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 explains the importance of Laser air assist in both laser cutting and engraving. He also explains why laser air assist is vital in protecting the lens.
- (Particularly with respect to engraving, some experiments that you should not do!)
- The ‘Wall of Wind’ fan array
- Engraving and cutting some cheap hardboard
- Brown ‘haze’ from the condensed residue of the smoke on the engraving
- Cleaning off residue with White Vinegar (gentle) or Acetone (aggressive)
- Benefits of using a steel plate as a base over the honeycomb
- The extraction of the air and the hazardous effects of the fumes
- Trying the same work on the honeycomb table with normal air extraction
- Placing the hardboard on standoffs and repeating the experiment
- Turning the air assist off and repeating the experiment – creates a flame but leaves the engraving whiter and the edge cleaner because the residue has been burnt off
- Using masking tape to shield the surface of the material
- Trying the task at the front of the machine versus the back (little difference)
- Using a very small amount of air assist – gives a good finish
- Trying the ‘Wall of Wind’ with the honeycomb table to create a high speed flow of air to keep the flame down (partially successful)
- Trying the sheet steel table and a gap in the lid to get better airflow
- Experimenting with a different head design – description of modification
- Lessons (for organic materials):
- You need full air assist when doing cutting otherwise you will get ‘comet trails’ of flame.
- Zero air assist for engraving is best (Editor’s Note: you actually need a little airflow to keep the lens clean and Russ is allowing the tiny amount that leaks past the valve to do this.)
- How do we have air assist off for engraving on a job and off for the cutting? See the next video.
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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Last updated August 26, 2021
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