The most common material to cut and engrave using a laser cutting machine is wood. But, the problem with laser cutters is that there will be laser burn marks around the edges of the wood.
So, in this article, we will learn about the ways you can overcome the issue of burn marks.
The major reason behind this is the fumes and debris emitted while the cutting process is going on. There are multiple ways you can overcome this problem. We will see each of them as we walk ahead.
These burn marks don’t occur on every material you will cut, but laser cutters will incinerate, vaporize, or melt certain materials depending on the composition.
- Factors that lead to laser burn
As we read earlier, laser burn occurs due to fumes or debris when a laser touches the wood surface. Because of the high temperatures, fumes scorch the surface right around where the laser beam cuts materials.
If we think, what is happening is that a CO2 laser finely burns through some materials like wood. Hence, you might see at least some browning or amber color along the edges of a cut particle.
Some amount of charring is acceptable but becomes problematic when it turns excessive and is not looking good. The most significant charring and scorching appear chiefly on combustible materials.
Other materials like acrylic usually appear slightly melted or glossy but are hardly noticeable where laser beam cuts. Many times, burn marks appear where the laser comes in contact with the cutting bed as it slices through the reverse side of the material.
While working with laser cutting machines different parts of the machines also play a major role. You need to take care that the machine parts are according to the standard of the market i.e. it has parts like Trumpf eco nozzle, Amada laser parts, etc.
- Preventing laser burn
Let’s discuss some of the prevention tips you can take for laser burn marks.
- Use Tape
One way of makeshift measure that works for a lot of people is the everyday use of masking tape. You can find and purchase it at the office supply or arts and crafts stores. Using this tape, you can cover the wooden surface before cutting it. Remove the tape once you finish cutting the design.
This method works well because it prevents the edges of engraved particles from being stained. The removal of the tape may be a time-consuming process but, in the end, it will turn out to be a worthy process.
- Types of tapes:
If you are cutting wood that has an uneven grain or high moisture content, then you’ll need to rely on a higher tack masking tape. The low tack variety may not offer sufficient protection since it will peel off too easily.
- Application Tape:
This is a similar process as using masking tape. But, this material can be found in your everyday arts and craft store. The lower the tack the cheaper the material is to acquire in general.
If the low-quality application tape doesn’t hold well, then use the higher tack. Apply all the application tape to the entire surface of the wood you need to cut. Make sure to smooth out all bubbles beforehand or it can lead to results that are even worse.
- Other preventative techniques
Here are some of the tips you can follow if the above ones are not working well:
- Adjust the focus of the laser: To do this, you have to switch the setting of your machine to “manual” and then back out the focus of the laser. Suppose, if you slightly lower the focus it will keep the level of smoke at bay while still allowing for the cuts to be on the material. Also remember to use laser machines that have parts like Trumpf eco nozzle, Amada laser parts that match market standards.
- Immerse thin plywood or other woods in water before cutting them
- Avoid cutting thick wood
- Make sure to use air assist while cutting wood. It is just a compressed air that redirects to the point where the laser beam meets the material. The constant stream of air can reduce scorching on a variety of surfaces.
- Removing burns
Following are some of the things you can follow to remove burns:
- If you don’t have charring, try using a little bit of fine-tooth sandpaper on the edges as long as it doesn’t risk the details of the project.
- You can also use the normal brush to scrub the small areas and parts like the Trumpf eco nozzle and Amada laser parts to keep the machine clean.
It is very important to give your clients a perfect product that does not have any burns, cuts, or any other stains. As a fabricator, it is wise to know which type of laser cutting machine to use, other simple hacks, and more.