In our previous article, we had started analyzing all the factors that affect the laser cutting and engraving process and offered actionable tips on how to improve the whole process and in return get better results.
In this article, we will continue exploring more factors that play an important role in the laser machining process.
Laser Focus Optics: Every single component of the laser focus optics is of crucial importance to the function of the laser. Properly-adjusted and clean optics allow the laser beam to focus with higher precision on a specific point on the surface that we are cutting or engraving. Said optics consist either from a zinc-selenide lens or a parabolic mirror.
Focal Length: As a general rule, the focal length of the optics ranges from 12.7 mm for thin surfaces to around 19 mm for thicker surfaces.
In the first case, the thinner sheet calls for a higher-density energy which consumes the same power nonetheless. Furthermore, we experience a higher speed and acceleration.
When we have to deal with thicker surfaces on the other hand, we utilize the 19 mm optics which makes the process much more cost-effective and efficient.
Focal Position: The very same laser cutting process is a result of the overheating of the tube/path that drives the laser beam. This means that the exact location of the focal position must be carefully set in order to get the best possible results.
It is on that focal position that the maximum power of the laser will be concentrated and cut or engrave the material at hand.
When we are dealing with carbon steel, then we tend to follow this rule of thumb:
So, the focus position changes, depending on the thickness and the type of the material we need to cut.
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Beam Centering Through The Nozzles: The focus lens must be adjusted in a position exactly in the middle of the output nozzles. In order for the laser cutting process to be as effective as possible, the beam must not deviate more than +0.05 mm from the very center of the nozzle output.
If the deviation is higher than +0.05 mm, then the cuts won’t be smooth and clean, instead they will be rough.
Cutting Speed: The cutting speed is dependant on the material and the thickness of the surface to be but. If we use a higher or slower speed that the advised, we’ll experience rough cuts with poor results.
Acceleration: The cutting acceleration is another factor that affects the laser cutting process tremendously. Fortunately, all the modern laser machines adjust the acceleration automatically without our manual input.