Laser Cutter FAQ

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What laser cutter tube should I use?

 

Most laser cutters are in the 40 - 150 watt power range. As the power increases, so does the size of the laser beam. If your business engraves high detailed images, a laser cutter that is 60 watts or above may struggle to give the detail you require. However, if you also cut material, a 60 watt machine may struggle to cut material when the tube deteriorates.

  

In our opinion if you don’t engrave high detail items and the machine can take the larger tube you should upgrade to a 100 watt laser tube. In our experience a 100 watt laser tube works well for general engraving and if the power drops there will still be enough power left over for cutting before the tube expires. Whilst a 100 watt laser tube requires a higher initial expense and will require a new power supply, it will last significantly longer than lower watt tubes and you won’t have to replace the laser tube as often. 

If you are considering upgrading your laser tube give us a call and we will advise you on suppliers, wattage and power supplies. 

How does a CO2 laser work?

 

20000 to 50000 volts passes through a tube filled with carbon dioxide. The gas is ‘excited’ (a bit like a neon light) and this produces a laser beam.

 

 

Why does the laser tube wear out?

 

At the moment, in the UK there are three main laser tube suppliers: RECI, Yongli and SPT. The most common are RECI and SPT. You should always buy the tubes from a reputable dealer as there are fakes out there. RECI are the most expensive and last longer than other tubes.

 

The tubes wear out for two main reasons. The CO2 gas inside has been used up or the CO2 gas has leaked out of the tube. Laser tubes are not perfectly sealed and this is why they are guaranteed for only a number of years or a number of hours of use. A laser tube is much like a printer cartridge - it is a consumable item that will run out. When using a laser cutter you should always consider your usage and the likelihood of your laser tube running out - it is always good to have a spare.

Laser Cutter motor
Why do mirrors wear out?

 

There are two main types of mirror, gold coated and molybdenum. Gold is more reflective but scratches easier and the gold can flake off if you cut certain materials. Molybdenum is less reflective but is far more hard wearing and harder to scratch. There will be differing opinions on which you should use as the laser power is reduced by a ‘moly’ mirror. The difference however, in real world terms is negligible. We always choose moly mirrors.

The truth about most laser cutters.

 

The electronic and mechanical components are mostly the same and made in China. With some exceptions most laser cutters in the UK are rebadged to look like they are British.

What varies is the is the chassis and the mechanical design and this is why we can repair any laser cutter. 

 

Troubleshooting

My laser doesn't fire?

 

1. Check the chiller is on.

2. Check there are no leaks.

3.Check that all the doors on the laser cutter are closed.

4. Some laser cutters have a switch to enable the laser - is this on?

5. Is the power percentage too low?

6. Are there any cracks in the laser tube?

The laser doesn't cut in some areas.

1. Check the mirrors and lens are clean

2. Check the bed is level

3. Check the laser beam is aligned

The laser doesn't move.

1. Check the 'Rotary' button isn't on. 

2. Switch the machine off and try to move the laser 'carriages' by hand over the full area.

3. Check there isn't anything in the way of the laser head like a magnet or some other obstruction.

The laser makes a grinding sound when I switch it on.

First you need to understand that most machines 'home' when switched on. This means the machine goes to its zero position which is how it knows where to move to cut the shapes. 

1. Check for any obstructions. 

2. Clean the switches that trigger the homing position at the corner where the machine 'homes'.

3. Check there isn't anything in the way of the laser head like a magnet or some other obstruction.