Laser cutting jig

Configure RD CAM to laser cut with a jig

This post is for users of RD CAM, the software that typically comes with unbranded Chinese laser cutters.

When I laser cut 4mm birch ply, I use a jig to hold the sheet flat. I found this to be necessary as ply less than 12mm thick isn’t guaranteed to be flat, and the 4mm birch ply I have bought is particularly wobbly.

My cutting jig holds the ply clear of the table which means it is important to make the cuts in the correct order. If the cutter attempted to cut a hole in a part after cutting the part, the part may have dropped and so the laser would be out of focus. So it’s important to cut the holes first.

In theory, RD CAM is able to work out which parts to cut first. In practice I have found it can be easily confused and so I order the cuts manually. I use different colour lines for the cuts to be made first and order the colours in RD CAM.

It is necessary to configure RD CAM to use the coloured layer ordering. By trial and error (as the software’s manual is dreadful), I have arrived at a strategy that appears to work. First, click the “Cut optimise” tool bar button:

This opens the dialog:

Make sure the “Order of layer” check box is ticked and click “Ok”. In the main window move the layer colours up and down the list so the cuts to be made first are at the top.

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