Project time: Laser Beam Alignment!

Project time: Laser Beam Alignment!

August 11, 2020 1:35 pm

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In this edition of the thinklaser blog – we take a look a how to measure the laser beam alignment through the lens tube on your lightblade.

Laser Beam Alignment

What’s Laser beam alignment?

As the beam leaves the end of the tube, bounces off the mirrors, into the lens and onto the work piece. Its important that it’s aimed correctly to ensure that you are getting all of the available laser emission directed at the component you are cutting or engraving.

Similar to the issues we discussed in the last blog around focus. If your laser beam alignment is off, then no matter how much power you wring from the tube, you won’t be able to cut your material as the beam won’t make it to the table.

As part of the PDI process, we ensure that every machine is correctly aligned before shipping. We then check the alignment again at install stage.

However it’s a useful check to keep on top of, especially if the head has taken a whack as that can knock the beam out of alignment.

How to check are where to look?:

There are 4 areas of the machine that you can adjust the “aim” of the beam:

  • Tube to mirror 1
  • Mirror 1 to Mirror 2
  • Mirror 2 to Mirror 3
  • Mirror 3 to the lens

If the beam is off centre at any of these – then the effect is compounded. For example, if you are a few mm out from the centre at mirror 1, this could be 5 or 6 mm at mirror 2, 10mm out at mirror 3 and then striking the lens tube on the way down to the work piece.

Points 1, 2 & 3 are easy to check with a quick visual test, the burn should be dead centre on all three mirrors– what about the lens?

Top Tip: Don’t lie in the machine and try to look at the bottom of the nozzle from underneath.

As standard, the Lightblade is supplied with a handheld tool that will allow you to carry out a quick check of the beam alignment from mirror 3 to the tube – however our tame superuser has developed a much more elegant solution to the problem.

In this episode we take a look at a small project that combines all of the skills developed in the previous blogs to create an Alignment Health Check Tool.

The project should take around an hour to put together and will require 2mm acrylic, 2 small elastic bands and some 200GSM card.

Good luck!

I’ll leave you in the capable hands of our tame superuser Russ.

*Disclaimer – No anal thermometers were harmed during the making of this video or blog post.

If you would like further information on this application, or any other application, please request a call back or, talk to one of our laser marking specialists by going to our contact page – link below.

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