Frequently Asked Questions
YES! It is possible to laser out ADA/Braille signage/letters. A company based out of the Midwest has patented a technology that enables this process. It is quite expensive, but if you produce quite a bit of ADA/Braille signage/letters then the investment is well worth it and greatly expands the capabilities of CheckMate Laser systems.
YES! From our smallest DT Series to our XM8 Series flagship systems to our GM Series large format high wattage open bed laser systems they all are developed to raster engrave and/or vector cut.
Depends on the type of rotary style purchased and the model the rotary is placed into.
Clamp Style Rotary Attachment: The maximum diameter and length of the to-be-engraved object is 6.5″ (165mm) and 17.75″ (450mm) respectively. Its maximum weight should not exceed 15.5lbs (7kg).
Scissor Style Rotary Attachment: This unit has more flexibility as the diameter can be as large as the cabinet model will provide and the weight can be far in excess of the 15.5lbs the clamp provides for. The weight limit is much higher since the wheels don’t need to support the cylindrical object like the clamp style does. Check out this XM8 Lasers rotary attachment demonstration video.
- 21.5″ depth: King & Queen
- 10″ depth: Rook
- 13″ – 34.5″ to unlimited: Bishop2
Vector cutting. Slats especially are useful for vector cutting applications/projects. These slats provide for double duty, providing an area to place products on top of to be engraved (similar to a flat aluminum table) but more importantly provides a means to cleanly cut materials. Each individual slat can be removed to minimize what is in contact with the substrate being cut, thereby eliminating the issue of the laser beam reflecting from the support area back to the bottom of the substrate. This provides for a cleaner, unmarked cut bottom surface. The old industry standard was honeycomb tables, after years of experience with these “tables” in CheckMate Lasers professional opinion they are not worth the cost and aggravation now that slats are widely available. Honeycomb vector cutting tables have a number of important problems that caused CheckMate Lasers to revisit R&D and develop a better, more durable, more efficient cutting table. Here are but a few of the issues that a honeycomb creates;
- Extremely difficult to clean due to the small hole areas
- Soft aluminum does not hold its shape to maintain flatness
- Very expensive to replace when honeycomb is no longer usable
- Honeycomb pockets trap air that the laser beam can cause to flame up
- Visit LaserLowdown.com to listen to this podcast: Laser Table Choices
Better engraving & cutting results. Air assist is a standard component that comes built into all CheckMate Laser systems. Essentially this refers to the “plumbing” which is the input connector (outside laser) to the lens assembly where the laser is marking the material (output). In conjunction with an optional mini air compressor, the air assist provides a much better engraving & cutting effect, as it will blow away vaporized particles and prevent flammage from occuring when cutting materials that by their very nature would catch fire were nothing in place to control this flammage.
Yes. Our smaller DT (Desktop) Series laser systems, the Pawn50 & Pawn40 all utilize NewlyDRAW while our larger XM8 Series laser systems, the King, Queen, Rook, Bishop2 & Knight2 all utilize our XM8draw software in addition to direct output from CorelDRAW or AutoCAD (select versions). Our GrandMaster Series outputs directly from CorelDRAW and/or AutoCAD (select versions). All the CheckMate Lasers line of laser system utilize laser specific software applications designed specifically for laser applications.
Up to 1000 dpi. Although high resolution may be great for printing on a laser or ink-jet it is very different on a laser engraver. You must always factor in the material being used, the time increase to engrave at 500 dpi as opposed to 1000 dpi. This increase in resolution will significantly increase your engraving time by a factor of 2 and may not be visibly noticeable on most materials. Trial and error are the only way to determine the lowest resolution to produce the most acceptable results at the fastest speed. Just remember, “Time is Money” so the faster you finish a project the more you make per project.
- LECME … Laser Engraving Cutting Marking Etching systems
- XM8 … CheckMate
- Pass-Thru … Ability to open front/back or sides to allow large/long material pass through
- LASER … Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
- CO2 … Ideal for organic materials, not metal
- YAG … Ideal for metal marking, not organic materials
- Fiber … Ideal for metal marking, not organic materials
- AC … Alternating Current
- DC … Direct Current
- LCD … Liquid Crystal Display
- lb … Pound
- kg … Kilogram
- LPT … Line PrinTer
- Comm … Communications
- USB … Universal Serial Bus
- AMP … Ampere
- V … Volt
- mm … MilliMeter
- SIMM … Single In-Line Memory Modules
- MB … MegaByte
- dpi … Dots Per Inch
- ppi … Pulses Per Inch
- 3D … Three Dimensional
- TM … TradeMark
- © … Copyright
- FOB … i.e., “Shipping FOB Las Vegas, NV, USA” = Buyer pays shipping cost from Las Vegas, NV, USA, and takes responsibility for the goods when the goods leave the seller’s premises.
Raster images are composed of dots & Vector images are composes of lines.
- Raster, or bitmap, graphics produce images as grids of individually defined pixels
- Vector graphics produce images using mathematically generated points, lines, and shapes.
Raster: Working with digital camera photos, scanned images, and the like you will be working within a raster/bitmap format that is ideal for high detail, quality image output. These are best modified with Photoshop, PhotoPaint or similar image manipulation software.
Vector: The clean lines and smooth curves of vector graphics make them an obvious choice for logos, drawings, and other artwork that will appear in print, particularly with lasers. Also, the use of mathematical equations enables vector graphics to be scaled and manipulated repeatedly to virtually any size without distortion. These are best modified with CorelDRAW, Illustrator and similar vector based applications software.
NO! With only an average of 1-2 requests a year for a Mac driver, it just is not practical to place any R&D into a Mac environment. So without having enough demand we don’t even consider writing a Macintosh version of our laser system driver. If the market changes, which as large as Apple reached in 2012 it still did not occurs so we doubt it ever will, and the demand increases then our software engineers will seriously reconsider adding a Macintosh compliant driver to our operating system support.
HIGHLY recommended! We have successfully been using Windows 7 since the beta release in Mid 2009 and Windows 8 since it’s release late 2012 and have had absolutely no problems utilizing these operating systems to operate CheckMate Laser systems. These are a HIGHLY recommended upgrade as this is essentially an OS with the compatibility of XP, the stability of NT, the features of Vista in a very fast, reliable, stable operating system. Microsoft finally got it right!
HIGHLY discouraged! The problem is in the operating system itself. Obviously if you have a computer that shipped with Windows Vista then CheckMate Lasers will indeed function under this operating system, unfortunately all the issues and compatibility problems that have plagued this operating system since its release will no doubt cause CheckMate Laser systems issues as well. So yes, although CheckMate Laser systems will operate under Windows Vista, we highly discourages its use (its simply a support nightmare) and inform you in advance you will not be supported using this OS!
YES! Windows 2k/XP is the original platform that has received the most attention from our R&D department. The software engineers produced a stable, powerful, feature-rich Windows 2000/XP compliant driver. This platform being a true 32-bit operating system with strict rules requires much programming, fine-tuning, and tweaking to get operational, stable and reliable.
- Temperature Range: 32°-113°F | 0°-45°C
- Operating Humidity Range: 35°-70°F | 95°-158°C
The small format DT Series, i.e., Pawn50 & Pawn40 ship with a basic cabinet mounted fan for ventilation which is more than sufficient for these smaller sized engraving tables.
Mid-sized format, the XM8 Series, such as Rook are better handled with an exhaust blower rated at least 650 CFM or higher. While the large format XM8 Series; King & Queen are better handled with 850 CFM rating or higher due to to the massive interior these laser cabinets provide.
Large format open bed, i.e., GM Series, such as the GrandMaster series should have a top mounted hose or underneath very high volume CFM exhaust blower (GrandMaster Series typically have connections for two exhaust blowers) in the neighborhood of 1000 CFM or higher.
Because the laser beam only creates dust, fumes and smoke there is nearly zero residue weight for the exhaust blower to ventilate outdoors, the higher CFM is simply to address the work area of the particular model. It is highly recommended to pipe the exhaust end of the exhaust blower out of the working room to outdoors.
Our equipment is designed to be safe even with the lid open, the door open or the panel removed. Our equipment has safety switches that automatically prevent the laser tube from firing when these items are opened. In order to operate the machine with these items opened the customer must consciously defeat the switches themselves, hence preventing most any type of accidents from occurring. Working glasses or goggles are recommended when maintaining the machine, but not necessary as you should never maintain the machine while on, especially while running.
CheckMate Laser systems are FDA (Food and Drug Administration), CDRH (Center for Devices and Radiological Health) and CE (Conformité Européenne [European health & safety product label]) approved.
NOTE: For a detailed non-biased article on Stepper vs. Servo motors GO HERE.
Stepper motors basically mean a motor that moves x amount of steps per inch. In other words assuming 400 steps equals an inch then the motor literally must produce 400 clicks to move an inch. So when a laser engraver that is stepper controlled is told to move down 1 inch and left 1 inch from home position it is basically going to click 400 times down and 400 times to the left from it’s home location.
Servo control basically means a motor that moves to a specific coordinate. In other words when your computer tells a servo controlled laser systems to move 1 inch down and 1 inch over from home position the control unit goes exactly there based on a coordinate location, i.e., x=1000/y=1000, irregardless of where the laser engraver head is currently located.
A maintenance & optics kit. Maintaining the CheckMate Laser system is extremely simple and only takes a few minutes a day. Regular cleaning of the railings to allow rollers to move smoothly, belts to ensure no particles obstruct the belts alignment and optics (mirrors and lens) kept clean and spotless are all that is required to keep your CheckMate Laser system running at peak performance. The following is all that is necessary to maintain your CheckMate Laser system.
- Denatured Alcohol: To wipe down rails & belts for smooth operation
- White Lithium Grease: To grease down lead screws for smooth operation
- Lint free clothes: For general cleaning of rails, belts, table, enclosure, etc.
- 409 or equivalent: For general cleaning of rails, belts, table, enclosure, etc.
Optics cleaning kit:
- Lens cleaning cloths
- Lens cleaning fluid
Operation and maintenance of CheckMate Laser systems can be learned literally within an hour. Our systems are really that simple. Learning the driver will take an addition 30+ minutes, so essentially you can be up and running with a CheckMate Laser system within an hour or two. The key to professional looking and purchase worthy final products is learning the graphics software.
Learning software can take weeks, months, even years to master so it is essential to utilize industry standardized software where support is located virtually anywhere, whether online or in your own city. So the following software is highly recommended to enable your creative juices to flow and limit the learning curve to as short as possible.
CorelDRAW! v11 or better. Although you can use most well-written applications we recommend CorelDRAW as it is easy to learn, feature rich, includes PhotoPaint (comparable to Photoshop), is an industry standard and relatively inexpensive compared to the alternatives. CorelDRAW is simple, versatile, powerful and with excellent positioning and text features. CorelDRAW is also the worldwide standard for vector graphics with laser systems.
PhotoGrav If you are planning on lasering any type of digital or scanned images on any type of material then this is a wise investment. The simple one-touch processing works extremely well to produce photo quality images on most materials.
The following two components are not an option but a necessity. You MUST have an exhaust fan/blower in order to catch the debris that the laser creates when vaporizing different materials and expel it outdoors. Because we include the Air Assist plumbing as standard on ALL our lasers you only require a mini-compressor. It is highly recommended CheckMate Laser owners utilize the air assist for quality and safety.
- Exhaust fan/blower system With the addition of the included hoses, simply plug in and run your CheckMate Laser system. One hose connects to the CheckMate Laser system output to the blower input, the other to the blower output to your outdoor ventilation connection.
- Mini Air Compressor If you currently own a compressor, there is no need for a mini-compressor. You can utilize an adapter to connect your industrial compressor to the CheckMate Laser system air hose connector. With this configuration you will need a regulator to adjust your air flow directly from the compressor itself in addition to two (2) water capture units (tank type compressors, produce large amounts of moisture), one to capture approximately 95% of the moisture, the second to capture the final 5% that gets by the initial water capture unit.
Essentially any computer system purchased within the last four years or so is more than sufficient to operate a CheckMate Laser system. The newer the better obviously, but the following is a good basic starting point to determine whether the computer system you intend to utilize will be sufficient. An easy rule of thumb to remember is the faster and larger is always better and of course you can never have enough RAM.
- 32-Bit: 32-bit hardware (64-bit hardware ONLY on XM8 Series)
- Microprocessor: Intel or AMD (The faster the better)
- RAM: 2 GB (The more the better)
- Hard Drive: 200 GB (The larger the better)
- Monitor: 16” SVGA Color (The larger the better, preferably LCD)
- CD/DVD drive: 32x Drive (The faster the better)
- Scanner: HP, Epson, Canon, etc. (All scanners produce sufficient quality for lasers)
- Operating System: 32-bit Windows: 2K, XP,
Vista[highly discouraged], 7 & 8 [highly recommended] (64-bit on XM8 Series ONLY)
- Pointing Device: Mouse or Tablet (Tablets provide far more control over mice when specific location positioning of cursor is required)
YES! Industry resources are necessary to locate new markets to penetrate, pricing structures, techniques to faster complete projects, trade shows to check out what’s coming down the pike, etc. LECME, inc. is here to help you locate these resources. The place to begin searching for support and information is right here at XM8Lasers.com.
YES! We’ve found over the years that phone and even email support just isn’t quite enough at times. So when the opportunity presents itself that an article needs to be written about a particular topic or a step by step tutorial must be created then so be it. The staff at CheckMate Lasers works with our customer base and determines which method will best serve the customer immediate needs or if written support isn’t clear enough then a video is produced. View the following to get a taste of our support methods.
YES Most updates/upgrades and even repairs can easily be done by the customer in the field, such as, control panel upgrade, firmware upgrade, lens upgrade, etc. Laser tubes can be swapped out in a matter of minutes. When that time comes to make an upgrade contact us and we will guide you in the right direction and/or method in which to perform your desired upgrade.
Once a customer of CheckMate Lasers, always a customer of CheckMate Lasers Your CheckMate Laser provides for lifetime technical support to the original owner (non-transferable). Not only will you have access to your sales rep for quick and reliable support for your laser system, but you also have access to our Las Vegas, NV staffed and fully stocked warehouse with technicians on hand. Finally the XM8 Support Forums provides support for everyday issues, from machine support, machine maintenance, laser engraving, laser cutting, techniques, photographs, Windows, CorelDRAW, etc.
Easily done! We are so confident with our equipment’s durability and reliability that we stand behind our lasers equal to or longer than most in the industry. Although we have a two (2) year warranty on all of our XM8 & DT series models and one (1) year on our GM & LMM Series we like to think of ourselves along the same line as the venerable Maytag appliance. “It’s great to have that warranty, but it’s even better to never have to use it!” This is the confidence we have in our equipment.
One (1) – Two (2) year warranty. The XM8 (King, Queen, Rook, Bishop2, Knight2, GrandMini DH) & Desktop (Pawn) Series CheckMate Laser systems are covered with a two (2) year warranty, while the GrandMaster and LMM Series has a one (1) year warranty. Warranty is non-transferable!
The Laser Tube, although a consumable, has been increased from a 90 day warranty to a full one (1) year warranty! Optics [mirrors and lens] are consumable items as well are covered under warranty for a ninety (90) day period. The tube warranty is for manufacturer defects, not from typical use depletion (estimated lifespan of a CO2 glass laser tube is approximately 1,500 hours which equals approximately 1 year, but have been proven in the field to last from 2-3 years on average). The exception would be laser tubes from GSI (100w/140w), Synrad (200w/400w) & Rofin (300w/600w) having a one (1) year warranty.
Also once your a customer of CheckMate Lasers, your always a customer of CheckMate Lasers and we will take care of you and do what it takes to keep you operational, productive and profitable.
Virtually any materials except unprocessed metals (see above) and substances that are too heat sensitive, such as foam. Other than that the materials the CheckMate Laser systems can etch into and/or vector cut are nearly limitless. Definitely this list is not all inclusive but here is a brief list of materials that have been proven to work well (you may come up with more).
NO. Unfortunately without HIGH wattage availability (400+ watts) no CO2 laser will engrave nor cut into raw metals. CO2 lasers use a wave frequency that allows the lasering of virtually any material, which we call organic, (see below) with the exception of raw metals. Only anodized aluminum or coated metals can be engraved by CO2 lasers. Two third party solutions on the market; Cerdec and Thermark, when used properly generates a chemical reaction crystallizes their “paste” which creates solid black image on uncoated metals. This procedure when done correctly is extremely durable and under testing has withstood military testing, outer space application, lubricants, salt water spray, high heat and abrasion tests.
Depending on model and lens, up to 1″ With multiple engineers we have developed a most efficient control of the lens assembly in our CheckMate Laser systems. Following are examples of what our various wattage lasers can cut through in a single pass successfully.
- 40 watts … 1/4″ (quarter inch) thick acrylic
- 50-60 watts … 1/2″ (half inch) thick acrylic
- 80 watts … 3/4″ (three quarter inch) thick acrylic
- 100-130 watts … 1″ (one inch) thick acrylic
Depending on the manufactured process of the acrylic these numbers can actually grow in thickness.
Although not much is needed to operate the laser the following three components & two software applications are a necessity. You may already have the necessary components in place.
- Exhaust Blower … One with sufficient CFM, at least 500 or more. The more CFM the better. This is what exhausts the vaporized material and fumes outdoors that the laser beam creates as it laser engraves and/or cuts.
- Compressor … Such as air-brush type to attach to the standard air assist plumbing on the CheckMate Lasers line of systems.
- Windows-based Computer (XP, 2000, 7 or 8) … Any computer system built in the previous 4-5 years is more than sufficient to operate CheckMate Laser systems. We only recommend to install as much RAM memory that your computer will support.
- DT Series: 32-bit platform ONLY
- XM8 Series: 32-bit or 64-bit platform supported
- CorelDRAW! v11 thru vX6 … CorelDRAW is very easy to learn, an industry standard and fully supported by CheckMate Lasers.
1,500-3000 hours. Our Class III, cabinet style laser systems have laser tubes that have a lifespan averaging approximately 2-3 years, while our Class IV, open, large format, high wattage laser systems have laser tubes that have a lifespan of approximately 3-5 years. CheckMate Lasers all use sealed CO2 glass laser tubes that allow us to keep our price point at an affordable price. The only exception is our 100w & 140w GSI water-cooled laser tube and the 200w, 300w, 400w and 600w laser systems which use Synrad or Rofin water-cooled laser tubes that are VERY expensive compared to our other systems, but in relative terms compared to the “competition” we are thousands of dollars less expensive. Read our Glass vs. Metal article for an honest, non marketing hyped comparison.
All CO2 laser tubes on the market currently cannot fire fast than an optics system operating faster than 80 inches per second (ips). With that said, CheckMate Lasers utilizes CO2 glass laser tubes that cannot fire faster than an 80ips as well, so our motion system has been capped at that speed to allow for the best quality at the fastest rate of motion that the laser tube can sustain. It simply makes no sense to speed up a machine’s motion system when the tube cannot fire fast enough to keep up with speeds over 80ips therefore sacrificing quality. CheckMate Laser systems can all are adjusted in 1% increments to the full 100% speed capability.
The DT Series use NewlyDRAW, while the larger systems are compatible with CorelDRAW & AutoCAD. Since the laser industry in general has standardized on CorelDRAW as the graphics application of choice we have as well. We highly recommend an application that is vector based to take full advantage of CheckMate Lasers and all the features it offers but use XM8 Lasers software as the final output applications. Using CorelDRAW allows CheckMate Lasers to provide full support, utilizing one of the many alternative vector drawing applications, such as, Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Deneba Canvas, Micrografx Designer will not allow CheckMate Lasers to provide the level of support our customers are accustomed to and expect. Of course you can also utilize AutoCAD as well for the high end CAD design but once again CheckMate Lasers only supports CorelDRAW.
Yes & No. For our smaller DT (Desktop) Series systems, i.e., the Pawn50 & Pawn40 we utilize a proprietary application called NewlyDRAW. This is a software program written specifically for laser systems; imagine if you will CorelDRAW with the laser driver built in, this is essentially what NewlyDRAW is. Our larger, higher end laser systems utilize our own XM8draw software but may output directly from CorelDRAW or AutoCAD (version dependent). Your computer will not know the difference between your ink-jet printer, laser printer or CheckMate Laser system. As far as your computer is concerned you are simply printing your graphic image/document. Your computer has no idea it is powering a state of the art, highly technologically advanced laser engraver.
The most complete family of laser systems on the market at the most affordable price. Standard and/or Unique features include (model independent): Full Pass Through, Illuminated Substrate, Position Confirmation Test Mode, Red diode pointer, Air Assist, Water Cooling, Intelligent Rubber Stamp Engraving, Multiple or single job selection, Linear Motion DC servo Control System or stepper motion system, Slat Table, User Replaceable Laser Tubes and more. NOTE: These are features that the others MAY HAVE but at a price, ours is included at no charge!