I was notified that the laser cutter suddenly is under powered, and is unable to cut even 3mm ply at full power, so I have placed an out of order sign on the machine until it can be fixed. I tried some basic troubleshooting while I was there and couldn’t see a cause. I believe the person using the laser last was Roland (@RolandClarke?), if so can you explain any details of when you first experienced the problem?
I was doing a test cut on some 1/8" material I bought from homedepot. It was MDF with a veneer coating. I didn’t know it was MDF at the time and won’t use this material again… I do apologize.
But back to the symptoms. Even the initial test cuts I did showed that the laser had very low power. It
would not cut through at even 5 mm/s speed full power. I thought that this was very strange, so I then put in a piece of plain 1/8" plywood scrap and the laser would not even cut through that.
The filters did not seem clogged. There seemed to be decent air flow and no smoke build up.
No worries Roland, if the problem didn’t appear when you were using it, maybe someone else can chime in with their experience? I know it was working fine a couple of days ago.
I popped in on Saturday for ~20 mins around noon, to quickly cut some 3mm acrylic. I used the leftover settings of 65% @22, and it didn’t cut clean through. it took 3 more passes of 65% at speed 100 until the pieces started to fall away, but I still had to snap the acrylic free in a couple of spots.
at the time, I was surprised that 02 mm/s made so much of a difference, but in hindsight it makes sense if the power output is degraded somehow.
I had used it for about 2 hours Sunday at 12pm.
Cutting cardboard but it was no problem at all to get through on the first pass. I did have a bit of an issue when I set the origin to move off the plotter area by accident and the laser head went into the bottom left corner and stopped. No issues cutting after that happened though.
I used it on Saturday at 12pm and it was cutting fine, if a bit underpowered, walnut plywood 3mm did not fully cut at 65 pow 24 speed and needed a quick pass at 40 speed to finish it off, but nothing struck me as very wrong.
If it turns out to be filters let me know I can pick some up if needed. I plan to be at the space this evening.
Interesting to see a lot of people had issues with having to do multiple passes. I’ve had this happen in the past but not made the connection to the power issue and the laser possibly being underpowered or developing an underpowered issue.
So the take away seems to be - if you’re following material specs on the wiki and you are still having to do multiple passes or your job is a bit off it’s probably worth mentioning it in the slack laser channel right away rather than assuming it’s just an issue for your job. Just helps the LCC know if there is an issue developing and helps keep outages shorter.
Note: I’m not on the LCC - just another team hackspace laser user.
I cut some 6mm plywood on Saturday and it took 3 passes and left some pretty messy edges. A few days prior to that I cut the same material and it was fine with just 2 passes and the edges were a lot cleaner. I just figured it was because the focus guage was missing and perhaps that new one we cut wasn’t perfect but maybe it’s related.
Update: good news, the laser tube is working properly, so it just needs to be realigned. @Majicj will be in later today to do the realignment so hopefully we’ll be back up and running by tonight. Stay tuned for another update later today.
Thanks for your patience everyone!
Maintenance log for the wiki:
Power output from tube: approx 90W @ 25.5mA
Power output after optics: approx 62W @ 25.5mA (i.e. 28 watts of power lost in the mirrors and lens)
mirrors to be realigned and cleaned today.
Yep it was misaligned. @majicj and I got it back up and running. The laser cutter is back online now.