Flattening the Learning Curve: How Laser Cutter Accessories Will Help You Nail the Job

Crafters and small businesses are celebrating owning a laser cutter. But this piece of machinery is not a plug and play. There is a learning curve for effectively using the laser cutter as well as a variety of accessories that can crutch against inexperience to help the new user turn out expert projects.

The LS-1420 review has a full list of all the available accessories, recommendations and cost.

Hardware

There are gizmos and attachments, upgrades and add-ons that can be purchased separately to help the laser cutter nail the job you have in mind. Here are some ways your laser cutter can be individualized to meet your job demands.

Cutting Area

The standard cutting area is 14″ x 16″. This will suffice for most projects. But if you need more space for holding the material being engraved or cut, consider adding a few extra inches. With only a slightly larger measurement of 14″ x 20″, you gain 25% more working space for those larger projects.

Rotary Devices

One accessory that can be a huge support to not only tone laser cutter operators but to all users. As the name implies, a rotary device can be essential in helping to make patterns on projects that are rounded. The accessory will position the project in such a way that the laser can accurately complete the assignment.  

Coated Lenses

Optical lenses typically are included as standard equipment with a new laser cutter. However, they are a great accessory to have on hand as the lenses are a great spare item. You just never know when you could have a break, especially since these lenses are not as durable as common glass. They are made from a much softer material. It wouldn’t take much force, during cleaning, moving the cutter, or presenting a medium onto the laser bed, to damage the lenses and stall the project. Having a spare optical lens kit on hand could prove to be a valuable back-up.  

Focal Lens

If you find that you are frequently calling on your laser cutter to do detailed, intricate designs, consider adding lenses with different focal length measurements to your tool bag. The shorter distance from the lens to the focal point concentrates the laser to a small focal point allowing the intersecting beams to create an amazing degree of detail within a small space. This lens works very well with high-definition projects like engraving photos or 3D etching.

Laser Heads

The laser head has the important function of controlling the output of the laser to help create the design. The size of the laser head determines the focal distance of the laser dot.  Having additional laser heads gives the user the option of making larger or smaller dots with the laser. The shorter the focal distance of the laser head, the more intricate of a design the laser can accomplish. A longer focal distance will allow the laser to create a larger cut and a more vertical dot.

One particular laser head option makes cutting through thick mediums much more tolerable. The 4-inch laser head can be a great accessory to have on hand. it can be made quick success with cutting through substantial wood projects up to 10 millimeters of thickness. Because of the power harnessed by this laser head, it is not recommended for use with engraving jobs.

Cooling System

The type of cooling system used by the laser cutter will not necessarily impact your design jobs today. What it will do is protect your machine against premature malfunctions or damage. The CO2 laser tubes are closed-circuit water cooling tubes that help the laser tube stay within the recommended water temperature. A laser cutter that gets daily use and or frequently performs large jobs will most certainly require a more robust chiller.

Fume and Exhaust Extractor

The LS-1416 comes with a standard exhaust fan and flexible tubing to allow for the by-products of the laser to be directed outdoors. If you cannot place your cutter in a location to easily allow duct venting, if the air or ventilation quality inside the room is already not good, or workplace regulations that require additional consideration, there are a few options for upgrading to meet those demands.  

The FiltraBOX line of exhaust extractors can be incorporated into the laser cutter and capture the debris. They pre-filter the exhaust with HEPA and store the by-product with Activated Carbon.  This creates a multi-level approach to maintain the highest mandate of a clean area within the location and adds an extra layer of protection against smoke and debris circulating within the area.

Software

Don’t forget that hardware is not the only option when it comes to accessorizing your laser cutter. There are also software options that can assist in helping the creator piece together the assignment in ways that make programming the job easier or more efficient.

LightBurn

LightBurn is an add-on program that can assist the laser cutter operator in managing the project. Within this program, the user can direct the progress of the work to best suit the vision for the project.  Not only can the software help correct errors but it will also help import vector graphics or images, create new vector shapes, perform editing, make any necessary adjustments, and finally, send the project straight to the cutter. With the aid of this accessory, the job process is much quicker to accomplish and it has built-in safeguards against rookie mistakes.  

There is a free trial version available here.

BossONE

If you expect to be using your laser cutter frequently or for business, it may be worthwhile to have a dedicated device already preloaded with the LightBurn program and engineered to direct the operation of your laser cutter.

Accessorize For Best Results

Accessories are optional because not all laser cutter owners will use their machines in the same way. Accessories allow individuals to customize the upgrades that they need specific to their needs. With these a la carte options, pick and choose the equipment that will facilitate your projects and help flatten that learning curve for the laser cutter newbie.

Rylie Holt