Open your part in solidworks, and make a drawing from the part. Select the custom template, and choose an arbitrary sheet size or the size of the cutting table that you’ll be working on.
Drag the appropriate view of your part onto the sheet. The outline of the drawing that you make in Solidworks will be cut out of the acrylic, so it’s important to make sure that you select the correct view. Next, make sure that the drawing is on a scale of 1:1. To check and change the scale, right click on the drawing view in the left hand feature tree and select edit feature.
Inside of the edit feature toolbar on the left hand side of the screen, there will be a box to adjust the scale. Choose the custom feature and set it to 1:1. Make sure to delete any unwanted lines in the drawing, such as axis lines or construction lines. Any lines left in the drawing will cut when printed.
To indicate to the laser cutter software whether you will be cutting out a shape, rastering it, or etching it you will need to adjust the line size and color. For the sake of efficiency, you can use a filter select tool to select all of the lines in a given drawing. Right click the top of the window (right next to the little settings option). From the drop down menu, choose the selection filter. This will bring a toolbar of selection options to the bottom of your screen.
From the tool bar options, choose the small purple filter with the line next to it. This will allow you to simply click and drag to make a box over your drawing, and select all of the lines completely contained within the box.
Before selecting your drawing, you will want to change the settings for the smallest line option to 0.002 inches. To do this, go to the options toolbar at the top of the window, which opens a larger window of different customizable features of solid works. In the second tab, labeled Document Properties, there is an option to adjust the line thickness. Change the smalles line thickness to 0.002 inches and hit okay.
Now you can go in and select all of the lines in your drawing. Once selected, simply right click in the sheet and you can bring up a small toolbar. You can adjust the color and line thickness from this simple toolbar.
To make a cut line, the color should be pure red and the line thickness should be 0.002 inches. On the RBG scale, this is equivalent to the values (255,0,0).
To make a engrave line, the color should be pure blue and the line thickness should be 0.002 inches. On the RBG scale, this is equivalent to the values (0,255,0).
To make a raster, make sure the whole area that you want to raster is filled with pure black. On the RBG scale, this is equivalent to the values (0,0,0).
Once you have finished adjusting the line properties of your drawing, make sure that you save it. It is important to note that each of the computers at the laser cutting station hooks up to a different laser cutter. The computers are labeled according to which laser cutter they are attached to, so choose accordingly based on the size of the part that you want to design and print!
Next, export the drawing to the laser cutter software (called UCP) using the print button. Make sure to print to VLS6.60.
Hit okay, and open up the UCP software from the desktop. You’ll see your part on the first page of the software, and you can read the UCP tutorial on how to operate the laser cutter software.