Full Spectrum Muse

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Full Spectrum Muse
Fsl muse.png
Owner/Loaner SSH:Chicago
Serial Number See Machine
Make/Model Full Spectrum Muse
Arrival Date 12/8/2017
Usability yes
Contact Phil Strong
Where Fabrication area, front room
Certification Needed yes
Hackable no
Estimated Value $5,000.00
Manual/Documentation FSL Muse Manual

Full Spectrum Muse SSH:Chicago https://wiki.sshchicago.org/wiki/Full_Spectrum_Muse


The Muse is a 6th generation hobby laser cutter from Full Spectrum. Unlike typical laser cutters, the Muse does not require a dedicated PC to work and can be operated using the integrated touch screen interface or with the web-based design software over the local network. The machine features an integrated camera that can import a photo of the entire work area into the laser's proprietary design and control software, RetinaEngrave. The user can use the photo to visually align their design to the workpiece or to import drawn designs for lasing or etching.

Our Muse features an upgraded 45W laser tube, chassis riser, rotary attachment and an extra focus lens.

Safety and Certification

Consider completing Full Spectrum's Safety and Muse Certification Courses prior to operating the laser cutter for the first time


  • Laser-cutting certain materials may release substances that are harmful to humans and/or the machine
  • Laser-cutting presents a risk of fire and burns
  • Laser beams present a risk of retinal damage
  • High voltage produced by the laser cutter may cause electrocution if improperly grounded
  • If broken, the laser tube may cause lacerations

Prohibited Operations

  • Modifying/hacking the laser cutter and its original accessories
  • Bypassing of laser cutter safety features
  • Cutting of materials that may cause harm to humans, laser cutter or the surroundings

Pre-Operational Safety

  • Have a plan for putting out small fires without causing damage to the machine. Verify that a fire extinguisher is easily accessible in case things go wrong.
  • Make sure that the machine and workspace are clutter-free
  • Check that the auxiliary systems (water, air and exhaust) are properly connected and functional. Air pump and exhaust impeller should be plugged directly into the laser cutter. The water reservoir should have enough water to submerge the pump. The pump should also be plugged into the same power strip as the laser cutter such that they can be operated simultaneously.

Operational Safety

  • Ensure material to be cut is safe to use. See Consumable Material Reference for details.
  • Never leave a laser cutter unattended when running a job
  • Take care to select appropriate power/speeds settings to avoid combustion. Always start jobs with lowest power if unsure.

Basic Operation Checklist

  • Turning the machine on and off
  • Lens cap and focusing billet
  • Multipurpose button
  • Using the touch screen UI
    • Status icons
    • Moving and locking/unlocking the gantry
    • Taking a photo
    • Controlling air and exhaust
    • Other settings
  • Using the RetinaEngrave Web UI
    • UI overview
    • Moving the gantry
    • Taking a photo
    • Vector operation
    • Raster operation
    • Importing files
  • Rotary attachment

End of Operation and Clean-up

  • Turning the machine off
  • Wipe surface
  • Clean debris from inside as needed

Certified Members

Member Name Certified By Date
Phil Strong -
Dmitriy Vysotskiy Phil Strong
Mike Gerges Phil Strong
Andrew Edwards Phil Strong
Christian McNamara Phil Strong
Erin Scanlon Phil Strong
Vinson Garcia Mike Gerges
Shawn Coyle Phil Strong
Mason Donahue Dmitriy Vysotskiy
Sam Milstone Dmitriy Vysotskiy
Jeffrey Carr Dmitriy Vysotskiy
Tiangang Huang Dmitriy Vysotskiy
Russell Fordyce Dmitriy Vysotskiy
Xavier Johnson Dmitriy Vysotskiy
Andrew Rutherdale Dmitriy Vysotskiy
John McGarey Dmitriy Vysotskiy 2018-09-05
Tyler Boyett Dmitriy Vysotskiy 2018-12-12


Copied from the official user manual.


  • Wipe down the walls the machine with a clean rag.
  • Use optical grade lens wipes to clean both sides of the beam combiner, all mirror surfaces, the focus lens, and the tube aperture. Optic surfaces may need to cleaned more often if cutting materials produce excessive residue (possibly daily).
  • Clean fallen debris from the catch tray of the machine. Less excess material will reduce fire risk, and provide for better exhausting.
  • Always keep rails, motors and moving parts free from excess material as it can obscure movement and cause damage.


  • Check rail lubrication. When the laser arrives, you should be able to visibly see the lubricant on the X and Y rails. These rails will not need to be re-lubricated often, but check monthly to be sure that the rails are properly lubricated and aren’t grinding or catching.
  • Check your fume extractor filters. Depending on your output and the materials being cut, your fume extractor filters may need to be replaced as often as every month (or sooner).


  • Change water in cooling system. This will keep your tube safe from unwanted debris, mold or evaporation.
  • A chiller system is enclosed and will stay relatively clean and undisturbed, but it is good practice to check and change the water as needed.
  • Check for wear on belts. Well lubricated belts should last, however, eventually they may wear and crack and need replacement.

Tool History

Date Event
2017-09-26 Machine and accessories ordered from Full Spectrum
2017-10-05 Shipment arrives at the space, but the machine is not functional out of the box
2017-10-09 Source of malfunction is damaged display panel connector. Return of damaged display panel initiated.
2017-10-31 New panel sent to us but this did not resolve machine malfunction.
2017-11-09 Full spectrum sends replacement ribbon cables (fragile), but the machine still malfunctions. Initiate return of the entire machine.
2017-12-08 Received replacement machine from Full Spectrum, which is functional. We also received an extra lens as an mea culpa.
2018-03-13 Machine stops working due to damaged electrical connection on the laser tube
2018-03-30 Laser tube replaced under warranty and installed - machine is functional
2018-11-07 Targeting laser diode is too dim. Contacted Full Spectrum for replacement but were informed that 1 year of warranty had run out, so the replacement would be at cost.
We were under the impression that we paid for additional warranty, however there was no proof of this.
2018-12-17 Ordered generic laser diodes from Amazon instead of purchasing from Full Spectrum. Targeting diode output somewhat improved after replacement.
2019-02-26 Firmware updates to new version that changes the on-board display UI
2019-03-29 Machine stops outputting meaningful laser power. Power supply unit it sent to Full Spectrum for inspection.
2019-04-15 Full Spectrum determines PSU to be faulty and quotes us $320 for a replacement. Ordered Cloudray 40W PSU (MYJG-40W) from Amazon for ~$100 instead.
2019-04-22 Replacement PSU installed - machine is functional
2019-07-13 Machine doesn't boot fully, presumably due to electrical short. Full Spectrum contacted.
2019-07-25 Controller boards sent out to Full Spectrum. Burnt IC (presumably the Darlington array chip) on breakout board spotted prior to packaging the boards up.
2019-08-01 Full Spectrum confirms that the burnt IC was cause of issues. They are to provide us with a replacement breakout board and to reprogram the Beaglebone Green controller.
2019-08-10 Controller boards arrive at SSH:Chicago, but get damaged by arc from a disconnected cable. Laser is inoperable.
2019-08-13 Controller boards sent back to Full Spectrum for evaluation.
2019-08-21 Full Spectrum states that the parts test OK and ships them back.
2019-09-05 Parts received again and still not working. We go through several troubleshooting steps with Full Spectrum in attempts to find the problem, but nothing works.
2019-09-28 The entire laser control stack (including Intel Atom PC board, display and front panel) sent to Full Spectrum to be tested together.
2019-10-14 Full Spectrum confirms that the stack does not boot up as received. Replacing the breakout board makes everything work again. We pay $210 for this fix and the parts are sent back to us.
2019-10-19 Parts received and machine is reassembled. Laser is operable.
2020-08-26 Laser touch and web UI do not load when turned on. Ticket filed with FSL.
2020-09-19 After troubleshooting controller status LEDs and smaller power supply with FSL support, it was decided to send the entire control stack (Atom PC board, BBG, control board) to FSL for testing and repair.
2020-09-30 FSL verdict: "display function went out, replace with new PIPO." PIPO presumed to refer to brand of Intel Atom board (from a PIPO X9 computer maybe?). We pay NOTHING for the repair and the parts are sent back to us.
2020-10-05 Parts received and machine is reassembled. Laser is operable.
2021-11-12 Digitizer cracked and stopped because a member leaned on the edges of the display panel. Ticket filed with FSL.
2021-11-18 Side panel (with display) shipped to FSL for digitizer repair. Repair cost is $35 + $30 shipping. Suitable part may be available online, but we opted not to go that route.

Future Improvements

  • Make copies of the focusing billet
  • Improve the use of the Riser and rotary attachment
  • Configure networking so that the laser isn't maliciously accessible by random people on the same wi-fi network

Consumable Material Reference

This section is adapted without permission from Pumping Station: One's wiki. Some dimensions and capabilities may differ.

Prohibited Materials

  • PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride): Also known as "vinyl" "pleather" or "artificial leather." Most adhesive vinyl shelf paper (e.g. Con-Tact Paper) also is PVC. Emits pure chlorine gas when cut! Don't ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, cause the metal of the machine to corrode, and ruin the motion control system.
  • Polycarbonate: Also known as "Lexan." Polycarbonate is also often found as flat, sheet material. The case cover window on some laser cutters is made of Polycarbonate because polycarbonate strongly absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can also emit flame and chlorine gas when cut, making it a poor choice for laser cutting.
  • ABS: ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher chance of catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not engrave well (again, tends to melt). Finally, ABS emits cyanide when cut.
  • HDPE: "milk bottle" plastic. It melts. It gets gooey. It catches on fire. Don't use it.
  • PolyStyrene Foam: It catches fire, it melts, and only thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
  • Fiberglass: It's a mix of two materials that can't be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
  • Coated Carbon Fiber: Again, it's a mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying. However, once coated with epoxy it will emit noxious fumes.

Safe Materials

The laser can cut or etch. The materials that the laser can cut are things like wood, paper, cork, and some kinds of plastics. Etching can be done on almost anything: wood, cardboard, aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, marble, stone, tile, and glass.


  • Many woods up to 1/4" thick. Composite woods like plywood contain glue, and may not laser cut as well as solid wood. Engineered woods like MDF are okay to use but may experience a higher amount of charring when cut. Be very careful about cutting oily woods, or very resinous woods as they also may catch fire.
  • Paper cuts very very well on the laser cutter, and also very quickly. Thin paper and single layer card stock and cardboard are perfectly OK. Thicker cardboard, carton, and other papers also cut very well but need to be watched to make sure they don't catch fire.
  • Cork cuts nicely, but the quality of the cut depends on the thickness and quality of the cork. Engineered cork has a lot of glue in it, and may not cut as well. Cork thicker than 1/4" should be avoided.
  • Acrylic (also known as Lucite, Plexiglas, PMMA) cuts extremely well on the laser cutter, leaving a beautifully polished edge. With care, acrylic material up to 1/2" thick can be cut on the laser cutter.
  • Delrin (POM) in thin sheets does cut. Delrin comes in a number of shore strengths (hardness) and the harder delrin tends to work better. Great for gears!
  • Kapton tape (Polyimide) : Works well, in thin sheets and strips like tape. 1/16" thick is about as thick as you can cut reliably.
  • Mylar : Works well if it's thin. Once you get too far past 1/16" thick mylar has a tendency to warp, bubble, and curl. Gold coated mylar will not work.
  • Solid Styrene : Smokes a lot when cut, but can be cut. Keep it thin (1/16")
  • Depron foam: Used a lot for hobby, RC aircraft, architectural models, and toys. 1/4" cuts nicely, with a smooth edge. Must be constantly monitored when cutting.
  • Gator foam: foam core gets burned and eaten away compared to the top and bottom hard paper shell. Not a fantastic thing to cut, but it can be cut if watched.
  • Cloth (leather, suede, felt, hemp, cotton, polyester, but NEVER vinyl or pleather-- see above) They all cut well. Leather is very hard to cut, but can be if it's thinner than a belt (call it 1/8"). Also lasered leather smells like death.
  • Magnetic Sheet material cuts beautifully
  • NON-CHLORINE-containing rubber is fine for cutting.
  • Teflon (PTFE) in thin sheets
  • Carbon fiber mats/weave that has not yet had epoxy applied can be cut, very slowly. You must not cut carbon fiber that has been coated!!
  • EVA foam seems to be ok, at least up to 1cm thick. If you cut it in multiple passes it can warp though.


All the above can be etched, in some cases very deeply. In addition, you can etch:

  • Glass (green seems to work best) .. looks sandblasted. Round or cylindrical items can be etched with the use of the rotary attachment.
  • Ceramic tile
  • Anodized aluminum ( vaporizes the anodization away )
  • Painted/coated metals ( vaporizes the paint away )
  • Stone : Marble, Granite, Soapstone, Onyx. Gets a white "textured" look when etched


There's an expensive coating called 'cermark'. This marking compound costs $100 for a small bottle, and must be diluted with ethanol and applied to metal (not ceramics or stone) before being etched to leave behind a permanent dark black mark. Loans says it's called "Thermark" now, and it costs about $60 for a can that covers either 900 or 1200 square inches.