Laser cutting machine makes use of a thermal process that effectively melts different types of materials in a localized area. The laser machine can either cut or engrave materials into patterns. There are two techniques in laser cutting: The Raster and the Vector. The Raster is more on the engraving functioning of the laser cutter while the Vector is where the cutting part takes place.
Steps in Laser Cutter
A. Create an Image File
1. Set-up your Laser Cutter machine
Turn on the laser equipment and make sure that the fume-extractor is working. If you are not yet familiar in using the laser cutter, it is advisable to read the user manual or check the internet for assistance on how to operate it.
2. Prepare the Materials for Cutting
Not all materials are safe to cut. There are types of materials that may damage your laser cutter depending on the material of the item to be cut especially those polycarbonate sheets. Some materials that are not recommended for laser cutting are PVC and vinyl.
3. Decide On Your Pattern
Choose a pattern or image that you want to cut or engrave into your chosen material. It is advisable to start with a simple design until you gradually switch into a more complicated design so until you feel comfortable using it.
4. Set-up the Software To Be Used
Aside from your laser cutter, you will be needing to computer software that is loaded with vector graphics. The most common software used in partnered with laser cutting is the Adobe Illustrator and the Coreldraw. This software is easy to use, you’ll just need to import the files from your computer and upload it into the software.
5. Check the Sizing
Make sure that the dimensions of your image your pattern match the size of your material. Make sure that your image is not larger than your material because it has a tendency that some sections would be missing if you would start cutting. You can change the dimensions of your image in the settings to fit in well in your material.
B. Adjusting the Machine
1. Check the Power and the Speed Settings
Checking the power and the speed settings determine how are you able to control how much power will be used while printing. The power and the speed settings vary from one material to another.
In printing, you’ll just have to click the file option in your computer go to the preferences menu, and it will give you the option to choose if it is a Raster or Vector. Make sure that the material is kept still during the printing session so that it won’t destroy the final outcome.
Different Types of Focal Methods in Cutting
a. Slant Method
You can use a slant plate positioning it under a vertical axis and by moving it horizontally until it reaches the laser beam at the minimum focus.
b. Pulse Method
A plastic sheet is used for the laser beam printing. It is where the laser is moved from the top to bottom checking all holes using the smallest diameter as the focus.
c. Blue Spark
This method would require you to remove the nozzles and blow the air with the pulse placed on the stainless steel while moving the laser’s head from top to bottom until the blue spark is located.
Laser cutting is one of the greatest contributions of technology that is widely used in the industrial, manufacturing, in the school setting and even in small businesses. The skill of laser cutting requires accuracy and passion.