Weak Engraving and Cutting

60W Chinese body - Ruidia Controller

Been using this laser for over a year. We noticed the laser losing quite a bit of power over the past couple of months.

We figured it had to deal with mirror alignment. Welp, after spending the time getting the mirrors aligned, the problem persists.

My engraving speeds before problem -
Speed: 300mm/s
Max and Min Power: 50%

Those engravings turned out amazing.

Now, using those same settings… the laser engraving still leaves glue from the transfer tape applied on top of the 3mm Birch Plywood. The depth of engraving is much less than before this issue started as well.

Cleaned the mirrors as well. Aligned the laser vertical from the laser head as well. Tried firing a few laser pulses from different focal depths and the laser beam hit the same spot. Went beyond a 50mm focal depth and was still dead on.

Taking a look at the laser tube itself… it makes me wonder if our laser tube is the main problem here.

The laser tube is dirty on the outside with dust. The inside of the laser tube though… looks quite dirty. Could this be part of our struggle?

I have also seen a few articles about power supply being the issue but not sure how to test it on this machine.

Typical tube lifetime specs claim a few thousand hours, depending on a myriad factors, only a few of which are under your control. Judging from what I’ve seen around here, your thousand hours of laser on time means the tube has probably reached the end of its life, particularly because a “Makerspace” laser doesn’t get the most careful use.

A good description of the issues:

I’d be inclined to replace the laser power supply at the same time:
it’s cheaper than the tube and contains a handful of components that tend to age quickly under load. Keep the old supply on the shelf as a backup and sleep well at night.

The photo of the burn mark is way too much power to tell if there is an issue…

When you do an alignment, especially is there is a potential power issue is to check the output of the beam at m1.

A burn hole is useless as is a black circle… you want a brownish color that allows you to see the power distribution of the beam…

I had similar issues, but I caught it pretty quickly… I cut targets out for alignment …

Normally they are centered, darker in the center getting lighter as it travels to the edges… Here is mine when it failed.

No longer centered and the TEM mode has moved to something other than TEM00.

This is a gas/tube issue… if this isn’t right it will never work properly…

Good luck


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