How to laser cut cotton using the Summa L1810


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If you are active in the textile industry, you have likely encountered assignments where you needed to cut cotton-based fabrics. So, you might have experienced in practice that cutting cotton is quite daring and not at all that straightforward.

Unquestionably, cutting cotton with lasers will give you the nicest possible results. However, cutting this type of material requires a precise adjustment of the laser cutter. The Summa L1810 laser cutter allows such pinpoint adjustment. But to obtain the best cutting results in cotton, we must first understand the inherent features of cotton and consider a few points of attention.

Typical features of cotton

  • Cotton consists of cellulose, just like any other plant-based fibre. When lasering this type of material, a typical paper/wood burnt smell will arise. So, pieces of cotton, that have just been cut, will need some ventilation before they are being packed.
  • Cotton doesn’t melt when laser cutting; it burns. This means the edges will not be sealed and may look burnt when not taking appropriate precautions.
  • Cotton garment is often a mix of cotton and polyester. The higher the percentage of polyester, the easier to cut. The more cotton-percentage, the harder to obtain a clean cut.

How to obtain quality laser-cut cotton with the L1810

  1. Choose the right laser tube to avoid black burnt edges

To obtain the best cutting quality in cotton, the major challenge is to avoid burnt edges. To enable this, you can use a Luxinar water-cooled laser tube to minimize the laser spot size (beam diameter). Although the universal air-cooled laser tubes may achieve the same quality, the settings of air-cooled lasers might be more critical.

  1. Appoint a well-skilled operator who is able to perfectly align the laser beam

Each time the camera lens is cleaned, the head is removed or the height has been adjusted, it is important to pay attention to the alignment of the beam. In fact, the alignment of the laser beam must be done daily when processing cotton. Outsourcing this task would be too cumbersome, expensive and practically unfeasible, so the operator needs to be trained extensively to be able to do this himself.

  1. Choose a closed system with fume extraction

Although smoke released from lasering cotton is not life-threatening, it can still be harmful. Therefore, precautions against inhalation should be taken. The Summa L1810 laser cutter features a fully closed chamber with a tailored extraction fan system to remove all fumes from the cutting chamber.

It is clear that the art of laser cutting cotton requires extra attention and is, therefore, a job not to be taken lightly. So, it is definitely worth to take the necessary precautions and obtain high-quality laser cutting of all sorts of cotton.

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