Back to MEAM.Design - Laser Cutting - Common Problems / FAQ / Troubleshooting

Why is my geometry so massive when I bring it in to AutoCAD? - Units and scale! The most common problem is not correctly setting the units in the SolidWorks DRAWING (it defaults to millimeters, but AutoCAD interprets the numbers as inches, so your part will be 25.4 times too big. You may also be off by an integer scaling factor if you didn't set the SolidWorks sheet scale to 1:1. You can adjust these in AutoCAD, or go back and fix your SolidWorks drawing and re-export the DWG file.

Why, oh why do the Power and Speed show up as 0.0?!? - One of many things were not set correctly when you set the job to the laser cutter. The most common are: not setting the color of the geometry, not correctly setting the type of cutting in the pen table, and not remembering to select the correct .ctb file (with the new AutoCAD template, this shouldn't be a problem any more). If you are trying to vector cut lines with weights greater than 0.05, Power and Speed will also show up on the laser cutter as 0.0 and the cut will not work.

Wuh? It's trying to cut a box around the entire bed of the laser! - This will happen if the color of the enclosing rectangle in AutoCAD or DWGeditor is not set to SKIP in the pen settings.

OH MY! My part is on fire! - Oh no! Actually, just a small amount right at the cut area is actually okay. But if it's big or not extinguishing immediately after the cut, this is bad - first, lift the lid to stop the CO2 laser, grab the fire extinguisher off the wall, and do what needs to be done to stop the fire.

Why is the edge of the plastic (that I think is acrylic) all gooey and burnt? - Welcome to polycarbonate! At least this is likely the issue. While it may look like acrylic (our favorite laser-cutter material), polycarbonate is softer, much more flexible, and does not laser cut very well. So sorry.

Hey, I used the recommended settings, but it didn't cut through my part! - Chances are, the lens needs to be cleaned (or, it's always possible that the settings need adjustment). The cutting process releases a lot of gases, and these can actually coat the surface of the focusing lens, thereby decreasing cut performance. This is particularly pronounced when you cut or do a lot of etching in MDF. If you don't disturb your part, you can run the job again, only it's a good idea to speed things up a bit (you've probably only got a little material to cut through now).