Laser Cut Gainesville Hackerspace Keychains

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Keychains are a great gift to give guests visiting the Hackerspace, and it is a great project to learn how to use the laser cutter. The GCode has already been created for a few different sizes of acrylic, so if you want to skip straight to cutting you can start with Premade Gcode Files.

Created by Christopher Hoffman in January 2017.

4 Keychains with Acrylic Paint
Keychains in Holder


Creating Toolpaths in CamBam[edit]

<Coming Soon>


Premade Gcode Files[edit]

GCode files have already been created for the following sizes of acrylic. Simply cut a piece of acrylic to one of the sizes (a bandsaw works great for that), and use the files listed.

All files can be found on the Laser Cutter, in the following directory:

  • /home/machinekit/Desktop/Hackerspace Projects/Hackerspace Keychains/GCode/


132mm x 132mm, 0.08" thickness. 8 count, 40m cut time[edit]

Creates 15 keychains with Rulers. Uses the (-3,-3)mm jig. File locations:

  • Ruler_8count_132x132mm_0pt08in_Engrave.nc
  • Ruler_8count_132x132mm_0pt08in_Cut.nc

196mm x 104mm, 0.08" thickness. 9 count, 50m cut time[edit]

Creates 15 keychains with Rulers. Uses the (-3,-3)mm jig. File locations:

  • Ruler_9count_196x104mm_0pt08in_Engrave.nc
  • Ruler_9count_196x104mm_0pt08in_Cut.nc

196mm x 130mm, 0.08" thickness. 12 count, 1h 5m cut time[edit]

Creates 15 keychains with Rulers. Uses the (-3,-3)mm jig. File locations:

  • Ruler_12count_196x130mm_0pt08in_Engrave.nc
  • Ruler_12count_196x130mm_0pt08in_Cut.nc

196mm x 156mm, 0.08" thickness. 15 count, 1h 20m cut time[edit]

Creates 15 keychains with Rulers. Uses the (-3,-3)mm jig. File locations:

  • Ruler_15count_196x156mm_0pt08in_Engrave.nc
  • Ruler_15count_196x156mm_0pt08in_Cut.nc


How to cut using the Laser Cutter[edit]

For more detailed steps, see K40_Laser_Cutter.

Setting up the machine:[edit]

  1. Turn on power strips connected to the laser cutter
  2. Ensure water is flowing through pump below the cutter
  3. Turn on main motor power with the main red rocker switch on the cutter
  4. *Check that laser is off* by making sure the laser button is up

Insert Acrylic into Laser Cutter[edit]

  1. Insert the (-3,-3)mm Jig into the laser cutter
  2. Remove any film from both sides of the acrylic to be cut
  3. Insert the acrylic into the laser cutter, making sure to press the corner tight against the (-3,-3) jig.

Loading Gcode for Engrave Step[edit]

  1. Connect to the laser cutter by using VNC on a desktop (or laptop), and connecting to the IP Address of the laser (should be 192.168.1.16).
  2. Start linux CNC by clicking on the LinuxCNC icon on the desktop, and select *execute*
  3. Click the folder icon, and find the *_Engrave.nc file for your acrylic size
  4. Enable machine power in Linux CNC by clicking the yellow Machine Power icon in the top toolbar
  5. Home Laser Cutter by clicking the Home All button.

Starting Engrave Step[edit]

  1. Set the laser's power level to ~2.5mA, which is about 9 o'clock on the power knob. Adjust slightly if needed.
  2. Press laser engage button down to enable the laser. Make sure you are wearing polycarbonate safety glasses from this point on.
  3. Click the Run button in LinuxCNC to start engraving.

Loading Gcode for Cut Step[edit]

  1. Once engraving is finished, load the cut step by clicking the folder icon, and find the *_Cut.nc file for your acrylic size
  2. Set laser power 10mA, which is just before midnight on the power knob
  3. Click the Run button in LinuxCNC to start cutting.

Final Steps[edit]

  1. Turn off laser by making sure the laser button is up
  2. Remove keychains and cut acrylic from the laser
  3. Close LinuxCNC, close VNC viewer.
  4. Turn off power strip for the laser