How do I make sure my laser is safe from fire hazards?
Your laser system uses a high intensity beam of light that can generate extremely high temperatures when it comes into contact with the material being engraved, marked or cut. Some materials are extremely flammable and can easily ignite and burst into open flame, setting the machine afire.
This open flame is very dangerous and has the potential to destroy not only the machine, but the building in which it is housed. Experience shows that vector cutting with the laser has the most potential to create an open flame.
Many materials are susceptible to igniting; however, acrylic (in all its forms), has shown to be especially flammable when vector cutting with the laser.
Please read the following warnings and recommendations and follow them closely at all times!
The following tips will help reduce fire hazards with your laser engraving system:
- Never operate the laser system unattended.
- ALWAYS keep the area around the machine clean and free of clutter, combustible materials, explosives, or volatile solvents such as acetone, alcohol, or gasoline.
- ALWAYS keep a properly maintained and inspected fire extinguisher on hand. Epilog recommends a Halotron fire extinguisher or a multi-purpose dry-chemical fire extinguisher. The Halotron extinguisher emits a clean, easily removable substance that is not harmful to the mechanics or wiring of the laser system. Other dry chemical extinguisher can sometimes emit a sticky, corrosive powder that is very difficult to clean up.
- ALWAYS use the Air Assist feature when vector cutting.
- BE CAREFUL when vector cutting - Many materials have the potential to burst suddenly into flames – even materials with which you might be very familiar. Utilizing the Air Assist feature will reduce the instance of flare-ups when working with flammable materials such as acrylic and wood.
- KEEP YOUR LASER SYSTEM CLEAN – A build up of cutting and engraving residue and debris is dangerous and can create a fire hazard in its own right. Whenever you are vector cutting there is the potential for small pieces to fall through the vector grid and collect in the table tray. These small pieces present a very dangerous fire hazard, especially if they are allowed to collect over time. Since most users cut wood and acrylic, these small pieces that fall into the table tray act just like kindling and can ignite and start a fire.
NOTE: To clean your tray, remove the vector grid and clean out the table tray using a cloth, small brush or vacuum cleaner (pictured below.)
- Lastly, make sure the exhaust blower you are using receives proper maintenance. Periodically clean the exhaust blower and duct system to remove built-up debris. If you detect odor while engraving, or smoke in the cabinet is visible in the area of the lens carriage, inspect the exhaust system for leaks and obstructions. Inspect and clean the exhaust ports in your machine to ensure there are no obstructions within the machine itself. Use a wire brush to clean the plenum and exhaust port of your machine.