GRAPHICS PRO

November '20

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8 0 L A S E R E N G R A V I N G R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M For any new owner of a laser system, most companies send out a standard set- tings chart for processing materials. This is a starting point. A 250-watt laser might actually put out 293 watts or 313-watts; every laser is a little bit different. This is where testing comes in. In the example above, we used marble surface etching. With the same DPI, engraving speed, and wattage laser, we took the focal point of the image, used the software to skip ahead, and tested different power settings to ensure the best results. This is a similar process whether you are cutting, engraving, or marking materials. Adjusting your power, speed, and air pressure are three of the main ways to affect your finished product. Once you L A S E R E N G R A V I N G R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Here we used marble surface etching. With the same DPI, engraving speed, and wattage laser, we took the focal point of the image, used the software to skip ahead, and tested different power settings to ensure the best results. PPE is obviously trending right now, and large-format machines are great to aid in the creation of it. find your sweet spot, you should save those settings to ensure the quality on the next product. This is the main learning curve of running any laser: the correct settings! LARGE VS SMALL LEARNING CURVE What do I need to know when comparing large versus small format? If I am used to running a small laser, what changes when I move to a bigger system? Besides the cost and size, what is the difference in the oper- ation of the systems? All great questions that someone might want to know before jumping on a large-format laser. With large-format lasers, we already talked about higher wattage laser sources, which provide you with the option to cut thicker materials and the addition of met- als. With these capabilities comes some software additions that allow for greater control for the precision of vector cutting (i.e., lead-in controls, pierce assist, angle control, and more.) For example, when cutting .040-inch mild steel with shop air, you would poten- tially have a pierce delay of .3 seconds to allow the laser to fully penetrate the metal before the movement of the focal head. With the addition of this needed pierce, you would most likely cut with 100 PSI of shop air to help assist the cut, but if it was oxygen assist, it could be as low as 10 PSI. With these new features and capabilities come a couple new learning curves that allow for accurate cutting. Another example is 1˝ acrylic. For the awards and trophies industry, the capa- bility to cut your own awards instead of outsourcing has the potential to save money and allow for custom creations. However, 1˝ acrylic is a tad different than 1/4-inch acrylic. Higher power and slower speeds have the potential of flame- up if you are not using the correct settings. This includes the air pressure, nozzle, focal head, and vacuum table. All of these com- bine correctly to get a beautiful, one pass, flame-polished cut. A small example like this may seem like a challenge at first, but with the correct training and settings, you have the avenue to create your own ideas instead of search- ing on the internet hoping you will find the right seller. APPLICATIONS AND INDUSTRIES As vague as it sounds, we have seen these laser systems used in just about every way possible. I bet when they created the flat- head screwdriver, they probably did not intend for it to open paint cans, chisel, remove baseboard trim, or perhaps start a car. Its sole purpose was intended to take slot screws in and out. I have to imagine that after the invention of the red beam, then the first CO 2 laser used as a drill- ing tool, that the original users would be floored with the applications of lasers today. While most of our current customers have a distinct industrial need for a laser system in manufacturing/production— such as the aerospace industry for cutting out space blankets or metal fabrication companies cutting out part after part—not everyone who buys a large-format laser has only one specific need. You can use a large- format machine for just about anything, including creative solutions. The Codex Silenda (pictured above) and pet furniture are a few items our cus- tomers created using their large-format system.

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