Laser Cutter - Nova 51

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A 130W CO2 laser cutter capable of cutting through thin woods and plastics, as well as engraving on stone and glass.

This laser cutter is only available to those with a Prototyping Center membership.


  • 130 Watts
    • 1300mm x 900mm x 230mm (51.2" x 35.4" x 9.1") work area
  • 1000 mm/min max speed
  • High-Speed Servo Motors
  • 100-500 DPI
  • Water cooled CO2 laser

Safety Rules

  • Do not leave this device unattended. It starts fires when lonely.
    • The power and speed settings for the laser cutter are VERY important. If the power is too high and/or the speed too low for certain materials, it will start a FIRE.
    • When in doubt, start with a low-power, high-speed setting and work your way to the appropriate power level and speed for your task and material.
    • The laser focus is also important; if it is not focused, there is more material to catch fire. Start near the head, then adjust the bed downward until the L-shaped guide fits between the head and the material.
  • Do NOT use PVC in the laser cutter, the fumes given off by PVC are extremely toxic and not good for the environment, even when vented properly.
  • Do NOT use Kevlar in the laser cutter, it releases cyanide gas which is extremely toxic.
  • Check the materials cutting notes above for safety, and you can also look at ATX Makerspace Materials Notes
  • Always operate the cutter with the lid closed. This protects you from the laser, vents fumes, and keeps anything away from the moving head.
  • Never use the laser cutter if the air jet or fan are not running, or the exhaust is blocked.



NOTE: These materials are not a substitute for hands-on training with an experienced user.

Cutting Thick Materials

Use Lightburn's adjustable Z depth settings to decrease the number of passes needed for thicker materials.

  1. Set units to mm.
  2. Autofocus the laser to the bed (honeycomb or slats). The machine will set this height as zero for Z.
  3. Determine material thickness, in mm, to one decimal place.
  4. In Lightburn:
    1. Edit->Device Settings->Enable Z Axis.
    2. "Cuts" tab: Enter your "Material Thickness" value.
  5. For any cut layer, set the "Z Offset" and "Z Steps" per pass. This will adjust the bed height so the focal point of the laser is deeper in the material.

Cut/Etch Settings

  • Typical material settings are saved in Lightburn's material library. Use that as a starting point for determining settings. Please update the library if you find settings that work better.


  • Fill with distilled water only.
  • Controller password: 8. Set at 10 C.

Operation Instructions

  • Laser Cutter - Nova 51 Cleaning
  • A hard copy of the laser operations guide along with suggested settings for different materials is available in the white binder next to the machine.


Ruida Controller Settings

The Ruida controller has been programmed to match the machine's performance specifications. USERS SHALL NOT ADJUST THESE SETTINGS. Occasionally, it is necessary to adjust settings for maintenance purposes. Use RDWorks to access the Ruida laser controller settings. Possible passwords: rd8888, HF8888, or CC8888