Focusing the flex laser machine

Speedy flexx: Two laser sources, one laser machine

Perform different laser processes in a single step: How does flexx technology work?

What is flexx technology and how does it work?

Speedy flexx laser engraving machines feature both CO2 and fiber laser sources. Thanks to the combination the application possibilities are almost unlimited. With the CO2 laser source you can engrave and cut plastics, wood, rubber, leather and many other materials, while the fiber laser can be used to mark metals and stain plastics.

The main feature of the patented flexx function: As the flexx function is developed by Trotec, both laser sources work in a single process step. Depending on the material, the two laser sources are activated alternately by the JobControl® laser software in a single job without needing to manually change the laser tube, lens or focus. Every conceivable CO2 laser application, as well as a annealing marking or metal engraving can be achieved in no time. This guarantees time and cost savings in your daily work, with the processing of the materials being handled by a single laser machine.


Which materials can Speedy flexx laser machines process?

Fiber laser source:

  • Plastic
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Titanium
  • Galvanised, Nickel-plated surfaces
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum

How do I use both laser sources for the same job?

The CO2 or fiber source is controlled depending on which laser source was selected in the parameters within the material database (CO2 engraving, fiber engraving or CO2 cutting). This happens automatically with the JobControl® laser software.
Between the CO2 and fiber laser source there is a focal distance of about 7mm, which is stored as a fixed value in the JobControl® laser software and automatically drives the table when switched from one source to the other.

Flexx lens for mixed material applications

CO2 and fiber applications are very different and thus need different lenses. For flexx laser machines Trotec has created a lens suitable for both CO2 and fiber laser sources. The lens is 2.85 inch and lets you create the finest details in the highest possible quality on any material. For jobs which require both laser sources this negates the need to manually change the lens. 

What parameters do I need for multiple materials?

For this you should insert the 2.85” flexx lens and focus the laser on your material. You can then test the parameters needed for each different material as you normally would.
Read our below guide to see how you can quickly and easily determine the best laser parameters for your material. 

Determine laser parameters

How do I find the correct focus for multiple materials with different thicknesses?

  1. Enter the parameters for laser engraving and laser cutting the material
    The first step is to define the laser engraving and laser cutting parameters for each material by using the 16 available colours. Enter these laser settings, for example performance and speed, in the material dialog box. The z-offset parameter in the material process colour is used to set the correct focus for different positions on your workpiece in the material dialog box.
  2. Measure thickness of material and calculate z-offset parameter
    The next step is important. You must measure the thickness of your different materials for calculating the focus point. Each material that will be the focus is the (fixed) focal point, and the focus on the other materials is a reference point for that. This difference is then calculated in the parameters using the z-offset determined earlier.

Important information:

It is recommended that when using a flexx lens that the fiber laser source is focussed because the focal point is more critical than with CO2 lasers. You must be accurate when focusing this laser source. The focusing tool is set to the fiber laser and when the software is switched to the CO2 laser source, the work table will automatically move to the focal point for CO2 entered in the software, for example 7 mm lower.


Example: Setting parameters and calculating z-offset using a ballpoint pen

A ballpoint pen is a good example of a flexx application. The metal clip is marked using the fiber laser, while the wooden housing is engraved with the CO2 laser source. The parameters determined earlier using the 2.85” flexx lens are as follows and serve as a basis for calculating the final z-offset value:

  • Metal clip (fiber laser marking): P: 80%, v: 50%, 20 kHz, z-offset: 0mm
  • Wooden housing (CO2 laser engraving): P: 50%, v: 60%, 1000ppi, z-offset: +2mm

Calculate the focal difference using the material for the fiber laser source as starting point

When calculating the final z-offset it is important to know which material to focus on first. As mentioned earlier, we recommend focusing on the material that will be worked using the fiber laser source, in this example the metal clip for the pen.
The focal difference between the two surfaces is 3 mm. To even out the focal difference and take the offset into account, calculate as follows:

3 mm (tolerance/height difference between materials) - 2 mm (determined z-offset) = 1 mm

Note: To even out the difference the laser machines table needs raising, which is why a ‘minus’ value has to be set. The final parameters are as shown:

  • Metal clip (fiber laser marking): P: 80%, v: 50%, 20 kHz, z-offset: 0mm
  • Wooden housing (CO2 laser engraving): P: 50%, v: 60%, 1000ppi, z-offset: -1mm

Calculate the focal difference: Material for CO2 laser source as starting point

Generally, you can also focus on the material for the CO2 laser source first. This is particularly helpful when the height difference is large enough that the calculated z-offset is less than -5 mm.


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