If you ever used a laser machine, you know that some materials are likely to release smoke when cutting/engraving them. It may left some yellow or brown dust on you mirrors, lense and machine itself.
In this video I am willing to explain you how to clean your laser machine, when and why.
This tutorial is also available in video (sorry for my bad english) if you fancy one :) https://youtu.be/h0VRncYpCAw
Step 1: The Mirors and the Lense
Depending of you type of machine (I have a Trotec Speedy 300) you might have more or less mirrors, I have 3.
One at the very back of my machine, that I need to check once a year, it doesn't take much dust while cutting so this mirror is pretty much clean every time.
The second one is on the left of the machine, right before the work area and accros the X axe. I need to check this one every month or so. This one can take dust or smoke when you heavily cut things or when your air filter is full...
The last one is right abobe the actual laser center point. You need to chexk this one everytime you want to laser engrave things. If dust gather on it, you might loose power or even don't focus at all.
The lense is the artefact that helps you focus ultimately your laser. It is the one that takes the more dust and the more breakable part of your machine. If you don't clean it, dust gather on it and the laser burn the surface of your lense, which don't focus anymore. Lense are pretty much expensive (~100-500 CAD) so be carefull about them.
To clean these part, simply use some optical cleanser. You can use any at your convenience, just make sure that it is heat / fire proof to no damage your pieces while engraving. I gently put 1 drop of liquid on the mirors and on each side of the lense and rub off with some anti-static paper.
Step 2: The Actual Laser Machine
Depending on how much you use you machine, you might need to clean it every 3 to 6 month. I simply use water, papertowel and Q-tips to clean the machine.
If some area are more stained or sticky, you can use a heavy duty chemical cleaner. Just follow the direction on the bottle (and you might want to wear gloves and mask). If you used this kind of chemicals, wait at least 24h before cutting anithig because these product can caught fire...
The tricky part of this cleaning is that a laser machine is full of corner where the smoke can hide.... You might want to have a friend telling you if you miss some spots...
Step 3: The Tray (optional, Depending of Your Laser Machine)
If you have a removal tray on your laser machine, you might want to clean it too, because dust gather a lot on this part.
Because I don't have a box large enought to make the tray soak, I used my bath... it worked verry well!
Let your tray soak in industrial cleanser (I dillute it at 1/10) during 2-4 hours and finish cleaning it with concentrate cleaner and Q-tips. Have patience, this is the hardest part...
Step 4: End
And you are done, take some cool pictures of you with a mask and enjoy a fully clean laser machine!