Universal Laser VLS3.50

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The Universal Laser System VLS3.50 is an air-cooled 50W CO2 laser cutter and engraver, with a 24"x12" workspace. It can handle both raster and vector cuts.

Laser Specs[edit]

  • 50W CO2 Laser
  • 24"x12" work area
  • Internal vent through BOFA filtration pedestal.

Basic Operation[edit]


  • Laser is controlled via USB, using the Universal Laser System's control software.
  • Control software acts as a Windows' Printer Driver. To upload designs, simply "print" the design to the VLS3.50 printer.

Pre-operation Steps[edit]

  • Power on the BOFA Filtration by pressing the Power Standby button on the front of the unit. If unit does not start, make sure the main Power Switch on the back right corner of the unit is turned on. It is recommended to leave the main power switch on, and turn on/off the machine through the front Power Standby button.
  • Power on Laser Cutter by pressing the Power switch on the top of the machine.
  • Open laser's Top Cover and remove any scraped or other debris from inside the unit. Be careful not to damage/bend the aluminum honey-comb while doing so.
    • A red guide laser should be shown through the cutting head while the cover is open.
  • Insert material stock into the laser.
    • Warning: Do not cut unknown materials. Do not cut any materials with Chlorides (PVC, etc). Always research your material to ensure it can be cut safely.
    • There is a wooden positioning jig to let you push the material into the top-left corner. That jig may need to be recut after extended use.

Creating Designs[edit]

A variety of design programs are able to print to the VLS3.50. CorelDRAW, Photoshop, Illustrator, AutoCAD, etc. The following applies to CorelDRAW, but others will be similar:

Note: A line's Color and Thickness/width is vital. Take care to set appropriate values.

  • When creating a new design, set the canvas' width to 24 inches, and height to 12 inches.
  • Designs use colors to define different types of cuts:
    • Black is for raster engraving (filled in areas).
    • Red is for vector cuts (cutting through a material).
    • Blue is for vector engraving (scoring/engraving lines).
    • More colors can be defined for further control if needed, but Material Library uses Black/Red/Blue as standard.
  • With a line/shape selected, press F12 to open the Object Properties
    • For Raster:
      • Set Color to Black
      • Fill object with Black
    • For Vector Cut:
      • Set Color to Red
      • Set Line Thickness to Hairline. (Some has said Hairline doesn't always work. If it gives you problems, set it to 0.0011 inches)
    • For Vector Engrave:
      • Set Color to Blue
      • Set Line Thickness to Hairline. (Some has said Hairline doesn't always work. If it gives you problems, set it to 0.0011 inches)

Sending to Laser[edit]

  • The Universal Laser Software acts as a normal windows print driver. In the design program's main menu, select File->Print, and select the 'VLS3.50' as the printer. Make sure the program isn't set to scale or 'fit to page', otherwise your drawing will be distorted.

Configuring Laser Settings[edit]

  • After design has been sent to the Universal Laser Software, you can adjust positioning and settings:
  • Moving/Locating Designs:
    • The Move tool allows you to adjust position of objects. Either click and drag to position, or select one of the 9 dots and type in a value to exactly position the selected dot.
    • When the laser's Top Cover is Open, a positioning laser will be shown to indicate where the laser would cut. The Focus tool lets you move that positioning laser to the position selected by the Blue Cross. This lets you align your design to the stock in the laser.
  • Selecting Laser Settings:
    • To adjust laser power and intensity, select 'Settings'.
    • Material Library
      • The Material Library comes with recommended settings for a variety of materials. Simply select the material, type in your material's thickness, and select Apply. You can use the sliders to fine-tune the raster/cut/engrave intensities.
      • The Material Library expects Black to be raster, Red to be vector Cut, and Blue to be Vector Engrave.
    • Manual settings
      • If you need more control, or are using a material not in the Material Library, you can click the tab at the top to switch into Manual Mode.
      • Here you can define Power/Speed settings for the different colors, and whether they are raster or vector.
      • When changing the settings for a color, be sure to click Set to save it. Pressing Enter will not save your changes.
    • Once settings have been configured, close the menu to continue.

Start the Cut/Engrave[edit]

  • Once design has been set, laser settings have been correctly set, and material has been inserted into the laser, it is time to cut!
  • Press the Start button to begin the print.
  • Press the Pause button to pause a print. Press the Pause button to resume the print. Warning: Do not press the Start button to resume a print. This will re-start the print from the beginning. Use the Pause button to resume.
  • Keep an eye during the cut. Some small flames are normal while cutting wood, but if flames become too high and might damage the laser's lens, then pause the print and extinguish the flames.


  • Remove part and any scrap material from the workspace.
  • Check X-gantry mirror for dirt/debris, and clean if necessary (see Maintenance Steps below)
  • Check laser head len and mirror for dirt/debris, and clean if necessary (see Maintenance Steps below)
  • Press the Power button to turn off the Printer.
  • Press the front Power Standby button on the BOFA Filter unit to turn off the filter.
  • Put control laptop to sleep.

Maintenance Steps[edit]

  • Remove and clean the x axis gantry mirror
    • Pull red tab diagonally to slide out mirror
    • If Dirty, use optical cleaner on qtip (As-needed, do not clean if not visibly dirty, excessive cleaning can damage the mirror)
  • Clean cutter head mirror and lens
    • Unscrew two screws on the cutting head, pull unit outwards.
    • If Dirty, use optical cleaner (As-needed, do not clean if not visibly dirty, excessive cleaning can damage the mirror)
  • Remove debris from honeycomb bed (Once a month or as-needed)
    • Loosening two screws on the side of the bed to act as handles.
    • Remove bed by lifting upwards and at an angle
    • Empty bed by tilting back of it into a garbage can.
    • Insert, making sure bed connector is seated properly.