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Endurance lasers teaching center. Questions and answers about lasers.

Endurance lasers teaching center. Questions and answers about lasers.
  1. Is that possible to engrave, cut and mark with a laser?

Sure thing. Laser practical application is specifically material processing. They are used mostly for cutting and marking. They can be also used for micro welding and micro soldering. Usually, every laser has its specific field of application. It depends on the laser power, wavelength and radiation mode (pulse or continuous).

 

  1. What is the principle of laser operation?

Different lasers have different principles of operation. There are diode and gas-discharge (CO2) lasers, diode-pumped or lamp-pumped solid-state lasers, dye lasers. All of them have different principles of operation but they all have  a key similarity. The laser is a source of monochrome, coherent light. In other words, every laser has a specific operation wavelength, for example, 445 nm o6 1064 nm. Coherence is a wave feature, particularly, propagation of wavefront.

 

  1. What graphics programs are compatible with the laser systems?

It depends on the controller used in the system. Thus, industrial controllers have specific software of their own. There are many free programs and programs with Try & Buy license.

In addition to the type of the controller itself, a lot depends on the firmware (similar to the operating system for the controller). The most common free firmware nowadays is GRBL. Such programs as  GRBL control, Benbox, LightBurn, LaserGRBL, T2Laser, and others work with it.

For example, Ruida (an industrial board) has its own firmware but still can work with LightBurn, for instance.

 

  1. What laser do I need?

It all depends on your objectives. Thus, for laser cutting of metals powerful pulse lasers with a wavelength from 1 to 2 um are used. Lasers with a wavelength of 10.6 um (CO2) are also very popular.  On the other hand, laser power is very important if it involves cutting or engraving. Thus, you can cut transparent acrylic only with a wavelength of 10.6 um. Lasers with other wavelengths cannot cut it.

The wavelength of modern lasers falls in the range 0.2 to 10.6 um.

 

  1. What is the difference between СО2 lasers, fiber-optics lasers and diode ones?

First of all, they differ in the operation mode, wavelength and power. CO2 lasers are gas-discharge devices operating at a wavelength of 10.6 um (10600 nm). Their power varies from 20 W to 600 W. On the other hand, fiber-optics lasers have a more complicated system.  They have a quartz fiber doped with rare earth metals.  Usually, they work  at a wavelength of  1 um to 3 um and in a pulse mode and have a high peak power measured in kW.  Diode lasers are a new type of device. They began winning popularity at the beginning of 2000. They are not very powerful, not more than 10-15 W, at the same time they are rather small. The wavelength of diode lasers lies in the range 400 to 1550 nm.

 

  1. What is the difference between laser engravers and laser cutters?

The difference is in the power of the laser emitter. Laser cutters are usually more powerful, while laser engravers and markers are less powerful. Additionally,  laser cutters are bigger and can have the size of a few meters. The work table of a laser engraver or a marker is only 5×5 or 10×10 cm.

 

  1. What is the difference between laser plotters and galvo lasers?

The main difference is the method of transmitting laser radiation to the surface of the workpiece for cutting or engraving. The galvo laser is used for high-precision engraving. The main principle of its operation lies in the fact that the laser beam goes to the working surface through two mutually transverse mirrors. This is how high precision is attained. The plotter has a moving system (where a laser head moves), due to which cutting or engraving is performed. Usually, galvo lasers have a rather small working area, around 10×10 cm, while plotters can have a few meters square.

 

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  1. What is the max height of the workpiece for lasers systems?

The laser should be in focus to engrave or cut. Lenses of lens systems are used for this. The laser beam must be focused on a workpiece to attain a better cutting or more accurate engraving. Otherwise, the result will be unsatisfactory. If the workpiece is too high the laser beam might be diffused (out of focus).

 

  1. Are laser systems good for metal engraving and metal marking?

Yes, of course. Usually, fiber-optics or solid-state diode-pumped lasers are used for this.

 

  1. What is the power consumption of the laser machine?

It depends on the machine itself. There are small diode laser engravers consuming a few tens watts and there are powerful industrial machines with a power consumption measured in kilowatts. It depends on certain machinery.

 

  1. Are lasers safe to use?

It’s more correct to ask what lasers are considered dangerous. There’s an international classification.  Class 1 lasers is practically safe, while class 4 with power over 500 mW (0.5 W) is dangerous. It depends on the focal spot size and wavelength. Anyway, lasers with power over 100 mW are potentially dangerous. That’s why it is necessary to observe safety rules when working with lasers. Wear safety goggles and avoid skin contact with the laser beam.

 

  1. What is the service lifetime of the laser?

It depends on the manufacturer, usage conditions, laser type, etc. The average time of CO2 tubes is about 5000 hours, though some of them work no more than 1500-2000 hours. Diodes can work up from 1000 to 10000 hours. The laser operation lifetime is limited by the natural physical properties of the emitter.

The lifetime of low-quality Chinese diode lasers is no more than 100-200 hours. After that, the diodes die or lose most of their power.

 

  1. What is the laser classification?

Laser classification

according to the active medium:

solid-state ;

gas;

fluid-state;

semiconductor;

plasma.

According to the pump type

pump types:

optic;

electrical discharge in gas;

electroionization;

combustion-heated, gasdynamic);

chemical.

 

There are several classifications of laser danger.

Class1 laser pointer – I (1)

Laser and laser systems of very low power that is unable to produce radiation hazardous to the human eye. Class 1 laser systems pose no threat even at a direct visual observation. In many countries, more powerful laser devices are also included in Class 1 if they have safe and reliable protection against the beam exit from the housing of the device.

Class 2 laser devices – II (2)

Low-power devices emitting visible light can cause damage to the human eye when looking directly into the laser for an extended period. These lasers should not be used at a head level. Lasers with an invisible beam cannot be classified as Class 2 lasers. Typically Class 2 lasers include those with visible light and have power output up to 1 milliwatt.

Class 2 laser pointers – IIа (2а)

Class 2a laser systems are designed in such a way that the laser beam can in no way get into the human eye.

Class 3 laser devices – IIIa (3а)

Emitting systems with visible light usually do not pose any danger when staring at it for a short period with a naked eye (because of the blink reflex). Laser pointers are dangerous if observe the laser using an optical tool (a telescope or binocular). Their output power is usually no more than 5 MW. In many countries devices of a higher class require in some cases special permissions for operation, approvals, certification, or licensing.

Class 3 laser emitters – IIIb (3б)

Laser and laser systems that are dangerous when staring directly into the beam. The same goes for the mirror reflection of the laser beam. Devices belong to Class 3b if their output power is over 5 mw. In Russia it corresponds to Class 3.

Class 4 laser emitters – IV (4)

Powerful lasers and laser systems that are able to severely damage the human eye with short pulses (<0,25 с) of a direct laser beam, as well as a reflected one. Laser emitters and systems of this class can damage the human skin and ignite inflammable and combustive materials.

 

  1. What is laser lipolysis?

Laser lipolysis is a cosmetological procedure to correct the outlines of the face and body. It consists in the exposure of the adipose tissue to low-intensity laser beams, which leads to active fat splitting (lipolysis) and its excretion from the body. It goes like this: the laser stimulates the fat cell membrane destruction and release of its components (glycerin, water, fatty acids).

After the release of all intracellular substances into the intercellular space, the fat cell substantially decreases in size resulting in the total decrease of the tissue.

All fat debris are either excreted from the body through the organs of the excretory system (metabolized by the liver, excreted with the urine, etc.) or are used as consumables for new tissue synthesis.

 

  1. What is a laser beam?

The laser beam is electromagnetic wave propagation. In an ideally clean room the laser beam is not to be seen. The laser beam is electromagnetic wave propagation. It can be seen in a gas or fluid medium. А атмосфера разве не газовая среда?

 

  1. What is a laser range finder?

A laser range finder is a device with which to estimate the distance to the object.

 

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  1. Where do you use laser cutting?

Laser cutting is widely used today. The difference between laser and plasma cutting of metals lies in the fact that the laser produces a very clean cut. The laser is a very popular tool for wood and plywood cutting. Unlike the milling cutter, the laser can produce very clean edges.

 

  1. Where is it possible to use the laser?

Lasers are very popular today, beginning with laser cutting, laser engraving/marking, and ending with lasers in medicine, where the so-called, laser scalpels are used. Besides, lasers are widely used in scientific researches. Great hopes are pinned on powerful lasers for thermonuclear fusion.  It’s amazing that lasers can be used not just for heating but also for cooling on micro quantum levels.

 

  1. How is the laser used in medicine?

Today, lasers are widely used in medicine, namely, in:

cosmetic surgery (tattoo removing etc.);

vision correction;

surgery (gynecology, urology, laparoscopy);

dentistry,

diagnosis of diseases,

tumors removal (cerebral and spinal)

 

 

  1. What is the laser wavelength?

The laser wavelength is a quantum characteristic of the photon (an elementary particle), which is a carrier of the electromagnetic wave (light).

In other words, the wavelength is the distance between the wave crests (maximums and minimums).

 

  1. Which of the diode lasers is better?

It depends on the objective. The most powerful diode lasers have an optical power of 6-7W at 440-450 wavelength; at the same time, there are 10-15W lasers with a wavelength of 808 nm.

Usually, when there is a need to get a high total power the beams of diode lasers are combined and focused together and directed through the optic fiber. In this way it is possible to get a laser spot with tens or even hundreds of watts.

 

  1. What is the laser correction of vision?

Laser correction of vision is a surgical procedure involving the use of laser technologies to correct such refraction anomalies as myopia when the eye focuses light in front of the retina, hypermetropia, when the eye focuses light behind the retina, astigmatism when the eye does not focus light evenly on the retina.

 

  1. What is laser radiation?

Laser radiation is a forced emission by atoms of quanta (photons) of the electromagnetic field stimulated by a laser. The word laser is an acronym for the English phrase Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Consequently,  the laser (an optical quantum generator) is a generator of the electromagnetic radiation of the optical range based on the use of the forced (stimulated) radiation.

 

  1. What is a laser?

The laser, or an optical quantum generator, is a device conversing the pumped (light, electric, thermal, chemical etc.) energy into the energy of a coherent, monochromatic, polarized, very narrow beam of radiation.

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