Cutting gaskets with K40-style laser?

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awake

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I have recently acquired a "K40" style laser cutter / engraver. (More info below for those who are unfamiliar with this type of unit.) I have been thinking about using it to cut gaskets. I am confident it will cut the typical paper or cork gaskets; might cut rubber; I'm guessing it wouldn't cut thin copper, though it would be interesting to try. I'm sure some of you have tried any or all of these; I'm interested in hearing about the results.

K40: Low-cost import, 40-watt laser, roughly 250 x 300mm maximum work piece capacity. It works out of the box, but it benefits greatly from some upgrades and tweaks, starting with better quality mirrors. These units are typically provided with very limited software, but open-source / free software (K40 Whisperer) is available, and a low-cost solution is widely used (Lightburn).

I've posted this in the CNC forum since the laser motion is controlled much like any other CNC tool.
 
I cut many 1000's of gasket paper gaskets out of 0.008 gasket stock for steam engine kits that I sold for about 25 years. Also cut many out of 0.015 and 0.032 stock for personal use. I also cut a lot of gaskets out of PTFE from 00.005 to 0.025 stock. Many people are afraid to laser cut PTFE because of toxic fumes, but it can be cut safely using proper procedures as recommended by a major unive
stery study. I think it was MIT, but I would have to look it up.

You won;t be able to cut copper of any thickness with less than about 200 watt using a CO2 laser. Copper conducts heat away too quickly. But a laser can still be useful by painting the copper and laser engraving the paint to give you a pattern directly on the copper for hand cutting.
Attached photo shows PTFE gaskets for Steve Hucks V8. They are cut from 0.010 and 0.020 PTFE. Although hard to see, the gasket outlines are fully cut, but are held iin the sheets by 0.010 wide tabs to make them easier to handle.
All these were cut with a 30 watt CO2 laser.
Gail
https://proxy.imagearchive.com/14f/14f630e6bf757679d2b053bbfc11df7b
 
I have recently acquired a "K40" style laser cutter / engraver. (More info below for those who are unfamiliar with this type of unit.)
Ooh je another machine I need? Actually everybody needs at least three lasers.
1) A center finding laser is top of my list. Laser Center Finder
2) Fibre laser to cut metal things. At a price of 60000 USD for the basic version. It will have to wait until I win the lottery (I never play) :)
For now I go with my USB stick to the friendly owner of a laser and they can do things and have material.
3) A fibre laser to engrave all sorts of materials, incl. Metal. Need to remind the neighbour that he needs one very urgent.
4) CO2 laser to cut thin non metal materials.

@awake: I would be curious how your experience is. There is mixed information, from advertisemnent style, that hypes it as a "msut have" (msut?, anyway) to cautious guys that state it is a "hobby in itself".

I did cut one or two PTFE gaskets on the milling machine, which worked better than expected, it was a bit too much of fixturing to do.

Greetings Timo

p.s .it just crossed my mind: If you want to cut gaskets that the laser does not handle too well. You could at least cut guide patterns to help you fixturing and cutting the "nasty" material.
 
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I have recently acquired a "K40" style laser cutter / engraver. (More info below for those who are unfamiliar with this type of unit.) I have been thinking about using it to cut gaskets. I am confident it will cut the typical paper or cork gaskets; might cut rubber; I'm guessing it wouldn't cut thin copper, though it would be interesting to try. I'm sure some of you have tried any or all of these; I'm interested in hearing about the results.

K40: Low-cost import, 40-watt laser, roughly 250 x 300mm maximum work piece capacity. It works out of the box, but it benefits greatly from some upgrades and tweaks, starting with better quality mirrors. These units are typically provided with very limited software, but open-source / free software (K40 Whisperer) is available, and a low-cost solution is widely used (Lightburn).

I've posted this in the CNC forum since the laser motion is controlled much like any other CNC tool.
You will be able to cut superb paper gaskets with a Co2 laser, you will not even touch in any meaningful way either copper or aluminium. However, you can do very nice engraving (well not actually penetrating the metals surface) by using sprays such as Cermark.

K40 Whisperer is good and can load G code files produced in CAM packages but Lightburn is by far the best laser control software be careful as I don't think Lightburn works with K40's that have the M2 Nano control.

B.
 
I've been quite pleased with an extended Sculpfun S9 with a 10W diode head. This allows about a 16X34 inch work area and has cut up to 1/4 inch ply, balsa, thin maple, and card stock very well. Although not as fast as a CO2 machine, the larger work area is worth it for me. A diode laser won't cut everything a CO2 laser will, but the cost of a CO2 machine with similar work envelope is beyond my budget and I haven't extended the K40 work space yet. Like others here, I do have a fairly stock K40 in place, it just doesn't get too much use these days as the diode laser and lightburn do such a good job cutting up 12X24 inch sheets of thin ply for making HO scale structures.

Best to all,
Stan
 
Copper is rarely laser cut as it can damage the source, especially CO2 lasers but a fiber source can also be ruined. Damage occurs during the pierce as the molten copper is highly reflective. Copper is best punched, milled or cut with an abrasive water jet.
I have both CO2 (150W) and fiber (1kW) lasers. I cut gaskets from paper, silicone and PTFE on the CO2 and aluminium on the fiber laser.
 
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