When laser processing a variety of organic materials including plastic, wood or rubber, the surface material being removed will result in an excess of dust and debris settling in the laser machine. Dust that accumulates and is not removed from the components of the system including the machining surface and laser lenses, undesirable processing results such as burnt debris, distortions and discolorations will appear. Cleaning your laser machine regularly is imperative for the longevity of your system, and we have outlined 5 suggestions below for avoiding these issues and maintaining consistently clean and accurate engraving results.
- Regular cleaning of your laser machine is required regardless of use, but is especially important after extended periods of operation. Proper machine cleaning requires less time than having to repeat an engraving due to dust.
- Utilize an extraction system with the proper capacity for your machine and application. Extraction requirements will vary depending on the materials and quantities being processed, but these systems are designed to properly remove excess dust and debris and will help maintain good processing results.
- Cover the unused areas of your machines workspace. This simple practice will boost extraction efficiency in the areas that are being engraved.
- Reverse engraving direction, which is a setting available in the JobControl® software. This will result in the dust being extracted so that it does not get under the laser beam.
- Utilize a Trotec service technician to service your system on a routine basis. The optimal maintenance and adjustment of all laser components increases the service life of your machine.
The accompanying paragraphs outline these points in even greater detail.
Proper maintenance and routine servicing of your laser machine is essential for achieving and maintaining consistently high engraving results, and an extra-long system lifespan. By implementing just a few simple steps, you can ensure that your laser machine is well maintained.
|1x per day:||Check the work space and thoroughly clean as necessary.|
|1x per day:||Inspect the mirror and lens on the machining head, which should always be free from dust and debris to avoid system damage. Here you can find detailed information on cleaning lenses.|
|1x per day:||Check all ventilation slots and make sure that they are free from contamination, which will allow for continuous flow of extracted air.|
|1x per week:||Check all optical and mechanical components for debris.|
An adequate exhaust system will form a good basis for producing high-quality laser engraving results. Dust and contamination will be immediately removed from the work surface of your machine during the cutting or engraving process.
Routine monitoring of the activated carbon inserts and filter is imperative to maintain maximum extraction efficiency. The display on the extraction system will prompt you of the current operating status as well as any upcoming maintenance that might be required.
Definitions and details for the various display messages of your extraction system can be located in the operating manual. If additional assistance is needed or you have any questions, please contact us directly for more information.
Cutting and engraving results can be drastically improved by covering the unused portion of the rear exhaust vent, which will focus the extraction on the area being laser processed.
If a vacuum table is also being used, make sure to cover the vacant suction holes as well. This will allow for greater suction when working with thin workpieces (e.g. laminates), and ensure that the materials lie flat on the machines work table. Following this technique will ensure that the appropriate distance between the workpiece and lens is achieved consistently.
We suggest using masking tape and/or magnetic strips to properly cover the laser machines rear exhaust vents. For covering the table, use cardboard, paper or laminate boards to line the areas not being processed.
For materials that produce dust during the laser engraving process, we recommend reversing the engraving direction to “bottom to top,” so that results are not compromised. This technique can be applied to a variety of materials but is especially helpful when engraving wood, acrylics or laminates.
Adjusting the engraving direction will protect the freshly engraved materials from any dust settling on the still-warm workpiece. Depending on the laser machine model being used, the dust is alternatively extracted by the head extractor or by the extractor on the rear wall of the machining area. This ensures that the unprocessed part of the material does not accumulate dust on the warmed-up engraved surface, and that the materials remain clean. Using this technique will greatly cut down on any extra post-processing cleanup that might be required.
Additionally, changing the engraving direction will allow for greater visibility of the materials being processed and the engraving result, because the axis will not obscure the workpiece. For example, when laser engraving stamps you would typically use the standard engraving direction “top to bottom”. This results in the engraving dust (which is heavier with this type of material) just settling on the workpiece instead of swirling upwards from extracted airflow suction.
Utilizing a certified Trotec service technician for annual maintenance will help you keep your system in optimal working condition, as well as prevent any unscheduled downtime. We offer customized service plans at a fixed rate that can be tailored to your needs. Just contact us today to receive your personalized quote!