Aeronaut Automation has introduced the new Elektron Laser Z laser cutter.
The Elektron Laser Z cutter uses a new lightweight all-metal laser mounted on the Elektron chassis to give brilliant cutting speeds on lightweight fabric. The Elektron laser Z is intended for use in industries such as paraglider manufacturing, sail making, kite and tent manufacturing. In fact anywhere a light-weight fabric is used where accurate cuts and edge sealing is necessary.
Older style lasers were normally too large, long and heavy to effectively gantry-mount. And if the user did gantry-mount these lasers on a lightweight plotter chassis, cutting speed and acceleration was limited by the weight of the laser and speed wobble at the beginning and ends of cuts. If the user mounted the laser along the gantry or off the gantry, the power loss due to the complex beam path meant that to get reasonable cutting speed the user had to increase the power of the laser…which meant a larger, heavier and slower machine.
Most traditional lasers used to cut fabric are in the 100 - 200 watts power range and when used to cut light material, the laser power is reduced. When cutting typical rip-stop Nylon, a 100 watt laser could theoretically achieve cutting speeds of over 2 metres per second… but the weight of the laser, power supply, fume extraction, cooling system and beam delivery components means that the plotter chassis has to be extremely robust with powerful and heavy motors. Cutting speed is then limited by the ability of the chassis to move the weight of the laser rather than the power of the laser.
Like many things, lasers have been getting smaller, lighter and cheaper over the years. Recently various lightweight low power lasers in either air or water cooled configurations have been released, which are intended for gantry mounting on plotters.
These new lasers are around half the size and weight of the old lasers and have power outputs, which are perfect for working with Nylon and light Dacrons. At full power, the laser is capable of cutting at the best production speed of the plotter chassis.
From the beginning, the Elektron plotter chassis has been designed to be as light and stiff as possible so it can span up to 6.5 metres. When used in narrower configurations, the Elektron is perfect for mounting these new smaller, lighter types of laser. The result is that the Elektron Laser Z cutter has a brilliant combination of price and performance when used on light fabric.
The performance achieved by the Elektron Laser Z is remarkable. With 3/4 oz spinnaker Nylon, cut speeds of over 1000 mms/second have been reliably achieved.