Do you love the laser cutter as much as we do?
If it’s one of your favourite pieces of equipment to use at The Edge, keep reading to find out about new materials and changes to procedures, bookings, and machine settings.
A couple of weeks ago, Mark, our Trotec technician gave the laser its regular six-monthly service. One of the first things Mark does when he arrives is measure the output of the CO2 tube that the laser is producing. Our model is rated to produce (at least) 80 watts of power. However, it’s not uncommon (apparently), for the tube to produce more than the rated output, especially when the machine is new. As the machine begins to wear, it’s fair to expect that the power output will decline and produce closer to the rated wattage. After two years of fairly solid use by The Edge’s communities and development staff, our machine is still consistently producing 100 watts.
Reliably getting 100 watts for the price of 80 is a great problem to have. With these consistently higher output measurements though, Mark suggested we adjust all of our settings to reflect the higher energies that the machine is producing. Using the adjusted settings means the machine cuts cleaner and more efficiently. It will make bigger jobs faster to cut, and we’ll see less scorch marks on the material, and less of those flashes and pops that you see when you are cutting – the pops and flashes are actually debris being ignited in the pocket of air in the honeycomb under the material. Adjusting the power settings allows the machine to actually vaporise the material and make a clean cut , rather than heating up the general area and eventually burning through which creates a lot of smoke and mess in the machine.
So, next time you’re using the laser, take note of the new settings and enjoy the 1 to 2% extra speed. Vroom Vroom!
Over the last couple of months we’ve started keeping new material in stock, and communities have been trialing others. We thought it might be handy for you to know about the new materials – especially for planning your projects – and hope it inspires you to try something new!
As well as the A3 acrylic in black, white, and clear 3mm and 6 mms, we now stock primary colours in the A3 3mm. We are also stocking A2 sheets in black, white, and clear in the 3mm and 6mm, plus clear in 1. 5mm in A3 & A2. Check out the new price list here.
The majority of designs that community would like to cut on the laser, the materials we keep in stock do the trick nicely. But, we love to see people experiment with our resources, so we don’t want to get in the way of people trying new things.
To facilitate community members experimenting with new uses of the laser, or cutting exotic materials, we have a process for you to submit a request to use a new material. Community members need to drop in a sample (70 x 100mm is enough) and email us, providing as much information as possible. Include information like: what you think the material is, where it came from, and what you would like to do with it. The more information you can provide, the more likely you are to get permission. Mostly, we’re concerned with whether the material is safe to cut in our machine, so we are looking for Safety Data Sheets (SDS or MSDS), what the supplier called the material (photos of the tag at Bunnings are handy), or a link to the material on a website. These things help track down exactly what it is so we can tell if it’s safe.
Once we’ve established it’s safe to cut, a team member will do some testing on your sample to determine the optimum speed and power settings and get in contact to let you know. However, all this takes time, so make sure you are communicating with us well in advance about your plans (at least 14 days before your laser booking).
Tuesdays are Drop in day for the laser. We recognise that sometimes it’s difficult to get a booking on the laser, so you can now come in on a Tuesday and reserve a 20 minute slot on the machine. Just come in with a job ready to go and put your name up on the whiteboard. Make sure it’s ready to go when it’s your turn, because if you’re not ready you’ll miss your spot in the cue.