Equipment/SH-350 Laser Cutter

From Teesside Hackspace

SH-G350 Laser Cutter
Model SH-G350
Sub-category CNC
Status Working
Training requirement yes
Owner Jimallanson
Origin On Loan
Location Next to back door
Maintainers Jimallanson

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 water pump functioning, and proper ventilation.
  • 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, 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.


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 100 20 1 Recommended
Acrylic 3mm Vector Cut 2 80 1 Recommended
MDF 3mm Vector Cut 2 80 2 Required
MDF any Raster Engrave 100 20 1 Required

Preparing Files[edit]

  1. Open the Lightburn software on one of the hackspace computers, or install the free trial on your computer.
  2. Open your file in SVG or DXF format.
  3. Position your cut in the bed
  4. For each layer in your design:
  5. Double click the layer in the right hand panel and set the correct speed from the table above.
  6. Set both the min and max power to the power in the table above.
  7. Once all layers have been set, click the "save to RD file" button and save the file to a USB flash drive

Using the Laser Cutter[edit]

  1. Ensure the coolant is flowing by checking the spinning flow indicator
  2. Ensure the switch marked "laser" on the side of the cutter is turned off
  3. Turn the laser cutter on with the top switch
  4. Once the homing process is complete, position your material on the bed and close the lid
  5. Ensure extraction is running, coolant is flowing, lid is closed, exhaust pipe goes outside and that you are wearing laser goggles
  6. Insert your USB flash drive in the port marked "UDisk"
  7. Press the "File" button on the control panel
  8. Select UDisk and press enter
  9. Find your file in the list and press enter
  10. Select copy to memory and press enter, press enter again to exit
  11. Press escape, then select "memory" and press enter
  12. Select your file and press enter
  13. Turn on the switch marked laser on the side of the laser cutter
  14. Select run and press enter
  15. When the job is complete, the laser cutter will beep twice. Turn off the switch marked "laser" and remove your material from the laser bed.
  16. Switch off 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.

Q: The display language has changed to Chinese .

A: Press the reset button