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Laser Cutters - A caution


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I had some fireworks in the shop yesterday.  I had a couple of flareups on the wood being cut in the Death Star.  It was a first for me, but my handy spray bottle took care of it fast.    If you ever use a laser cutter, watch it up close when cutting.   I suspect it's the thinness of the wood and oil (?) in the Euro Box that caused the problem.  This wood seems to cut rather inconsistently and I've ended up re-cutting parts several times.

 

From reading other sites, this isn't all that uncommon.  It can happen with any wood at just about any power setting.  Sometimes it's just flareup and out, sometimes (as in mine) they need to be put out.  On the other sites they get reports a couple times a year of guys losing their workshop or some of their house.

 

So if you're using your own, a friends, one at the library or MakerSpace a couple of things... find out where the water bottle and fire extinguisher are located. I keep mine off to one side so I'm reaching over or under the cutter.  And I have both.

Lastly, when the cutter is operating, watch it cut.  Don't go get a cup of coffee or watch videos on Youtube.  

 

Stay watchful, and be careful out there.

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On the first one, I was cutting at 6 maybe 7 mA according to the meter.  The second was just above 3 mA (I was etching and the tube doesn't fire until 3 mA.)   Max is 15mA = 45W  and I never power over 13 mA to promote tube life.   I was cutting and etching at 12mm/Second.

 

When I was testing, they did claim 21mA is max but the testing sheet says 15 = 45.7W so for the test, I did run it one time at full power...but not going to do that again.  It cut 1/4" box like butter.. so I think it's capable of more than 45W.     

 

Ventilation.. I have an air compressor at the lens and the standard exhaust fan leading outside.  I've been cutting replacement bits and pieces all day today and no issue.  Same settings, same wood, same thickness... same $!%&@ parts that either break easy or the carpet monster eats  :o .

 

As I said, it happens...  I read a lot on Sawmillcreek and there's been a couple a year.  Most of them were like mine, a flareup.. hotspot.., something... small flame that if not stopped will get bigger. I ended up with minor soot and some scorched wood.

Edited by mtaylor
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I thought you were going to say don't use fingers to clamp the work piece.

I don't think the landlady would take kindly to the smoke and setting off the detector.

 

Or the smell of cooking me....   :D  :D  :D

 

Luckily, this unit has a good safety switch.  If I open the lid, the laser shuts down.  But my habit is to hit either the main power or the laser "arming" switch and make sure it's off even when the machine isn't cutting.  

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