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Thread: Using glass or ceramic as a cutting bed

  1. #1

    Using glass or ceramic as a cutting bed

    I'm having trouble with my material getting dirty on our laser cutters, especially card and acrylic, as you all well know hex or even pin/knife beds are very difficult to keep clean and transfer gunk easily! Short of putting a machine aside for just card I was wondering if anyone had tried putting glass or ceramic between the bed and the material. Both would be far easier to keep clean though I can see a few problems with heat transfer, especially with ceramic, but if anyone has any experience with it I'd be interested to know.

  2. #2
    whatever you cut directly onto- glass, ceramic, aluminum, teflon, cardboard, wood-- is going to collect and re-deposit residue from what you're cutting. Honeycomb, pin and knife tables are great, until you hit the edge of the honeycomb hole, a pin or a knife, because residue from your material come into play. Best option I can think of would be a pin table, with the least amount of pins needed to support the work; the less pins, the less chance of the beam hitting one...
    4 LASERS -- Gravograph LS900 -- GCC Explorer -- Triumph 1390 -- Triumph Galvo Fiber
    10 CNC ROTARY ENGRAVERS -- NH C2000 -- NH V3200 -- NH V3400 x2 -- NH V3400CL rotary -- NH V5000 -- NH V5000XT x2 -- Gravograph IS400 -- Gravograph IS7000
    Vinyl: NH 20" vinyl cutter
    Extraction: 3 -HF 'green' blowers, 1 HF 'big' blower
    4 -air compressors, 3 -drill presses, 3 -grinders, 3 -shears, 4 -saws, mini-lathe


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    whatever you cut directly onto- glass, ceramic, aluminum, teflon, cardboard, wood-- is going to collect and re-deposit residue from what you're cutting. Honeycomb, pin and knife tables are great, until you hit the edge of the honeycomb hole, a pin or a knife, because residue from your material come into play. Best option I can think of would be a pin table, with the least amount of pins needed to support the work; the less pins, the less chance of the beam hitting one...
    My trouble is that the items I'm cutting are less than 1cm square each otherwise I would use a pin bed. At least glass is easy to wipe down after use, I've just not seen it used.

  4. #4
    Have you considered a cutting mat?

    http://www.rowmark.com/seklema/seklema.asp

  5. #5
    I have a Seklema mat, wonderful for holding Rowmark, plex & such during tool engraving and cutting, but I don't think it's 'laser safe' as far as cutting into it--

    Best bet for your job IMO, pin table that will work for those small parts, and pick up a roll of TransferRite Ultra medium tack transfer tape and a couple of the good 'gold' squeegees- tape the bottom side of the acrylic you're cutting, squeegee it down good, and cut away--

    The transfer tape is great for keeping the material clean and flash to a bare minimum. The reason I like the TransferRite tape, is it comes off easy; just wetting it with water loosens the bond, and if you soak the cut pieces in hot soapy water for a few minutes, you'll find probably more than half the pieces will have fallen off or slide off easily, and those pieces that didn't are very easy to get off. There's always SOME extracurricular work involved when cutting, this is pretty easy considering...

    And speaking of pin tables-- if the parts you're cutting are all the same size, you can make, or have one made, a table with the pin spacing identical to the part size, meaning, when set up right there will be a pin centered under each part, which means zero flashback, and the TOPS of the pins will never get gucky
    4 LASERS -- Gravograph LS900 -- GCC Explorer -- Triumph 1390 -- Triumph Galvo Fiber
    10 CNC ROTARY ENGRAVERS -- NH C2000 -- NH V3200 -- NH V3400 x2 -- NH V3400CL rotary -- NH V5000 -- NH V5000XT x2 -- Gravograph IS400 -- Gravograph IS7000
    Vinyl: NH 20" vinyl cutter
    Extraction: 3 -HF 'green' blowers, 1 HF 'big' blower
    4 -air compressors, 3 -drill presses, 3 -grinders, 3 -shears, 4 -saws, mini-lathe


  6. #6
    Just clean the honeycomb - jet wash it and it's clean. We cut card all day and don't suffer for any of that as we keep our bed clean. We have different honeycombs for different materials - one for acrylic, one for paper and card and one for other materials. The other two get gunked up and are harder to clean which require a cleaning agent, but the card one cleans up brand new every time with just a power washer and water. Maybe adjust your setting until you are just about getting through the material and not blasting through it.
    Jit Patel
    London UK

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  7. #7
    I'm with Jit. Get some KrudKutter at HD and spray it on then power wash it off or use the garden hose if you don't have a power washer.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    I had a piece of ceramic tile that was heavy and had a grooved back surface. Had same thought as you, use for something, don't remember what, but it stained badly and marked up the back of the item I was working on. Tossed it back on the pile to use as weight. Yep, clean your honeycomb.... best bet
    Woodworking, Old Tools and Shooting
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  9. #9
    Thanks for all the replies everyone. I've invested in a jet washer, cutting mat and some transfer tape, much easier!

  10. #10
    We used a cutting mat when doing our daughter's wedding invitations in paper and card- engraving and cutting right through.
    The mat held up fine, holding the paper so it didn't blow or get sucked away, and clean underneath all the cuts.
    The most time consuming part was getting the power right so we didn't set fire to the invitations!
    Best wishes,
    Ian



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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Georgia, USA
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    323
    >>Just clean the honeycomb - jet wash it and it's clean.<<

    I have wondered about this. Do you ever have problems bending the metal honeycomb due to the power of the water jet?
    700mm x 500mm Ke Hui KH-7050 Laser
    80W EFR F2
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    Chuck style of rotary attachment

  12. #12
    for what it's worth concerning powerwashing:

    A few years ago our motorhome radiator looked like this:
    pwash1.jpg


    So from the opposite side I took my powerwasher to it--
    pwash2.jpg
    -did a great job--

    I used a 2700psi washer, and used the 0 pee-stream nozzle, which applied about the maximum force possible...

    The radiator fins are reasonably thin, soft brass/copper, very tightly spaced... and while I expected the washer to flatten the fins, all that pressure never bent a single one of them...

    Not sure if these honeycomb setups would be stiffer than radiator fins or not? Maybe I should just haul my table out to the driveway and find out?
    4 LASERS -- Gravograph LS900 -- GCC Explorer -- Triumph 1390 -- Triumph Galvo Fiber
    10 CNC ROTARY ENGRAVERS -- NH C2000 -- NH V3200 -- NH V3400 x2 -- NH V3400CL rotary -- NH V5000 -- NH V5000XT x2 -- Gravograph IS400 -- Gravograph IS7000
    Vinyl: NH 20" vinyl cutter
    Extraction: 3 -HF 'green' blowers, 1 HF 'big' blower
    4 -air compressors, 3 -drill presses, 3 -grinders, 3 -shears, 4 -saws, mini-lathe


  13. #13
    Would a new aluminum radiator work as a "honeycomb" table?

    Adrian

  14. #14
    Probably not. My reason is that it would be too thick and would prevent smoke extraction.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

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