Never, Ever Run Your Laser Cutter Unattended

While running some finger-joint test pieces, this happened:

Detached laser lens holder
Detached laser lens holder

The knurled ring just below the Tight→ label worked its way loose and released the lens holder tube collet, whereupon the whole affair fell out and dangled on the air hose & wires as the gantry continued to zigzag along the finger pattern.

As is my custom, I was watching the proceedings and managed to poke the controller’s STOP button, which was a mistake. What I should have done was slap the EMERGENCY STOP mushroom switch, because the STOP button just tells the controller to cancel the current action and return to the home position, which resulted in dragging the lens holder across the plywood and platform.

No harm done, as far as I could tell, and it realigned easily enough.

The more typical laser cutter failure seems to be having the controller execute the Halt and Catch Fire instruction, resulting in at least a ruined workpiece, sometimes a ruined laser, and occasionally a serious conflagration.

Lesson learned: practice slapping the Big Red Switch every now and then.

3 thoughts on “Never, Ever Run Your Laser Cutter Unattended

    1. (But we’ve established that i’m more paranoid than you. But am I paranoid enough?)

      1. Given how the power supply failed hot, I keep thinking an asbestos onesie would be a Good Idea™.

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