Fabrication technology has advanced so much that many hobbyists can now afford to buy laser cutters. However, some of those hobbyists may get unsatisfactory results from their CNC laser cutting machines due to having limited knowledge on how to optimise the performance of that equipment. This article discusses some questions that will help you to get the best results from that newly acquired laser cutter.
Are You Cleaning the Cutting Lens Effectively?
The laser beam from your laser cutter reaches the material that you are cutting by moving through the cutting lens. Any dirt in that lens may affect the quality of the cuts that you make. It is therefore crucial that you keep the cutting lens clean so that you consistently have high-quality cuts during your DIY fabrication projects.
Effective cleaning starts with knowing the amount of dirt on the lens so that you apply the right amount of pressure as you rub in the lens polish. Buy a polariser (a device that you place under the lens so that any imperfections on the surface due to dirt are magnified) so that you can see the microscopic cracks caused by dirt. Use light rubbing motions as you apply lens polish in order to remove minor cracks caused by dirt. Use heavier hand pressure to remove more pronounced lens cracks. This method will ensure that your cutting lens remains clean since your cleaning activities will be guided by the magnitude of the dirt in the lens.
Is the Nozzle Centered?
The nozzle delivering the assist gas as you cut needs to be centered so that the resulting cut is straight. Each laser cutter has a specific procedure for confirming that the nozzle is centered. However, you can take an extra step and buy a magnifying light so that it is easier for you to see how centered the test hole that you have cut is. The magnifying light will also save you from straining your eyes as you check how centered the nozzle is.
Is the Light Focused?
Laser cutters operate by concentrating light rays onto a single mark. Effective cuts result from using a laser cutter whose beam is focused well. Confirm that the light is focused by performing the recommended test more times than the manufacturer advised. For instance, the manufacturer may have advised that you enter light focus settings into the controller once you look through the view panel and you see a thin line pointing at the material to be cut. Turn the light beam on and off several times so that you use the average settings that give you a thin line pointing at the material. You will notice that the cuts will be better after you have used settings taken from several focus tests.
Keep practicing how to use the tips above and you may notice a significant improvement in the quality of the cuts made by your CNC laser cutting equipment. Consult an expert for help in case you are unsure about how to implement the tips above.