Renowned for their precision and capable of cutting intricate shapes with clean edges, laser cutters are multifunctional machines for cutting, engraving and welding metal. Although an extremely durable asset, the ensuing metal dust after cutting a workpiece requires careful cleaning. Regularly cleaning your laser cutter not only lengthens the machine’s life but reduces the risk of workplace hazards.
The thermal cutting process involves extremely high temperatures which can result in unwanted fires if dirt and debris are not cleaned away. To help you establish a cleaning schedule for your operators, ACRA Machinery has compiled a list of components that require cleaning in your laser cutter following Durma’s recommended schedule.
Safety tips when cleaning your laser cutter
It may seem obvious, but it cannot be overstated, ensure that the main power switch is turned off while performing laser cutter maintenance or cleaning. Your operator should also allow some time to pass so the device can cool down. When cleaning the internal mechanical components like the gear’s bearings, remember to wear PPE equipment such as gloves and long sleeves to avoid direct contact with metal dust.
It is also recommended to not clean the electrical devices with water or combustion liquid. The operator cleaning the laser cutter should have a strong knowledge of the machine and should not change hydraulic equipment or electrical devices without consulting professional technicians like the team at ACRA Machinery.
Daily cleaning is important to prevent dust from building up in parts of the machine, such as the optics. Before using the laser cutter, check that the lens is clean and if necessary, blow off debris with an air duster or wipe gently with lens cleaning paper to maintain the machine’s accuracy. This is only necessary if the lens is cloudy or dusty, as frequent cleaning of the optics can cause damage if done in excess.
When cutting aluminium, copper, brass and similar alloy materials, the pan of the chips and conveyors must be cleaned after use. Vacuum the dust box and ensure all areas are clear of debris before introducing a different material. When cleaning the dust box, wear a mask to prevent inhalation of the metal grit and wear gloves to prevent touching the metal debris directly.
After the cleaning process is complete, use a suction brush to prevent the dust from flying off your clothing around the workstation, or shake the dust off outdoors. It is also important to clean the scrap drawers and worktable after use to prevent the mixing of metals.
The surrounding environment and conveyors should be cleaned weekly to prevent safety hazards. Not only will this prevent flammable debris from making its way into the machine, but it will prevent any nearby scrap from causing tripping hazards or issues for the operator of the laser cutter. It is also recommended that the spark separator of the dust collector and ducting is cleaned weekly and if necessary, the air filters and water filters should be cleaned during their weekly maintenance check.
The central lubrication system should be maintained and cleaned monthly. This includes visually inspecting all gears and cleaning dust and particles. Components of the laser cutter that require cleaning every month also include the linear guides of the X-, Y-, and Z-axis, and the cutting head and its surroundings.
Long term cleaning
While there are many aspects of the laser cutter that require frequent cleaning for precision accuracy and safety, the mechanisms that require less attention should not be forgotten. This includes taking out the scrap conveyors for cleaning once every two to three months. For exterior cleaning, spray a cleaning product onto a cloth and gently use the cloth to clean the outside of the machine.
Adhering to a strict cleaning schedule is important for the longevity of the laser cutter and the safety of your operators. Thankfully, our Durma laser cutters are very resilient and easy to clean. Low maintenance is at the forefront of their design as many of the working parts and surfaces are covered by special protective material to prevent rusting. If any aspect of your machine is unable to be cleaned or not performing efficiently, it may require a maintenance check or replacement parts from ACRA Machinery.
Looking to invest in a quality plasma cutter?
Durable laser cutters are an excellent investment for all your metal fabrication needs. Laser cutters are quick and accurate, causing less mechanical stress than traditional machinery for less material wastage, whilst also offering smaller energy usage over plasma cutters. The knowledgeable team at ACRA Machinery is available for all your laser cutting needs and our technicians are available for on-site repairs.