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Jul 172011

Epilog command line laser cutter test

One of NYCR’s most popular weekly events is Lunar Laser Mondays using our Epilog mini-35 laser cutter. The only supported system is Windows with CorelDRAW and Epilog’s closed source driver, which doesn’t seem right for a hackerspace. Luckily, AS220 Labs has figured out how to talk to the Epilog using PJL. I’ve written a command line tool, epilog, that will translate the Postscript file into commands for the cutter.

There are a few differences from Epilog’s driver — the most significant is that with the epilog command line tool the home position is always the upper right of the page, not the center of the bounding box as in the Windows printer driver version. The other major difference is that the lines to be cut are distinguished by color, not width: anything that is #FF0000 will be translated into a vector cut.

To use it from inkscape you will need to write out a PDF file by selecting “Print to file” and writing the output.pdf file. Then you can run it through the tool like this:

  --dpi 300 
  --raster-power 80 
  --raster-speed 100 
  --name "epilog test" 

One of the next steps is to build a set of presets for different materials and typical work flows (fast vector pass with no power to see outlines, raster only, vector only, etc). The ability to automate these common steps in scripts will really make it easier for repeat jobs.

There is no man page yet. Until then, here’s the description of the options:

Usage: epilog [options] < file.pdf
 -p | --printer ip                  IP address of printer
 -P | --preset name                 Select a default preset
 -a | --autofocus                   Enable auto focus
 -n | --job Jobname                 Set the job name to display

Raster options:
 -d | --dpi 300                     Resolution of raster artwork
 -R | --raster-power 0-100          Raster power
 -r | --raster-speed 0-100          Raster speed
 -m | --mode mono/grey/color        Mode for rasterization (default mono)
 -s | --screen-size N               Photograph screen size (default 8)

Vector options:
 -V | --vector-power 0-100          Vector power
 -v | --vector-speed 0-100          Vector speed
 -f | --frequency 10-5000           Vector frequency
 Posted by at 3:45 pm

  9 Responses to “Laser cutting from the command line”

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  1. […] ink), so the low speed is to ensure that the laser cutter’s steppers make smooth lines. I use my own GPL’ed epilog driver to give me better control over the cutting versus etching, but this should work fine with Corel as […]

  2. […] I finished the layout, I sent it to the laser with my epilog program using the command […]

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