When engraving wood, plastics or rubber, the removed material causes dust in the laser machine. If this dust is not removed from the machining surface and the laser lenses, it may lead to undesirable processing results such as discolorations, burnt debris or distortions. Here are our top 5 tips for avoiding dust during laser engraving, in order to ensure consistently clean and accurate engraving results.
- Clean the machine regularly after long periods of operation:
Cleaning requires less time than having to repeat an engraving due to dust.
- Use an extraction system that is large enough:
Depending on the materials and quantities you process, you will need different extraction capacities.
- Cover the unused areas of the work area:
This increases the extraction efficiency in the used area of the engraving.
- Reverse engraving direction:
A setting in the JobControl® software. As a result, 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 machine.
In the following paragraphs we go through these points in detail.
Proper maintenance and servicing is essential for a acheiving consistently high engraving result and a long service life for your laser machine. With just a few steps, you can ensure that your laser is well maintained.
|1x per day||Check the work space and, if necessary, its cleaning.|
|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. Here you can find 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.|
Proper exhaust system forms a basis for clean work and high-quality engraving results. It immediately removes dust and contamination from the work surface during the engraving or cutting process.
Regular monitoring of the filter and the activated carbon inserts is important to ensure consistent extraction efficiency. Pay attention to the display on the extraction system. 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 would be happy to help you. You are also welcome to contact us for more information.
You get the best engraving and cutting results if you focus the extraction specifically on the point of the laser machining. You can do this 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 (e.g. laminate boards) so they lie flat on the work table. Thus, you achieve a uniform distance between the lens and workpiece, resulting in a homogeneous processing of the machined surface.
To cover the rear exhaust vents, we recommend using magnetic strips or masking tape. For the table, a cover with paper, cardboard or laminate boards is sufficient.
Reversing the engraving direction to “bottom up” is very helpful for all materials in which engraving dust leads to compromised results. This technique is especially useful when engraving on laminates, but it is also useful in the case of wood or acrylic.
By changing the 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.
In addition, the changed engraving direction helps to be able to better see the material or the engraving result. Because by moving backwards, the axis does not obscure the result.
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.
An annual service by a certified Trotec service technician helps you to keep your machine in an optimal condition and prevent unscheduled downtime.
Trotec offers customized servicing packages at a fixed price for your laser system. Please contact us now for a specific quote.
Regular maintenance can extend the service life of the laser machine - however, it does not replace the professional machine service by Trotec.