Laser Cutting fabrics?
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nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
Laser Cutting fabrics? on 02/06/2012 14:44:28 MST Print View

Hey, I just thought I would put this out there, but is there any interest in having fabrics/plastic parts cut on a small-bed (2' x 4') laser cutter? I also have access to a 3D printer, but is this of interest to the DIY UL community?

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
laser cutting on 02/06/2012 16:55:26 MST Print View

Can this laser cutter handle metal foils (titanium)?

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
foil on 02/06/2012 18:06:34 MST Print View

it can but the problem is reflectivity. A waterjet might be better for that, esp if it has any thickness.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Foil on 02/06/2012 18:44:00 MST Print View

This foil is 0.003" thick CP4 titanium, and a waterjet will just mangle it. It gives a very rough, wavy, and grossly serrated edge. Others have tried that already with the same foil.

I've spoken to several companies about laser cutting this foil, and they all said that reflectivity should not be a significant problem. Laser cutting much more reflective foils is done routinely. But the cost is rather high and imobilization of the springy foil on the cutting table can be problematic (it wants to curl). For these reasons, it seems to me that chemical etching is a better way to go, but I would reconsider laser cutting if it were affordable and I had a contact who was willing to be creative about imobilizing the foil on the table.

nanook ofthenorth
(nanookofthenorth) - MLife
... on 02/06/2012 22:25:32 MST Print View

I think I'm going to stay away from reflective surfaces for now, and I'd also be concerned about offgassing, any luck with a sacrificial backing?

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Laser cutting on 02/07/2012 11:40:08 MST Print View

I've thought about the sacrificial backing idea, but I haven't attempted it. I have yet to obtain a laser cutting quote that is as affordable as chemical etching.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Foil on 02/07/2012 14:29:52 MST Print View

I had a local sheet metal fab shop attempt to cut some .004" thick blue tempered shim stock for a work project and the problem was with holding the material securely. The laser has a focus point, and on thick materials it's somewhere below the top surface of the material. The gas flow would cause the thin material to flutter on the table, and because the material is so thin, it would bounce significantly above and below that focus point causing a really ragged edge with lots of dross. A sacrificial backing of some sort might help, as would better work holding and sticking to small parts with dedicated fixtures, but in the end it's just a pain.

BM

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Foil on 02/07/2012 15:00:29 MST Print View

Thanks. It is helpful to hear about a first-hand experience with a similar material.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Foil on 02/07/2012 15:20:34 MST Print View

> creative about imobilizing the foil on the table.
Fine hole pitch vaccuum table. Standard.

Cheers

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Re: Foil on 02/07/2012 16:36:00 MST Print View

>> creative about imobilizing the foil on the table.
>Fine hole pitch vaccuum table. Standard.

>Cheers

But the laser would destroy the vacuum table. Ideally, when laser cutting, you want open air behind the work to prevent the spray of sparks from bouncing back up. Makes a mess of the work and the laser nozzle.

BM

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Foil on 02/08/2012 02:23:56 MST Print View

> Ideally, when laser cutting, you want open air behind the work
Oh, I agree of course, but sometimes that doesn't work.

A short focal length and large aperture to get a short depth of focus, a good air blast over the replaceable cover window, and regular maintenance. With foil you can run at much lower power settings and/or much higher surface speeds too.

Cheers