The Engineering Electronics Shop traded in its VersaLaser for a dual-laser Universal Laser System, (PLS6.15D). Two 75W lasers, when used together, can cut thicker materials, up to 8 inches deep, and cut faster than the single laser machine this new machine replaced. The bed is also larger: 18 inches x 32 inches, and with a drop open door in the front, so that even larger items can be cut, engraved, or marked. It cuts plastic, paper, and thin wood. It can etch plastic, glass, ceramic paint, and wood. It has a cylindrical rotary attachment for etching on curved surfaces. This system includes software that simply creates a photographic image suitable for laser engraving; the software determines the appropriate contrast, filter and greyscale levels, and then calculates the correct speed and power settings.

The laser cut the material that was used to cover holes in the tables that were in the Student Commons until the end of the fall 2013 semester. Those tables are now in the 2256, 3220, and 3258 conference rooms. ESS staff used the VersaLaser etch numbers and letters on connectors on equipment used in the Juno mission that is on its way to Jupiter. And closer to home you can see touch panels for the flight simulator at the Iowa Children's Museum at the Coral Ridge Mall.

How to Use It

Anyone can submit a drawing to be cut or etched on this laser printer. The cost is $2.50 per minute of run time. Thinner, softer materials will cut faster. The shops uses Corel Draw x6 to print to the laser. (The college has a site license for Corel Draw.) Corel Draw will import GIF, bitmap, Word, AutoCad, DXF, Adobe Illustrator, and Macromedia Freehand files (GIF, BMP, AI, CAL, CLK, CDR, CFX, CGX, CMX, CPT, CSL, CUR, DES, DWG, DXF, EMF, FH, GEM, DOC, HTML).

Images work best in high contrast gray scale or black and white. Text works best as true type (so it can be scaled), and if it is to be cut out, the text needs to be a stencil font. Customers should provide their own material.


Many signs and tags around the Seamans Center were created on the VersaLaser; look at some of them. The new printer can make all those things and more.