the way of published stuff on lasers given how long they have been around, and how little they have changed relatively over the years. Most of the resources seem to be in forums like this one. Curious.


Greg Bednar
06-19-2014, 12:20 PM
I use golf tees as suggested by Frank Corker, to elevate the work piece from the vector table when cutting. I use it for acrylic so the piece doesn't have the tick marks from the reflection of the beam on the honeycomb surface of the cutting grid. Cheap, disposable, re-useable and does the job.

Mike Null
06-19-2014, 1:59 PM
I use a jeweler's loupe occasionally, https://www.google.com/search?q=jewelers+loupe+10x&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XiSjU6PPOoGGyATE1YKABg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&biw=1920&bih=943

I also use a slotted 2 x 6 x 24 to hold engraved metal plates waiting for assembly. this was made on the table saw. I have a couple of other items I use to hold leather, baseball gloves, baseball bats.

I also use a dental pick and more often a draftsman's triangle to align items to the table rulers.

Tim Bateson
06-19-2014, 3:24 PM
I use golf tees as suggested by Frank Corker...

Sorry for the "off-topic"... but where is Frank - I haven't see him here for a long time?

Jerome Stanek
06-19-2014, 4:44 PM
I like my non contact thermometer to check the temps of my water supply hoses/

Brian R Cain
06-19-2014, 6:17 PM
Having considered this at some length now, I shall have to say that my favourite laser accessory has been my secretary who was kind enough to painstakingly weed out the bits we didn't need in laser cut samples to give away at trade shows.

One year, I recall, we did a show aimed at schools and I designed and cut out hundreds of acrylic Vernier callipers to give away and inspire teachers with what a laser could do. They went down a storm at the show and none of the competition had anything close as good, but my word, they were tedious to assemble and she served me well doing it.

I can tell you that had I a supply of secretaries like that to give away as freebies with every laser I sold, I'd have cleaned up the market for machines forever.

Greg Bednar
06-20-2014, 10:36 AM
Sorry for the "off-topic"... but where is Frank - I haven't see him here for a long time?

He's been lately watching the World Cup. Soccer, of course, is quite big in the UK.

Jeff Belany
06-20-2014, 11:19 AM
++ on the magnets -- the only thing I do different is to epoxy them into a recess in small wood blocks. IMHO it makes them much more useful.

Jeff in northern Wisconsin