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Einstein lightbulb cartoon 1Carbon dioxide lasers, known as CO2 lasers, have been in use for more than 50 years. While they are often used in the medical field for soft tissue surgery, they are most frequently employed as cutting instruments for materials such as wood, fabric, paper, plastic and numerous other objects. Used in metal materials as well, CO2 lasers are truly a workhorse tool for companies that need to do a large amount of high-quality cutting. marking or engraving.

A CO2 laser tube uses carbon dioxide gases sealed inside a tube that are energized, or excited, when electricity is introduced. The excited CO2 gases then emit a laser beam that is invisible and infrared. The number of applications a laser beam can be used for may be surprising. It can cut wood, engrave leather or wood and etch glass, plastics, or even photographs. A CO2 laser is typically used to cut or etch harder and denser materials as well, such as marble and granite, stainless steel, treated metal, titanium and even silver. A company that needs a workhorse type of laser should consider choosing the CO2 laser.

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s2smodern

Einstein lightbulb cartoon 1While many of our clients know that they have need of a laser, many don’t actually know how a fiber laser works! So whether you’re new to the industry, or you’re just looking to brush up on your knowledge and learn something new on how fiber lasers work, then this article is for you!

A fiber laser is a laser where the active medium being used is an optical fiber that has been doped in rare elements; typically, erbium, ytterbium, neodymium, thulium, praseodymium, holmium or dysprosium. While you don’t need to worry too much about which rare-earth elements have been used, the main thing to note is that it is fiber that is being used at the centre of this laser machine.

This is different to the two other main types of laser, which are gas lasers (typically uses helium-neon or carbon dioxide) and crystal lasers (using Nd:YAG). Fiber lasers are the newest type of laser to hit the market, with many arguing that it is the more beneficial of the three types.

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Einstein lightbulb cartoon 1There are a wide range of materials that the CO2 Laser Cutter can cut, etch or mark - but some simply don't work (eg metals) and some are extremely hazardous to either humans or the machine itself (eg PVC and Vinyl). It is therefore imperative that you check these lists before attempting to cut materials that you have not worked with before.

It is not always obvious which materials will work - for example: Polycarbonate/Lexan produces flames and lethal chlorine gas which will rapidly corrode this machine into uselessness and which is extremely hazardous to the health of people nearby. Yet Acrylic - which looks, smells, feels and tastes just like Lexan - cuts smoothly and cleanly and is one of the best materials to use with the laser! So check and double-check what you're cutting.

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Daily Maintenance

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  • Blow the dust and debris out of the machine, especially if you’re doing wood. The dust and smoke will collect on your mirrors, belts and belt drives. Cleaning them helps prevent wear and extra debris from building up in the moving parts.
  • Clean mirrors and lenses. Using an eyeglass wipe or denatured alcohol clean the mirrors and both lenses. To clean the lens in the head remove the tube from the head and fitting that holds lens in place. Clean and reinstall making sure curved side is facing upward. Dont forget to clean the lens on the lasertube too.
  • Check the water level in the chiller every day. If there is a possibility of freezing in your area be sure to add RV-antifreeze to your chiller before the cold season starts. It’s a cheap way to make sure your tube doesn’t break due to ice build up.

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s2smodern

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Four years ago, we began making laser-cut plywood jigsaw puzzles. In that time, we’ve gone through four different plywoods in search of a material that works well for laser cutting intricate parts. Along the way, we’ve learned a great deal about how plywood is produced and confronted a fundamental problem: There is no commercially available plywood made in the US designed specifically for laser-cutting. Ultimately, we’ve had to have our own custom plywood manufactured.

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s2smodern

Einstein lightbulb cartoon 1

Laser engravers are a fantastic tool to have in your shop. They offer you the ability to fine, detailed engraving on a variety of substrates. But as with any piece of machinery, there are some precautions you should take to keep everyone in your shop safe. Here are some general safety tips for operating your laser (as always, please consult your laser manufacturer for instructions specific to your laser).

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