I’m new to the forum, and laser cutting in general. I’ve been in the sign business since 1992, using everything from vinyl plotters, water jets, wide format digital imaging, and good old fashioned paint! My wife and I recently decided to try laser engraving and after quite a bit of research decided on a K40, ordered from Orion Motor Tech on Amazon. In addition to the price of entry, we were also impressed with the community surrounding these quirky machines.
Our machine arrived last week, and the next few days were spent setting up the water cooling system, inspecting all of the wiring and mechanicals, tidying up the inside, and aligning the mirrors. I also went with Inkscape and K40 Whisperer instead of the native software. Not being familiar with Inkscape and only having watched a basic tutorial everything was being output as rasters. I was running very small tests, a few letters and shapes on 1.25" 3mil wooden disks. After I finally figured out how to properly set up a file for vector engraving, I started the next test.
(the “ghost” image is from a prior unsuccessful test)
It got as far as the rectangle, star, and most of the A in AEL, then completely turned off. There were no alarming sounds, no odd smells, no flashes or anything that would lead me to believe that an arc had occurred. I have checked all of the wiring that I can see, all of the circuitry, the fuse at the plug, and the integrity of the laser. All seem normal. The water cooling was still running, and the surge protector was unaffected.
I’ve since learned some mistakes I have made, but I can’t find evidence of any of them in particular leading to this failure.
I had distilled water on hand but was using filtered tap water until I got everything set up and calibrated.
I have a very stout surge protector (or so I thought) but it is only rated at 700 Joules.
I haven’t yet installed my ammeter so I was running at below “50%” whatever that may actually mean. It was set to 45% when this happened.
I had purged the air from the cooling system but there remained a small air bubble (about what you would see in a spirit level) that was just near the second cooling jacket.
I had not completely removed the protective blue coating from the housing of the power supply.
Does anyone have any pointers about what else to check or what might have caused this? I’m hoping that it was a random failure of some internal part as are known to happen with these but I am certainly willing to accept and learn from the mistakes I have made up to this point.
For reference, other things I have done during setup are adding an inline flow indicator on the water inlet line, added some adhesive felt dots to the bottom leading edge of all three hatches, and replaced the original lens housing with one made to attach an air assist hose (have not yet run the hose to it).
Thank you all in advance, and I’m looking forward to learning from and adding to the community!