What is the best way to remove smoke residue after laser engraving?

Laser Q&ACategory: Maintenance QuestionsWhat is the best way to remove smoke residue after laser engraving?
Alfex Laser Staff asked 11 months ago
1 Answers
Jordan Staff answered 11 months ago

If engraving wood you have a couple of options:
(1) If the wood has been sealed/lacquered you should be able to remove most or all of the residues with a damp cloth, however, if the wood is raw you may need to use some fine sandpaper to remove the residue – we recommend having some 220 grit sandpaper on hand in case you ever need it
(2) Alternatively, you can be proactive and use a light to medium tack masking paper first and then engrave it into the wood, allowing the residue to settle on the mark instead of your part. Then after the job simply remove the mask to reveal your perfectly clean engraved design
For materials other than wood
(1) You can try using Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) to clean away any leftover residue
(2) Another tip is to use the Bottom-Up engraving feature found in your print driver (a standard feature on Epilog Lasers). In standard top-down engraving, there can be a large amount of engraving debris generated and as that debris is pulled towards the exhaust ports at the rear of the machine, some of it will collect in the areas that have just been engraved.
The Bottom-Up function reduces the amount of smoke and residue so that it is not dragged across freshly engraved marks. This feature is particularly useful for two-ply engraving plastics where you are engraving through a colour like red/blue/green into white underneath.
Regardless of the material you are engraving it is also a critical factor to make sure you have sufficient extraction otherwise the smoke and residue will hang around and settle on your material instead of being immediately sucked away after engraving