How to Use the Epilog Laser Cutters

The following documentation applies to both the Epilog Helix 30 & Helix 50 Laser Cutters. The machines are identical except the “50” is faster and more powerful.

The laser cutters are, in the eyes of computers, printers.

How To Use The Laser Cutters

  • Power switch is on the left side of the units.
    • There is no power cycle protocol.
    • If the machine needs to be reset, switch the power off. Wait 5 seconds and power on.
  • Buttons on the panel
    • Green = start
    • red = pause
    • Flippy arrow to the left = reset
    • Arrow to the top right = speed of the laser
    • Button with a dot = power of the laser
    • Up and down arrows = raise and lower the table
    • 4 arrows is the focus button
    • Red circle with a dot shows a laser pointer, to focus and target the laser. It is not the actual laser.
    • X/Y = Custom Home - to disable for custom home to be set by hand
      • Restart the machine to clear custom home
      • Do not touch the settings or utilities buttons
  • Balancing and Adjusting Speed and Power
    • Speed is the preferred option
      • Increasing the speed decreases the power of the laser
    • The higher the power, the slower the machine operates
    • Rule of thumb
      • Don’t lower power, raise speed
  • Home position is in the top left corner of the rulers
    • When setting custom home, disable X/Y axis and move the laser to custom home
    • Press “set home” to set new home position
  • Focal Lens - Where the laser comes out to cut
    • Must be 2" above the material being cut
  • Metal triangle over the plunger is the manual focus gauge
    • This can be used to auto focus a cut
    • Have the tip just touching the material surface
  • Auto Focus is found in the print manager
  • Stop the laser - lift the glass lid
    • May be necessary if the material catches fire
    • Can be used to turn the laser off but allow the plunger to follow the path of the design. To understand if the laser is going where you expect it to.
  • Grids
    • There are two grids that the material being cut rests on
      • Honeycomb grid = Vector Grid
        • There is a slight vacuum pulling down with this grid - good for fabrics
      • Solid grid = Raster grid
        • Meant for engraving. But the Vector grid works just fine for engraving
    • To change the grid
      • Lift the 3 rulers under the glass.
      • Remove the grid in the cutter
      • Stow it in the front under the white door
      • From the stow area pull out the grid you want to use and place it with the “edge lip” side down in the cutter
      • Return the ruler flaps down to hold the grid in place.
        • If using the Vector grid, place the stabilizer bar in the middle
        • If using the Raster gird, place the stabilizer bar on the right side
  • Rotor
    • Remove the “crumb” tray which is behind the white door
    • Remove the grid in the machine
    • Place the rotor, which is found under the grid stow into the 4 holes on the deck of the machine surface.
      • If the rotor is plugged in with the power on, the motherboard will fry. This is best seen when the table begins to rise to the top.


  • Centering is used when starting from the middle of an object or an object that does not sit at home position
  • To use centering effectively it is best to:
    • Disable X/Y axis
    • Turn on red dot sight
    • Move laser to center of object
    • Run a test run of the cut; you may turn the red dot laser on first and leave the lid open to see what the path of your cut will look like without the worry of the laser firing

When sending a file to the laser cutter

  • Turn the air compressor on > Silver motor on the top of the laser cutter
    • This keeps air blowing on the laser as it cuts minimizing fire.
  • Turn the BOFA air filter on > Big black box next to the laser cutter
  • Upload PDF file to computer connected to laser cutters
    • Open the file in Acrobat Reader (the default program for viewing PDF files on this computer)
  • Press print button as if the file were being sent to traditional Printer
  • On printer page, select “properties”
    • This will bring you to the epilog job manager editing software
    • From here, determine raster and vector settings based on material
    • Determine the size of the material
    • If colors are used in file, determine color parameters
      • It is strongly suggested that blue is used for Vector cutting and Red is used for Raster cutting
    • Double check all parameters and close Epilog software
    • Press print to send file to laser cutter

What To Watch For

Fans in the back top of the unit. If they are not on, something is wrong with the controller board.

Laser Cutter Terms

  • Raster = engrave
    • Interpets as a dot matrix printer - pixels
  • Vector = cut
    • Follows a path of the line and shape