Level-up Your Power!

How to choose the proper power level is one of the main questions asked when a customer is considering a CO2 laser. Typically, the wattage availability of C02 laser systems spans from 12 watts all the way up to 400 watts. More often than not, a higher wattage can decrease your production time. The amount of power needed is dependent on the type of material and how you would like to process it. There are three processes that are impacted by power: engraving, marking, and cutting.

Materials can essentially be categorized into two categories, hard and soft. On average, the materials that engrave well with lower wattages are softer materials such as plastics, fabrics, and paper. For harder materials such as cast acrylics, wood, and glass a higher power level is preferred. Engraving is subjective based on the perspective of each individual. For example, what I find to be engraved too deep you may see it as not deep enough; therefore, determining your “desired look” is extremely important in choosing the proper power level.

The most common materials used in marking with a CO2 laser are: anodized aluminum, coated metals, ceramics, stainless steel, and other bare metals. With coated metals, ceramics, and anodized aluminum, a lower wattage can often be effective; however, take note of the time involved. For stainless steel and other bare metals, a laser bonding material is required to achieve a high contrast mark on the metal. This laserable material is bonded to the substrate through the energy of the laser. This bonding process requires higher power levels for the bonding to successfully occur. If the power is too low, the solution will simply wipe away.

Selecting the appropriate laser power is important in achieving quality cutting results and optimal processing times. With cutting, selecting the proper power level will be based on the type and thickness of the material in addition to the desired quality.

For Example:

Cutting through 1/8” and 1/4” materials can generally be achieved with a lower wattage; however, because of the laser power’s reaction to the material, you may not achieve the same edge quality as you would with a higher powered laser.

If you needed to cut through 1” acrylic and achieve flame polished edges we would recommend a high powered laser; however, if it were paper or fabric, a lower wattage laser would easily achieve your desired results.

The type and thickness of a material, desired output and quality, how the material is processed, and application requirements all play a huge role in selecting the wattage of your laser system. In addition, considering which materials you are processing now along with materials you plan on process in years to come, guarantees the chosen power level will meet all of your company’s growing needs.

Another important factor is to understand your material and have it tested by myself or one of our application engineers before you determine what wattage you would like. A demonstration on the laser system or sending your materials in for processing will leave you feeling confident that you have chosen the best laser for your application needs.

Keep your laser healthy and running marathons!

To maintain the health of your laser, guaranteeing top performance and speed, follow this bi-monthly maintenance checklist.

Lens Cleaner1) Check and clean all optics in the beam path.

2) Check your beam alignment.

3) Clean power supplies on rear and/or bottom of laser with compressed air.

4) Blow out cooling fins and fans on air cooled laser tubes with compressed air.

5) Inspect and clean Z axis spindles. Using WD40 clean and lubricate z axis. Wipe off any excess WD40.

6) Clean Plexiglas top with mild soap and water. Do not use alcohol.

7) Clean inside of machine and circuit boards with compressed air.

8) Any time you use compressed air on your machine, check and clean optics for dust and debris.

Clean your lens!

LensKeeping your lens clean is critical as a dirty lens can result in poor marking and engraving capabilities.

You should check your lens at least once a week to ensure it’s clean. If you are working with rubber or wood, it’s recommended to check it daily.

Only clean the lens if it is dirty, as excessive cleaning can shorten the life of the lens.

The oils in your skin will damage the lens coating so never handle the lens with your bare fingers.

Always use a proper lens wipe or cotton swab with industrial optic cleaning fluid. Cleaning fluid from a camera store or eyeglass shop will contain water which will harm the lens coating.

Important: Special care should be taken when cleaning a broken lens. The coating is very poisonous when broken, so it should always be handled and disposed of in a responsible manner.

Laser Cutting 101

Laser cutting is fast and productive
Laser cutting with Trotec machines outperform conventional cutting systems in terms of speed and productivity. Today, laser cutting can be done much easier and faster than ever before and can be used in a wide range of applications and industries. As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of laser systems, Trotec offers innovative laser cutting machines for diverse applications, such as cutting of acrylic, architectural models, foils and films, signage, paper, toys, wood, and much more. In all applications and industries, Trotec laser machines stand for clean, fast, and high-quality laser cutting.

Laser machines can be used flexibly
A laser cutting machine from Trotec can very easily be adapted to diverse application requirements. With the laser beam, individual batches can be cut just as easily and economically as mass productions; small workpieces are equally suited for laser cutting as large objects.

Maximum precision

Laser cutting machines from Trotec are equipped with integrated cameras that detect registration marks and automatically control the position of the laser at maximum precision, even if the original template is rotated, expanded or distorted.

Safe process
During laser cutting, there is no need for aligning or fastening the material. Users will never come into contact with open and moving machine parts. In short: A Trotec laser cutting machine is as safe to use as a CD player or a microwave oven, and it goes without saying that they additionally fulfil the most stringent safety standards.

Sharp edges
Laser cutting machines produce a perfect laser cut and always deliver sharp and clean edges that will not fray. When working on acrylic, a flame-polished edge is produced.
Profitable cutting process

A laser machine from Trotec stands for maximum quality, reliability, performance and speed. Besides, laser cutting is extremely profitable. Laser cutting machines are not subject to wear and tear, will pay off quickly, and will maximize a company’s income.

Trotec machines for laser cutting
Trotec offers you a wide range of flatbed laser machines for cutting a large variety of different materials