2D Laser Cutter Safety
A 2D laser cutter is a versatile enclosed computer-controlled device used for cutting which focuses a high-energy laser beam onto a substance resulting in high quality and dimensionally precise cut materials into complex 2-dimensional shapes. These devices can be used to engrave, etch, drill, or cut a different variety of materials. They are affordable and very easy to use. Laser cutters are used by schools, universities, small businesses, hobbyists, and maker spaces to expand significantly. Laser cutters are fully covered systems that prevent laser operation unless the safety interlocked entries are fully closed. They usually contain a CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser that produces unseen laser radiation at a wavelength of 10600 nm in the infrared spectrum. Laser cutters come in a range of capabilities that are based upon the physical bed size of the system and the power of the integrated laser(s). All units on campus consist of an enclosed cutting bed with interlocked doors that prevent the cutting laser from connecting unless the doors are closed. These units must be connected to an exhaust system to eliminate the smoke and fumes generated during cutting.LASER cutting devices are very flexible tools that can be used to cut or drill wood, plastics, and metals. They are very economical, efficient and can easily be automated because of which these devices have found their way to the estate. Before buying or using this equipment, there is one thing that we need to consider which is Laser Hazard classification.
Class 1 Lasers – It emits a low level of energy which is not hazardous to the eyes and skin.
Class 3B or 4 LASERs – It emits high energy and is hazardous to the eyes and skin. Only trained manufacturers personnel should perform the maintenance on these devices.
LASER cutters are classified as Class 1 LASERs by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Laser cutters have in recent times seen a rise in usage and popularity, which simply means a lot of people who have never used a laser cutter before are now using it and discovering the benefits, such as ease of use, accuracy, and speed from it. It also indicates a lot of new users are not aware of some of the unique safety issues a laser cutting machine has. Whether you are using a big industrial machine or a hobby laser, you must be aware of these common safety errors.
- Never Cut Material with Mysterious Properties: Many people correlate laser cutters with cutting wood, while others know some machines can also cut metal. People usually purchase a laser machine to cut mark a huge variety of materials including paper, tile, glass, fabric, cardboard, acrylic, stone, and more. The cutting of this material with a laser releases fume which is swept away by the machine’s exhaust fan. While this is sufficient for most gentle fumes, they are not made to remove fatal fumes from the operator such as from plastic and other PVC. These plastics can be lethal if their heat produces fumes are inhaled even in small quantities. So before purchasing material for laser cutting, we should check with the supplier for any toxic safety warnings and if you are not so sure about the material please do not cut it.
- Be Informed: It is the responsibility of every machine operator to understand how to carefully use a laser machine before turning it on. It is good practice to use read user manuals before using any machine to take care of all the safety issues and concerns. By knowing your machine, it is helpful to always be aware of safety issues.
- When firing never leaves your laser unattended: One of the most common mistakes of machine operators is a lack of supervision of the machine while projects are cut. Although it is true that the laser cutters are fast and can even take hours to complete a large project even then we should not leave the machine unattended. When the power settings are set too high and the laser cuts through the material in such cases even the better machines which are made with metal cases can start a fire. The simplest way to ensure fire or melting never happens is to always be present while the laser is on. If a worker needs a break from supervising a job, it should be his responsibility to get another operator to take their place. Even though for safety purposes all workshops must always have properly inspected fire extinguishers which can be easily accessible.
4. Always Keep A Clean Workshop: For minimizing the injury risks safety and cleanliness go together. Many people are not aware of this – that the small particles of cut materials present in the air can ignite and cause explosions. Although laser cutters do not release dust particles (the material cut is completely crumbled), allowing surplus scrap to remain in the catch-bin can also grow into a fire hazard. Keeping a clean workshop reduces the risks of mishappenings or other serious safety issues.
5. Be Alert: Mostly accidents happen when people become unworried in their routines. It is very important to always think about safety when working near machinery like laser cutters which can be hazardous. One should be aware of your environment and your day-to-day work habits by focusing on safety every time they are working.
At AccuGroup, if there is any doubt on the safety of a particular material or operation of the machine, we have a separate team that provides technical support to the machine operators and check everything before using so as to avoid any mishappenings to happen. And we also have an emergency plan and are always alert for any unexpected safety hazards.