How To Use A Laser Cutter Engraver To Personalize Arts And Crafts?
Custom personalized arts and crafts will be fun and profitable for both beginners and business owners. Whether at home or in the shop, a laser engraver or cutter makes this job easy, and you can DIY a creative craft like no other in minutes. From soft leather to hard metal and even diamonds, laser machines can turn blanks of almost all materials into unique art works.
Here is a beginner's guide to using a laser machine to engrave, mark, etch, cut personalized arts and crafts.
What You'll Learn In This Guide
Step 1. Choose A Laser To Create Arts and Crafts
There are a few things to consider before investing in a laser machine. Different types of lasers are used to cut, engrave, mark and etch materials that can match their capabilities. Fiber lasers are professional to cut and engrave metal, CO2 lasers are good at engraving & cutting wood and acrylic, and UV lasers are experts in etching glass and crystal. Low power lasers are suitable for shallow engraving or thin plates cutting, and high power lasers are used for deep relief engraving and thick sheets cutting.
Step 2. Design A Layout File
You can directly process by importing G-code written manually or generated by nesting software. This is the most traditional and safest processing method to create personalized arts and crafts. You can also manually draw on the laser software or call the part model of the part library, and the software will automatically convert the graphics into G code for engraving and cutting. This method is simple, convenient and practical. In addition, the software can directly load and import CAD drawings such as DXF/DWG, which saves the use of other software for intermediate operations and improves efficiency.
Step 3. Set Parameters In Software
The setting of laser engraving and cutting parameters refers to the setting of parameters such as speed, power, focus position, nozzle distance, and auxiliary gas pressure, and achieves various parameters required for optimal configuration through laser machining combination.
Engraving & Cutting Speed
The laser head can move along the part shape in unit time. The higher the speed, the shorter the time and the higher the efficiency. However, when the other parameters are fixed, the speed is not linearly related to the mass. A reasonable speed is a range value, if it is lower than the range value, the energy of the laser beam remains too much on the surface of the part to form excessive combustion, and if it exceeds the range value, the energy of the laser beam cannot completely melt the part material.
Laser Output Power
Laser output power is the output energy of the laser system, and laser cutting represents the ability of the laser beam to melt the material per unit time.
The laser output is finally focused on the point with the highest power density by a special lens. The focal spot diameter is proportional to the focal depth of the focusing lens. Laser processing is set according to different thicknesses at different positions, and the correct focus position is an important condition for obtaining stable cutting quality.
Auxiliary Gas Pressure
Appropriate air pressure can help speed up the laser cutting speed, and the size of the auxiliary gas pressure also has an impact on the cutting efficiency of the fiber laser cutting machine. If the thickness of the laser cutting material increases or the cutting speed is slow, the gas pressure should be appropriately reduced. Cutting with lower air pressure prevents frosting.
A focused laser is applied to the surface of the part through a copper nozzle. The distance between the workpiece and the laser nozzle is called the nozzle distance. The distance from the nozzle to the part is measured in terms of flow and pressure. If the blowing force is too far away, the blowing force will be too large, and the exhaust gas flow rate will be too large, which will affect the splash. The appropriate distance is 0.8-1.0mm. Choose different types of nozzles according to different material thicknesses.
Step 4. Try Machining and Troubleshooting
When you own a laser machine, whether you are a novice or an expert, you should research and learn how to operate this new tool, try it with a variety of different materials and different parameters to get the most out of it. At the same time, find out any existing issues and get timely solution from the dealer or the manufacturer within the warranty period.
Step 5. Start Laser Machining Arts and Crafts
After you have prepared the materials and files for the arts and crafts you are engraving or cutting, and adjusted the parameters through trial machining, then you can follow the 10 easy-to-follow steps to start laser machining:
Step1. Press the emergency stop button.
Step 2. Turn the key to power on.
Step 3. Check the operation of the cooling water pump.
Step 4. Download the prepared design file to the laser machine through the USB data cable, or copy it through the U disk.
Step 5. Select the designed file by click the "File" button.
Step 6. Place the art & craft materials to be engraved and cut, adjust the height of the lens.
Step 7. Use the direction buttons to move the camera, and the positioning buttons to set the origin.
Step 8. Adjust the origin or the position of the material.
Step 9. Activate the smoke extractor.
Step 10. Start engraving or cutting.
Safety Precautions for Operation
After the laser is emitted from the laser generator located inside the machine, it is irradiated on the arts and crafts on the operating table under the guidance of several reflectors of the machine. The path of the laser is partially exposed in the accessible space, but it is difficult to find it visually. Care should be taken to avoid touching the laser and to use a protective cover when cutting.
The cooling device uses water cooling, make sure there is water and the water pump is running normally, otherwise the laser generator may be damaged. During processing, the laser is used to generate high-temperature combustion or vaporized materials. Pay close attention to whether the materials will catch fire and keep away from the equipment.
• Comply with the general laser machine safety operating procedures. Start the laser strictly according to the startup procedure.
• The operator must be trained to be familiar with the structure and performance of the equipment, and to master the relevant knowledge of the operating system.
• Wear labor protective equipment according to the regulations, and must wear protective glasses that meet the regulations near the laser beam.
• Do not process a material without knowing whether it can be irradiated or heated by a laser to avoid the potential hazard of fumes and vapors.
• When the equipment is in operation, the operator is not allowed to leave the post without authorization or entrust someone to be in charge. If it is really necessary to leave, the operator should stop the machine or cut off the power switch.
• Keep fire extinguishers within easy reach. Turn off the laser or shutter when not processing. Do not place paper, cloth, or other flammable objects near unshielded laser beams.
• When any abnormality is found during the processing, it should be shut down immediately, and the fault should be eliminated in time or reported to the supervisor.
• Keep the laser, bed and surrounding areas clean, orderly, and free from oil, and the workpieces, plates, and waste materials should be piled up according to regulations.
• When using gas cylinders, avoid crushing the welding wires to avoid electric leakage accidents. The use and transportation of gas cylinders shall comply with gas cylinder monitoring regulations. It is forbidden to expose the cylinder to the sun or close to the heat source. When opening the bottle valve, the operator must stand on the side of the bottle mouth.
• Follow high voltage safety regulations during maintenance. Every 40 hours of operation or weekly maintenance, every 1000 hours of operation or semi-annual maintenance must be carried out in accordance with regulations and procedures.
• After turning on the machine, the machine tool should be started manually at low speed in the X and Y directions, and checked to see if there is any abnormality.
• After inputting the new workpiece program, it should be trial run first and check its running condition.
• During laser machining, you should pay attention to observe the operation of the machine to avoid accidents caused by the machine going out of the effective travel range or two collisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Laser machines can engrave and cut personalized arts and crafts made of wood, plywood, MDF, bamboo, glass, plastic, acrylic, crystal, leather, fabric, paper, stainless steel, copper, brass, silver, gold, aluminum. The most popular arts and crafts that can be cut and engraved include woodblock prints, puzzles, decorations, ornaments, pendants, jewelry and some of your own designs.
There are a variety of laser machines on the market for making arts and crafts with various costs. A fiber laser engraver starts at $3,600, while a fiber laser cutter can cost as much as $20,000. A CO2 laser engraving cutting machine is priced between $3,000 and $12,000, and a UV laser engraving machine costs around $8,000.
A laser machine can help you easily start a custom business for making personalized arts and crafts to make money. It is easy to use with advantages of permanent benefit from one investment, and worth buying for for both starters and pros.