Monday, October 26, 2015

Digital Fabrication Lab

By Patrick Szczecina
As a worker from the Digital Fabrication Lab for two years and now being a Graduate Assistant for the lab I noticed a lot of students from all years still not knowing how to properly set up a file. Students come into the lab and expect us workers to set it up. We have gone and told students to read what it says on our website, posters hanging up and an RSO that helps teach how to set up files. That is not our job, instead we run the laser cutter, all based off of the file that are given to us. People come in and give us files, and yell and talk back to us for not helping, however we are busy and cannot do this for every student. So in this blog I will be responding on how to properly set up a file and hopefully students understand how it works. First off the laser bed is 18”x32” and that is what the material you cut needs to be. Secondly we use AutoCAD, there is a template (!resources/c1uoi) where you can download and import your work. Inside the file is different scales that you may put your work in, in order to cut to the needed scale. If the scale is not provided a detailed explanation is given on the top right side on how to scale objects. Inside these templates are two lines green and blue, ALL WORK MUST FIT INTO BLUE! Or else it won’t cut. Going along once you bring in your file into the template or make your file, setting up correct colors is next. First off we have red which cuts through the material completely, Blue scores the material (thin lines that don’t cut all the way through the material), and White which is raster (Laser runs back and for and creates score marks that eat away at the top layer of the material). That is all that goes into setting up a file, have the correct material size, set it into the correct template with correct scaling and inside the blue, and have all the correct layers on what you wish to cut. Come to the SIU-ARC RSO when the email is sent out for our first meeting (Possibly in a week), we teach how to use the laser cutter properly with hands on experience and most importantly tips and tutorial basics of programs not thought at SIUC.

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