Determining hours?

Problem cutting PG drafboard, so first thought was I should clean the optics - again. Seems like I just did, however, so I’m wondering - how can we determine how many hours we have on the tube, so we can predict when cleaning might be necessary and avoid ruined projects?

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Hours on the tube won’t necessarily tell you when things need to be cleaned. It’s really dependent on what you do. Engraving tile, aluminum and the like create a lot less mess than engraving draftboard or ply.

My basic philosophy is if it looks dirty, clean it. I probably clean more often than I really have to, but it costs a couple wipes and what, 5-10 minutes max for a quick clean. I have yet to have a failed cut due to it being dirty.


Got it.

As I wrote my post, I thought hours alone would probably not be sufficient. I’ve done a lot of engraving on hardwood and draftboard cutting lately…

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All this talk lately about cleaning the GF prompted me to check my lens and mirror. I regularly wipe the windows anytime I see the slightest dust but rarely inspect the lens and mirror. The lens was getting quite hazy so it was good to check and clean. Mirror was crystal clean.

Going to clean it right now, then cut some test pieces from the same piece of draftboard…

Yeah → what cutting makes a huge difference.
I am sort of on an acrylic thing presently and have not had to clean for a long time.

I went into a 3D engrave phase when I found those free wood floor samples at Home Depot.
That lasted about a week or so and I burned up dozens (couple of trips to the store in betweens).
I had to clean the machine twice during that episode. First cleaning was because of so much buildup on the exhaust grate that it stopped exhausting.
Money says it was the non-vaporized resins in the debris being blown away.

I can now sort of judge just by eyeballing the buildup on the back of the front wall and to a lessor degree the tube itself.

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Yeah, when I went back and cleaned it, I realized the tube itself gives you a pretty good visual indication of how much crap has built up - which had me thinking, why is the exhaust on the same side as the optics?

So after cleaning the lens, head and laser windows, I ran a test print which cut perfectly. Then ran another complex print (a different puzzle) and it too was just fine.

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I’ve also gotten pretty good at detecting the haze and or gunk on the mirror located on the left side. A quick look with the light hitting it and I can usually tell if it needs cleaning.

I’m glad you resolved it! I’m going to close this thread - if the problem reoccurs, go ahead and post a new topic. Thanks for letting us know about this!