Ways To Prevent Smoke And Burn When Laser Cutting

There isn’t a better tool for engraving wood or metal than laser cutters. However, the process isn’t perfect and manufacturers must do everything they can to prevent smoke and burn. This is because preventing burn marks is more challenging than initially thought.

So that’s why we’re here talking about that. In this article, we will tell you how to prevent leaving burning marks and smoke coming out of the laser cutter.

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1. Add Paper Transfer Tape

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To prevent burn and smoke, you have to make sure the laser cutter is nice and clean. One reason for scorch marks is debris getting into the machine. So you have to do a good job of removing debris before engraving on wood, plastic, or metal sheets.

There isn’t a better tool for that than paper transfer tape. This tape acts as a mask that effectively shields the material from burn marks. While there have been numerous ineffective methods to preventing burn marks using masking materials, paper transfer tape is the best one for it.

But it doesn’t come without drawbacks. Namely, to add this tape, you have to even add it to the surface material and make sure there are no air bubbles. This can present a big issue when working on a bigger material such as larger metal sheets.

As one can imagine, applying paper transfer tape is a time-consuming job. So other methods help you achieve just that.

2. Coating And Polishing

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If you’re having a difficult time applying the paper transfer tape, then what you can do is apply a coat before engraving on the material. This method is especially effective when working on wood.
You’re supposed to apply the coat evenly throughout the surface. We do this because the coat will smoothen the laser cutter and prevent burn marks and smoke from coming out in the process. Not only that, but the coat will also clean the surface of the material from debris and burned residue.

What’s left to do is to apply a polish that will effectively and easily remove additional burned marks while also maintaining the quality of the material.

3. Soaking the Material In Water

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Laser cutters can engrave multiple materials. From wood to plastic and everything in between, there is a way to prevent smoke and burn on every material.
Wood is the material that mostly gets burned in the laser cutting process. Wood has the highest chance to catch fire, with some types of wooden materials more likely than others.
One example of that is plywood. To prevent smoke and scorch when laser cutting plywood or similar types of wood, you can soak the material to protect it by cooling it before cutting it.

This method works to a huge degree and is the most cost-effective way to prevent smoke and burn when laser cutting. But does this method work for sheet metal when laser cutting?
To get all the answers you need about sheet metal laser cutting, make sure to visit www.dxtech.com.

4. Lower the Cutting Power

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In many cases, you’re leaving scorch marks because you’re cutting on high settings. Fortunately for you, this helps you engrave the material much faster. But unfortunately, the chances of leaving burn marks are much higher.

So what you can do is sacrifice efficiency by identifying the ideal cutting power of the laser. No doubt doing this will take you some time, especially since different materials will require a different power setting.

But once you do find the ideal setting, you’ll never leave burn marks and smoke ever again. So the easiest, although time-consuming thing to do is to simply find the optimal power setting on your laser cutter.

5. Using Air

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The last method that will help you prevent smoke and scorch when laser cutting is this one. This method, much like many others, will require you to go through a phase of trial and error before you get it right.

Not only that, but some laser cutters have no air assist. So you might have to upgrade to a model that does indeed have this feature. But is air assistance an effective way?
It most certainly is effective, but it isn’t 100% effective. You might still leave smoke and burn if you don’t get it right. So you’ll end up spending more time learning how to use the air assist feature before getting it right the first time.

Additional Tips

These 5 ways work excellently at preventing smoke and burn when laser cutting. But you can do all kinds of additional things to achieve the same result. So, let’s talk about that more.

  • Combine Multiple Methods

What everyone can and should do is combine methods from our list. For example, you can apply a paper transfer tape while also polishing the material for extra protection.
The tape will do a good job of preventing burn marks while the coating and polishing will protect the material even more. This method of using multiple methods isn’t a cost-effective one, but it certainly gets the job done.

  • Clean the Material

When using laser cutters, scorch marks are expected in many cases. But that doesn’t mean we can clean the burn marks afterward. Simply taking a piece of cloth and soaking it in mineral spirit will help you remove burn marks altogether.
But pay attention as this tip only helps when preventing burn marks, not entire burns. Also, this method doesn’t stop smoke from coming out of the wood when laser cutting.

  • Use Sandpaper

Yet another way to prevent burn marks on wood and similar materials is to go through it with sandpaper. Sandpaper is excellent at removing debris from a surface, and it will help you remove burn marks as well.

This is yet another method that has nothing to do with the laser cutter and more with what you’re doing afterward. Although it is indeed time-consuming, it gets the job done at a surprisingly good level.

If working on much larger sheets, you can use the sandpaper where the laser cutter has gone through to achieve maximum efficiency.