Start Here October '22

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 56 of 103 51 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 2 adding a little power or as I preferred, by slowing the laser speed. Engraving with a second pass is also possible but can be risky. A slight move- ment of the product can ruin the prod- uct. It is more time-consuming to add a pass than to slow down the laser a little. Some engravers like a softer look to their engraving on clear acrylic. Softer edges can be accomplished by taking the laser slightly out of focus. Increasing the dis- tance between the laser and product by dropping the laser bed will give you this look. You only need a few quick pushes of the button to drop the laser enough for softness. A millimeter or less will work. Experiment with a practice piece or ruined product. I recommend keeping a few bad pieces around to run any ques- tionable graphics or laser setting changes you have in mind. For sheet goods, you just want to remove all of the top layer of acrylic and just get enough depth into the bottom layer to be sure all of the top layer is removed. is will be the same for any reverse side paint layer. Extra depth provides no real added benefit. However, you do want to make sure there are no slight streaks or a thin layer of the paint coat or top layer showing. A second pass may be neces- sary. Make sure you change your settings if you begin to encounter this happening. Remember, this could happen at any time as your laser tube ages. If you are new to laser engraving, begin with the settings your laser manufacturer recommends for the wattage of your laser. If you bought the laser used, you may find you need to add power to your settings or slow the laser from the recommended set- ting. As laser tubes age you will find your settings need to change too. If the settings needed greatly differ (much more power and much slower) than the recommended settings or the quality of the results are suffering, you may be near the end of the tube's life. Don't wait for the tube to quit. Replace the tube or at least have the watt- age checked to see what's remaining. MAINTENANCE Cleaning your laser and products are both important topics. All plastics are Settings for Laser Cutting Acrylic Braden Todd, owner of Glassmith2/ GS2 Awards, shares recommended settings for his Epilog Laser machines. This acrylic was reverse engraved with a black paint coating on the back. Text and graphics were reversed as well. oil-based products. ey will leave a resi- due on both your laser engraver and on your products. Clear acrylics leave the least. Colored sheet goods will likely leave the most. Vacuuming your laser each week or maybe even more often depending upon your laser's use will be needed. Not keep- ing your laser clean will wear out parts more quickly. Remember your exhaust ports and tubes will also build up a layer of this sticky plastic. Certainly, lasering wood will greatly add to this. You will need to clean your lens and mirrors even more often with a lens cleaner you can purchase from one of your industry sup- pliers or the laser manufacturer. Plastic cleaners may also be useful. Lasered products may also require cleaning. Depending on the buildup, I found I needed different products. For general plastic smudge from the gases, I found Novus 1 to work just fine. I found when a more aggressive cleaner for both products and the laser was needed, LA Awesome worked quite well and is very inexpensive. Never use any cleaner with abrasives, alcohol, or any product used with paints such as a paint thinner. You may scratch the acrylic or craze it (small cracks). A lways check to make sure a cleaner is safe for plastic. Adding acryl- ics to your product list is a great way to increase your profits. The large jail cell key was laser cut from a 24" x 12" sheet and laser engraved.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of GRAPHICS PRO - Start Here October '22