Photographing a Laser Cutter Head

Started Dec 11, 2012 | Questions thread
The Mad Kiwi
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Re: Photographing a Laser Cutter Head
In reply to Leonard Migliore, Dec 12, 2012

Leonard Migliore wrote:

graphicWebdev wrote:

I have to photograph our laser cutter here at work, more specifically, the laser head while it's cutting metal.

Has anyone ever done this and if so, what camera settings should I use?

Thank you

I do this all the time. First, does the cutter use a CO2 laser or a fiber laser? Both lasers work at invisible wavelengths but the fiber laser output is near 1 micron and is very hazardous to your eyes. So you should not be around the cutter when it is operating. A CO2 laser is somewhat less hazardous. In many cases, laser cutters are enclosed and interlocked to prevent human access when the machine is operating. It's your call if you want to override the interlock.

Laser sheet cutters are made in a variety of architectures. Some of them keep the head stationary and move the metal, while others keep the metal stationary and move the head. Obviously, you'll have a harder time with one that moves the head.

In my experience, it's not very light inside the machine. You may want to bring some lights so you can stop down and retain a reasonable shutter speed. Don't use on-camera flash since it would be very glary.

Metal cutting, when done properly, is very uneventful. So all you're going to see is pieces of metal falling off when the cut is complete.

A typical processing photo will show the laser cutting a small part next to an identical already-cut part.

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Leonard Migliore

Thanks Leonard very informative answer.

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