Darkly Labs Community

E1 Base & Clamping System

I cut out this base c/w clamping system on the Emblaser using 5 layers of 2.3 mm MDF (using proper ventilation - have made an enclosure of black corrugated plastic with an exhaust fan - as the enclosure is of corrugated plastic and it just sits atop around the emblazer which makes it easier if I want to change the current settings, clean the emblaser etc.)

Now since I have used 6 layers of 2.3mm MDF have lost about 14mm of the working height of the emblaser; but as I mostly cut paper, acrylic (2-3mm) and ply (5mm max), it doesn’t matter much to me.

The base is screwed onto a 10mm MDF base on which the emblaser sits. I am considering using acrylic spacers (the same shape as the emblaser leg cross section) between the emblaser legs and the 10mm MDF to regain the height that I have lost above; but will do so at a later date.

Using M4 bolts with washers & wing nuts and a soft steel plate (1.25mm thick) I can clamp the material onto the base.

Sometimes instead of the soft metal plate, I use SS rulers across the lengths/widths to hold the material down throughout the surface.


Below is a representation of how the clamp fits inside the slots.

The Aluminum Honeycomb Grid was purchased from Ebay and painted matte black


Under the Aluminum Grid, I have used a 2.3mm MDF board on which have glued a 0.4mm Aluminum Sheet (Painted matte black) for safety and also to get the grid as the same level as the clamping base:

This above system seems to be working fine for me for last 1-2 months.

Thoughts & suggestions are welcome! Cheers!


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Hi Joel,

A very clever solution.

How do you find the painted honeycomb material holding up?

We have used similar material without painting it and found there is very little possibility of rebounded light, unless the honeycomb was damaged or bent.

How cleanly cut are the edges of the honeycomb piece you purchased?

Thanks for sharing.


Hi Domenic,

The painted honeycomb is holding on fine. I had to cut it the exact same shape as the inside of the frame.

If bigger, it causes the honeycomb to bow up and if smaller it moves within the frame.

As I was painting the Aluminum plate that I have used as the base, I painted the honeycomb along with it.

I purchased a honeycomb of 16" x 16". The edges of the honeycomb were cut clean only on one side (and was a little more than 16").

The other 3 sides were uneven and jagged. I trimmed down the side opposite the cleanly cut side to 16" and shortened the width to 11" using a kitchen scissors.



my  made   AL grid

Nice one Juraj!!

Joel Thanks! . Joel was my inspiration…for format  A3

more info: .stl file ….http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1452635

Looks awesome Jurag…glad I could help!!

That looks brilliant Joel, I hope to create something similar myself.

I noticed in your post that you said you mostly cut 2-3mm acrylic, I’m yet to use my Emblaser as I’ve only just received it, but I’m really hoping my 4w unit can cut 3mm acrylic.

Hi John,

I have managed to cut up to 4mm black acrylic (only test cut 5mm circle) @ 400mm/min ; 100%; 12 passes

With reference to my other post regarding the test cuts on acrylic - I feel that you could cut 3mm acrylic - but only red; black, brown; try 400mm/min; 100%; 8-12 passes.

Also you may be probably aware that Darkly are set to release a new unit by next weekend; probably they managed to develop a better lens to use with the much powerful laser diodes (NUBM44) that are available in the market.





I was thinking about creating a simple sacrificial cutting base and thought it might be good to use magnets to hold down paper/card.

Obviously I’d love to use a vacuum solution eventually as others have made, but thought if I just get a rectangle sheet of steel a few mm thick, and size it so that it fits in from the front ‘arch’ of the Emblaser, and is also long enough to slot through the rear ‘arch’ to keep it aligned.

Then a piece of mdf. a few mm thick of the same size on top which would allow magnets to hold a piece paper/card flat and prevent it from moving when being cut.

I’ve created a crude drawing of what I mean, any thoughts?

I thought I could also have different wooden boards for particular cutting/engraving jobs with markings or engrave recesses for repeat jobs?

HI John,

Seems like a good idea…But if you don’t have a gap between the paper and MDF, the paper would get scorch marks underneath.

Do let us know how it works out.

Maybe you could use magnetic strips along the lengths of the paper to hold down the paper firmly. I believe the strips aren’t too thick so it wouldn’t interfere with the laser head. Also am not sure if the magnetic strip would be powerful enough to hold down the paper through the MDF.




Ok, after my initial tests trying my first cuts I certainly see the issues with scorching etc from the cutting board.

I’ve now created an even cruder and this time hand drawn idea of a combined cutting/suction/fume extraction base :slight_smile:

The idea is that the top and bottom MDF sections have angled corners as it’s designed to be ‘locked’ into place by removing the Emblasers base, inserting the cutting platform, which I’ve decided to call a CSE platform :slight_smile: , and then screwing the base back on, which will prevent it from moving around.

Sandwiched between the two MDF layers is a perforated wood/metal sheet of wood or metal, which will allow air to be drawn down through the Aluminium honeycomb, which sits in the recess above and so will help extract cutting fumes by extractor/suction.

Any thoughts?

Hi John,

Do you plan to use this system for cutting or for only engraving? if only engraving, then your job size would need to be a bit bigger than the size of the Al honeycomb or else you would be losing some of the suction.

And if you use this system for cutting, wouldn’t you lose some suction pressure as you cut through the job?

Hope you understand what am trying to convey.


Hi Joel, yes I see what you mean, I’d want to use the base for both cutting and engraving, to be honest my main objective is air/fume extraction and to minimise damage to the underside of the material when being cut.

I don’t currently have dedicated work space, so want to extract via tumble dryer style extraction hose out of a window, I know this is far from ideal and hope to get my workshop area sorted very soon.

I also thought that by adding slots ( that could also be closed ) to the upper mdf frame, that thin sheets of mdf/acrylic could be slid in from any/all sides to block the holes and only leave an area of holes exposed directly beneath the material being cut.

Surely all air suction systems would suffer from air entering the gap created by the cut, although I would have thought that’s a good thing from the fume/debris extraction point of view, as it would help suck these away from the edges of the material?

Hi John,

The Al honeycomb should suffice to prevent the damage to the underside of the material (wood/paper/acrylic) as it allows for the fumes to dissipate. It all depends on getting the right focus, the settings and obviously the type of paper / wood being cut. However, the fume extraction would be a definite bonus.




Thanks Joel, I’ve ordered some aluminium honeycomb, and I’ll then need to build a frame to hold it, in essence it’ll be very similar to yours, except I’ll include a space beneath so I can use air/fume extraction if I need it.

I see you have used markings for measurements, as I’m still new to all this I want to make the cutting/engraving procedure as simple as possible, and so I’m thinking of creating a template file for each repeat job that I need to do ( such as personalised gifts that use the same shape )

I was thinking that I could have an A4 sheet of material with the cutouts of the product I’m creating, and so I can place the required material into the cutout/s, making it really quick to align.

So say I’m doing keyrings, I’d cut out a full sheet of them first and save that as a template so I can change the contents of the engraving for each job, and then only enable toolpaths for the required number of keyrings I was making.

Your welcome John…maybe you can consider putting tabs along the sides of the template (bottom and left) and corresponding slots on the frame which could allow you to switch template and still maintain the alignment for repeat jobs