Beam alignment is #1; optic quality is #2; and focal point is #3
- Beam Alignment: You will never be 100% satisfied with your machine until you learn to master this process. Watch as many videos as necessary until you completely understand this concept. Then go to your machine and mess it up just to practice aligning it. Beam alignment is not something to be feared it is something to mastered if you want to produce the best possible work.
- Optic Quality: Don’t be afraid to spend $100 on optics. Super flat mirrors and a high-quality lens will pay off in the end. Clean them properly and often and high-quality optics will last years.
- Focal Point: get your bed flat, learn to ramp test. Make custom spacers because every optic is slightly different. We make the best optics in the world and my tolerance allows for +/-.1mm(.005”) focal point variation from lens to lens.
American Photonics has focused our new product development on these 3 things.
Let us assume your machine has the best optics in the world:
-If your beam alignment is off, it will not work good at all;
-If it's difficult and complicated to clean, you will not clean it as often, it will not last as long, and it will work not work good at all.
Clearly these products are not a necessity. There are people out there doing insanely nice work without them, but they do make performing these tasks less stressful, and more accurate.
Having the best optic only matters if you keep it clean, get the beam to hit it as it was designed, and you can find and place your work at the correct focal point.
By Natalia Pereira