Dust removal and cleaning - Trotec laser machines

Dust on a rubber sheet

The main cause of unclean laser engraving results: Dust

When laser engraving wood, plastics and rubber, the material will produce dust inside the laser machine. If this dust is not removed from the machining surface and the lenses, it can lead to undesirable processing results such as discolouration, burnt debris or distortions. In this guide we give you our top 5 tips for avoiding dust during laser engraving, in order to ensure consistently clean and accurate laser engraving results.

5 tips to avoid dust build up in the laser machine

  • Clean the laser machine regularly after long periods of operation:
    It is quicker to clean compared to having to repeat an engraving job due to dust build up.
  • Use an extraction system that is sufficient for you laser:
    Depending on the materials and quantities you process, you will need different extraction capacities.
  • Cover the unused areas of the work area with a material such as paper:
    This increases the extraction efficiency in the area used for engraving.
  • Reverse the laser engraving direction:
    A setting in the JobControl® laser software. The dust is extracted so that it does not get under the laser beam.
  • Ongoing servicing by a Trotec service technician:
    The optimal maintenance and adjustment of all laser components increases the service life of your laser machine.

The following sections elaborate on these points.

Cleaning the laser machine workspace

Cleaning the Trotec laser engraving machine

Proper maintenance and servicing is essential for achieving a consistently high quality laser engraving result and a long service life for your laser machine. In just a few steps you can ensure that your laser is well maintained.

1x per day: Check the work space and, if necessary, clean it.
1x per day: Inspect the mirror and lens on the machining head. They should always be free from dust and smut, so as not to be damaged. follow our guide for more information about cleaning lenses.
1x per day: Check that all ventilation slots are free from contamination. This ensures a continuous flow of extracted air.
1x per week: Check all optical and mechanical components for debris and clean if required.

An extraction system immediately removes the dust during the engraving process

A proper exhaust system is an important component in a clean work area and achieving high-quality laser engraving results. During laser engraving the dust is immediately removed alongside contamination from the work surface.

It is important to regularly monitor the filter and the activated carbon inserts to ensure consistent, efficient extraction. Pay attention to the display on the extraction system as the operating status and upcoming maintenance are displayed on it.

Details of all display messages can be found in the operating manual of your extraction system. If you have any questions, we are happy to help you. Please contact us for more information.

More about exhaust systems

Cover unused areas of the work surface

The best laser engraving and cutting results are achieved by focusing the extraction specifically on the point of the laser processing. This can be done by covering the unused part of the rear exhaust vent.

If you use a vacuum table, you should also cover the vacant suction holes. This results in better suction for thin workpieces, such as engraving laminate boards, so they lie flat on the work table. By doing this you achieve a uniform distance between the lens and workpiece, resulting in a homogeneous processing of the surface.

To cover the rear exhaust vents, we recommend using magnetic strips or masking tape. For the table, materials such as paper, cardboard or laminate boards are sufficient as cover.


Reverse the laser engraving direction

Reversing the laser engraving direction to “bottom to top” is very helpful for all materials in which the dust produced by engraving could compromised the finished workpiece. This technique is especially useful when engraving laminates, as well as woods or acrylics.

By changing the laser engraving direction, the engraving dust does not settle on the still warm, freshly engraved surface. Instead, the dust - depending on the laser machine model - is extracted by the head extractor or by the extractor on the rear wall of the machining area. As a result, the unprocessed part of the material is always engraved so that no dust is deposited on the warmed-up engraved surface.

The changed engraving direction also helps the user to be able to better see the material or the engraving result. By moving backwards, the axis does not obscure the view throughout the job.

Stamp engravings are generally made with the standard engraving direction “from top to bottom”. The engraving dust is heavier than with other materials and stays on the workpiece instead of swirling upwards with the suction of the extracted airflow.


Servicing by Trotec engineers - for a longer service life of your machine

An annual service by a certified Trotec engineer helps you to keep your laser machine in an optimal condition and prevent unscheduled downtime.
Trotec offers customised servicing packages at a fixed price for your laser machine, please contact us for a quote.

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