Like any other machine, laser engravers require maintenance to keep them running at optimal condition. Often, smoke and debris from engraving materials like wood, acrylic and textiles can fall into the cracks of a machine or into the machine’s vents and exhaust in addition to collecting in the table tray.

Here are some tips on how to clean a laser engraver to keep it in top condition.

Figure 1: To clean the optics system of a laser engraver, use a cotton swab that is moistened with optic cleaner and circle the swab as it gets used. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 1: To clean the optics system of a laser engraver, use a cotton swab that is moistened with optic cleaner and circle the swab as it gets used. Source: Epilog LaserCleaning the lens and mirrors

One of the best ways to keep a laser engraver operating at peak performance is to clean the optics (mirrors and lens) once a week. Smoke, resin and other contaminants can accumulate inside the mirrors and lens, which not only reduces the available power of the laser but could also potentially damage the optics.

Cleaning the optics only requires the use of a high-quality cotton swab moistened with optics cleaner. The lens and mirror are in a single assembly that can be removed from the machine for cleaning. After wetting the swab with cleaner, blot the cotton so it is not soaking wet and then daub the optic gently, rotating the swab after each daub to expose clean cotton to the surface until the optic is free of visible contamination.

When the swab has been used, get a fresh swab to finish cleaning and make sure to avoid hard scrubbing any surface, otherwise it might damage the optics. Once the cleaning has been completed, allow the optics to dry before operating the engraver.

Vent maintenance

Like any machine that is used frequently, the vents of laser engravers get clogged with dust and other materials and will need to be cleaned for the engraver to work properly. To clean the vent of an engraver, use a flexible plastic or wire brush that can reach inside the vent. Additionally, the down draft ports will also need to be cleaned using a similar method.

Figure 2: The crumb tray system collects debris from the laser engraver. It must be consistently emptied, or it might create a fire hazard. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 2: The crumb tray system collects debris from the laser engraver. It must be consistently emptied, or it might create a fire hazard. Source: Epilog LaserKeep the table tray clean

The crumb tray is the part of the laser engraver that collects small debris that falls through the vector cutting table of the machine when in use. Located below the vector table, the crumb tray should be kept clean and the debris that falls through the table should be removed regularly.

To clean the crumb tray, open the front access door of the laser and slide the tray out of the front of the machine and then dispose of all the debris. If the crumb tray is not kept clean, build up of soot and debris could potentially become a fire hazard over time.

Exhaust port inspection

In order to clean the rear exhaust port of a laser engraver, remove the duct from the back of the machine and inspect it. Then, if needed, clean both exhaust ports and the connected duct work.

Epilog Laser has an entire knowledge base dedicated to system maintenance of laser engravers in order to keep the machine operating in pristine condition. Find out more about that knowledge base by visiting Epilog Laser’s website.