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CO2 Laser Cutter Maintenance Guide & Servicing Checklist

CO2 Laser Cutter Maintenance Guide & Servicing Checklist

Maintaining a CO2 laser is easy, but important to keep your machine safe and operating well for optimal performance.

A wide range of parts can go wrong if you don’t take the correct measures to keep your machine in good condition, so it’s always worth doing regular servicing to ensure peak performance.

Why You Should Take Maintenance Seriously

Proper maintenance has many benefits and enhances the longevity of your machine, ensuring the laser can perform at its optimum, which in turn keeps your money in your pocket as components are less likely to need replacing.

The intensity of the laser-cutting process constantly creates fumes, smoke, and debris.

Together, these create a build-up of dirt within your machine and its accessories (chiller, fume filter etc.) This accumulation can cause all sorts of potential issues, from system failures and overheating.

You certainly don’t want to postpone business due to a breakdown, particularly one that could easily have been avoided with a bit of preventive maintenance by ensuring regular inspection.

Laser Cutter Fire

Overheating and poor housekeeping can also cause fires. A risk which can be easily mitigated with a little bit of simple care and maintenance.

For more information on fire safety please visit the relevant section of Safe Selection and Use of Laser Machines.

How To Maintain Your Laser Cutter

Here, we run through all of the maintenance tasks that you need to consider. Once we’ve explained each one in-depth, we’ll provide a handy laser maintenance checklist to help you plan both a weekly and monthly maintenance schedule.

General Cleaning Maintenance

There are regular maintenance tasks to carry out on your machine depending on the hours of operation.

Dust and debris are inevitably going to occur in every machine. However, it is important to minimise build-up by regularly cleaning your machine, particularly the inside of the machine cabinet, the bed, and anywhere where material off-cuts can collect.


Laser Cutter Bed

Fan Unit

Some materials like acrylic, MDF and woods release more fumes, residue and potentially flammable oils that contribute to this which can affect the components of the machine and become a fire hazard if not managed properly.

Be sure to check for accumulation of dust and debris on the impeller on the extractor fan unit as any build-up can impede its function (unless a proper fume filter/dust filter is fitted).

Periodic maintenance of fan units is essential and should become more regular when processing materials like MDF, or with increased frequency and duration of use.

To do this; disconnect the fan unit from the electrical supply, remove the extraction hoses and clean the impeller fan and ducting through the inlet and exhaust ports of the unit using a soft paintbrush.

Below are just a few examples of what can happen if you neglect the fan unit:

Neglected Extraction Fan Neglected Extraction Unit

Air-Assist Compressor

Check for correct operation of the air-assist compressor, including the normal function of the compressor itself.

Check for any obstruction in any filtration elements that may be present and inspect the delivery hose from the compressor to the cutting head to make sure that there are no obstructions and that a suitable supply of air is reaching the nozzle.

Reduced airflow to the nozzle can increase the risk of a flame breaking out on some materials whilst the machine is cutting.

Lubricating Runners

Lubricate runners and the rise and fall of the bed using light oil to ensure these run smoothly, if not, friction can cause wear on moving components and reduce the speed of the cutting.

Simple visual inspections and monitoring results can help identify issues with performance before the machine becomes damaged.

Testing your beam quality can be as simple as comparing cuts from today with cuts from pieces when the machine was new – poor cuts may indicate bad alignment, a weakening laser tube or dirty laser optics.

Servicing Your Laser Optics

Dirty optics reduce the laser beam’s strength.

You can visually inspect the optics, however, you may already notice poor results such as blurry lines, not cutting as deep etc.

If optics aren’t cleaned regularly, dirt can combust or burn into the surface of the optic, permanently damaging the lens or mirror.

Aim to give them a once-over every 10-40 hours of work, depending upon what material are being processed.

It’s extremely important to clean these carefully to avoid damaging them, you can use IPA solution or acetone together with some gentle cotton buds for this.

CO2 Laser Mirror

Maintaining Your Chiller Unit

The heat produced by laser cutters needs regulating.

Water chillers are an effective method of keeping the water temperature down to ensure the tube doesn’t overheat (learn more about water chillers here). Therefore, it’s extremely important to keep a close eye on the chiller performance and monitor any temperature indication on the chiller display.

Every few weeks, locate the filters in the chiller and remove any build-up of material. Use this time to check for water contamination and change if required.

Use de-ionised or distilled water as the impurities in regular water can encourage bacterial growth, clogging pipes, protection devices, and filters in the water circuit.

An image of a chiller pump that hasn't had regular maintenance

Sodium hypochlorite (commonly known as bleach) is corrosive to some metals, such as copper and stainless steel, and should be avoided when maintaining any laser machine or accessory, including chiller units.

The chloride ion present in the bleach is an oxidizing agent, and attacks the passive layer on the metal, causing localised damage. Even trace amounts of bleach can cause rust as stainless steel is gradually corroded. This disrupts the functionality of the unit from within.

Therefore, bleach should not be used under any circumstances.

Sodium hypochlorite corrosion on laser chiller

Winter Maintenance

The drop in temperature during winter months here in the UK means your machine needs extra attention and TLC. Please take extra care with your equipment as the seasons change.

Here are a few pointers to effectively maintain your laser throughout winter:

  • Ensure the room in which the machine is kept is above 0°C, preferably 5°C.
  • Take extra care in rooms susceptible to a plummet in temperature overnight. If you struggle to maintain this temperature, use an approved anti-freeze.
  • Use only an approved anti-freeze in the coolant circuit and avoid using coloured automotive coolant, as some formulations can rust coils and damage the seals of the chiller.

An image of CoolFlow Laser Antifreeze

If you’re unsure of what to look for, we stock HPC CoolFlow, a non-toxic, laser-friendly fluid to assist your machine in these cooler months.

It has a proven track record of safety and effectiveness and it is a much cheaper option than a new tube!

Laser Machine Maintenance Checklist

Below are weekly and monthly maintenance checklists to ensure your machine runs at peak performance.


An banner for downloading a PDF of our laser cutter maintenance checklist

Weekly Maintenance (every 10-40 hours approximately depending upon materials)

  • Clean lens with Acetone/Alcohol
  • Oil runners with light oil
  • Clean machine bed
  • Check water level
  • Visually check mirrors (clean if required)
  • Remove debris from the machine base

Monthly Maintenance Checklist

  • Oil rise and fall of laser bed
  • Clean impeller on fan unit (unless a Fume Filter is fitted)
  • Clean mirrors if required
  • Check water for contamination (change if required)
  • Clean filter in chiller (remove the front panel to access the filter)


An image of a HPC engineer servicing a laser cutter

As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the machine is safe and performing at an optimum.

On a side note: Never leave the machine operating unattended under any circumstance. Make a habit of looking after your machine, and it will look after you.

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