As an avid laser enthusiast, do you know the types of laser engraver enclosures and their differences?
If you are a beginner to laser equipment, it is necessary to know the basics about laser cutter enclosures.
At first, I thought that an enclosure was designed to prevent accidents during the cutting process. I didn't even think a laser cutter enclosure was necessary for a laser machine.
It wasn't until later that I found many merchants on Amazon that sold laser equipment enclosures separately, and some of the enclosure prices were not cheap.
Why was this? Intense curiosity drove me to investigate laser engraver enclosures.
I found that laser engraver enclosures differ in price, material, and production standards. In the following, we explain the role, types, and differences of laser enclosures and list the considerations when choosing a laser protective enclosure.
Let's get started!
- The Importance of Laser Engraver Enclosure
- Types and characteristics of Laser Engraver enclosures
- Gweike laser cutter enclosures
The Importance of Laser Engraver Enclosure
Laser cutter in the work of the emitted laser is a certain amount of radiation, isolation laser radiation is laser engraver enclosure the most important role.
Many articles will suggest that laser engravers do not affect the human body, but this is not strictly true. The premise that the radiation emitted by the laser cutting machine does not affect the human body is that the laser enclosure has been insulated from laser radiation.
However, in order to save costs, many companies on the market are constantly lowering the standard of protection of laser equipment enclosures, and many are even just ordinary enclosures. They are not insulated from laser radiation.
The Laser engraver enclosure also acts as a smoke barrier, preventing the spread of smoke and debris during cutting. Many cutting machines have ventilation fans in the enclosure, the main purpose of which is to vent the fumes generated during the cutting process to the outside in time.
Some businesses give away protective glasses instead of the enclosure to prevent eye damage from the laser during cutting. However, this is more of a practice to reduce their production costs. In fact, the enclosure is far more protective than the glasses.
Types and Features of Laser Engraver Enclosure
Having understood the importance of laser engraver enclosures, we talk about all the types currently on the market and what they do. This will facilitate you to determine better whether your laser enclosure is radiation-proof.
The most straightforward way to test is to buy a light radiation detection device, which is very expensive. It may be difficult for ordinary people to afford, and it is not worth buying an expensive machine to measure once whether a hobby laser machine enclosure is radiation-proof.
Those who do not have a light radiation detector and want to buy a laser enclosure can first learn about the types and characteristics of laser engraver enclosures to facilitate your better choice.
Classification by material of laser cutter enclosure
Fiberglass base fabric
Price about: $50-$199
Image from Amazon
Fiberglass base fabric is a non-hazardous, non-flammable, corrosion-resistant, water-insulating natural material. It is commonly used as an insulation material for ducts, smoke extraction systems, roofing, and other industries. A laser engraver enclosure made from fiberglass base fabric is an economical choice, and the low price is the biggest advantage of fiberglass base fabric.
You can choose a Fiberglass base fabric enclosure with an LED light on top, which will help you to operate it better. Usually, you can run a fan of about 200 cfm to help the machine exhaust the fumes produced during the cutting process. Of course, the Fiberglass base fabric enclosure needs to have holes in the side in order to connect the power cable to the cutter and the LED light cable, so this type of laser engraver enclosure is not fully enclosed, and there is no way to ensure that all the fumes do not escape.
This material is lightweight, and with the aluminum frame, the total weight is around 3-4kg, so you can quickly move it around.
- Not radiation-proof. This material does not prevent laser radiation. It can only be used as a basic smoke shield.
- Almost all of the current fiberglass base fabrics do not support frame retraction, so there may be some difficulty in carving rotating attachments or taller objects. There may be some enclosures that can be retracted at a later date to meet the needs of customers. However, the price of the enclosures may also increase and lose its greatest advantage.
- It is more difficult to clean up afterward. If you want to do complete cleaning of the interior, you will need to remove the shelf again and remove all the wires from it.
- Limited fire resistance. Many buyers of fiberglass enclosures have already experienced a situation where the enclosure burst into flames when the embers fell on the table. This has a lot to do with the material used in fiberglass base fabric.
There are three types of fiberglass in common use today.
- Alkali-free glass with a temperature resistance of 600+°C
- HR glass with a temperature resistance of 800+°C
- SiO2 glass with a temperature resistance of 1000+°C.
As temperature resistance increases, the cost of the material becomes more expensive. This means that when the material catches fire, temperatures above 800° will cause the material to burn.
Price about: $70-$130
Image from Amazon
Acrylic laser cutter enclosure is also sold in a wide range of products. There are two main types of acrylic enclosures, the main difference being whether they are of the CE standard or the normal type. The laser engraver enclosure of ordinary acrylic is a safety hazard. If you do not have a good way to distinguish whether your CE standard is genuine or not, you can ask the manufacturer for a CE certificate.
For reasons for transport and packaging, the vast majority of acrylic enclosures are chosen to be mailed in veneer and then put together in various ways. This is why acrylic laser engraver enclosures are prone to smoke leakage as they grow in use.
Note: Be sure to identify the safety protection as CE or FDA standard.
Price about: $200-$450
This is the most standard and safest type of Radiationproof enclosure. Metal is the most effective material for blocking laser radiation. Currently, only a few desktop laser cutter manufacturers insist on using metal enclosures for laser cutting machines and laser engraver enclosures. All home laser engravers and desktop laser cutters have plastic enclosures instead, except large industrial cutters with metal enclosures.
Laser cutter manufacturers may advertise that their machines are lightweight and very mobile, but this is at the expense of the machine's safety.
If you want to protect yourself from laser radiation, a metal laser engraver enclosure is your best option. Because you don't have to worry about buying acrylic that is not CE-compliant, nor do you have to worry about poor sealing and smoke leakage over time.
The metal enclosure is also more durable, as you must purchase other types again after a few years. However, metal enclosures can last over 10 years without deformation or breakage.
- Metal laser engraver enclosure is more expensive.
- It takes work to buy. Yes, you read that right, it is very difficult to get a laser cutter and cutter enclosure in metal because it takes more labor and time to produce, and you need to constantly adjust your production equipment to ensure the best possible results, which is a very time-consuming process. Many businesses save money by using the first two materials for the enclosure.
Gweike laser cutter enclosure VS others
Speaking of laser housings, let's take the metal housing of the Gweike G1 as an example and talk about its pros and cons.
You can follow my description for reference.
- The enclosure of the Gweike G1 is completely laser radiation proof, so I can be as close to the working engraver as I want during use. The enclosure is excellent. You can take it anywhere without worrying about your laser hurting others.
- It is made of aircraft aluminum, so there is no worry of fire
- You can always observe the engraving with the CE standard protective glass on top.
Not very user-friendly. It is usually fully enclosed to ensure the metal enclosure is smoke and radiation resistant. If you want to change the engraving material after engraving, you need to remove the enclosure in order to change the engraving material.