Odin Series Getting Started

Odin Series Getting Started

This document is cloned from the nova series guide and is actively being updated to be completely Odin specific. Much of the content is the same across the Nova and Odin series.

Welcome and Introduction:

So you just bought a new Thunder Laser? Now you are thinking "What's next?", that is what this guide is for. Be sure to use the Table of Contents to the right to follow the flow and to pick up back where you left off. This guide will not be all inclusive for every situation and there may be things that are not applicable to your situation, that is OK and to be expected. This guide will cover the general path from Ordering, Receiving and Setting up your laser for your first basic cut.  You will then over time learn how you want to run your laser, build your workflows, structure and habits etc.

How to get Technical Support if needed:

Here at Thunder Laser USA we offer lifetime remote technical support. Our expansive knowledge base and easy to use ticket system gives you quick and accurate solutions. Creating a ticket is as easy as emailing support@ThunderLaserUSA.com .  This method is typically the quickest and easiest form of communication, all of our technicians closely monitor We want to get you and your machine up and running as quick as possible, so just reach out to us when you need us. We maintain regular business hours Monday through Thursday 8:30am to 5pm and Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm Central but still try to respond outside those hours because we truly do want to offer our Thunder Laser USA family the best experience possible.  Just remember that our team needs time outside business hours too so bear with us and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Safety Information for a RF Excited CO2 Laser:

There is safety information that must be understood and adhered to in the  manual  and we expand on  protective eye-wear, fire suppression, etc...  in this knowledge base article:  SAFETY INFO: RF Laser Radiation, PPE, & Fire Suppression .
Operating a Laser has risks, and by operating the laser you accept those risks. Never leave the laser unattended while running!

Things to-do before the machine arrives:


The following topics will help you decide where to locate your machine and to see if you have adequate space for it.

Machine Sizing and clearance:

You will need to consider how large the machine is, space for your peripherals like chiller and pump, clearance around the back and sides for routing and access. The chiller is typically installed on the left side floor level. Power is on the back side of the machine on the side with the stack light. The exhaust port is in the center of the machine.

More information can be found here:

Will it fit through a door:


Exhaust Routing plan:

You will need to determine your exhaust exit plan. The plan should include a way to route the exhaust ducting, to mount the fan, to power the fan and to allow for make up air back into your space. Try to minimize the exhaust length and keep the exhaust fan as close to the discharge as possible. You may need to purchase an extension cable for the exhaust fan if your setup requires it. You can also run a filter box setup that can interface with the machine.

More information can be found here:

Electrical Install plan:

Be very explicit with your electrician. The service is for 120v 20amp. USA Thunder Lasers do not operate and will be damaged by 220v.

Your machine requires a dedicated 120V service. The 120v receptacle that powers the machine will power the chiller, exhaust fan and stock air pump through the machine. The receptacle should be placed such that the machine can be plugged into it without the use of an extension cord.

More information can be found about the Electrical requirements for your machine here:


The following topics will discuss setting up your computer for basic communication to your machine

Computer Requirements:

Lightburn does not need a very powerful computer but here is the official documentation from Lightburn:

More information can be found here:

Choose between USB or Ethernet connection to the Laser:

Ethernet is recommended if available, even if through a USB to Ethernet converter.  USB will work fine for both MAC (updated FTDI drivers) and Windows. USB is more plug and play and will work with the "Find my Laser" tool where as Ethernet does not work with that tool and requires configuration of the computer and laser machine. Ethernet is faster, less susceptible to OS driver issues and is more reliable. Ethernet also works better when you have multiple machines with the same controllers. USB is limited in cable length, so if you need an extension you will have to get an active repeater cable.

It comes down to being a personal choice based on the hardware you have available. Down below are the instructions for setting up the USB or Ethernet connections.

Install Lightburn Trial:

You get 30 days to Lightburn for free. You can install Lightburn and then create a mock Device for your future machine. This will allow you to explore Lightburn and its features in preparation for your machine.

More information can be found here:

Configure Lightburn Device mock up for Machine:

You must create a mock device with either a non-working USB or Ethernet connection that can be edited in the future once you get your machine. This mock setup will allow you to play around in Lightburn. Lightburn will prompt you to create the Device profile at start up.

Download Lightburn From here.  Install it on your computer. See note down below about the USB FTDI driver, you will need to install it during the initial Lightburn Install process.

Setup your Lightburn install with a Mock machine while your wait on your machine to be delivered:

Activate your License for Lightburn When you area ready:

You will receive your license key in an email from the Admin team. Be sure to check your spam box. We suggest using the trial up before activating your license.

Install FTDI Driver for Windows USB:

If you plan to use USB to connect to your Laser, be sure to follow the prompt at the end of the Lightburn installer to also install the FTDI driver which is required for Windows computers.  For MACs, you should update to the latest drivers, see the topic below for more on that.

More information can be found here:

Update FTDI Driver for Mac USB:

For MAC's, if you plan to stick with USB, you will be required to update your FTDI driver else you could run into incomplete file transfer and communication issues.

More information can be found here:

Ethernet Setup for Mac and Windows:

If you decide to use Ethernet, you will need to follow the guides here in order to set it up to work. Each user's ethernet config can be different based on your network setup, WIFI IP Addressing, adapters etc.

More information can be found here:


Buying a large format, industrial quality Laser machine can be overwhelming and intimidating. We do our best to provide the best resources to prepare you for what's to come. Following our guide will set you up for success and easy your worries. Whether you are transitioning from a non thunder or brand new to lasers we have the tools to make you a proficient user and know your machine inside and out.

Find a Youtube Channel or two or three:

Some examples:

Order Materials to have on hand:

Decide on a some simple things to start with, especially if this is your first dip of your toe into the Laser World. Purchase some cheap wood\mdf from your local store, maybe some cheap glasses from the dollar store. Knowing that you will need to practice and waste a bit ahead of time will make it easier when you are tossing some of these items.

Prepare for Delivery logistics:

Receiving a larger machine is not as easy as a Amazon Box being left by your garage door. One of the most stressful things can be the delivery process.
Before you even schedule a delivery day with the Depot, review your own setup.

Do you have a steep driveway? Concrete path or rock\dirt?
Is your driveway navigable by a box truck?
If you are receiving a larger machine, can you even move it with what you have? Deliveries are "Curb Side" and the depot won't hesitate to re-iterate that. A driver that is willing to help you push it up your driveway is a great help but not guaranteed.
Will you have room to un-crate and unload the machine off the crate base?
Do you need to schedule a Forklift or Flatbed? Pallet jack?
Do you have a loading dock?
Are there and large steps, thresholds etc to navigate over?

Once you receive your tracking, follow it closely on the courier's website. Most of the time the delivery date is the day it will arrive at the depot. Be proactive, call the depot ahead of time and work with them to schedule a delivery. Depending on your location, they may only come out that way 1 day a week, so if you miss your chance, it could be a whole week delay. Ask them about how the crate will be loaded, the use of the lift gate etc. They often will offer a 1hr call ahead but that is not guaranteed either, each driver will handle that and some are way better than others.

More information can be found here:

Spare Parts Considerations:

If your machine uptime is critical to your business, spare parts are recommended even when under the warranty period. Shipping logistics have not been consistent for 2 years and nothing is fast or guaranteed. For warranty parts, the goal is to ship USPS priority but larger items may ship via UPS Ground. Expedited shipping is not included in the warranty.

More information can be found here:

Review the Usual Suspects:

Tackling the Usual suspects will help you on your Laser journey. Often times new users get hit with offset issues, extend space issues etc that are all covered in the Usual Suspects article below.

Familiarize yourself with Laser Terms:

Laser Terms Glossary

Review Lightburn Help Videos and Tutorials:

Lightburn Tutorials and Help Videos

Review the Owners Manual:

Odin Series Users Manual

Watch an Example 1Hr Training:

Typical 1 Hour Training Sessions

Order Supplies Needed for Setup:

You will need to provide 2 gallons of Distilled water and a method to connect the exhaust hose to the final connection point (Clamp and fittings). You should also get 2 gallons of Distilled water every 4 months to change out the chiller water. More on that under the Preventative Maintenance topic below.

Lightburn License Management:

More information on the Lightburn License Can be found here: Lightburn License Management

Things to-do once the machine arrives:

Ok, so now the machine is here and it is GO TIME. Hopefully your thorough review of the above topics has helped you feel comfortable for what comes next.


Un-crate the Machine:

More information can be found here:

Explore the Laser Machine Layout and Components:

Familiarize yourself with:
Controller Screen Functions
Air Assist Controls
Laser Head Assembly
Mirror Locations and Function
Auto Focus Sensors
Honeycomb, Knives, and Crumbtray(s)
Stack Light
Pass Thru Front and Rear Doors

More information on Component Descriptions can be found here:

Set Up your Laser Machine:

Time to set the machine in place, level it, install the Chiller, Air Pump and Fan as well as run the exhaust and fill the chiller. After that...time to power up.

(Note that your fan and chiller may look different, same setup still applies)

More information can be found here:

Familiarize yourself with the Toolbox Contents:

What is in the box: Nova Series Included Parts


PLEASE DOUBLE OR TRIPLE CHECK THAT YOUR RECEPTACLE IS NOT 220v. If you power the machine with 220v, it will fry the 36V motor driver power supply, the main contactor and LPSU and it is not covered under warranty.

  Now that the machine is set up and ready to run, it is time to power up the machine and do some pre-use checks.

Things to note about powering up the machine:
1. Main switch provides power to lights, controller and motor
2. Laser switch provides power to the Chiller socket and the Laser Power Supply
3. Chiller has its on power switch, you should turn it on and leave it on. Let the Laser power switch mentioned above control the chiller
4. The chiller will beep upon power up, that is normal. That is the initial flow alarm while the pump is starting to get the water moving
5. The BIG red E-stop button.  It takes are solid twist in the direction of the arrows to reset the E-stop button. Even when activated, there is some slight spring action

Upon the first start, the chiller will fill the tube with water. Be sure to re-check and adjust the water level

Should your machine not power up, please refer to this guide:

Perform Pre-Use Tasks (Air bubbles, air assist, clean mirrors, pulse check)

Air Bubbles in Tube:
Check for Air bubbles in the Laser Tube. After you fill the chiller and then power up the machine (both the Main and Laser Switch) and the Chiller Main Power switch, you will need to inspect the laser tube for air bubbles and take steps to remove them. Small bubbles can be removed by pinching the tubes and a large air bubble on the left side of the tube (nearest the stack light) indicates the Chiller Tubes are reversed.

Clean your Optics:
You should clean your optics prior to test firing your machine for the first time.  Here is an article on how to do so. Click the following link(s):

This is what can happen if you don't frequently check your optics.  Click the following link(s):

Check your Air Assist:
The green buttons on the left side of the machine allow you to test the high and low air assist. You can press each button and adjust each flow valve knob (below button) to make sure air is flowing out of the laser nozzle.

Pulse Check:

With the chiller on, all doors closed and machine fully set up and checked out it is now time to do a pulse check. Place a piece of material under the nozzle and focus the laser head to 6mm above the material. Closed all the doors and monetarily press the pulse button on the Laser Control Screen to generate a pulse. Look for a pulse burn mark.


If you had created a mock setup from the above steps, you can use that setup or modify is as needed to finish the setup of Lightburn to get your machine connected. It is recommended to only have 1 device profile per machine so that you are not having to make sure you select the right one each time.

Check for Latest Version of Lightburn and Bug Fixes:

In Lightburn: Help>Check For Updates

Check for Trial License Remaining (enter full license from Email)

In Lightburn: Help> License Management

Check that Lightburn is communicating with your laser:

If you cannot get Lightburn to say Ready instead of disconnected and to find your Ruida Controller, you will need to double check your USB or Ethernet Setup. You can also try to right click on the "Devices" button in the Lightburn Laser Window to make Lightburn look for your machine. Also if you have created multiple Devices, make sure you have the right one selected in the drop down selection next to the Devices button.

Not Connected:


Backup Machine Settings To Computer:

 Once Lightburn is communicating with the laser you can backup the machine settings
In Lightburn: Edit>Machine Settings
Let it read the machine settings and then save them to your 'Thunder Lightburn" folder of choice.

Upload Parameters from Laser machine to Lightburn for Time Estimate:

Once Lightburn is communicating with the laser you perform this step.
This is to help you get better time estimates so you can quote your jobs and manage your workflows better.

More information can be found here:

Enter Scanning Offsets from Gold Card:

Do this before attempting to do any Fill layer engraves and make sure Lightburn is in MM when entering these values. Otherwise you will get double prints. And be sure to Enable the offsets by clicking the slider to Green.

More information can be found here:

Once you enter the offsets, Export them and save them to your "Thunder Lightburn" folder of choice.

Install Materials Library (Optional)

The Library provides a ballpark of settings for common materials. It is not all inclusive and provides good starting points that you will have to adjust based off your exact materials.

More information can be found here:


Review Usual Suspects Again:

Many users get stumped by things that are listed in the usual suspects so it is good to review them again

Schedule your free 1-Hr Training:

You can schedule your training prior to operating the laser if you would like. We can walk you though a small cut job like a keychain or similar.

Understanding your workflow to Run A Job:

An example of a simplified workflow:
  1. Picking your art work Vector vs Image and Design in Lightburn
  2. Setting up your Layer Types, Speeds and Powers
  3. Preview the artwork in Lightburn
  4. Set up origin in Lightburn.  Absolute, User or Current Position
  5. Send Job to the laser
  6. Aligning your material
  7. Setting your origin at Machine based on Lightburn Origin Setup
  8. Focus... Auto/Manual
  9. Lets get the party started - Pressing the start button

Material Test File Samples:

These files are a great way to find the settings for your specific materials. Run the file as is and check the results

What To Learn and Do After You can Run the Machine Efficiently:

After you have a decent handle on how to run the machine and feel comfortable with your workflow, you can begin to add in complexity and peripherals

Install Peripherals like ThunderCam:

Learn how to use the Rotary:

Learn Advanced topics (Lead In\Out, Pass Thru):

Lead-In and Lead-Out

Passthrough Print and cut:

The hardest part about print and cut is file set up. You must adjust your article to cut in as multiple jobs with common points for alignment.

Preventative Maintenance:

Performing preventative maintenance will keep your machine running at peak performance:

Additional Resources:

ThunderLaserUSA Youtube:

Thunder Laser USA

Thunder KB:

Thunder Laser USA Technical Support

Facebook Group

Thunder Laser Global Facebook Group

Lightburn Forum

Lightburn Help Forum

Bi-Weekly Thunder Webinar

Join use every other Thursday for a Webinar, its free and fun.

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