Laser technology came to shift disk saws, milling machines or manual work. They simplified the process itself and minimized the possibility of damage to the plexiglass. With the help of a laser, it became possible to cut models with a complex abras even the smallest dimensions.
Pros and cons
Working with acrylic laser technology has many advantages:
- neat and clear face;
- lack of deformation;
- Laser cutting of the plexiglass eliminates the risk of random damage, which is important in the manufacture of complex structures requiring subsequent assembly;
- The edges of the cut parts do not require further processing, have polished edges;
- Working with a laser allows to significantly save on the material – with this technology, it appeared the possibility of a more compact location of parts, and therefore reducing waste;
- With the help of a laser machine, it became possible to cut the details of the most intricate forms, which is absolutely impossible to achieve with a saw or a mill, it allows you to solve design projects of varying complexity;
- Similar machines make it possible to work with large volumes;
- Laser technology significantly saves time for the project due to the lack of need for subsequent treatment of sections, when cutting the plexiglass, a mechanical way of such treatment cannot be avoided;
- The laser is used not only for cutting acrylic, but also for engraving, which allows you to expand the range of manufacturer’s services;
- The cost of cutting of this type is lower than mechanical, especially if it concerns the details of simple forms;
- The technology is characterized by high performance and reduced cost, since the process of cutting occurs without human participation.
The effectiveness of the cutting of the plexiglas in this way does not cause any doubt and is becoming increasingly popular.
The disadvantages include high internal stress remaining in acrylic.
How to do?
Cutting plexiglas at home is made in several ways. The craftsmen use an electrolybiz, hacksaw for metal, a Bulgarian with a three-suck disc, nichrome thread. Besides, Manufacturers offer special knives for cutting plexiglas. Despite the many options, cutting the laser is the most progressive method. Such equipment allows you to create complex and original contours.
The quality and speed of processing depends on the power of the beam, and the feed of the sheet affects the gloss of the edge.
The feed rate depends on the thickness of the material – the thick of it, the slower the feed and vice versa. The quality of the edge affects the calibration of the feed rate. With too slow speed, the cut will be dim, when the high edge is too high, there will be a notch and a stride effect. Of great importance is the exact focus of the laser – it must strictly fit the middle line thickness of the sheet. Organic glass after processing has transparent faces with sharp corners.
The entire process of cutting the plexiglass occurs running a computer program guiding the movement of the laser block. If you wish, you can program the decorative finish of the surface of organic glass, applying engraving, giving it to it. The sheet of material is stacked on the working surface, if necessary, fixed, although there is no particular need for this, since it is not mechanically exposed.
The computer program includes the necessary changes and objectives: the number of elements, their shape and dimensions.
A special advantage is that the program itself determines the optimal location of parts.
After performing the required algorithm, the laser is activated. Many craftsmen make independently making laser machines for working at home.
To assemble a laser machine with your own hands, you will need a set of components that allow you to get a high-quality tool:
- Laser cannon – to convert the beam;
- carriage whose smooth movement will provide the necessary results;
- Many make guides from undergraduated means, but in any case, they should cover the work surface;
- engines, relays, gear belts, bearings;
- Software with which it is possible to enter the required data, figures or patterns;
- electronic power supply that is responsible for executing commands;
- During operation, the appearance of harmful combustion products is inevitable, whose outflow must be ensured, the ventilation system must be established for this.
The first step is to prepare and collect the necessary components, including the necessary drawings should be available at hand. They can be made independently or use the services of the Internet, where there is a lot of useful information and ready-made drawings. For home use often choose Arduino chip.
Board for the control system can be purchased in the finished form or assemble on the basis of chip.
Carriages, like many other nodes, can be printed on a 3D printer. Profiles are used aluminum, as they are lungs and will not lose design. When assembling the frame, it is better not to delay fastening tightly, it will most correctly do it after the completion of all stages of work.
After assembling all the nodes of the carriage, the smoothness of its stroke is checked. Then weakened the corners on the frame for removing the voltage, which appeared from possible distortions, and again delay. The smoothness of the stroke and the lack of a backlash is checked again.
The next stage of the work is the electronic part. Well established a blue laser with a wavelength of 445nm and a capacity of 2 W complied with a driver. All wired connections are disappeared and packaged in the heat shrink. Installing the terminal switches provides a comfortable job.
The housing for the laser machine can be made from chipboard, plywood and so on. If it is not possible to make it yourself, you can order on a furniture factory.
How to avoid mistakes?
To avoid errors with a laser cutting glass strip, it should be remembered that this method is very different from mechanical. Laser beam does not cut plastic – where it comes into contact with the surface, the material molecules simply evaporate.
Considering this property, the details when cutting should not come into contact with each other, otherwise you can damage the face.
To create a product of any complexity in the program made mock-up in vector format. The necessary parameters are set for the temperature and thickness of the beam, if the machine model does not provide an independent selection of settings. Automation distribute the position of the elements on one or more sheets of plexiglass. Permissible thickness is 25 mm.
Working with a laser machine requires extreme accuracy during programming, otherwise you can get a high percentage of marriage.
It will be in deformation, placing faces or coarse cuts. In some cases, polishing mode is used to obtain a mirror cut, it takes two times more time and increases the cost of the product.
About the benefits of laser cutting, see video.