Laser Cutter is one of the most useful tools in modern shop. If you are searching for the user techniques, proper steps of using a laser cutter, this piece of article is for you. To start with laser cutting, it a process of precisely cutting or engraving a material using high-power laser beam, directed by Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine from a CAD vector file. When cutting the laser beam burns away at the material leaving you with the cutout shapes that you have specified in your vector file. A typical commercial laser cutter involves a motion control system. This system follows a pattern of CNC or G-code to be cut into the material.
Features of Laser Cutter
- Laser Cutters are very useful for modelling prototypes and also for stent cutting.
- They are provided with long lasting and high quality laser tubes.
- They are equipped with automatic height adjustment feature which helps in keeping up the focal length more steady and maintain static cutting quality.
- These machines also include full communications or analog I/O control system.
- Laser cutters allow you to work on thicker materials if required, by adjusting its axis.
Laser Cutters are used in industrial manufacturing, but can also be used in small business and for personal use. Like it said, every new thing needs some practice to use it. Here also, laser cutter takes some practice to use it in our daily life. Here are the steps which deal in the correct use of laser cutter:
STEP 1: The Machine – Laser Cutter
The very first and most important thing you’re going to need to use a laser cutter, is the laser cutter itself. Though, certain chances are if you don’t have one yet, purchasing one may cost more than your budget.
You can opt to buy a laser cutting machine if your budget allows you. If you don’t want to purchase your own, you can see if you can rent or lease one. You can search in your local area for businesses that will laser cut for you. There are a lot of places that make a business of laser cutting items for other people. You can also check stores and on e-business portals for used models that will be sold at lower price.
STEP 2: Create an image for laser cut out
Choose the image that you wish to cut. The image can be from a camera, a drawing or a downloaded image. You will have to upload the image to your computer and into the software that works with the laser cutter. Most laser cutters run on CorelDRAW software.
STEP 3: The material you are using to cut your image onto
Laser cutter works on a variety of materials like;
Cast Acrylic – It can be engraved and cut. It has a nice frosted appearance.
Extrude Acrylic – It can be cut. It will not frost when etched.
Laser safe plastics such as ABS and poly carbonate – They can be etched and cut.
Note- PVC and vinyl are not laser safe.
Anodized Aluminium, Brass (coated with some paint), Glass, Wood, etc. are some metals which can be cut with a laser cutter.
STEP 4: Check for the lens whether it is clean or not
Before starting to cut, make sure that the lens is clean, or your image may be off. If the lens does need cleaning, use a cotton ball along with a rubbing alcohol to gently clean it.
STEP 5: Turn your machine ON and get ready to cut
Turn ON the machine and let it warm up. Meanwhile, go to your computer and in your software applications go to “File” and then “Print”. A preference menu will pop up allowing you to choose the cutting method. Most of the cutter functions on two methods: “Raster” and “Vector”. Raster is used for engraving purpose and Vector is used when you want to cut out pieces.
STEP 6: Set your laser cutter’s width and speed and then cut out your image
Set your cutting line according to the material you are using. The cutting speed should also be set according to the material you are cutting. Once all your options are set, you can go ahead and cut out your material.
Manufacturers are more into usage of laser cutter and engraving machines with high precision and small size. These machines are known for providing high accuracy and to obtain this accuracy, machines are fixed with linear motor with high resolution optical encoders.
The advantages by using laser cutting compared with general cutting machines are exploited in terms of narrow kerf, high cutting speed, low heat-affected zone, high accuracy, improved efficiency of the cutting process, etc. However, the main objectives from the technology used are increasing the manufacturing of products and decreasing the procurement cost.