F.A.Q's & Other Common Questions

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Spooky
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F.A.Q's & Other Common Questions

Postby Spooky » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:25 pm

A list of common questions and their answers. This will be updated regularly to reflect any changes in supply or developments.

Modifications to machines can be from very useful to extremely dangerous as well as invalidating your warranty. Please check with Chris or Charli at HPC before undertaking any modifications to your equipment.

Q: What do I clean my lens / mirrors with?

A: Virgin cotton buds and isopropanol alcohol , start with a VERY gentle circular rubbing motion from the middle of the lens or mirror working outwards. Change the cotton bud frequently to prevent scratches to your optical system. EDIT: In the case of MDF de-ionised water also works very well at removing smut from your lens and mirrors.

Q: How do I clean all that goop off of the beds and machine ?

A: Baby wipes believe it or not, they work very well and won't cause rusting like many other cleaning agents do.

Q: What lubrication should I use on the sides and how often?

A: If your laser is in use daily then a quick light spray with silicon oil at the end of the day will keep your bearing surfaces in good order. Silicon oil is best as the bearing rollers on some machines are Nylon and would be degraded by harsh mineral oils.

Q: Does my machine need re-aligning?

A: The source of most laser related problems is down to alignment being out, the main power in a laser beam is in the last 5% of the beams edge, if this is hitting the inside of the Air Cone or the edge of a mirror you can lose 90% power quite easily. If you have moved your machine or it has suddenly lost power for no reason then check your alignment (a tutorial will be posted in due course)

Q: Can I engrave anything such as my laptop lid with my laser?

A: You need to be sure it does not contain chlorinated plastics such as PVC, the easiest dirty test is to take a tiny sliver of the material with a scalpel, hold this on the end of a pin and burn it in a clean blue gas flame (gas cooker is great if the wife is out for the day) If there is any hint of green colouration to the flame this suggests the presence of Chlorine. DON'T breathe in the fumes while burning your sample. These fumes are highly corrosive and VERY toxic, they will turn your lung tissue fluids into Hydrochloric acid and kill you in quite short order. A secondary issue will be corrosion on the machine and destruction of the circuits. In short, if you even think something has PVC (Chlorinated plastic) in it, stay well away.

Q: My machine is cutting two parallel lines when I run it, what's causing that?

A: Your alignment is out and the beam is hitting the air cone edge, this will cause a situation called "Beam scatter" and will result in very poor performance as well as a big loss of apparent power. A mirror re-alignment job is required.

Q: I've seen people do tattoo's and engrave their fingernails with laser machines, is this safe? It must be safe because I found out about it on Google?

A: You have a desire to place your body parts into a machine that uses 22,000 volts to generate ionising laser radiation and will cut through thick plywood and plastics with ease? A quick search using the ever faithful search engine secured a number of web pages that suggest the Royal Family are all reptiles, the Earth is flat, the Moon is a hollow spaceship and we are all going to die on Dec 21st 2012. Now is likely an advisable time to sell the laser and take up something safer like knitting.

Q: I have a 40 watt tube in my machine, can I put a bigger tube in it?

A: Yes, but not in all circumstances, on machines such as the 6840 the machine is designed to take either 40 or 60 watt tubes and an extension piece is required to cover the end of the bigger tube to provide a decent earth connection.The power supply will not require changing in the 6840 as the unit is the same for both 40 and 60 watt versions. Should you need more power it can be done but you will also need a bigger power supply and custom made extension tube covers.

Q: Can I fit an oxygen supply system to my machine to make it cut metal?

A: NO under no circumstances should you pipe oxygen into the air assist instead of normal air, Oxygen will cause many problems and in most cases the temperature of the oxygen flame will destroy your bed as well as running the high risk of an oxygen related blowback explosion. It has been reported around the web that this is possible, while anything is possible, in theory, so is jumping from an aircraft at 40,000 feet with out a parachute and surviving. I wouldn't recommend doing that either.

Q: The light in my machine isn't very bright, can I fit a bigger one?

A: Yes, I have on my 6840, I simply replaced the light with a florescent tube system from B&Q complete with diffuser (protector) and ran a cable to a mains supply. The light is mounted at the hinge of the main door and provides much better light in the working area. Be aware that such modifications are subject to the afore mentioned caveats and will require PAT testing if used in an industrial environment.

More Q&A will be added as they pop up.

Best wishes

Dave
Please note I am not employed by HPC, any advice or recomendations I give are based on my own experience and are not necessarily the same as HPC's. First point of contact on any hardware issues should be with HPC
Dave@OpticalPower.co.uk

Spooky
Posts: 1312
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:17 pm
Contact:

Re: F.A.Q's & Other Common Questions

Postby Spooky » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:00 pm

Q: I think my power supply is faulty, can I test it?

A: If you have the equipment and required experience yes you can but it is NOT a job for the home handyman. You need a ballast to contain the very high voltages generated, running 25KV + into a normal meter will result in quite a nasty explosion as well as your own home grown lightning display that will jump quite a distance.
Please note I am not employed by HPC, any advice or recomendations I give are based on my own experience and are not necessarily the same as HPC's. First point of contact on any hardware issues should be with HPC
Dave@OpticalPower.co.uk

Spooky
Posts: 1312
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:17 pm
Contact:

Re: F.A.Q's & Other Common Questions

Postby Spooky » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:02 am

Q: Why can't I post topics about modifying my machine so others can learn from it and save money by doing the same?

A: It's all to do with the legalities and the responsibility the site operators have much of the time, Sadly in the world of sue-me sue-you that has become the norm the site operators and moderators hold some degree of liability for anything that gets posted here, 99% of the people who read this page are quite able to do the mods suggested. Remember it's not only registered readers though, who can see these pages, for every registered user there are often 5 to 8 more guests online and as moderators we cannot make a judgement call of wether any given reader is competent to make such modifications.
Take for example the safety interlocks on the machine doors, they can be bypassed and for 99% of people who don't go sticking body parts into the machine it would be quite safe BUT for the 1% of absent minded people who forget you can't actually see the beam passing over the front of the machine it would present quite a high burn hazard or risk of eye damage.Hence in this example any discussion of bypassing door switches would be deleted.
Even though Daven and I don't work for HPC we do have "editorial control" over what is posted here hence it could be shown we have also a responsibility over the content of the posts.Basically if somebody is injured because we have failed to act over information posted there is a chance we could share liability for the outcome.
From a moral position we clearly don't want to see anybody get hurt ,from a legal point we can't allow anybody to act in a way that could lead to injury for others.
Sadly this does mean should a topic stray towards modifying machines in any way past simple, basic, safe mods the posts will either be edited or deleted,should a user find a need to repost topics that have been removed and ignore this policy then we would need to consider if their continued use of the site was wise or beneficial to other posters. This is applied to all of us (Dave and I included) and we hope is in the best interest of all of us :)
Mods discussed privately are not our concern, we only have a responsibility over the publicly avaiable content, as such direct contact between users on any subject isn't a problem :)

best wishes

Dave
Please note I am not employed by HPC, any advice or recomendations I give are based on my own experience and are not necessarily the same as HPC's. First point of contact on any hardware issues should be with HPC
Dave@OpticalPower.co.uk


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