A laser cutting machine is an investment that can cost several thousand or even several tens of thousands of dollors. In other words, it is essential to preserve and take care of it.
In this article, we offer you 4 tips to increase the life of a laser cutter. These are completely logical recommendations that will allow you to properly maintain your laser machine and use it in good conditions.
1- Clean your laser cutter regularly and efficiently to keep the life is longer
The key elements of your machine are:
The transmission system
The cooling system
These 3 elements must be perfectly maintained to last longer. We tell you more about this in our other article on regular laser cutter maintenance.
1- Regarding the cooling of the tube, manufacturers advise changing the water weekly, others say monthly. Use deionized water to prevent deposits from forming in the tube.
2- Extraction is also essential. It evacuates fumes, gases and micro-particles. In addition to guaranteeing you clean parts, its cleaning is important to avoid the formation of deposits throughout the machine (on the belts for example). This deposit can create a flammable layer. High-end machines are equipped with an extractor with filters. The first-price models, on the other hand, simply have a low-power fan. In this case, it may be worth adding a more powerful extraction. Don’t hesitate to do a cleaning every week.
3- As for the transmission, therefore the X and Y axes, they must also be kept clean. Again, a weekly wash isn’t bad. It is difficult to find information about this on the net. In this Epilog Maintenance Guide (page 100) it says: “Use a soft cloth or cotton swab with alcohol or a similar neutral solvent to clean the X-axis beam. Try cleaning the inside the beam of the X axis, where the guides run. ”
2- Determine a good location to optimize the life of your laser cutter machine
What are the optimal conditions, the perfect location for a laser cutter? This machine is sensitive to climatic variations. Thus, you must protect it from high temperatures in summer, and cold temperatures in winter. But other parameters must be taken into account to increase the life of a laser cutter.
The ideal is therefore a workshop:
Heated during winter. Otherwise, if the temperatures drop sharply, you risk reducing the life of the tube. Indeed, the water circulating in the CO2 tube should ideally be between 15 and 25 ° C. We’ve already run our power cutter when the water was below 10, even 5 degrees. A shrill little noise comes from the cutter. Not at all reassuring.
Isolated for the summer. While you certainly have a water cooler, your best bet is not to “pull” on it and the machine.
Preserved from dust.
Make sure you place your machine level as well.
To learn more about this issue, you can read the article offered by Trotec.
3- Use your cutting machine in good technical conditions
To increase the life of a laser cutter, it is really advisable not to do somewhat random “tests”.
If you are like us, then you may be wondering if it is possible to move the part far away from the beam to widen an engraving line. Or, if you can cut a material whose composition you don’t know.
Yes, we all have within us the soul of a scientist or a little crazy researcher :).
But it is an expensive machine that has been designed for one or more specific uses. The best is certainly to refer to the manual provided by the manufacturer and not to do anything, right?
4- Only machine materials suitable for the CO2 laser cutter
You probably know that some materials are unsuitable for the laser cutter, for example PVC, carbon or imitation leather. The problem is not that the machine cannot cut or engrave them, but that they give off fumes that are toxic to the user or that they can damage certain components.
But there are other materials which produce a lot of dust and fumes and which can affect the optimum life of your machine. We think, for example, of minerals and glass. We have already done engraving tests on bottles and stones. This creates a lot of abrasive micro-dust. Good cleaning is essential. If you use your machine only for this use, I doubt the lifespan will be the same as if you cut plywood.
Conclusion: Is it possible to increase the life of a laser cutter?
The answer is mixed. There are some parts that have limited lifespans (consumables like lenses or mirrors, as well as the tube). But it’s true that proper maintenance, location and use can keep the machine going for longer. Rather, we should be talking about optimizing the lifespan rather than increasing it.
If you want to keep your laser cutter for 10 years or more, your best bet is to look for a well-designed model and maintain it well, that’s for sure.