Got a 60watt CNC laser funded on Donors Choose for my school. Advise welcome

I’ve been very excited to be fundraising for a 60 W CNC laser machine on donors choose. It got funded today. I’m super excited to add a CNC to our school and feel free to read about the already funded project here.

I have been looking at LightBurn since I started to plan for this project. Any advise welcome.

Also, the CNC is the 60W 110V CO2 Laser Engraving Machine Laser Engraver Cutter with USB Interface (20 x 28 Inches Engraving Area) • ORION MOTOR TECH

Thank you,

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If that’s the panel that runs the machine, it’s a Ruida 6442, and is the first controller that LightBurn supported. In fact that machine, with a larger tube, is what we started with. We have multi-seat pricing options for schools and shared spaces, so when you’re ready to have that conversation send an email to

Before then, if you haven’t played with the trial yet you should - set up a device by cancelling out of the automatic device chooser, then clicking “Create Manually”, and choose a Ruida device - that will make sure you see the appropriate controls. Work through some of the tutorials to get a feel for how the various tools work. When the machine shows up we can reset the trial to give you time to actually work with it for real. Feel free to ask questions on the forum, even if they aren’t related to the software - there’s a lot to learn.

Thank you Oz,

I’ll be sending a email tomorrow.


I have that same Orion machine but in 80 watts and I’ll toss in my $0.02 worth.

  1. Get a decent mA meter and install it in series with the cathode end of the tube so you know how hard you’re driving it. If you crank those machines up to 100% power it will over drive the hell out of the tube and drastically shorten it’s life. Find out what the max current is for your tube and keep it below that. On my machine 65% power is about the maximum for good tube life. Yours may be different. Only way to know for sure is with an ammeter.

  2. Get a temperature meter to keep an eye on coolant temperature. If you’re just using a bucket of water for cooling then you need to keep a close eye on coolant temperature.
    If you’re using it hard and often or if the ambient temp in your shop is fairly high then you may want to invest in a water chiller to keep things reasonable.

  3. Have fun! I’m sure that part will be easy. :slight_smile:


That all sounds like good advice. My fellow teacher (wood shop) and I (adaptive PE, but have used similar lasers before) have been looking into water coolers and such. We have also discussed trying to upgrade the laser tube, water cooler, and other odds and ends on Donors choose in the future.

If we were going to buy a water cooler is there a brand we should investigate?

I should probably note that just two weeks ago I had brain surgery. It seems I am recovering well but at the moment, from time to time and mostly when tired, I get a bit confused. Been told that this is normal and I’m making a very strong recovery. Also, I have dyslexia and at the moment my spelling and written grammar is a little off.

My two teacher partners for this program are going to run the education bit. For now, I’m just going to train them during the professional development hr after the students schools HR. I can’t wait to go back to work full time.

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