Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Laser Cutter
Laser cutters and engravers are the perfect tools for creating one-of-a-kind personal items to use, gift, or sell. However, new users experience a learning curve when they start working with their first machine. The following are a few tips to help first-time users get the most out of their laser cutter.
Choose the Right Machine
The number-one key to success in laser cutting is using the right machine for the job. Laser cutters come in different sizes, strengths, and styles, and users need to work with the tool that is best suited to the materials and projects they are working on. One thing to bear in mind is that there are two main types of laser cutters on the market: CO2 and fiber. C02-powered lasers are generally recommended for cutting or etching any kind of natural material, such as wood, ceramic, granite, marble, and glass, while fiber lasers are best for working with metal. In general, the size and strength of the laser cutter should depend on the size of the materials and the depth of cut needed.
Prepare the Material
Before making the first cut, users need to prepare the material by cleaning it and protecting the surface. When a laser beam cuts into a piece of wood, it generates smoke, which can stain the edges around the cut. To protect the edges, users need to cover the entire area they plan to cut or engrave with masking tape. The tape will not interfere with the cutting, but it will keep the edges of the cut clean. Plastic is another material that benefits from a protective cover. Masking tape on plastic prevents the buildup of smoke residue.
Do A Test Cut
New users need to try out the laser cutter before starting a project so they can get a feel for how the machine works and see what kind of results they’ll get. When a laser beam vaporizes material, it leaves a space, known as a kerf. It’s a good idea to do a test cut before starting any new project because a test will reveal whether the kerf is right width and depth. It may be necessary to reduce the power if the kerf is too deep for an engraving or increase the power for a deeper cut.
Keep the Lens Clean
A laser cutter uses a convex lens to focus the laser beam. When light passes through the lens, a quarter-inch beam narrows to a fine point so it can cut a very precise design. All cutters come with a standard lens, and users can purchase lenses in different sizes for more intricate work or to reach a surface that is in a recessed area. Expert users recommend cleaning the laser lens anywhere from once a week to once a day. The red dot that indicates the cutting point should always be clear and sharp. If the dot starts to blur, that’s a sure sign the lens needs cleaning.
Users should also make sure to purchase their machine from a reputable company that provides reliable customer service. An experienced sales representative can help first-time buyers make the right decision when purchasing a laser cutter. For more information about one recommended dealer, check out boss laser on Trust Pilot.