Laser engraving machines and tools have become quite popular over the past couple of years. This means that such machines are gradually making their way inside homes as well. Hobbyists who love to work on fabrication projects use laser engravers regardless of being a beginner or professional.
However, the fact of the matter is that while these machines help in achieving precise results, they are dangerous too. It also means that new users are unaware of the basic safety tips and rules to follow. Therefore, let us discuss some safety precautions to follow when using a laser engraver.
Tips for Laser Engraving Safety
Never Leave Your Laser Unattended When Firing
The most common and basic mistake users tend to make is leaving the machine unattended while it is cutting the materials. Supervision is one of the most important rules pertaining to safety precautions for laser engraving at home. It is a fact that laser cutting machines work fast but some projects require hours of work. Therefore, workers tend to leave them unattended.
Although laser engraving machines are well-shielded to prevent the laser beam from escaping but other things can go wrong too. For instance, if the machine is left unattended for a while, the heat produced from the laser hitting the bottom can damage the exterior case as well as fry the electrical components leading to a fire.
This is usually the case when the laser setting has been set too high and it cuts through the material while concentrating on the case bottom. With that being said, the easiest way to ensure that a fire does not break out is to constantly monitor the cutting process. If a worker or an operator needs to take a break, it is advised that another operator takes his place.
In addition to that, such workplaces should always have fire extinguishers installed to prevent situations from getting out of hand.
Never Cut Material with Unknown Properties
Different materials react differently to laser cutting. While some are easy to cut, others can catch fire. This is again a big problem to consider in terms of safety precautions for laser engraving for beginners. While the professionals know their way around certain materials, the beginners do not.
As a result, they would put almost everything under the laser-engraving machine, which can lead to serious consequences. In addition to that, laser engraving machines can cut a variety of different materials such as wood and metal but that does not mean you get to engrave PVC as well as it can catch fire.
Laser engraving machines feature ventilation systems too that force the toxic fumes produced outside. However, while these ventilation systems are effective, there is not much either you or the machine can do when it comes to cutting PVC or plastic.
These fumes can lead to serious chronic diseases. This is why, whenever you are purchasing material for laser engraving, check the supplier or the retailer for toxic safety warnings.
Always Keep a Clean Workshop
Believe it or not, maintaining a clean workshop goes a long way when it comes to safety for laser engraving. What most people are not aware of is that small particles of cut materials in the air can ignite and cause explosions. Even though laser cutters do not release such particles, the leftovers in the catch-bin present a threat too.
Cleaning and maintaining your workshop reduces the risks of injury and accidents. Once you start implementing the “best practices” for cleaning the workstations, you will observe that the chances of materials being mixed up reduce as well. This way, you will always be on track with what needs to be cut instead of using the wrong materials due to confusion.
Wear Safety Equipment
Irrespective of the type of task or project in hand, if it involves using the laser cutting machine, you should always wear safety equipment. Using a laser engraver utilizes almost all parts of the body. This means that the main areas such as the eyes, hands, arms, and legs, etc. are constantly exposed.
Wearing laser engraving safety equipment ensures that situations that can harm or injure you in any way are prevented. While wearing gloves is necessary, you should wear eyeglasses and proper footwear as well.
The reason is that anything extremely hot can fall on your feet leading to serious burns. Some materials like metal retain heat and take a lot of time to cool down. Therefore, you need to always be on the safe side.
Read the Instruction’s Manual
Laser engraving machines are not to be used by amateurs. Such people are neither aware of how to use the machine nor the damage it can inflict. Every manufacturer shares a user’s manual so that those who are using the machine for the first time become aware of the materials it can cut and maintain.
Surprisingly, people ignore reading the manual, which leads to dangerous circumstances down the road. An important thing to remember while using a laser engraving machine in a factory is that you have co-workers working alongside you and you have to consider their safety too.
On the other hand, if you are using a laser engraving machine at home, you need to ensure the safety of your family members. Some people, especially kids out of curiosity, tend to play with the buttons. Therefore, make sure that the machine is disconnected from the main source and isolated to prevent people from getting hurt.
Working alongside machines always poses a threat. Accidents happen to even the most professional out there. Therefore, it is important that you always consider and follow safety rules to avoid serious injuries. Additionally, it is equally important to know what type of materials can catch fire. At the end of the day, these tips will help ensure that you keep a secure and safe working environment for not only yourself but also your co-workers and family members.