Equipment/LaserPro Mercury II

From Teesside Hackspace

LaserPro Mercury II
Model LaserPro Mercury II
Sub-category CNC
Status Working
Training requirement yes
Owner Teesside Hackspace
Origin Pledge drive
Location Garage
Maintainers Jimallanson

Cutting bed size 63.5cm x 45cm LaserPro Mercury II Manual

Basic Safety[edit]

This is far from an exhaustive list, but here are some extremely basic and fundamental safety tips:

  • Do not use the laser cutter before attending a safety induction
  • Never fire the laser with the cover open.
  • Never operate the laser without the Extractor unit (BOFA-AD400TS) running.
  • Never look at the laser directly. Reflections from the laser can permanently blind you. Even reflections off of a wall or material being cut can be incredibly dangerous.
  • Never leave the operating laser unattended.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand (CO2), and be able to kill power to the unit immediately in case of emergency.


Material DANGER! Cause/Consequence
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial leather Emits pure chlorine gas when cut! Don't ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, cause the metal of the machine to corrode, and ruin the motion control system.
Thick ( >1mm ) Polycarbonate/Lexan Cut very poorly, discolor, catch fire Polycarbonate is often found as flat, sheet material. The window of the laser cutter is made of Polycarbonate because polycarbonate strongly absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a poor choice for laser cutting.
ABS Emits cyanide gas and tends to melt ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher chance of catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not engrave well (again, tends to melt).
HDPE/milk bottle plastic Catches fire and melts It melts. It gets gooey. Don't use it.
PolyStyrene Foam Catches fire It catches fire, it melts, and only thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
PolyPropylene Foam Catches fire Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard drips and pebbles.
Fiberglass Emits fumes It's a mix of two materials that cant' be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Coated Carbon Fiber Emits noxious fumes A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying - but not when coated.


Note Work In Progress always do a test cut first.

The laser cutter has been tested with acrylic and laser-safe MDF so far, we've purchased this from Kitronik. If you want to try a new material (and it's not on the dangerous materials list) please let the Trustees know first.

Material Thickness Cut Type Speed (mm/s) Power (%) Passes Air Assist
Acrylic any Light Raster Engrave ? ? 1 Required
Acrylic 3mm Vector Cut 1.0 100 1 Required
MDF 3mm Vector Cut 0.8 100 1 Required
MDF 6mm Vector Cut 0.6 100 1 Required
MDF any Raster Engrave ? ? 1 Required
Rubber Stamp any Raster Engrave ? ? 1 Required
Acetal 6mm Vector Cut 1.0 100 1 Required

Note: Do not clean acrylic with Alcohol (e.g Isopropanol)

Using the Laser Cutter[edit]

  1. Turn the laser cutter on with the switch (by mains lead)
  2. Set the bed height as per training with the calibration tool, press ↑ then up/ down (F4/F3)
  3. Close lid
  4. Prepare the file as per the section below
  5. once file is set to the laser, press back if necessary (i.e. if still in menu to adjust bed height)
  6. Turn on the Extractor unit (BOFA-AD400TS)
  7. Press start to run
  8. When the job is complete, turn off the extractor and remove your material from the laser bed.

Preparing Files[edit]

  1. Open the 2DDES32.exe software on the Windows XP machine next to the cutter.
  2. import your file in JPG or DXF format (note file import, not file open).
  3. Position your cut in the bed
  4. For each layer in your design:
  5. Double click the layer and set the colour where black is cut first then red (eg use black for internal, that red to cut the outer last)
  6. File -Print- print properties
  7. Pen (tab)- Set the power and speed for each layer, note unlike the glass tubed lasers this one can be ran at 100% without damaging the laser.
  8. for rasters, adjust laser power in raster menu if needed.
  9. Once all layers have been set, click print to send the file to the laser cutter.


Q: The laser cutter froze part way through a job.

A: Power cycle the laser cutter, it should offer an option to resume from where it stopped????? (untested on mercury cutter)

Q: Why aren't curves showing on my imported DXF in 2DDES?

A: When exporting DXF from OnShape you need to select "Export splines as polylines". Some lines may still not show depending on exported version compatibility (more investigation needed).