"Any ways, the key to this plan is the giant laser. It was invented by the noted Cambridge physicist Dr. Parsons. Therefore, we shall call it the Alan Parsons Project."
— Michael Meyers as Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movie
The METABEAM 400 is a compact laser cutter with a cutting area of 48” x 48” (1.23m x 1.23m) and 12” of Z travel. It is capable of cutting stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, titanium as well as plastics and organics. Our Pier 9 facility has lots of METABEAM units. Many employees have lamented how they define something perfectly in AutoCAD, have a beautiful DWG file, and then when they convert it to a native METABEAM LMC file, they lose design intent. Summer intern, William Goldie, fixed that. He developed an AutoCAD plug-in that converts a DWG to LMC without needing to use METABEAM-supplied conversion software. You can download William's plug-in as well as the source code by joining the project:
From William's read me:
This plug-in can be used to export AutoCAD drawings to the Coherent Metabeam file format, Laser Machine Center (.LMC).
This plug-in has been tested with AutoCAD 2015 onwards. A pre-built version of the plug-in has been provided which should work on 32- and 64-bit Windows systems. The plug-in has not been tested with all AutoCAD-based products, but should work (see "Feedback" below, otherwise). The source code has been provided as a Visual Studio 2013 project containing C# code (not required to run the plug-in).
Run the MSI installer to install the plug-in. Make sure AutoCAD is closed first. AutoCAD will automatically load the plug-in on startup.
Once loaded, the LMCEXP command can be used to export a drawing. The functionality is also available in the Add-ins ribbon bar. When run, the plug-in collects all plottable layers (even invisible or frozen ones) and allows you to configure them for cutting. You are prompted to select a process table database. This is a .DAT file included in your LaserLink installation that contains machine process settings. More information on configuring the plug-in settings can be found by highlighting the ExportLMC tab in the Add-ins ribbon bar and pressing F1 to open the plug-in manual.
Email us at [email protected] with feedback or requests for enhancements.
Because the source code is included, William hopes that others can adapt it to support other devices. Go ahead and give it a go.
Just in time software development is alive in the lab.