FAQ

We receive a lot of good questions. Here are some answers. If you don’t happen to see what you’re looking for, please use the Contact Kern form on the right side bar and we will reply promptly.

Is it safe to operate a laser?

Yes, our laser systems are very safe when operated properly. Certified safety glasses are to be worn when working on or around the laser system. Two pairs are included in your Kern Laser Safety Kit. Emergency stop switches, placed on up to four corners of the laser system, allow you to stop the laser system easily. A safety interlock placed on the gantry lid and a red blinking light that activates when the laser is in operation have also been implemented into each laser system. The red light will alert people working around the laser system that laser safety glasses should be worn. Please review our laser safety page for additional information.

Is financing available?

Yes, Kern has teamed up with Geneva Capital to offer financing options on our laser cutting and laser engraving systems. Geneva Capital makes it easy to get the equipment you need, while experiencing the benefits and tax savings of leasing. Please visit our Equipment Financing page for more information.

Why is aluminum harder to cut than steel?

It is a common misconception that aluminum is easier to cut than steel. Yes, aluminum is softer and has a lower melting point but these two properties don’t play as big of a role as the reflectiveness of the metal. The reflective nature of aluminum requires a higher peak power to penetrate though the material. A 250W and 400W lasers will cut up to .040″ and .060″ aluminum, respectively.

Is it difficult to switch from plastic/wood cutting over to metal cutting?

The process is very simple.

First, the cutting head needs to be removed and replaced with the metal cutting head. A sensor wire is connected to the height follower unit.

The cutting gas can be switched over to oxygen or nitrogen . This is made very simple by using the 1/4″ quick connect at the back of the laser system.

If you are cutting a thick metal that requires a higher laser power it is recommended that you replace the honeycomb table with the durable gridwork included with the metal cutting package.

The complete process will only take about 2-3 minutes.

Does Kern sell used laser systems?

Yes, from time to time we have used or trade show demo systems that we sell at a reduced price. We refurbish these machines to like new conditions and typically back them up with a 6 month warranty. Contact a sales associate today to see if we have any used machines in stock.

How much maintenance is required with a laser?

Maintenance on our laser systems can be completed in as little as 10 minutes per week. A daily, weekly and monthly schedule will be highlighted in the laser system manual. Common maintenance procedures include: cycling chiller water, greasing bearings, oiling rails, cleaning optics and cleaning out filters.

What is the operating cost of a Kern laser system?

A typical HSE laser system that is operating at full capacity will consume around 12,100 watts or 12.1kW/hr. If your electric company charges $0.075kW/hr, the machine will cost about $0.91 per hour. Of course there are other consumables to consider such as cutting gases, distilled water, optics, etc. That being said, the costs involved in running our laser systems vary between each customers application. We suggest you contact a sales associate for a comprehensive overview of such costs.

Where are Kern’s laser machines made?

This one’s easy! Our machines are 100% designed and manufactured in Minnesota, USA.

What materials can I cut and engrave?

Many materials are suitable for laser cutting and engraving. Some of the most popular that we see are acrylic, stainless steel, wood, foam, textiles, aluminum, mild steel, granite, marble, glass and so on. We invite you to send us your materials to be laser processed. Once we process them we will return them so that you can see the results with your own eyes. Please view the Laserable Materials page for a more comprehensive list of materials that can be cut and engraved.

What are the consumables of the laser system?

The laser systems electrical panel will require a service to power various components of the machine. Please talk to your salesman to determine the proper electrical requirements for your machine configuration.

A closed-loop chilling unit will require distilled water and a cleaning solution to keep the water lines clean. We include enough cleaning solution for the initial 6 months of the laser systems life.

One of several assist gas will be required depending on the material you want to process. Compressed air, oxygen and nitrogen are a few commonly used gases. A low pressure purge gas may also be needed for some of the higher wattage lasers. Gas consumption charts are available for your review.

The laser tube itself is also considered a consumable. The unit will need to be recharged with gas after a certain amount of years. Kern has developed a quick replacement strategy so your machine will be up and running as quickly as possible.

The optics of the laser system include lenses and mirrors. With proper maintenance these optics can last years. However, it is a good idea to keep spare in stock in case one needs to be replaced. Kern’s beam path is sealed which greatly decreases the amount of smoke, dust and debris that comes in contact with the optics. Positive air pressure is also hooked up to the nozzle. This makes it difficult for smoke and and debris to come in contact with the focusing lens.

Other consumable parts are bellows, nozzles, cutting beds and ceramic isolators.