I spent some time today at Techshop, working with one of the laser cutters there. On Friday evening, Noel and I took the intro to laser cutting class and I had spent much of the weekend working on some drawings to try out.
Techshop has two laser cutters: an Epilog Summit and an Epilog Helix. The Summit has a 22" x 17" cutting area (although larger materials can fit into the machine; I was using 24" stock), while the Helix has a 24" x 18" cutting area (and that's about as large as the material can be). The Helix is a newer, more powerful, faster machine. The Summit is more often available, and as I happened to need a lot of time, it was the one I used today. I spent about six hours on the system, and stopped because I was going to go crazy if I had to spend another minute there watching the machine sloooooowly cut the wood.
What follows are some of my notes on the Summit and the materials I was using.