Polystyrene

Discussion on what materials you laser cut or engrave
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Gene Uselman
Posts: 2084
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: Suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Country: USA
Nickname: Gene
Laser Machine Make or Type: AKL1318-2
Laser Power: 130W & 80W Reci
Laser Bed Size: 51 x 71
Home Position: TR
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: RDw .19 & Lightburn
Ruida Controller: RDC6445
Accessories: I have a combining lenses, pin tables [homebuilt], honeycomb tables , wireless remote, Modifed Ultimate Air Assist, home built non-powered rotary device, Prusa i3 MK3S and Mini Prusa printers.
Windows Version: Win 10 Pro

Polystyrene

Post by Gene Uselman »

We buy styrene in several thicknesses- .060, .125 primarily. It is very durable and flexible, which makes it great for making paint stencils. Most construction companies like to have their name/logo on a lot of equipment for advertising and to discourage theft. There are a lot of stencil fonts available online so sometimes you can use them but often you have to make a logo into a stencil and often the bridges that keep parts of the letters from falling out need to be made heavier [depending upon the size of the stencil].
So much for the background... I have been in mortal combat with a large scale cabinet laser since late 2020 and it is winning- I was semi tough 20 years ago but not so much nowdays [ :roll: ]. I still have my old [bought late 2015] 1300x900 130w with the original EFR tube which still produces almost 100w at the head... I have that set up alongside the 1800x900 laser and am experimenting with why to smaller laser cuts so much better than the larger one.
I was making some 8x10 inch paint masks on the small machine and noticed that it produces these spiderwebs of styrene as it cuts. I am not sure what these are but the larger machine does not produce them- there is often a flame under the piece being cut which I suppose is the spiderwebs burning away. Not sure what I am saying/asking yet but I hope to figure this out before I pass on.

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Styrene web.JPG
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BT48 Alpha Shopbot and 1300x1800 130W Laser

The days that I keep my gratitude higher than
my expectations, Well, I have really good days.

Ray Wylie Hubbard
Jeffrey Aley
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:08 am
Location: Folsom, California
Country: United States
Laser Machine Make or Type: Kehui
Laser Power: 50W
Laser Bed Size: 500mmx300mm
Home Position: TL
RDWorks Version: 8.01.24
Ruida Controller: RDC6442
Accessories: Spray bottle with water (for small fires)
Fire extinguisher (for big fires)
Windows Version: Win10 Enterprise

Re: Polystyrene

Post by Jeffrey Aley »

Hi Gene,

Unlike acrylic, styrene melts (and then vaporizes) under the heat of the laser. I'm just guessing, but I think the spiderwebs are simply melted styrene that has re-solidified after being blown around by the air assist. You could experiment with a little less air assist to see if there are fewer "webs".

Regards,

-Jeff
User avatar
Gene Uselman
Posts: 2084
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: Suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Country: USA
Nickname: Gene
Laser Machine Make or Type: AKL1318-2
Laser Power: 130W & 80W Reci
Laser Bed Size: 51 x 71
Home Position: TR
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: RDw .19 & Lightburn
Ruida Controller: RDC6445
Accessories: I have a combining lenses, pin tables [homebuilt], honeycomb tables , wireless remote, Modifed Ultimate Air Assist, home built non-powered rotary device, Prusa i3 MK3S and Mini Prusa printers.
Windows Version: Win 10 Pro

Re: Polystyrene

Post by Gene Uselman »

I am pretty sure you are right- I have a flow meter now on the larger machine and switching it to the old machine is on my list for this weekend. The cobwebs is not that large a problem- the larger machine starts fires underneath the material and makes nasty scorch marks. The larger machine has a very shallow space under the blades and I suspect that may have a bearing on the problem too. I don't use the little pulse air pumps, I like a good strong air assist flow for cutting but it is hard to gauge how much flow there really is. I have one bad ear and the other is worse. Gene

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flow meter.jpg
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BT48 Alpha Shopbot and 1300x1800 130W Laser

The days that I keep my gratitude higher than
my expectations, Well, I have really good days.

Ray Wylie Hubbard
Jeffrey Aley
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:08 am
Location: Folsom, California
Country: United States
Laser Machine Make or Type: Kehui
Laser Power: 50W
Laser Bed Size: 500mmx300mm
Home Position: TL
RDWorks Version: 8.01.24
Ruida Controller: RDC6442
Accessories: Spray bottle with water (for small fires)
Fire extinguisher (for big fires)
Windows Version: Win10 Enterprise

Re: Polystyrene

Post by Jeffrey Aley »

Here's one way to check the airflow:


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Pete Cyr
Posts: 1866
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:16 pm
Location: Suffolk Virginia
Country: United States
Laser Machine Make or Type: Boss 1630
Laser Power: 100w
Laser Bed Size: 16"x30"
Home Position: TR
Control Software: RDWORKS
RDWorks Version: v8.01.18
Ruida Controller: RDC6442
Accessories: roller rotary attachment
Windows Version: Win 10

Re: Polystyrene

Post by Pete Cyr »

But he would need protective goggles after you mashed him inside!
Location - VA
Equipment - Boss Laser 1630
Power - 100W
Laser Bed Size - 16" x 30"
Home Position - TR
Full RDWorks Version - v8.01.18
First name - Pete
Doug Fisher
Posts: 206
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2016 12:42 pm
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Country: USA
Laser Machine Make or Type: Ke Hui KH-7050
Laser Power: 80W EFR F2
Laser Bed Size: 700x500
Home Position: TR
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: v8.01.18 & 8.01.33
Ruida Controller: RDC6442
Accessories: Ruida RDC6442G EC controller, 2" lens, S&A CW5000 chiller, chuck type of rotary attachment, Russ' DoHickey (sp?), mA meter, a growing collection of tools and oddities to keep it running!
Windows Version: 10

Re: Polystyrene

Post by Doug Fisher »

I switched to multiple passes at lower power and higher speed to avoid the melting situation. You still get that nasty dust though.
User avatar
Gene Uselman
Posts: 2084
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:18 pm
Location: Suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Country: USA
Nickname: Gene
Laser Machine Make or Type: AKL1318-2
Laser Power: 130W & 80W Reci
Laser Bed Size: 51 x 71
Home Position: TR
Control Software: LIGHTBURN
RDWorks Version: RDw .19 & Lightburn
Ruida Controller: RDC6445
Accessories: I have a combining lenses, pin tables [homebuilt], honeycomb tables , wireless remote, Modifed Ultimate Air Assist, home built non-powered rotary device, Prusa i3 MK3S and Mini Prusa printers.
Windows Version: Win 10 Pro

Re: Polystyrene

Post by Gene Uselman »

I found that the smaller laser had much more air pressure- that may solve the webbing problem. The Polystyrene fumes seem to make my sinuses pour too- I have never had any allergies but I certainly do now. Getting old is exciting, something new around every bend.
If the Help and advice you received here was of VALUE...
Please consider making a donation to maintain the RDWORKSLAB Forum.

BT48 Alpha Shopbot and 1300x1800 130W Laser

The days that I keep my gratitude higher than
my expectations, Well, I have really good days.

Ray Wylie Hubbard
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