When engraving - especially wood, plastic or rubber - the removed material causes a build-up of dust inside your laser machine. If this dust isn't removed as soon as possible, it may damage the machining surfaces and laser lenses. This might lead to some undesirable processing results, including discolouration, burns and distortions. So, to help avoid damaged machines and imperfect engraving results, here are our top 5 tips for avoiding dust and debris build-up.
- Always ensure that you clean your machine regularly, especially after heavy operation. Remember, cleaning requires less time than having to repeat an engraving pass again and again!
- Use an appropriately sized extraction system. Depending on what you're processing, you'll need different processing capabilities. You don't want to be using a small extraction system for something like wood or rubber!
- Try to cover all the unused spaces on the working are while the laser is in use. This will increase the extraction efficiency in the part of the working are that you’re using.
- Reverse the engraving direction. You can do this in JobControl. As a result, the dust that is extracted as you're working will not get caught under the laser beam.
- Always keep your machine regularly serviced by a Trotec service technician! Remember, the optimal maintenance and adjustment of laser components will increase the service life of your laser machine.
Below, we will go through all these points in closer detail...
Proper maintenance and service is extremely important for achieving a consistently high-quality engraving result, as well as a long lifetime for your laser machine. With just a few simple steps, you'll be able to ensure the safety of your laser machine and its work.
|Once a day:||Check the work space and, if necessary, clean it.|
|Once a day:||Inspect the mirror and lens on the laser head. These components should always be free from dust and debris. Here you can find information about||how to clean your lenses.|
|Once a day:||Check that all ventilation slots are free from contamination. This ensures a continuous flow of extracted air.|
|Once a week:||Check all optical and mechanical components for debris.|
A proper exhaust system will ensure clean work and high-quality engraving results. It will immediately remove dust and debris from the working area, even while the machine is in action.
Regularly monitoring the filter and activated carbon inserts is also very important for consistent extraction efficiency. Make sure you pay close attention to the display on the extraction system - the operating status and upcoming maintenance suggestions will be displayed on it.
Details of all display messages can be found in the operating manual if you're unsure of anything. If you have any questions, we are always more than happy to help! Feel free to contact us at time you want.
Remember, you'll achieve the best engraving and cutting results possible if you focus the extraction directly on the point of the workpiece you intend of lasering. You can do this quickly and easily by covering up the unused part of the rear exhaust vent.
If you're using a vacuum table, we suggest that you also cover the vacant suction holes. This will help you achieve a better suction for very thin workpieces, such as laminate boards or thin paper. It will make these items lie flat on your working table, without lifting or blowing away. Thus, you will achieve a uniform distance between the lens and the workpiece, resulting in a homogeneous result.
When covering the rear exhaust vents, we suggest using magnetic strips or even masking tape. For the table, however, you can just cover it up with spare pieces of paper, cardboard or even leftover laminate boards.
Reversing the engraving direction (so that the machine works from 'bottom' to 'top') is helpful for all materials, especially those that consistently get damaged or marked due to soot or debris. This technique is particularly useful when engraving laminates, but also great for things like wood, acrylic, glass, etc.
By changing your engraving direction, the dust produced during the engraving process will not be able to settle of the warm, freshly lasered workpiece surface. Instead, the dust should be extracted (depending on what kind of machine you are using) by one of the extraction systems. As a result, the unprocessed part of the material will always be engraved first, so that no dust will be able to land on the newly-engraved surface.
Additionally, the changed engraving direction should help you see the material as it is engraved. By moving backwards, the axis will not obscure your vision. For example, this means if you have a last-minute change you wish to make, it is much easier and quicker to pause the process. This may lead to less damaged or wasted stock.
Stamp engravings are usually done with a standard 'top to bottom' setting. The engraving dust happens to be much heavier with rubber than with other materials and will remain on the workpiece instead of being sucked into the extraction system. Reversing this will, hopefully, give you a cleaner result.
An annual service of your machine by one of our certified Trotec service technicians will help keep your laser machine in tip-top condition, as well as prevent any unwanted downtime.
Trotec offers a customised servicing package at a fixed price for whatever laser system you own. Feel free to contact us any time to discuss this / for a specific quote.
Do you still have questions / need any further information? Remember, you can always contact out technical support team: