Folie 1 - Trotec Laser

Learn, Leverage, Lead
Presented by Josh Stephens
Trotec Laser‘s Applications Expert
Josh Stephens
Credentials and Background
7 years in laser industry
- Supported Fortune 500 companies, franchises, start-ups, and small to
medium businesses in both commercial and industrial settings
3 years at Trotec Laser, Inc.
- Business Development
- Applications Expert
Experienced in sales, sales support, technical support, customer training
and education
Lasers Overview
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Choosing the Right Laser Source: Fiber
Case Study: LazerTac
Optimize Your Equipment
Best Application Practices
Case Study: Home Wet Bar
Differentiate Your Business
Improve Production Quality and Time
Case Study: Western Engraving
Laser Design
Two popular types of laser systems
- Flatbed
- Galvanometer
Flatbed is similar to a desktop printer
Galvo represents a more “industrial” system
Laser Design
X/Y plotter system
Large working area
Enclosed system
Allows batch processing for large volume
Quick change-over
Operator can perform additional duties
during processing
Laser Design
Beam delivered by 2 mirrors
Smaller working area
10x faster than flatbed systems
Class IV laser unless enclosure is provided
Integration into production processes
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Co2 Lasers
One of the earliest gas lasers to be developed
Currently highest-power continuous wave lasers
Infrared light typically with
wavelength of 9.4 to
10.6 micrometers
Evolution of laser sources
- Glass
- Metal
- Ceramic
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Light Spectrum
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
What can a CO2 laser do?
Coated metals
Stainless steel
Anodized aluminum
Laser rubber
Microporous rubber
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Glass Laser Source
Mainly used for cutting applications
Difficult to control resulting in lower engraving quality and speed
DC charged instead of RF
Must be water cooled
Lower cost than metal sources
Lifetime approximately < 500 hrs.
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Metal Laser Source
Most common
More stable than glass
Longer life than glass
Air-cooled or water-cooled
Outgasses over time
Average lifespan is 3-5 years
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Ceramic Laser Source
100% ceramic CO2 laser source
Electrodes on the outside of the tube
No welded joints – reduced outgassing
Fired at 800oC, eliminating impurities inside of tube
Longer lifespan than other laser source at > 6 years
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
Choosing the Right Laser System: Co2
60-80 Watts
60-80 Watts
60-80 Watts
Beam Diameter
≤ 5 mm
2.2 ± 0.2 mm
2.2 ± 0.1 mm
Power Stability
± 10%
± 7%
± 4%
Length of Tube
47-49 in
20.7 in
20.4 in
Choosing the Right Laser System: Fiber
Beam generated from optical fiber doped with rare-earth element
Ytterbium is often used for the earth element
Produces wavelength of 1.06 micrometers
Smaller beam generated than CO2
Typically not absorbed by organic materials
Provides method of etching metal directly
More expensive than CO2 laser
Choosing the Right Laser System: Fiber
How it Works
Ytterbium is added to silica glass which creates the optical fiber
The doping of the fiber allows for increasing the intensity of light
Lower power light is passed into medium where light intensifies
creating laser beam at proper wavelength
Choosing the Right Laser System: Fiber
Choosing the Right Laser System: Fiber
Choosing the Right Laser System: Fiber
Anodized aluminum
Thin metal foils
Polished brass
Polished copper
High-speed steel
Hard metal
Stainless steel brushed
Stainless steel polished
Choosing the Right Laser System: Fiber
Barcodes & Serial Numbers
Data plates
Industrial Tags
Medical Devices
Promotional Items
Smartphones, Tablets,
Case Study: Lazr-Tac
Chad Chapman, LAZR Tac, Texas
First purchased a CO2 laser to make customized
gifts for military and police forces. Started working
on metal using CerMark.
After 6 months, he realized that he needed to deep
engrave into metal to get the finish that he was
looking for. Purchased a Trotec fiber laser.
Case Study: LazerTac
With a Fiber Laser, he was also able to
mark on plastic, expanding his service
Optimize Your Equipment
Air Assist
Reduces flame up during cutting
Helps direct debris away from optics
Flushes the optics to help keep them clean
Optimize Your Equipment
Rotary Device
Allows 360 degree engraving
Easy to pin-point desired engraving area
Allows easy change out between pieces when
producing multiples
Optimize Your Equipment
Cutting Table
Minimize burning and melting by
reducing reflection of the beam
from the table
Air and smoke are drawn
through the cutting table
- Keeps system cleaner
- Material & end product
are cleaner
Optimize Your Equipment
Slat Cutting Table
Aluminum Cutting Grid Table
Acrylic Cutting Grid Table
Vacuum Table with Honeycomb
Cutting Tabletop
Optimize Your Equipment
Slat Cutting Table
Aluminum Cutting Grid Table
The cutting table with aluminum slats is
mainly used for cutting thicker materials
(0.3 in thickness) and for parts wider
than 4 in. Acrylics can be cut with no
reflections by exchanging the aluminum
slats with acrylic slats. One can reduce
the number of supporting points by
removing some of them individually,
depending on the job process.
It is particularly suitable for cutting tasks
with parts smaller than 4 in, as these
remain in a flat position after the cut.
Compared to the slat cutting table the
aluminum cutting grid table has more
supporting points.
Acrylic Cutting Grid Table
Vacuum Table with Honeycomb
Cutting Tabletop
The universal cutting table for the
reflection-free cutting of thin acrylics with
a thickness up to 0.3 in. Like with the
aluminum cutting grid, parts smaller than
4 in remain in a flat position after the cut.
This processing table is especially suitable
for applications that require minimal back
reflections and optimum flatness of the
material, like for example the cutting of
membrane switches. The very thin
honeycombs are sensitive in terms of
transportation, handling and storage.
Optimize Your Equipment
Smaller focal lengths provide a smaller spot size
- Tight tolerance
Longer focal lengths have a larger spot size
- More tolerance
Optimize Your Equipment
Lens Type
Engraving Use
Cutting Use
1.5” CO2
Fine Detail; > 500 DPI; rubber
stamps with thin letters
Lower laser power;
Best for materials around 1/8” or
2.0” CO2
Medium detail; 500 DPI
Medium Laser Power;
Best for materials 1/4” or thinner
2.5” CO2
Lower detail; < 500 DPI;
Good if large areas of sensitive
material needs to be removed
Higher Laser power;
Better quality for thicknesses
between 1/4” and 3/4”
4.0” CO2
Low Detail; < 500 DPI;
Works well with slightly curved
High laser power;
Good quality on > 3/4” thicknesses
Optimize Your Equipment
Vision System
Cut individual print media quickly and with the highest accuracy
- Camera system recognizes any distortions in the design
- Cutting path is adjusted automatically and dynamically
- Cutting lines perfectly match the printed design on all materials
Optimize Your Equipment
Optimize Your Equipment
Best Application Practices
Supplies needed for every-day laser users
Masking Tape
Lint Roller
Scrap Pieces
Best Application Practices
Tips and Tricks
Glass Engraving
- For smoothest results, apply masking tape and wet the surface
or apply wet newspaper
Cutting Multi-Color / Multi-Layer Signage
- Apply thin layer of double-sided adhesive to media before cutting
to allow for a peel and stick method
Air Assist Adjustment
- Use lower air pressure for dust sensitive materials such as
plastic laminates
- Use higher air pressure for materials that have a tendency to
charr or burn; i.e. Wood, paper, etc.
Best Application Practices
Check the optics on the laser head at least once per day
Do not clean optics on a regular basis as you may damage the
coating that helps concentrate the laser beam
Keep your working area clean, inside and outside of the laser
Maintain exhaust plenum and connections or filters within
filtration system
Case Study: Home Wet Bar
Keith Winter, Oklahoma
Started business while still in college out of his
closet. Purchased first Trotec laser in 2013 to
make custom glassware. Currently has over 100
different types and styles of glassware available
for customization on his site.
Case Study: Home Wet Bar
In order to quickly accommodate the
many different size and shaped glasses,
his production employees came up with a
unique jig, capable of handling every size
Once the design was completed, they
created different versions of them with
their laser.
Now they have multiple Trotec machines
and have expanded into a larger facility
due to their growing sales.
Differentiate Your Business
Benefits of Investing in a Laser
Quick Turn-around
Flexible work loads
- Small and large volume
Low operating costs
- Electricity, operator labor
Simple to use, easy to learn
Small footprint
Ability to grow with your business
Wide variety of materials and items can be processed with the same system
Improve Production Quality and Time
Raster Graphics
- Images are made from small dots
(pixels) combined to create the
- Digital photos are raster images
- Resolution of pixels is important
- Common File Formats: picture
formats such as .jpg, .bmp,
- Quality In = Quality Out
Improve Production Quality and Time
Your image is measured in DPI (Dots Per Inch) resolution
The images DPI should be set to match the DPI used to process the
The laser’s PPI (Pulses Per Inch) should match the DPI
Improve Production Quality and Time
Printer inspired
Raster mode - Engraving
Laser head travels in the x-direction from
left to right
X-Direction quality measured in PPI
Graphics are processed line-by-line (YDirection)
Y-Direction quality measured in DPI (Can
be thought of as lines per inch)
Very fast x-axis, slower y-axis movement
Improve Production Quality and Time
Vector graphics:
- Use of geometrical building blocks (points, lines, curves, polygons) to
create images
- Resolution does not apply
- Common File Formats: .dxf, .dwg, .ai, .eps, .cdr, .pdf
Improve Production Quality and Time
Position jobs to where the x-axis travels the furthest
8” x 4” job
Time: 4 min 30 sec
4” x 8” job
Time: 6 min
Improve Production Quality and Time
Multiple Job Time Study
24” x 12” laser bed used
Portrait pieces on bed = 6
Total Time: 14 min 30 sec
Per Piece Time: 2 min 25 sec
Landscape pieces on bed = 9
Total Time: 25 min 30 sec
Per Piece Time: 2 min 50 sec
If processing 100 pieces the total
time saved using portrait is
41 minutes of laser time
Improve Production Quality and Time
Templates & Jigs
Easy way to
position odd
shaped materials
Created from basic
sheet stock
Create multiple
templates for
production runs
Case Study: Western Engraving
Robert Tepper
Western Engraving, California
Robert purchased his Trotec laser in 2012 to
make artistic rubber stamps. Once he
started playing around with different
materials, he caught the laser bug, and
started experimenting with different
At the request from his contacts in the art
world, he began making mylar stencils. Now
he is the 4th largest producer of mylar
stencils in the US.
Deep Dive into Photo Processing
Basic concept of a laser – plotter
Graphic Basics
- Pixel versus Vector Graphics versus Resolution
- Resolution and the Laser
Photo Engraving Concept
Preparing the Image
- Adjust Tone Curve
- Sharpen Image
Printing the Image
- Ways to Raster an Image
- Tools to Raster an Image
- Raster Types for different Materials
Lasering the Image
- Laser Power Setting
Basic concept of a laser-plotter
Raster Engraving
Vector Cutting
Printer - Like
Head travels on x-axis from left to right
Graphics are processed line-wise, bidirectional
Graphics are rastered bitmaps
Controlled via DPI and PPI (pulses
per inch)
Very fast x-axis, slow y-axis movement
Milling Machine - Like
Head travels along a certain cut
path (Vector)
Cut paths are made of vector
lines and arcs which describe a
certain geometry
Vectors are processed sequential
Controlled via HZ (Frequency)
“slow” x-axis and y-axis
Pixels and Vector Graphics
Vector graphics:
- use geometrical primitives (points,
lines, curves, polygon(s) … - all based
on mathematical equations) to
represent images
- Resolution does not apply
- Common File Formats: .dxf, .dwg, .ai,
.eps, .cdr
Pixel Graphics
- Rectangular grid of pixels
- Resolution of grid (matrix) very
- Common File Formats: .jpg, .bmp,
Resolution of Pixel Graphics
Resolution of source graphic should be as
high as possible
This makes adjustments more easy (color
information, scaling, rastering, …)
- Most customers provide pictures with low
- File Size increases
1000 dpi
164,6 MB
600 dpi
59,2 MB
333 dpi
18,3 MB
125 dpi
2,6 MB
Laser Spot vs Pixel
Pixel is smaller than a laser spot (above 250 dpi resolution)
Laser Spot
Resolution has to be adjusted to match laser spot / pulsing (DPI vs.
Especially to match the different materials / substrates
DPI (Dots Per Inch) resolution of source image
PPI (Pulses Per Inch) Laser pulses per inch
PPI determines the number of laser pulses per inch emitted by the
Adjustment range: 100 - 1000 PPI
PPI value has to be same as (or higher than) DPI value
Resolution – DPI vs PPI
Laser pulses at different graphic resolutions
1000 dpi
500 dpi
250 dpi
125 dpi
Preparing the Image
Tone Curve Correction
Trim lowest and highest tones of the tone curve
Laser can‘t process highest and lowest tones
First and last 20 greyscales levels of 256
Trimmed tone curve
Unsharp masking
Digital unsharp masking is a flexible and powerful way to
increase sharpness of an image.
Typically three settings control digital unsharp masking:
- is listed as a percentage, and controls the magnitude of
each overshoot (how much darker and how much lighter
the edge borders become). This can also be thought of as
how much contrast is added at the edges. It does not affect
the width of the edge rims.
- affects the size of the edges to be enhanced or how wide
the edge rims become, so a smaller radius enhances
smaller-scale detail. Fine detail needs a smaller Radius.
- Low values should sharpen more because fewer areas are
excluded. Higher threshold values exclude areas of lower
Source image,
sharpened image and
highly sharpened image
Generally a radius of 1 to 2 pixels, an amount of 150% and
threshold set to 0 is a reasonable start.
USM applied to
lower part
of image
Printing the Image
Rastering an Image
Laser can fire or not fire – on / off –
black and white
How to produce pictures with 256
levels of greyscale?
Printing Method “Halftoning”
Halftone = Conversion of gray-scale or
color images into black-and-white
images creating the impression of a
gray-scale image through the use of
dots, varying either in size or in
Binary image (1 Bit Bitmap) – binary
reproduction relies on a basic optical
illusion—that these tiny halftone dots
are blended into smooth tones by the
human eye
Error Diffusion
Lasering the Image
Pay Attention to Material
Example: Wood
- Margin on material bigger than actual laser spot
- Wood burns thus margin grows
- Typically processed at 250 DPI
Example: Anodized Aluminum
- Margin on material only slightly bigger than actual laser spot
- Aluminum absorbs heat very well thus margin doesn‘t grow
- Typically processed at 1,000 DPI
Laser Power
- Less is more
- Using too much power reduces details of photo engraving
- Use small lens for high resolution such as 1.5”
- Use bigger lenses for lower resolution such as 2.5“
Step by Step
Size the image and resample
Adjust tone correction
Utilize unsharp mask
Apply filter and print