20 – Cutting Parameters – Derive Your Own (1:01:05)

The Lightblade Learning Lab with Russ Sadler

The Lightblade Learning Lab is a series of videos that Russ did for Thinklaser Limited based on using the Lightblade 4060 Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine. Thinklasers Lightblade 4060 has a 400 x 600mm bed size and was supplied with a 60W EFR laser tube. In this session, Russ shows you how to derive and document your own CO2 laser cutting parameters.

How to derive your own CO2 laser cutting parameters
How to derive your own CO2 laser cutting parameters

Contents

  • Cutting parameters – documents yet to be made available.
  • Parameters needed for different type of work, e.g. cutting, making lines, dotting mode, scanning (various types).
  • Percentage power best measured with a power meter.
  • Cutting, a somewhat misleading term.
  • MIA (Perhaps included cutting laser board and not using air assist?)

The Process to Determine your Own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters

  • Process for determining the required cutting parameters:
    • Draw a simple test program, e.g. 25mm square.
    • Choose material.
    • Place the job above the bed on something (Russ uses ‘dome’ nuts as stand-offs)
    • Adjust the focus
    • Set the power to the maximum
    • Use maximum air assist
    • Set the speed to 4mm per second
    • Turn on extraction
    • Perform the cut. On card in the example, if there is smoke you know you haven’t cut through.
    • Examine the result. On card in the example the edge was sooty so we increase double the speed and try again – use an iterative process to find the best speed.
  • Beam ‘dragging’.
  • Using a small pot of water to get a visible indication of the air assist rate.
  • Air assist should be minimised on organic matter.
    • Changing the lens height of the job.
  • Filling in your parameter table including:
    • Potentially adding an example on the sheet.
    • Checking the resulting size of the test square.
  • Using a power meter to measure the available power of the laser (See Video 11)
  • Defocusing the lens to reduce the energy density and prevent etching its anodised aluminium surface.
  • Running the power test program (available here) and establishing the available power.
  • Repeating with the other lenses available.
  • Carrying out test cuts on different materials and filling in the data into a record sheet.

Using the RDWorks Library to Record your CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters

  • Looking at the RDWorks configuration files located in C:\RDWorksV8\
  • The Layer Parameter window and the Parameter Library.
  • Saving a set of parameters and notes for a specific material.
    • These library entries appear in Param.lib inside the RDWorksV8 folder.
  • Examining the Param.lib file with the Microsoft ‘WordPad’ application.
  • Editing the library entry manually
  • Loading the parameters for a particular material.
  • Noting that you can’t properly edit the library entries in RDWorks.

My thanks go out to Tom at Thinklaser for giving permission to embed these videos on this site. If you are looking for a new laser machine from a quality supplier, then I would suggest you check out their website: www.thinklaser.com.

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Video Resource Files of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters

Power Test Program

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External Resource Links of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters

www.thinklaser.com

www.rdworkslab.com

What can a laser cutter cut?

Monica’s Creative Room

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Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters

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Hello again. Now welcome to another light by learning lab.

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And today, apart from drinking coffee.

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We’re trying to look in this red book now.

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I don’t tell my wife, but this red book contains all my old girlfriends telephone numbers in code not being serious now.

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What we’re going to tackle today is a very important subject that at last we’re coming onto, and that’s cutting materials,

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cutting parameters of probably some of the most important things you’ll need to know to make your machine work properly.

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Now we’ve touched all the other things, like the laser tube that mirrors all the individual parts of the machine that you need to look after,

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because none of those are really anything to do with what you bought the machine for, which is to do some work,

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be creative and to be honest, until you get some parameters in your head and understand what they are.

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You still can’t be creative. So today is a very important day.

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Now, as I mentioned in the previous setting, cutting parameters that are supplied to you at this moment in time are really not worth a great deal.

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They point you in the right direction, but that’s all they do.

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These are a series of word documents which I will make available to you through the fake laser website.

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So today we’re going to get down to the nitty gritty of cutting parameters.

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Now I say cutting parameters, but we’ve got a book here with a sheet in it for cutting parameters.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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We’ve got another one here for marking or outlining parameters, which basically is cutting but not cutting through.

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So, you know, you may want to defocus depends what you want to do with your line, but basically he’s drawing with the drawing with the laser.

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So that’s another set of parameters that you need to understand if you want to do that.

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Then we’ve got dotting mode, dotting mode. Now Dotti mode has got all sorts of uses.

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Some people use it for, for instance, if they’re doing leather work, they may decide to align stitching marks along their products,

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so they will use adopting a perforation mode that puts dots at a regular interval around the outside of their product.

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Now that’s one use for it, and another thing is for putting perforation lines if you want to fold a sheet.

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But to be honest, the most important part of dotting is if you can cut with Dottie.

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And you can cut very difficult materials with Dottie. And that’s something which is very rarely touched upon.

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Now we move on to scanning. Yeah, if you’ve got, for instance,

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just ordinary text that you’ve drawn in Ardi works and you want to scan it to make it thick, filled in engraved text.

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Then this is what you would use standard continuous scanning.

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But there is more than just one type of scanning. There’s another process, which is.

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Bitmaps pictures now pictures can either be things like a logo, which is a black and white bitmap.

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One set of parameters. Maybe it’s a desert bitmap like the sort of pictures that are produced in newspapers, lots of dots.

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Well, that’s another set of parameters you need to understand. And then we got a grayscale bitmap.

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Well, you know where we get into a lot of parameter pages here?

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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It’s not simple. And that’s what I tried to mention to you last time.

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The fact that you know, there are there are very basic guidelines out there, but at the end of the day,

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you would need to generate your own parameters for your machine, although there will be guidelines.

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There will only be one set of real guidelines and recipes for your machine, and they’re the ones that you produce.

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Okay, so you spent ages creating all this lovely data.

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And a year, six months, two years down the road, you decide you need another machine.

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Either the same or different. Maybe it’s going to be an 80 watt machine as opposed to a 60 watt machine.

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Who knows what you’re going to change to, how do these parameters work for you,

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then you need to be very careful because you’ll be putting all this information here in something called percentage power,

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which is what you see on this on the display here.

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That’s that’s what this machine works in percentage powers.

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It doesn’t work in watts, so all the parameters you’ve got in here could actually be quite meaningless if you move to another machine.

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By that, I mean, to say that 20 percent power on a 40 watt tube is not the same as 20 percent power on a 60 or 90 watt tube.

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So how do you overcome that problem and make your results meaningful?

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So when you first get your machine? Good advice would be to say about a power meter of some sort so that you could physically measure

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the power coming out of your tube to generate this calibration graph against percentage power.

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And then if you get another tube, you can draw the same graph and you can work out what the power differences are.

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Then between percentage power of a city, what tube and the same percentage power on a 40 watt tube.

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And you can start to adapt and modify these parameters without going through the whole process again.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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Over a period of time, we will gradually tackle every one of these subjects and start filling in the parameter shapes.

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The first one is cutting now.

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The wood cutting is, in some ways, a bit of a misnomer because you’re not really cutting what you’re doing and burning organic materials like wood,

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leather, paper card, they’re all burning materials.

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The process by which you cut them is burning. Acrylic is a unique material in that it suddenly makes you fight heat at it and it evaporates.

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Never lose sight of the fact that your laser beam is not a innocuous beam of light.

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It’s a very powerful beam of fire just over the thickness of a hair.

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And it can do a lot of damage, but it is fire, heat, concentrated heat energy and it will burn and it will char and it will smoke.

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I’m going to show you the procedure that I use to quickly get to cutting parameters and the optimum cutting parameters.

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We don’t spend too much time initially filling in this sheet.

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What we’re trying to do is quickly get to the parameters that we can record in here as being the correct recipe.

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So where do we start? Well, the first thing we need to do is choose a material and we’re going to start off with something nice and simple.

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Here I’ve got a piece of one eight three point one two five cardboard.

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It’s a high density fiber board.

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I would recommend that you get yourself a program built into your machine here, which is a 40 millimeter square or a 50 millimeter square.

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Something small and compact like that. So you can draw that in art works and program it up with cutting parameters.

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It doesn’t matter what the parameters are that you put in because we’re going to edit those here on the machine itself.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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Now to do this cutting, we could use this table.

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The problem is, people think that you get good extraction through this table, but look how much extraction of mine are going to get through here.

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The answer is very little. The way to get good extraction is actually to let it happen underneath the job like that.

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So what I’m going to do is to pack that job up. Now I’ve mentioned to you before things like these, these are donuts.

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Anything will do for packing up.

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We’ll just put these round the corners of the job, so they’ve got lots of air underneath and lots of our over the top and in on this two inch lens,

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I need to set the focus to five millimeters above the surface.

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So, yeah, I’m nearly at the top there. I’m not going to use autofocus at the moment.

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Final are. Well.

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Get my suggestion is always use the maximum power that you can.

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I’m going to set the parameters of 67 percent, which is the maximum I can run on this machine.

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And then I’m going to set a fairly slow speed if the square does not drop out.

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We’re going to fast. And if the square does drop out, we’re not going fast enough.

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So we can’t lose whichever way we go. We’ve eventually got to get to the point where the square doesn’t drop out,

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so we start off at something like maybe four millimeters a second, very slow.

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The other thing I want you to know is I have got maximum airflow on here.

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This air assist is fully open. You don’t want any smoke basically coming back up onto the surface if it comes back.

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It will get blown down again and it will produce a brown mop around the edge of your cut.

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So I’ll now turn the extraction. Well.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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You see, we have some good news. Look how clean the cat is.

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The second thing is that this dropped out, as I mentioned to you, all organic materials burn and burning produces smoke and charring on the edge.

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Now, one of the ways of knowing whether or not you’ve got a good cuts or you’re

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getting close to the maximum you can achieve is to carry out this simple test.

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Get a piece of white. Kitchen towel and try rubbing it along the edge.

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OK, we’ve got nothing coming off the air at the moment. But.

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That may be because this is a this is not a pill woods.

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This is a manmade woods with raisins in it, which were actually hard.

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Not it looks very, very black, looks quite nice, but it looks black and I’m not expecting it to be that much.

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Double it. Let’s go to 8mm in a second.

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We could go up in single steps and spend ages doing it predictably, because the worst is going to happen is it doesn’t work.

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And in which case we know that the result, the good result is somewhere between four and eight.

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So we go through this halving process, doubling and halving to get to a quick result.

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Now if we see smoke coming back off the surface there. We should know that we haven’t.

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Cut through. I don’t see any smoke.

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We still got a beautifully clean cut edge. Can you see how this one is black and this one is becoming brown?

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Now that tells me we’re getting towards a good cut. The less charring, the better.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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I’m pretty confident. We’re not going to be able to double that again to 16.

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So I’m going to make a judgment based on the age that I can see.

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But my next step will be 12. Just make sure we’re nowhere near the.

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Any of the support points? OK, I was wrong.

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Now I’m hoping that you can see there. Black, brown and even lighter brown.

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Maybe we could go. Maybe we could have gone to 60mm a second.

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Well, I’ll just pick myself up off the floor. It’s important that I keep showing you this.

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You can see the color differences.

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Between one, two, three and four, they’re getting lighter and lighter and lighter as we’re getting faster and faster.

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And the. We can’t go to 32, but we’ll add another form of up to 20.

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Now, I suspect, oh. I was just going to say, I suspect the theme was dragging a bit there, because if we compare these last two results here.

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You can see the burning, the browning around the edge.

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That’s not there. So we’ve reached a point where.

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The smoke is beginning to just back up a shade and come out on top.

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There’s a color comparison. We could push it to 22 and see what happens.

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Now, it’s just not falling out with all that’s happening is it’s hanging right on the corners because what’s happening is the cut as it travels along.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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Is actually this shake. The theme is driving.

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So when it gets to the corner. There’s a little bit there.

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Which is not quite cut, and then it starts coming towards us from the corners here, which are hanging.

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You can see clearly that we’ve now got. Some frown on here.

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We have reached a limit, but what we’ll do, we’ll go beyond the limit 22 to 24.

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This time we’ll look for some smoke that might be coming off the.

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Again, we could say that this is actually cut, it’s done a superb job on the underneath here.

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And that’s another trick that I will point out to you. You don’t always cut a product like this.

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Face side up. Yeah, and that’s just hanging in on the corners again.

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OK, now you might think that we found the limit after the extraction of so that we can hear what we’re talking about, right?

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Let’s just have a quick summary. We’ve held the power constant at 67 per cent. We’ve held the air flow constant at full on and

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we do everything else the same the distance off the deck and the air flow through the air.

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So everything has been constant and we’ve been using speed as our marker of success.

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So now we’re going to change another variable to see whether we can have any major effect.

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Now, one of the most underrated variables is this thing here.

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Air flow. Another reason why I’ve tried the extraction off is so that you can hear the airflow coming out of the nozzle.

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But when I turn it down, is it on? Is it off? Is it working?

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Is it not working? What’s happening? You can hear it when there’s lots of airflow.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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Then you can hear it when there’s no air flow. But it’s that in-between, which is actually quite crucial.

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I’m going to show you a little trick that I found extremely useful. A little pot of water, which I keep handy.

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I get the end of my tube in there so I can just I can get I can make a lot of lot of problems.

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I mean, even with it actually fully turned off. I’ve still got a small amount of air leakage past there.

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So that means if I’ve got air coming out of there, when I fly that back in, the only place for it to escape is that,

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oh, here we’ve got just enough air coming out there to stop the lens from fogging up.

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But it’s not enough to force the tar laden air bag down onto the surface of the job and make it brown.

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So now what’s going to happen is hot air will come up and the extraction system will

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take it away before it gets a chance to blow down and re condense on the surface.

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No, no. It might seem totally counterintuitive that you turn the air supply off to cut wood.

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I’m hopefully going to demonstrate that to, you know? So we basically turned the air system off.

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But left enough on to protect the lens. We’re still doing 24 millimeters a second, which is this last one here.

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Did you notice anything? A lot of smoke. It actually cut quite nicely.

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But the thing that I really want you to look at is this. Smoke.

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No smoke. Let’s look at it again. Observe what’s actually going on, because part of the process of getting the best parameters for using your eyes.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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Take a look carefully this time at what’s happening to the smoke. Can you see how he’s blowing up from the surface?

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And then what’s happening is it’s getting carried away by the air.

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Now I’ve got the door open at the moment. So what I’ll do oppose the door.

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Because you would normally be operating this machine with the door closed.

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And as I mentioned to you in the last session, I’ve got a big gap underneath the door,

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which means I get a very high jet that passes through the machine.

160
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But thing you see here there, see how the smoke is actually drifting upwards.

161
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I mean, the edge is beautifully clean. Don’t get me wrong. He’s done a superb job with this product.

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It might not do the same with wood, but with this product, he’s done a wonderful job without the air assist.

163
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Just look at the difference in color. Off the edge. Slower, slower, faster, faster, faster.

164
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No air assist. But it’s a product.

165
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On its own, this MDF, it’s not the same as normal wood, because this is manmade wood.

166
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We should just record the results as we go. And when I say no air assist.

167
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We talk about just enough to protect the ladies. So we think we’ve got to a maximum speed of 24 millimeters a second.

168
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Let’s see if we can improve that in any way at all. You might remember.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

169
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This was set to five mm. I’m now going to look this down to.

170
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I did warn you that these foods are flammable. It has only just about cut.

171
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So what we do will go the other way and we lift the nozzle out and then.

172
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Said it to six mm. So lift up onto the six military.

173
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And we certainly didn’t get any flames that time, the product just about falls out still.

174
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You still got quite a nice, clean surface finish. So we seem to get the best results when we took the air assist off.

175
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Certainly minus one was giving us planing, and it was only just making it through, but then again, it was only just making it true on all of these.

176
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So whichever one of these we chose, it was right on the limit of cutting.

177
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So we’ve reached that limit at 24mm a second. We’ve now got a look to see what other attributes we would like to get out of our cut.

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The cleanest age is probably the best thing that we can go for.

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Now this one here minus one, although we were producing all sorts of flames, we didn’t damage the surface.

180
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But I think this one here. No air assist. Normal five mm optimum focus.

181
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I think the optimum focus 24mm was probably the best one to go for.

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So we’ve settled on several things then for this material, 24mm a second, 67 percent power.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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No air assist. On stand up, these are these all look nice and crisp and clean on the surface at the top.

184
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This was the first one that we did very, very slowly. And one thing I’d like you to note on this one.

185
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Just how burnt the bottom edges, can you see how charred? And Brown Fat Bottom Edge is once we started getting a little bit faster.

186
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We get lovely, clean bottom edges.

187
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So there’s some other factor that tells you whether or not you’re going fast enough or whether you’re going to slow.

188
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And that’s with you. Getting smoking on the bottom edge right now is the time to start filling in some data in our book here now.

189
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High density and fiber hgf. 3MM, let’s say it’s three point one to five foot three mm now, the important thing is here we were using a two inch.

190
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Legs. And so all the data is going to be filled in across this column here.

191
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The offset of the focal length we tried minus one and it flamed up.

192
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We tried flush one. I think it was OK, but optimal was probably zero.

193
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So the offset? Was there a minimum time?

194
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Well, when you’re cutting, there are exceptions, but in general, minimum power and maximum power are always set the same.

195
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The reason why you use me on power is for cutting is a specialized subject, which I will tackle at a later date.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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So at the moment, we had 67 percent and 67 percent.

197
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I don’t know what the word face Paris. We’ll check back in a minute.

198
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We do know what the speed was. The optimal speed that we found was 24 millimeters a second.

199
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Now they are assessed zero to three.

200
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We’ve got code here. Zero is off.

201
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One is just on. Two is low flow and three is maximum.

202
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I would say that we had one. Because it wasn’t turned off.

203
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You saw it bubbling the work support method.

204
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If we just put a dimension down, that would tell me that we’ve just lifted it 12 millimeters off the deck, now it’s finish.

205
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It’s interesting here, we call that good. In fact, I would call that very good.

206
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They don’t charge. So, you know, you can we keep what we have, we’ve got the opportunity here, if we want,

207
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we could footnote one there, for example, and down here we’ve got additional notes and we could put one.

208
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And if you really want to. If you’re keeping these in a book, as we might do, you might even stick on that those air systems one.

209
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Table type, what were you using? We were using the honeycomb chain.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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So that would be missed two things out dimensional era.

211
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I thought I’d put a 45 40 program in there. Hang on.

212
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That’s not 40, that’s probably 25 for 25, which is another program.

213
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I’ve got loaded in the machine there. So what we need to do is knowing that this was 25 by 25.

214
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Just check the zero yet zero zero. Now, this was supposed to be 25 by 25 to start with, is finished up at twenty four point eighty eight,

215
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so twenty four point nine mm twenty four point eighty six, so on average, each lost point one five.

216
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So the dimensional era. Minus.

217
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Naught point one five. Now that’s a very important piece of information,

218
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because if you’re trying to make pieces that fit together snugly and tightly, you need to know what the error is.

219
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Now, bear in mind that this is and I really ought to put is plus or minus.

220
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I want to put any dimension on that plus or minus, because if you’re producing a shake like this, it’s going to be minus.

221
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But if you’re producing a whole, it’s going to be plus. So technically, it looks as though that cut with the curve is point three.

222
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In other words, it leaves a 0.3 gap all the way round.

223
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One vital piece of information that’s missing off here is what power we were actually using to do that work with.

224
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And the only way we can find that out is by measuring the power that comes out of that nozzle with a power meter.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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Here’s my apparently to one that you’ve seen me using before.

226
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Necessary in this case to have it on a little stand because you can’t use the machine with the lid open.

227
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But we can close the lid and we can pull this piece outside, the way that this stand is designed is such that it’s got a location pin under here,

228
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which sits under the center point of this thing, which I call it doohickey.

229
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Now, even if this rotates, it won’t really matter because the center point will remain the same.

230
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They’re going to move ahead to a position on the center of this target here.

231
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There we go. That’s not far out because the beam is focused through the lens.

232
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If we drop that down to just five five millimeters, which is the focal point, it will do a nice engraving job on the surface of that black aluminum.

233
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Now that’s anodized aluminum, which is 100 percent absorptive to the rays of energy that come out of here.

234
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The heat energy natural aluminum is reflective.

235
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Anodized aluminum is 100 percent absorbed if we’ve got a drop down about two inches.

236
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But it really isn’t that crucial, provided it’s more than a certain distance.

237
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And then I’ll just put a piece of card on the surface and we must make sure we turn the air assist off.

238
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Otherwise, it will cool that surface down, and we don’t want that to cool down.

239
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We want to heat it up. So I’ve got posts now at 15 percent and what I can do,

240
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I can just gently post that and we should see that we’ve got about a two and a half millimeter diameter.

241
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I’d like to see that at about three millimetres, so we’ll drop the distance down a little bit further.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

242
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But. And we don’t have a pulse.

243
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That’s better. That’s more like three millimeters.

244
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OK, now the reason we’re doing that is so that the energy density is low enough and that it doesn’t damage the surface of that.

245
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We’re going to move it around anyway. Now this this whole system is basically calorimeter based.

246
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It isn’t really a true calorimeter because it has to be calibrated against a known standard.

247
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Now, if you want to understand more about how this system works and how power meters the cheaper end of the market power meters work,

248
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there’s a whole session of describing how they work on My Body Works Learning Lab series,

249
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and I can’t remember what number it is, but it’s somewhere in the middle of probably about 45 or 50.

250
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I haven’t got a direct watt output. I work against a calibration chart, but the calibration chart is nice and easy to remember.

251
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This particular calibration is temperature difference times to just beside the machine.

252
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Here we have a bucket of water, which has been sitting in this workshop.

253
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For weeks. So it’s established a nice temperature, ambient temperature, and we’re just dry off and we’ll put it back in its stand so that.

254
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It’s roughly lined up with the shape that’s underneath.

255
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Just to make it easy for us to line up underneath the nozzle and as we’ve got the lid open,

256
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I will do everything in one spot so that you can see what’s going on.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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So the number that we need to remember is about. 8.4, we’ll start the system off to start with.

258
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I’ll set the maximum now, so 8.4. So I’ve already put that into my calculator, 8.4.

259
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We just wait for the temperature to max out twenty nine point eighty eight point four.

260
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Minus twenty nine point eight. Because don’t worry about the sign times to.

261
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Because forty two point eight, so we’ve got 43, what’s coming out of sixty?

262
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What’s in?

263
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So that’s the important bit now that could be the result of the lens rather than the mirrors that will be making getting some losses across the lens.

264
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But at the end of the day, 42 40 say 43 watts is the power that we’ve got to put down into our chart.

265
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So workplace power is 43 watts.

266
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It’s a 60. What do we put that at the top there? And now what we’ve got to do is exactly the same thing again.

267
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But this time we’ve got to do it for one and a half inch lens. And then I should do the same thing for two and a half inch lens.

268
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And I’ll also try and do the same thing for four inch lens.

269
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And what you will then see is the comparative power that it takes to force each one of these lenses through that material.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

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In other words, we may be able to get better than 24 millimetre per second out of a one and a half inch lens on this thin material.

271
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But I suspect when we get up to two and a half, it will drop down.

272
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But it really depends on what power is coming through the actual lens itself.

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So.

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Again, I’m just trying to make it clear to you, there are so many variables in here that only you can find out what happens correctly on your machine.

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So this war is raging. 7.1 Press Max.

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3.7, 3.6 six twenty eight point three.

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With a power meter, says forty nine point two watts.

278
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So this is what I call my every day power meter, and this one is my Sunday best.

279
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This is the one I use for reference work. Just to assure myself that everything’s still working, OK?

280
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She asked about my 250th. Just about made it to 50, these two meters are reading the same, I’m happy with that.

281
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Today’s another day. I haven’t changed a thing since I did this test yesterday.

282
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The temperature is about the same in here. The only difference is that the machine has just been turned on.

283
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And yesterday we’d been working the machine for an hour or so.

284
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And so today we seem to have 49 watts at the workplace, so I don’t really know what to believe.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

285
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We change this lens. The inch and a half lens flat side down.

286
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And this one and a half inch lens has got a focal point for focus distance below the nozzle of 6.5 mm.

287
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Thank you. Would just fill in the details here for the one and a half inch lens we had zero offset was the best 67 percent power, 67 percent power.

288
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The power the work face where we checked it earlier was 49 watts.

289
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Speed 24 Air Assist. Well, we got fully air assist on.

290
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So we got three. We’ve got a honeycomb table, the support method again, 12mm dimensional era.

291
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We’re not even going to bother to check it because we’re not going to take those results as being valid.

292
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The finish was OK. So we need to fill the data in because we need to know which of these lenses is the best lens.

293
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And at the moment, we probably have settled on the right one to start. So we now move on to the two and a half each lens and see what happens there.

294
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She’s the one and a half inch lens is a loose system, but it’s something I’ve made myself that sits down there inside the nozzle,

295
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whereas in fact the two and a half inch lens sits right back there and there.

296
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Lock it up. Lens changed.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

297
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Put some extraction on and away we go. I don’t really expect that to cut at 24 millimeters a second.

298
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And it hasn’t. Give this a try to see whether we can get it to drop out at 20 millimeters a second.

299
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We knew that it wasn’t cutting through or we could see that it wasn’t cutting through because of all the brown stuff on the surface that.

300
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And it’s not cutting through again because we’ve got lots of brown stuff on the surface.

301
00:38:51,960 –> 00:39:01,810
So this is 60mm a second. We’re still getting some ground on the surface.

302
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But it’s just about fallen out. Yeah, it has fallen out.

303
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Look at the difference between that and the cherry trees.

304
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So it’s certainly not as efficient at cutting. So that’s about as fast as we can go.

305
00:39:25,430 –> 00:39:28,670
We could try it without air assist, but again,

306
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I’m not going to bother with doing the air assist test because we already know that this is not the right lens for doing this material,

307
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so we can fill in what data we have collected and not bother about the rest.

308
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Right. So let’s fill in the data for that. Two and a half inch lens offset zero power 67 67.

309
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Work face power 48. Speed.

310
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Well, we got down to 16. Air Assist was on full speed, 12.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

311
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Dimension error. Well, we’re not going to be worried about that because we’re not saying the result was OK.

312
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And I hgf here, I’m going to change it to India because I did a little bit of research and I think this is something called laser

313
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grade and the only reason it’s called laser grade MDF is because it has a lower formaldehyde emissions content.

314
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How much lower? It’s difficult to find out, but basically it’s MTF.

315
00:40:46,360 –> 00:40:51,520
Now, as I said, I think MDF is going to perform differently to wood,

316
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so we’re going to go with a little piece of wood next to see what the difference in results.

317
00:41:00,220 –> 00:41:07,570
Here we’ve got a piece of 10 millimeter plywood, and we’re going to try, first of all, with this,

318
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two and a half inch lens will work the other way around this time because we have to have the two and a half inch lens in.

319
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We’re going to start this test off somewhere in the middle. Let’s just say 10 millimeters a second, we’ve got full power on again.

320
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We’re going to turn the air assist on. We’re running at 10 millimeters a second, 67 percent power.

321
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And that looks like it’s cutting through very cleanly because we’ve got no browning on the surface.

322
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We just checked the edge and we check it with the tissue. We appear to have virtually no browning at all on that.

323
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Let’s leave the air on at the moment, and we’ll find out how fast we can run.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

324
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So if we can get it to run at 14 mm and it hasn’t cut through.

325
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So 14mm is one step too far and see the obvious difference between going low here and even lower here, I’m going high.

326
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Here is. Zero. Minus one.

327
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Minus two. And this is plus one. Zero and plus one look about the same.

328
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Minus one to minus two. First of all, the lines are getting thicker as the beam gets thicker.

329
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And secondly, they’re also burning more. They’re doing a lot more charring.

330
00:42:48,500 –> 00:42:53,360
So let’s have a look at the back of that +1 and see what that looks like.

331
00:42:53,360 –> 00:43:01,050
That’s the back of the +1. And again, what we can see is that it hasn’t really cut through.

332
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More or less so, we’re on the edge. We’ve reached that point where, no, we accidentally found the perfect settings.

333
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The very first time we touched it drop the speed very slightly because we were right on the edge at 10 million.

334
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Now, the first thing we know as we drop the story, as we drop the nozzle down, we’re getting a little bit more burning on the top surface.

335
00:43:37,280 –> 00:43:46,760
But it has dropped out. Maybe just a bit more, Charles.

336
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I think we find out you do setting for 10 mm plywood.

337
00:43:52,970 –> 00:43:59,170
Know, I don’t know what sort of plywood this is. This is a very light grade of plywood. It may be what they call.

338
00:43:59,170 –> 00:44:13,690
Baltic. This is sort of wood that’s used for packing cases, it’s it’s it’s a low density speech and a low grade, but it’s a pretty good grade because.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

339
00:44:13,690 –> 00:44:21,820
There are very few voids in this one of the one of the standard problems with plywood as you

340
00:44:21,820 –> 00:44:28,750
get voids between the floor is sometimes where they join the flies together and you know,

341
00:44:28,750 –> 00:44:32,410
it’s a matter of what you can’t see inside. You should worry about.

342
00:44:32,410 –> 00:44:38,800
But for later, cutting it makes a big difference because if the brain cuts across an air pocket,

343
00:44:38,800 –> 00:44:43,390
it will produce smoke, which will stop it from cutting right the way through.

344
00:44:43,390 –> 00:44:52,050
So you get an intermittent cut in for our scrap plywood 10 mm thickness zero offset for focus

345
00:44:52,050 –> 00:44:58,960
power 67 work face power was 48 from what we found out with the two and a half inch lengths,

346
00:44:58,960 –> 00:45:02,920
10 millimeter per second speed air assist was full on.

347
00:45:02,920 –> 00:45:13,110
We were on the honeycomb table. Work support method was 12 millimeters above the surface dimensional era.

348
00:45:13,110 –> 00:45:20,000
Average twenty four point eight. And this way.

349
00:45:20,000 –> 00:45:27,020
Varying, but about twenty four point eight.

350
00:45:27,020 –> 00:45:35,540
So that’s two mm point to not point to.

351
00:45:35,540 –> 00:45:45,840
Now we really ought to check, to be sure, to be sure. This dimension in here is actually twenty five point two.

352
00:45:45,840 –> 00:45:52,130
Which it is. So, yes. The era.

353
00:45:52,130 –> 00:45:56,790
It’s definitely point to. And I finish.

354
00:45:56,790 –> 00:46:00,740
Well, I would say that we’ve got that on good. Very good.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

355
00:46:00,740 –> 00:46:09,180
It might be a good idea to keep it in a box of these samples so that you can always go back and check what quality you had.

356
00:46:09,180 –> 00:46:16,950
This is a 2.5 inch focal length lens, and this one was a two inch.

357
00:46:16,950 –> 00:46:38,070
Focal length lens. So we know the conditions under which we got these ideal cuts.

358
00:46:38,070 –> 00:46:48,470
Shows you how flammable the smoke is. It’s not produced any charred edge is brown.

359
00:46:48,470 –> 00:46:58,700
But not burnt. The burning was taking place on the surface here when there was no air assist.

360
00:46:58,700 –> 00:47:04,490
Both the top and the bottom of the cut and look back so with a two inch lens.

361
00:47:04,490 –> 00:47:10,220
Zero focus 67. 47, 48.

362
00:47:10,220 –> 00:47:14,470
We haven’t checked, but that was what we found out earlier.

363
00:47:14,470 –> 00:47:20,000
Speed 10. Air Assist three.

364
00:47:20,000 –> 00:47:25,590
Table type, the method 12 dimensional error.

365
00:47:25,590 –> 00:47:35,960
Twenty four point seven. Twenty four point seven.

366
00:47:35,960 –> 00:47:40,600
So dimensional error. Naught point three.

367
00:47:40,600 –> 00:47:53,970
Question is, should it be stupid and try the 1.5 lens?

368
00:47:53,970 –> 00:48:05,020
So one and a half inch lens that’s nearly cut through. 10MM the second.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

369
00:48:05,020 –> 00:48:13,610
Now that’s got a very, very short focal length on that lens.

370
00:48:13,610 –> 00:48:24,720
So what I’m going to do. We’re going to drop that down by two millimeters to.

371
00:48:24,720 –> 00:48:33,510
5.5 down to 3.5. Local five, four five five 3.5.

372
00:48:33,510 –> 00:48:46,770
There we go. Definitely has had no beneficial effect.

373
00:48:46,770 –> 00:49:04,410
So let’s try four point five. This is 4.5, 10 millimeters a second.

374
00:49:04,410 –> 00:49:08,910
Well, this is the cut that took place that was 10 millimeters a second,

375
00:49:08,910 –> 00:49:20,520
and it was at zero focus offset that was minus two into the material that was minus one inch of the material and that was plus one above the material.

376
00:49:20,520 –> 00:49:29,170
So you can see. The difference. So we’ve got the maximum penetration at zero.

377
00:49:29,170 –> 00:49:51,590
That means that we can do a cut, but we may well have to drop down to possibly as little as maybe 8mm a second to get the cut to go through a.

378
00:49:51,590 –> 00:50:02,770
Forty three and a half what’s now? Similar to the results we had yesterday.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

379
00:50:02,770 –> 00:50:11,190
OK, well, we finished up with our final results for plywood, which is the 1.5 inch lens, which we thought might be a bit hopeful.

380
00:50:11,190 –> 00:50:16,580
And it was hopeful but interesting and revealing. I’m.

381
00:50:16,580 –> 00:50:20,450
We found that the best results. Surprisingly enough. Who is it?

382
00:50:20,450 –> 00:50:32,240
Zero offset. Now all the books and everything will tell you that I should have had that lens probably set to three millimeters into the material.

383
00:50:32,240 –> 00:50:37,070
Same with these lenses. It appears not so said.

384
00:50:37,070 –> 00:50:44,300
We always use max power and we would decide on the speed that we can get for the maximum power.

385
00:50:44,300 –> 00:50:50,480
And here we found that we were able to get the same speed for two and two and a half inch lenses.

386
00:50:50,480 –> 00:50:56,370
So which one would you choose? Difficult to say at the moment.

387
00:50:56,370 –> 00:51:06,810
With the 1.5 inch focal length lens, we Riney able to go six millimeters a second, which was a little bit surprising,

388
00:51:06,810 –> 00:51:13,770
but then again, it was a thick wood and hard work for it, for such a short focal length lens.

389
00:51:13,770 –> 00:51:22,970
But the puzzling thing was, as I said, the fact that I had to have the lens set right on the surface to get the best penetration.

390
00:51:22,970 –> 00:51:33,410
Now, the air assist was right up at the top maximum, and the interesting thing here was that I was getting some really strange results

391
00:51:33,410 –> 00:51:38,120
in terms of the dimensional error that you can see the best dimension error,

392
00:51:38,120 –> 00:51:43,030
the tightest dimensions were actually on the 2.5 inch lens.

393
00:51:43,030 –> 00:51:48,930
And the surface was good and the finish was good. So.

394
00:51:48,930 –> 00:51:56,170
On balance, I suppose, for 10mm, I’ve got to say that I would probably.

395
00:51:56,170 –> 00:52:04,410
Favor. The two and a half inch lens. But I hope you’re getting an idea now of the way in which I’m going to be

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

396
00:52:04,410 –> 00:52:08,610
using these charts in the way in which they point you in the right direction.

397
00:52:08,610 –> 00:52:12,710
It tells you which lens to use, what speed you use, whether or not you should have.

398
00:52:12,710 –> 00:52:19,320
You shouldn’t use air assist the surface finish of your product. Everything is built into this chart.

399
00:52:19,320 –> 00:52:22,290
You may or may not have this chart on your desk.

400
00:52:22,290 –> 00:52:28,980
And so it might not be the most convenient thing in the world for you to carry around once you do this chart.

401
00:52:28,980 –> 00:52:36,870
We can make life a little bit easier for you. So let’s go back into the office and take a look at artworks somewhere on your machine.

402
00:52:36,870 –> 00:52:46,210
You will find an I.D. Works V8. Which is the file that contains all the I.D. works information,

403
00:52:46,210 –> 00:52:50,500
even though you load different versions on what’ll happen is it’ll always find

404
00:52:50,500 –> 00:52:56,900
this I.D. worked version eight and overwrite it with the latest version.

405
00:52:56,900 –> 00:53:04,070
So if we click on that and we take a look, what’s in here, you’ll find it, we’ve got something here called parameter manager.

406
00:53:04,070 –> 00:53:09,650
And that’s as much as you’ll find about parameters. So let’s close this for a minute and never come back here,

407
00:53:09,650 –> 00:53:15,470
and we will look at the top of this parameter layer and we find there’s something called a parameter library.

408
00:53:15,470 –> 00:53:19,370
Now there’s a really weird way to fill in the parameter library.

409
00:53:19,370 –> 00:53:24,170
There’s a certain amount of logic to it, but you have to get your head around it.

410
00:53:24,170 –> 00:53:31,070
So the first thing to do is to decide what parameters you want in here for a particular material.

411
00:53:31,070 –> 00:53:38,150
So I’ve got my big red book in front of me, and we’re going to be putting the parameters in to suit 3mm MDF.

412
00:53:38,150 –> 00:53:42,680
So we decided that the best speed was 24 millimeters.

413
00:53:42,680 –> 00:53:46,730
A second blowing yes, process was cut.

414
00:53:46,730 –> 00:53:51,410
Yes. We won’t worry about anything and advanced the power number one.

415
00:53:51,410 –> 00:53:56,660
Yes, 67 and 67. Fine. We don’t want any of this stuff down here.

416
00:53:56,660 –> 00:54:03,330
So. So as far as artworks, works is concerned with defined everything speed and power.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

417
00:54:03,330 –> 00:54:10,650
Yes, I think we know a little bit different now. So let’s now go to the parameter library.

418
00:54:10,650 –> 00:54:15,770
What we want to do is to save these parameters, so we save as.

419
00:54:15,770 –> 00:54:24,560
And it will tell me what I want to say as well. The title is bear in mind, these are likely to be ordered in number in alphabetical order.

420
00:54:24,560 –> 00:54:30,230
So we’ll put in m d f three mm.

421
00:54:30,230 –> 00:54:35,360
Let’s move this out the way. Let’s move this out.

422
00:54:35,360 –> 00:54:44,960
This supposed this, so I won’t let me do that. So now you’ve got to remember what might be in this library underneath there because you can’t see it.

423
00:54:44,960 –> 00:54:59,500
What I will suggest you do now is to put all the stuff that you can’t put into this parameter library into your notes f l offset because.

424
00:54:59,500 –> 00:55:06,340
Zero. You can just do a carriage return.

425
00:55:06,340 –> 00:55:17,550
No, you damn well, can’t say, OK, we’ve saved as.

426
00:55:17,550 –> 00:55:22,080
So we can always get back to this parameter 3mm MDF.

427
00:55:22,080 –> 00:55:30,550
Let’s close this now exit. Let’s go back to the file manager, and now we shall find above the parameter manager.

428
00:55:30,550 –> 00:55:37,180
We’ve got something called parameter library, which is appeared. We started creating a library.

429
00:55:37,180 –> 00:55:45,630
Now if I double click on that. It will say Windows can’t open this file.

430
00:55:45,630 –> 00:55:53,950
So you can select a program. From your list of installed programs to look in this library.

431
00:55:53,950 –> 00:56:02,100
Now. Depending on what version of Windows you’ve got, you might be able to look into it with Notepad.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

432
00:56:02,100 –> 00:56:08,370
It’s got to be a fairly advanced version of Windows. I think you probably notepad might not work.

433
00:56:08,370 –> 00:56:20,300
I think you may well have to look in word pad. OK, now we’re in word pad.

434
00:56:20,300 –> 00:56:31,050
We’ve got all these things that we can look at. But the thing that’s important to us is what’s at the top here.

435
00:56:31,050 –> 00:56:40,920
OK, now we can’t use a carriage return. We found out what happens off set equals zero.

436
00:56:40,920 –> 00:56:50,210
Double space. Air Assist, which was shortened to AA, equals three.

437
00:56:50,210 –> 00:56:58,040
Double space. Table and we’ll put the spacer after it 12mm.

438
00:56:58,040 –> 00:57:03,290
Table 12 table space. And then we have dimensional error.

439
00:57:03,290 –> 00:57:14,440
Dim equals naught. Point one five. And of course, the final thing that’s missing from here is wfll equals two inches.

440
00:57:14,440 –> 00:57:19,090
Safe. So now we go and open up this parameter library.

441
00:57:19,090 –> 00:57:24,950
Or the perimeter layer? And we’ll find all the dimensions in here.

442
00:57:24,950 –> 00:57:32,140
Let’s change this one, for example, to two. They’re all rubbish parameters.

443
00:57:32,140 –> 00:57:38,990
So we go to our parameter library and we open up MDF 3mm click.

444
00:57:38,990 –> 00:57:45,380
We get all our information, additional notes across the bottom there and.

445
00:57:45,380 –> 00:57:52,800
All our information about the parameters here. So what we need to do is press load.

446
00:57:52,800 –> 00:58:00,770
And those will automatically get transferred. Back in to here now, I’ve put the wrong.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

447
00:58:00,770 –> 00:58:08,910
Dimensions in here purposely. Because what I want to do now is to show you how to edit things if you need to.

448
00:58:08,910 –> 00:58:14,010
So we we really want those to be 67 and 67.

449
00:58:14,010 –> 00:58:22,160
After we’ve corrected the parameters, we need to select the parameter library and we need to do a saber’s.

450
00:58:22,160 –> 00:58:27,520
And we need to save it as exactly what this file name is here. But.

451
00:58:27,520 –> 00:58:37,350
And here is the but. If you do just this, what I’m going to do and I’m not going to do it if I say MDF.

452
00:58:37,350 –> 00:58:44,870
Space. Three 3mm. We have all my notes going.

453
00:58:44,870 –> 00:58:53,640
They’re not there. So what you’ll do, you’ll wipe out the parameters that you’ve laboriously spent time putting into your library

454
00:58:53,640 –> 00:58:59,600
so you can edit the library in this what would appear to be a fairly simple and logical way.

455
00:58:59,600 –> 00:59:06,280
Cancel. Cancel. We’ve got to go back to the parameter library.

456
00:59:06,280 –> 00:59:12,910
And you notice that once we’ve opened the parameter library with a known program, it’ll continue to keep opening for us.

457
00:59:12,910 –> 00:59:19,960
So what we’ve now got to do is to find out where our problem was and the problem was here in our smacks and mean speed,

458
00:59:19,960 –> 00:59:26,570
and we need those edited to 67. And 67.

459
00:59:26,570 –> 00:59:33,170
And now we can save it. And when we open up our library now parameter library.

460
00:59:33,170 –> 00:59:45,460
MDF 3mm load. All our parameters are still there, including our notes, and we can load those parameters into here 24, 67 67.

461
00:59:45,460 –> 00:59:51,040
Job done. OK. I’m sorry, that’s a bit of a drag.

462
00:59:51,040 –> 01:00:01,210
I’ve had to purposely make mistakes to try and reinforce to you how this system works is not logical and straightforward.

Transcript of How to derive your own CO2 Laser Cutting Parameters (Cont…)

463
01:00:01,210 –> 01:00:08,270
Well, you may remember when I was decrying the credibility of existing parameter files.

464
01:00:08,270 –> 01:00:15,210
Did I say to you, I haven’t I haven’t got a whole list of these files because I’m too damn lazy.

465
01:00:15,210 –> 01:00:20,680
You could see what a tedious, laborious process it is. But.

466
01:00:20,680 –> 01:00:31,150
You can also see, hopefully now that it is a very necessary process to gain understanding of materials and various aspects of your machine.

467
01:00:31,150 –> 01:00:37,170
I can accept that what we’ve just been watching for the last hour has been very, very, very boring.

468
01:00:37,170 –> 01:00:45,680
Hopefully, when you get to do it, you’ll find it slightly more exciting because if you get it wrong, your job will be wrong.

469
01:00:45,680 –> 01:00:45,860
Well,

470
01:00:45,860 –> 01:00:56,150
I suppose it could be likened to somebody asking you to knit a parachute and then make you wear it and jump out the plane to see whether it works.

471
01:00:56,150 –> 01:01:05,153
I’ve changed the picture on the screen because this is what you might see. I’ll leave you with that thought, and I’ll see you next time.

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