The CO2 laser engraver has steadily risen in popularity since its invention in the ’70s. The laser engraving industry as a whole witnessed significant growth with the development of the CO2 Laser Engraver and Fiber Laser Markers. While these machines perform advanced engraving and marking commands at the push of a button, they do require maintenance to keep them working precisely. By keeping your machine in top condition, you are increasing both its lifespan and overall productivity. Consequently, the possibilities are endless with your craft and machine.
Machine maintenance comes at different scheduled periods such as daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. However, the most prominent of all maintenance practices is the daily upkeep that ensures smooth operation and functionality. The daily routine procedures help to correct minor faults as well as early detection of major abnormalities.
Understanding the daily maintenance tips for a typical laser cutter and engraver will save you time and money over the life of your device. Let’s dive into the five best maintenance tips for your laser engraving machine.
Top 5 Tips
These tips highlighted and discussed below are a must-do if you want continuous quality engraving:
Correct use of the laser tube:
In a bid to extend your laser engraver’s service life, you should pay attention to some vital points while handling the laser tube. First, attach the water chiller or pump to the laser tube correctly and hold the cooling water temperature between 63-68°F (16-19°C). Second, maintain a cooling water flow rate of 5L/minute and a filled laser tube. Furthermore, make sure you adjust the laser tube’s grounding and power connections appropriately to get the best output effect. Do well to always keep the area around the high-voltage electrode clear of dry high-pressure metal. Avoid the formation of scales in the cooling pipes and local stress while fixing the laser tube. Lastly, use the laser tube reasonably at suggested power settings — usually between 15%-60% and to never surpass 70% maximum power.
Change of water and water tank cleaning:
As we learned earlier in this article, the laser tube is of utmost importance to laser cutting or engraving processes. Thus, the quality and temperature of the circulating water directly affect the lifespan of the laser tube. It is strongly advised to use distilled water and keep the water temperature between 63 and 68°F (16 and 19°C). For water temperature above 75°F (24°C), replace the circulating water or add ice to reduce the water temperature.
To clean the water tank, turn the machine off and remove the water inlet pipe so that the circulating water in the laser tube is let into the tank automatically. Afterward, open the water tank, pump the water out, and clean the tank. Once this is done, replace the circulating water and restore water into the water tank, then insert the connection pipe to the pump. It is recommended to clean the water tank once a month and keep the laser tube’s water inlet/outlet secure from contamination.
For OMTech CO2 laser engravers, you should replace the distilled water every six months and check the water level every 2 to 3 weeks. If you’re using a water pump and a bucket, cover the bucket with a lid to prevent debris from accumulating in the water.
Keep the air exhaust fan clean:
Depending on how much you use your machine, solid debris and dust can accumulate on the fan blades. This can make the fan produce undesired noise and reduce the air movement efficiency. Whenever the fan appears dirty, and there is inadequate suction of exhaust smoke, then the fan is due for a cleaning. It is recommended to clean the air exhaust fan once every two weeks. To clean the fan, turn the machine off and wipe the blades with a heavy-duty cleaning towel. If the fan is removable, take it off and give it a deeper cleaning. Then install the fan back into the machine.
Clean the optics and internal components:
The optics consist of the 3 mirrors and the focal lens. The optics should be cleaned and checked twice a week. The focal lens will be located inside the bottom component of the laser head. This should be a screw-in part. Carefully remove the focal lens and gently clean with a lens cleaning wipe. Carefully install the focal lens in the correct position with the concave side up and the flat side down. You can then spray a lens cleaning solution or diluted rubbing alcohol onto the mirrors and clean them with a cotton swab or a soft piece of cloth. Be extremely gentle while handling the mirrors to avoid scratching them or misaligning the optical path. Never remove the mirrors while cleaning.
Then, clean the machine’s railing system. Wipe off the accumulated grease on the railing system with a soft towel. Then apply a small amount of white lithium grease on the rails with another clean towel. You should clean the inner body of the machine too. Get rid of any smoke, debris, or dust accumulating on the machine’s interior or exterior parts.
Clean the bottom of the machine:
The bottom of the machine is another area that needs to be checked and cleaned once every two weeks. At OMTech, there are different types of CO2 laser cutter and engraver machines, so depending on your model, you could have a debris collection tray. You should clean the collection tray from time to time, at least once a week.
Other maintenance tips include:
- Covering any unused area of the machine
- Cleaning the laser head
- Cleaning the vents
- Disposing debris from the table tray after each use
While it may not be necessary to carry out some of these laser cutter and engraver maintenance tips every day, always keep track of your workload frequency and adjust your upkeep schedule accordingly.
On a general note, once you can put the practices mentioned above into practice, then your machine will run smoothly and efficiently for the future to come. Since its inception, OMTech has built an outstanding legacy in the world of laser engraving machines. Be rest assured of the best products, accessories, and services with easy maintainability when working with OMTech. Call them now for collaboration on your next engraving project and provide the best services for your clients.
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