Safety precautions when using a laser cutter

Laser engravers cut or engrave material with the power of laser beams. These laser beams can be quite disastrous if caution is thrown to the wind. Some of the hazards include fires, combustion of hazardous items, burns, and fumes. Once you have bought your laser engraver and are ready to start making your engraved items, take a moment to consider the safety precautions when using a laser cutter

Safety precautions when using a laser cutter and engraver

Safety precautions when using a laser cutter and engraver

Know How The Laser Works

Before you start using the laser engraver, make sure you understand exactly how it works. At laserengravingtips.com, we endeavor to provide as many useful tips as possible. However, the information you read on blogs should never substitute for the manufacturer’s user manual.

Go through the manual and follow the assembly and safety instructions provided. Every laser engraver is created differently and that is why you should meticulously read through the documentation of your laser engraver before you start using it. As boring as this step may sound, it might help to prevent mishaps and incidents once you start your laser engraving business.

Beware Of The Fumes

Laser Engraving Fumes

Air from your laser cutter is typically purified by the air filter. However, the air filter doesn’t have the capability of removing toxic fumes that might be caused by cutting some materials. Such toxic fumes can not only damage the laser machine but could also affect your health and wellbeing. This is the main reason why you shouldn’t attempt to cut or engrave PVC with the laser machine.

Also, take note of any other material that the manufacturer of the laser cutter may have prohibited. No matter what materials you intend cutting it’s always recommended to invest in a fume extractor or exhaust fan not only for the health benefits but also to protect your laser from contamination and corrosion.

Detailed Information and Reviews can be found here:

Laser Engraver Exhaust Fan Options

Best Fume Extractors for Laser Engravers

Laser Engraver Enclosure Options: You Need The Best Quality

Avoid Unnecessary Fires

When laser engraving or cutting approved materials in the right environment, you do not have to worry about fires. However, it is recommended to have a fire extinguisher as well as a fire blanket just in case a fire starts. On some rare occasions, a very small flame may start in the process of laser engraving your material. If the flame is less than 2 inches, it will most likely fizzle out in a matter of seconds.

But if you get a fire that is less than two inches and yet it doesn’t go out, it will be best to extinguish it using the fire blanket before it spreads. Remember to switch off the laser engraver before attempting to put out the fire. Once the laser machine is off and the nozzle has been pushed out of the way, throw your blanket over the flame. Any flame that is bigger than 2 inches should be extinguished with the fire extinguisher.

Caution: Some laser materials are highly flammable. You should, therefore, keep a close eye during the cutting process to avoid accidents. Always a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher handy for any sudden flare ups. We use the First Alert Professional Fire Extinguisher in our workshop. More information can be found here.

Keep A Log Of Use

Make sure to keep a log that fully details the important details of how the laser engraver is used. The log should indicate who used the engraver, how they used it, what materials were engraved, any noteworthy incidents, and the cutting time for the materials.

This log will come in handy when anyone is preparing to use the laser engraver. For instance, you can conveniently use the settings that have been tried and tested instead of messing around with the system.

Clean The Laser Engraver Regularly

After engraving some items, debris from the material will most likely get lodged in the engraver. It is, therefore, a good idea to vacuum clean the cutting deck as well as the internal cavity of the laser engraver after every laser engraving project. If you do not do this, the debris could cause fires, damage the laser machine or compromise the quality of the item being engraved.

Protect Your Eyes

Laser Engraving Eye Protection

Exposure to a laser beam can harm your eyes. If the laser beam goes directly into your eyes, it will go through the pupil and focus on the retina. Even a milliwatt laser engraver dissipates light energy that is three times stronger than the sun’s rays. Exposure to such extreme light by even a fraction of a second can injure the retina, cornea, or the lens in your eyes.

For Detailed Information on Laser Engraving Eye Protection have a look at the article I wrote here.

Materials not to laser cut (with reasons)

Some materials are just not meant to be used with a laser cutter/ engraver. Here is a list of materials to avoid with the reasons why:


Final Thoughts

A laser engraver is a powerful tool. When used properly, it will make your life a lot easier. But the laser beams from the laser machine are very powerful and can be dangerous too. That is why you should handle it with care and follow all the safety precautions when using a laser cutter discussed above.