CO2 Material Compatibility

Engrave and Cut

Wood

Acrylic

Wood

Leather

Paper

Cloth

Matte Board

Rubber & Silicone

Fabric

Engrave Only

Marble & Stone

Ceramic

Coated Metals

Glass

* CO2 lasers will mark bare metals when coated with a metal marking solution.

Stainless Steel

Bare Metals

Titanium

Brass

Epilog Fusion Pro Control Panel

  • Pressing the Go/Stop button during a running job will stop the lens carriage and shut off the laser beam. 
  • If the Go/Stop button is pressed during raster engraving mode, the lens carriage will pause on either the far left or far right of the engraving line that’s in progress. 
  • If the Go/Stop button is pressed while in vector cutting mode, the lens carriage will stop at the end of a line segment or at the next line node location.

Reset Key

  • Pressing the Reset key will move the carriage back to its Home Position. Press the Reset key after you have moved the carriage when in Jog mode.
  • You may also press this key if you want to restart a job after pausing it with the Go/Stop button. Reset does NOT erase the job from the laser system’s memory; rather it will stop the current engraving job and send the carriage back to the Home Position.

Focus
The Focus function allows you to manually set the table to the correct height for engraving while using the Focus Gauge. With Focus highlighted, use the Joystick to move the table up or down. The display will show a digital readout of the table position. Press once to enable the Focus feature and the icon will turn green. Press again to exit this feature.

Pointer

The Pointer icon is a toggle switch that turns the laser system’s Red Dot Pointer on and off.

Jog

The Jog function allows you to move the laser head around the table with the use of the Joystick. To make it easier to use, turn on the Red Dot Pointer for a visual indication of where the carriage is moving. The carriage can be moved in the X, Y or diagonal direction. The display will show a digital readout of the carriage position. This function is useful for positioning the focus gauge over any object on the table to ensure proper focusing.

Trace

The Trace function allows you to preview the placement of your artwork on your object/material before you run the job. To use this feature, turn on the Red Dot Pointer, select your job from the Job Menu, and press the Trace key. The laser head will begin tracing the exact outline of your job repeatedly. To stop tracing, press the Trace key again.

Access the Jog Menu by pressing the Jog icon, which will turn green when active. The Jog Menu allows you to adjust the current X and Y axis positions of the laser head. You may change the current position of the laser head either using the Joystick, or by entering precise coordinates under “Move To”.

Auto Focus

Access the Focus Menu by pressing the Focus icon, which will turn green when active. The Auto Focus button is in the center of the Nudge arrows. When you have jogged the lens carriage above your material, press the Auto Focus button to use the plunger to Auto Focus. The table will rise until the material touches the plunger, then set the table to the correct height. Your job should now be in focus.

Park Axis

Park Axis returns the laser head to the default home position in the upper left corner of the table.

Epilog Laser Dashboard Basic Function

Laser Cut Line

  • To automatically designate a path as a vector cut, set the line thickness to 0.1 pt or less. To set stroke thickness, use the Properties panel when selecting the graphic or stroke.

Send Artwork to Laser Software

  1. In Illustrator click File > Print when you’re ready to send your artwork to the Software Suite

Epilog Engraver Printer

  1. In the Print window, choose the printer “Epilog Engraver”. Configure any other settings. It’s useful to change “Media Size” to “Custom” to ensure that artwork boundaries are correct in Epilog Dashboard.
  2. Choose Print to send the design to Epilog Dashboard.

Scale

  1. Edit: You can click on the file and move it wherever you would like on the table.
    Reset: Reset the entire file back to its original status when printed to the Dashboard. This will also reset all laser parameters such as speed and power settings
  2. Name:  Name of the job that will appear in the engraver’s job list.

Layout

  • Importing without changing “Media Size” in Illustrator will likely place your design outside of the engravable area. If your design can’t be found in the Dashboard, check this bottom right area.

Engraving Setting

  1. Import current material settings by clicking the folder with the down arrow. Select between the Engrave and Vector tabs, then choose your material from the list.
  2. Process Type: Choose if you want the process to be “Off” (ignored by the laser), “Engrave”, or “Vector”.
    Setting the process to Engrave will engrave all graphics and lines, regardless of line width. Setting the process to Vector will ignore any raster graphics and only cut all vector lines in the process.
  3. Speed
    Determines the travel speed of the carriage and is adjustable in 1% increments from 1 to 100%. The slower the speed, the deeper the engraving or cutting. Speed settings are heavily dependent on the hardness and the thickness of the material being engraved or cut, with harder materials requiring slower speeds for deeper engraving/cutting.
  4. Power
    Determines the amount of laser energy that is delivered to the piece being cut and is adjustable in increments from 1 to 100%. The higher the power, the deeper the engraving/cutting.

Load Material Library Item – Engrave

  • Select the Engrave tab, then choose an engraving profile corresponding to the material being used. Clicking Import will load this profile into your process.

Vector/Cutting Setting

  • To Import a material settings, click the folder with the down arrow. 

Load Material Library Item – Vector

  • Select the Vector tab, then choose a cut profile corresponding to the material being used. Clicking Import will load this profile into your process.

Group / Ungroup

  • Group / Ungroup: The file will initially appear grouped. If you want to move individual sections of the file, with the graphic selected click the ungroup icon several times until all items are ungrouped.

Selection

  1. After you have ungrouped your artwork, select a portion of your artwork you want to separate into its own process and select “+ Selection”. In this example we have moved the text into a separate process from the other graphics, letting us adjust the speed and power settings for just that portion of the engraving.

Print / Job Manager

  1. Press “Print” to send the job directly to the Job Menu on the laser engraver. The job will not be saved for later use with this option.
  2. Press “Send to JM” to send the job to the Epilog Job Manager. This allows you to save jobs and manage them in the future.

Epilog Laser Dashboard Advanced Function

Jobs

Once the Job Manager is open, click the Jobs tab. All print jobs sent to the Job Manager from the Dashboard will be displayed in the Uncategorized Jobs folder by default. Printed jobs that are not sent to the Job Manager can be found in the Temporary Jobs folder. Click on your job to highlight it. You can now Print, Edit, Preview, Move or Delete this job using the available icons.

Materials Setting

  • The Materials Setting tab allows you to edit and organize setting profiles for different materials. Profiles can be edited and rearranged, and new material profiles can be added to subfolders with “New Item”.

Boundary

  • Jobs in Epilog Dashboard have pink boundary lines that can be adjusted. Any artwork or lines outside of these boundaries will not be cut or engraved when the job is sent to the machine.

Advanced Engraving Settings

  1. Export your new material settings by clicking the folder with the up arrow. Add a settings name and add it to an existing folder.
  2. Resolution Set your print resolution anywhere from 75 to 1200 DPI. For the best engraving results, use a resolution equal to the resolution in the raster images within your project setup. We recommend using a resolution of 400-500 for most standard engraving jobs. Use 600 DPI for jobs requiring finer detail. The resolution setting in the print driver will affect the engraving time (there are twice as many engraved lines at 600 DPI as at 300 DPI) and the quality.
  3. Dithering: The dithering drop-down will appear for Engrave processes, and Vector Sort for Vector processes
  4. Cycles: How many times to repeat this process.
  5. Direction: This feature applies to engraving only and allows you to engrave your project either from the top-down or the bottom-up direction. In standard top-down engraving there can be a large amount of engraving debris generated, especially on materials such as plastic, wood and rubber. As the debris moves toward the exhaust plenum, some of it collects in the area that has just been engraved. Bottom-up engraving prevents the debris from collecting in the freshly engraved spaces.

Ordering Processes

  1. In the Processes section of the Dashboard, you may rearrange the order in which each process runs on the laser. The order of the processes in the list is the order that they will be completed by the laser. You can change the order of the processes by clicking and dragging them up and down in the list. In this example we are engraving and cutting a control panel board. The three topmost processes will engrave first, and the job will finish with the vector processes
  2. The process order will always begin with any engraving processes, then follow with your vector processes. If you attempt to move a vector process above an engraving process, it will automatically go back to its previous position below all the engraving processes. This is to ensure that the engraving processes are completed while the piece is as flat as possible. Once cut through, pieces may shift as they are cut out of the item, providing a misaligned engraving.

Advanced Vector/Cutting Settings – Frequency

  1. The frequency setting is only active on vector processes, and controls the number of laser pulses that the laser fires per inch of travel. The frequency is set in the dashboard and can be adjusted from 1 to 100%. A lower frequency number will have the effect of less heat because fewer pulses are being used to

Vector Sorting

You can determine the cutting order of vector lines directly from the Epilog Job Manager.

You can choose from three different vector sorting options:

  1. None: Vector line cutting order is determined by the order they were created.
  2. Inside/Out: All internal vector paths in the file will be process prior to the external vector paths. For
    example, if cutting the letter O, the inner oval will be cut before the outer oval.
  3. Optimized: The laser will process the vector lines looking for the next closest node for quicker
    vectoring.

Manual Focus

The Manual Focus Gauge is used to find the correct distance from the focus lens to the top of your material.

Place the object being lasered anywhere on the bed. Press the Jog button and use the joystick to bring the focus gauge directly over the material. Press the Focus button and adjust the table height with the joystick so that your material just touches the bottom of the gauge. Table height can be fine-tuned with the options in the Focus menu.

Once you find your focus position, flip the gauge back up and press the Reset button to move the laser head back to its home position. Don’t leave the Manual Focus Gauge down while running jobs or using Auto Focus!

Items being engraved should generally be flat, but if your material has a taper or curve, focus on an intermediate point between the highest and lowest points being engraved. If the area being engraved differs in height by more than about 0.125” (3 mm), your image will start to look fuzzy.

Air Assist

The machine’s Air Assist feature directs a constant stream of compressed air across your material where your laser is, which removes heat and combustible gases from your material’s surface. This stream of air helps reduce charring and scorching when lasering materials like wood, rubber and acrylic. This feature uses an air compressor that is built into the machine.

If possible, Air Assist should always be enabled. It’s especially important when cutting flammable or thick materials like wood and acrylic. Air Assist is turned on and off with the switch that sits on top of the Air Assist tube on the side of the cone. If the switch is pointing outwards, towards the front of the machine, Air Assist is ON. If it’s pointing to the side of the machine, Air Assist is OFF.

Media Size

  1. Before sending a job from Illustrator, it’s useful to change Media Size to Custom. This allows you to tell Epilog Dashboard the dimensions of the design you’re lasering, which is useful for alignment and for avoiding your artwork being placed outside of the bed area.
  2. Enter the dimensions of the area being cut or engraved here. After clicking “Print”, this does two things in Epilog Dashboard: your design will be placed in the upper left of the bed, and engraving boundaries will automatically be set to the given dimensions.

Resolution / DPI

Resolution is an important factor in the overall quality of your engraving. It is measured in Dots Per Inch (DPI), which refers to the number of dots or lines engraved for every inch of movement by the laser head. Higher resolution settings will achieve finer detail in a design, but your job will take longer because the machine is lasering more dots per inch. For example, a job with 600 DPI will have twice the detail as one with 300 DPI, but will take about twice as long. Also, a high DPI will engrave deeper than a low DPI, which is important when engraving thin materials.

We recommend 300-600 DPI for most designs. Keep in mind that image quality is subjective: a design at 300 DPI might be fine for some people and designs, while others need 600 DPI. Also, a high DPI doesn’t make up for a low-quality design file.

75 – 200 DPI: Usually used for experimenting with image locations or rough drafts. This can also be useful if you don’t want to remove much material while engraving, like with fabric.

300 DPI: Useful for engraving glass, plastic and other items that don’t benefit from high detail in engravings.

400 DPI: An ideal value for many applications that combines good image quality with fast engraving times.

600 DPI: Good when very fine detail is required in an engraving. Can take a long time, but gives excellent results.

75 – 200 DPI
These resolution values are typically used for non-production purposes where you want to experiment
with image location, or if you want to quickly produce a rough draft. Low resolution settings are also
useful when engraving products that you don’t want to remove too much material from while engraving,
such as fabric.

300 DPI
300 DPI is useful when engraving materials such as glass, marble, plastic and other items that don’t
benefit from the engraved dots being close together.

400 DPI
This resolution value is ideal for many applications. It combines very good image quality with fast
engraving times. Many users like 400 DPI for all of their work.

600 DPI
When really fine detail or overall excellent results are required, most users choose 600 DPI.

1200 DPI
This resolution is used for projects that require the best engraving quality possible, or if engraving
extremely small fonts. Although it’s seldom used because, under normal circumstances, most people
cannot visually discern the difference between 1200 and 600 DPI. There are some users that appreciate
this high level of quality and are willing to take twice as long to produce an image at 1200 DPI as it would
take them at 600 DPI.

Image Dithering

Dithering controls how dot patterns are engraved in raster images (dithering settings have no effect on cutlines). Using different dithering options on the same job will achieve very different results, with certain choices being better for photographs and others being better for text/clipart. We recommend using the Standard setting for engraving text and clipart, and using Stucki for photographs.

Clipart Modes
• Standard: This is the default mode and will be used for
most engraving jobs that include text and clipart at 600
DPI.
• None: This option works well for color mapped jobs or
when artwork is in CMYK color space (useful for artwork in
PDF format

 

Photograph Modes:
• Floyd-Steinberg: Produces an almost wave-like pattern
to an image. This works well for some photos containing
a great deal of detail. Photos with more monotone
swatches of color may not be as pleasing as Jarvis or
Stucki modes.
• Jarvis: Many users find this mode good for engraving
photographs at 300 DPI. This mode produces a very nice
looking pattern on almost all photos.
• Stucki: This mode produces results that are only
marginally different than the Jarvis dithering pattern. It is
also very good for engraving photographs at 300 DPI. The
differences between Jarvis and Stucki are very subtle.
• Bayer: This mode is an efficient and widely used
halftoning technique. It is easily distinguished by its
noticeable crosshatch patterns. Bayer (ordered) dithering
is more suitable for line-art graphics.

 

Experiment with the different dithering patterns to determine which effect is most pleasing. It is not mandatory that you use the clipart modes with only clipart images or photograph modes with all photographs. Many users prefer one of the photograph modes for many clipart images, and one of the clipart modes for photographs. The choice is entirely up to you and will take some experimentation.

Epilog Laser Rim-Style Rotary

Rotary Attachment Installation

Follow these steps to install the engraver’s rotary attachment:

  1. Lower the engraving table enough so that the lens carriage doesn’t get in the way of the rotary.
  2. IMPORTANT: Turn off the engraver. The machine won’t recognize the attachment until it’s rebooted, and installing the attachment while the engraver is powered on could cause damage.
  3. Place the rotary attachment in the upper left corner of the engraving bed, then plug the attachment’s cable into the right side of the engraver’s cabinet.
  4. Power on the engraver. The machine will detect the rotary attachment and move the lens carriage over the center of the attachment.

Rim-Drive Rotary Setup

The wheels on the left are the drive wheels which spin the cylinder. The wheels on the right are for support, and can be raised or lowered to level the top surface of your cylinder with the X-beam. The scissor jack can be moved left and right to accommodate cylinders of different lengths.

Rotate the knob to lift or lower the scissor jack. Squeeze the tabs to move the scissor jack left and right.

We recommend putting your cylinder’s larger diameter on the left side. Load your cylinder onto the Rotary Attachment so that it is just touching the black bumper. Use the scissor jack to elevate the right side of your object so that the top surface is horizontal. If your cylinder is not horizontal to the X-beam, the laser can either lose focus or hit your item as the carriage head moves.

Optionally, you can use a clamp to hold your object against the drive wheels as they rotate, but most items don’t need it. The photo below shows this being done.

Advanced Job Settings

The Advanced tab in Epilog Dashboard lets you configure job settings pertaining to the rotary attachment and centering.

  1. Displays a visual preview of the design being lasered.
  2. The Advanced tab in job settings.
  3. Rotary attachment setting. Enable this if the design is being engraved with the rotary attachment.
  4. Centering Point: Changing this from None will disable placement of your design using the camera and allows you to instead place your artwork by choosing a reference point for the design’s center. For jobs utilizing the rotary attachment, set this to Center-Center. With this option, you will select the exact center of your design on the object being engraved.
  5. For rotary jobs, define a Type, Page Width and Page Height. Type should be Rim-Style. Page Width is the height of your cylindrical object, and Page Height is the circumference of your item at its largest diameter.

Centering Point

This option is only used with jobs that have Centering Point enabled in Advanced job settings. For these jobs, enable the red-dot pointer and jog the laser to where you want the reference point for your design to be, then press Centering Point. If you chose Center-Center in Epilog Dashboard, this point will be the exact center of the design when you run the job. Long-pressing the Centering Point button returns the laser head to the point previously set.

When using Centering Point settings, we recommend using Center-Center. This option disregards the overall size of your artwork and the position of its corners, but allows you to set the center of the artwork on the machine. This setting requires you knowing the dimensions of your design to avoid engraving beyond the boundaries of your material or the bed. 

Center-Center is the most common use for the Center Engraving features, but you can also use Center-Left, Center-Top, Center-Bottom, Center-Right or Custom as your design’s reference point. Depending on the object being engraved, these options may be easier to find than the center point of the engraving area.

When using Center-Center, the overall size of your work piece and the upper-left corner reference point are not used. With Center-Center engraving, the important starting points are the size of your artwork and the available space for it on your work piece. With Center-Center you’re interested in positioning the center of your artwork to a specific point on your work piece, no matter where your work piece is on the laser table.

With the Center-Center option you can place your artwork on almost any size of page and almost anywhere on that page. At the laser using the touch screen, you are able to jog the laser head to your work piece on the table with the red dot pointer turned on, and set the center point wherever you want.

Measure the area you have available for engraving.

  1. In the drop-down box next to Centering Point, select Center-Center.
  2. Print the job to the laser.
  3. Make sure your laser is focused to the work piece.
  4. Jog the laser head to your work piece on the table with the red dot pointer turned on, and press the button under Centering Point to set your center point.
  5. Back at the Job Menu, select the job and press the Trace button with the Red Dot Pointer on to check the outline of your artwork. The laser head will continue outlining the artwork until you press the Trace button again.
  6. Once you are happy with the position of your artwork, select the job and press the Go/Stop button to start the job.
  7. While Center-Center is the most common use for the Center Engraving features, you can also use Center-Left, Center-Top, Center-Bottom, Center-Right or Custom. Depending on the object you are engraving, these options may be easier to find than the center point of the engraving area.

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