What is recommended safety measures with fiber lasers around 300 - 500 watts?
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  1. #1
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    Default What is recommended safety measures with fiber lasers around 300 - 500 watts?

    I'm looking to get a fiber laser on a roughly 4x8 table. I have a few machines picked out to get samples from. Most of the machines are open with no real guarding, I had read some comment that basically sounded like having a fiber unit outside of a full enclosure was super unsafe.

    Yet I see a lot of videos around the net of people running open machines and seem to just be wearing the laser glasses.

    I get a lot of conflicting answers regarding this. Is there anything exceptionally dangerous being given off that needs to be contained?

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    yeah, personally i would be uncomfortable around that. CO2 lasers that are open are one hell of a lot safer, the beam is absorbed by the water in your eye ball, mild low powered reflections that is, not a full on beam straight in the eye ball! Fibre depending on the wave length is not and will cause major damage to the retina, stuff that and your blind! Hence why most of the industrial machines are fully enclosed. At least here in europe, a fibre laser cutting setup will have a complete enclosure with roof, CO2 and the enclosure is normally just enough to keep the operator out of the movement hazard area. A lot of radiant reflection is down to just what your cutting though, some materials its a lot less of a hazard, think of it like shining a torch in a room with black walls compared to a room full of mirrors. Key thing to remember, laser light is reflected very differently by different materials, slight differences in wave length really change thoes risks.

    300-500 watts is low power for cutting metals though. normally most metal cutting set-ups are in the 1-2Kw range minimum.

    Generally by far the greatest danger with a laser is not the beam though, but the fumes and mechanical hazards of the cnc side of things. Enclsure design greatly impacts fume containment, its way easier to get great extraction levels when your sucking fume out of one end of a sealed box with a air inlet the other, its a lot less effective on a open bed style setup.

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    Not recommended usage. OSHA will object.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails img_0814.jpg  

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    Exactly, bond should be in a proper enclosure with suitable fume extraction, with correct laser protection goggles so he's not blinded, the bad guy should also be wearing eye protection, respiratory protection and needs to be careful were he waggles that finger if he wants to keep it!

    Whats more the beams totaly invisible, but i guess that does not make for good torture.

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    DO NOT LOOK INTO BEAM WITH REMAINING EYE!
    500 watts will do if all you cut is 16 gauge or less. Maybe. Or 500 watts may just piss you off. 1000 watt minimum, more if you can afford it. More wattage equates to thicker metals and/or greater speed. Better edge finish with higher power too. The wave length of most fiber lasers is easily absorbed by metal with little or no reflection. I cut mirror finish copper like it was butter with my 1000 watt Bodor Laser. Polished stainless too. No full enclosure on my 5 x 10 machine and no extraction either, not yet but very soon. Just using it for tiny projects at present but soon to be moved and connected to a 5 hp+ extractor.

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    did you have to acquire the bodor direct from china - or is there a good us rep?

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    Pretty sure you can buy direct, but you are on your own when it comes to setting it up and learning how to use it. I bought mine through Laguna tools in Ca. They received it, tested it, shipped it to me and set it up and trained me. Possibility if I want more than 1000 watts I will buy a small bed model direct with more powerful laser and swap the lasers. Or keep powerful laser in small bed machine. Like some users, lots of parts done a few at a time.

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    Looks like I'm going to go with an enclosed unit.. I went and saw a demo unit and it produced the parts well.
    I was originally going to go with a 4x8 or 5x10 table, but most of the parts I make are on the small side, so nesting works pretty well. On a 4x4 machine my max loss with the worst planning is 4 inches per 4x4 sheet, and more likely less than 1 inch per sheet.. I figured that with a loss of 4" per 4x4' square it would take 20,000 4x4 sheets before I would be saving money with the larger unit. Also will take up less space and I could in theory shear all the sheets down when they come in and have them take up significantly less space.

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    My experience is with a YAG laser at 1064 nm, 600 watts CW 1 megawatt pulsed. From the replies you got already I would not trust any of their replies. You asked about fiber lasers. I don't have any direct knowledge of fiber lasers but they are in the same range as the YAG laser. Being solid state there is no gases to worry about. So depending on the power output, I would say you need to be eyesafe and isolate any power supplies from direct contact. Here is a site that discusses Fiber lasers: Encyclopedia of Laser Physics and Technology - fiber lasers, fibre, rare-earth, doped, high power, erbium, neodymium, ytterbium, thulium
    It may be a little too technical but over all the eyesafe goggles are the one thing you must have. I say goggles because most glasses do not protect the eyes from a reflected beam. Since the beam is invisible you should not take chances. Also make sure the eye protection you choose is marked for the wavelength of the laser you are using. Your safety is your responsibility, so act accordingly and you can't go wrong.

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    Ended up going with a 4x4' table enclosed fiber laser from rose graphix out of south Florida, I'm in central FL so we drove down and got a demo on one of their machines before buying.. Been running for about three weeks now with no issues other than your usual figuring out a new machine, machine uses cypcut for the programing and a windows computer interface.

    The tech was pretty good at getting everything setup but was there was a bit of a language barrier on some technical questions but we eventually got it puzzled out. The software did not really require a lot of CNC knowledge, having about two years of working with a Haas mini VMC which had a STEEP learning curve, firing up the laser was basically like turning on a printer..

    I've learned basically everything I know about metal work from forums and youtube videos, and basically have never given back anything.
    Anyway me and my brother are setting up a little youtube channel to supply some information about the machine, we only found a couple of videos in english and they only had the machines making parts and supplied very little information about what the units could actually do and how to squeeze the best performance out of them.. I'll post a link when I get the first one done.. The channel will not be monetized I just want to help the next guy stuck with a supplier giving them trouble.

    As for the original safety question.. An enclosed unit, laser glasses and a decent smoke/fume extractor basically get the job done.. Could be a little better but I'm pretty happy with the machine I got.

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