Engraving and cutting leather (1mm) using Apollo 600

I am new to laser engraving and cutting. I am using an Apollo 600 at my local FabLab and they have been brilliant. I will be going today and will find out what controller and firmware is currently running, do I need to ask anything else?
They installed Lightburn (latest version) as the software supplied was terrible. Lightburn defaulted to Ruida but we are struggling with cutting even thin leather - it needs 10 to 12 passes to cut through, engraving is pretty much OK.
We have engraved and cut (2 passes) successfully using the old software. So is the Apollo supported or does it need manual settings or is Ruida OK, and is there anything else I need to ask them to report back here. Thanks from another newbie!

I cannot find a single piece of information about the Apollo 600, other than “it’s a laser cutter” without submitting a “request for information” form on their site. You said “the software supplied was terrible” - Is that RDWorks? If so, it’s a Ruida controller running it.

You haven’t given any mention of what power and speed settings you were using in each software, just that it took many passes. If you had the power set to 10%, it would indeed take many passes. If the cutting speed was 10mm/sec or lower it would also only be using the ‘Min Power’ value, not the Max Power, so that’s another possibility.

If you can provide additional info about the settings used in each piece of software we should be able to figure out what’s different and get you sorted.

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Hi Oz, neither could I and I looked all over, I did find a PDF giving some details, see list of specs below if useful!

The software supplied with the laser was APS Ethos, this seems to be embroidery software. The original settings for cutting using this software were set to Velocity (!) 50 - Max power 50 - Min power 50 at 4 passes but I was told that more passes were needed for my leather on the original job.

Tonight I had one of the original crew from my previous visits and we used these settings in Lightburn to get some good results.

Engraving - Speed 300 - power max 40 - power min 10
Cutting - All settings 50, but this required 4 sets of 5 passes

I don’t think there is another way to cut leather except lots of passes. Fortunately we have a supply of release paper to minimise flare. We may have to do more tests to find the sweet spot between settings to try and get number of passes down but I think that’s the best we can do with this laser probably?

The laser is 30 watt, here are the specs from the brochure.

Maximum Linear Cutting/ Engraving Speed
400mm / second.

Maximum Raster Image Engraving Speed
666mm / second.

Resolution Ratio

Minimum shaping character: Letter: 1 x 1 mm
Location precision: <0.01 mm
Supported formats: .PLT, .BMP, .DXF, .Al, .DST, .DWG, .LAS
Power supply: ACl 10 to 220V±l 0%, 50/60Hz
Power Consumption< 1250 Watts at maximum.

If you can, do the following for me so I can determine which model of controller it uses:

  • From the supplied software, draw a simple box, set to cut, 50% power, single pass
  • Save the file as a “machine ready file” - This is often called a ‘UDisk file’

Then, with LightBurn running and connected to the machine:

  • Go to Help > Enable Debug Logging
  • Right click the ‘Devices’ button in the lower-right window. You should see “Found xxxxx” on the bottom of the display
  • Count to 5, then hit the ‘Stop’ button
  • Disable debug logging and quit

There will now be a file in the Documents folder called LightBurnLog.txt Email that to me, to developer at lightburnsoftware dot com with a brief note saying that it’s from the Apollo 600, and also include the UDisk file saved from the stock software.

With these two things I should be able to see if there’s anything I’m not correctly classifying, but it does sound like things are working already, from what you’ve said.

Given that the machine is only 30w, the settings you describe seem reasonable. Leather produces a lot of smoke, so good air assist will be helpful. If you haven’t done one before, do a ramp test to make sure you have the focus point of the machine set properly.

With my 100w laser, I cut 1/8th inch ply or acrylic at 25mm/sec, 90% power, so 50mm/sec with a 30w laser is going to take more passes, so I’d recommend going slower, and/or using higher power. If you drop the speed to 10mm/sec or lower, set Min Power and Max Power the same.

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Just for fun I tried to find out more info on the machine. It is used in the textile industry. I am sure that is why it is using embroidery software. The brochure mentions that it uses an RF laser and touchscreen control.


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Ahh - if it’s an RF laser that would explain why the wattage is lower. That would also give it a much smaller beam spot, so you’ll get away with using less power for cuts than a glass tube system, because the power is concentrated to a finer point.

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I’m guessing then that I’ve stumbled on the perfect machine for me with a smaller (finer?) beam spot, given that I work in miniature :))
I’m over there tonight again, I will try and jump on the machine and get the files mentioned and send them on! Thanks!

Files sent via email as requested!

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