Laser FAQ's
These FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) pertain to lasers
  question mark Why are the laser cartridges manufactured by ULS better suited for engraving and cutting applications?
Lasers are manufactured by ULS and tuned for engraving and cutting applications. The lasers are not general-purpose lasers adapted for laser engraving and cutting.
Why does ULS only have 16 mb printer memory standard for it's professional platform lasers?
While you can upgrade to 32 mb, this small amount of memory is only needed to store the engraving file, not the graphics file. Please keep in mind that the new Versa Laser and ILS (Industrial Laser Systems) are not limited by printer memory. Since the new systems are driven by your computer have can ultimately have thousands of files saved and never have to pull up CorelDRAW to run those files. The newest systems have no limitations and the Legacy systems (M-360, V-460 & X-660) are not limited either with the automatic file compression function. I have personally had over 140 files on these systems without a problem.
Do I have to use CorelDRAW?
No. The laser is a printer driver and outputs the data from the software driver. Your software should be able to output what you require of the laser. For example, it you are using Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, or other paint programs, you cannot vector cut due to the lack of these features in the software. If you are only working with photos and bitmap images, Adobe Photoshop and other paint programs work fine. Many versions of AutoCAD also works well on all of the ULS product lines.
The complete CorelDRAW X6 Graphics Suite package is the preferred program as it offers most of the software features needed for the laser user and offers a low price software solution. Features include easy text entry, vector objects and vector manipulation, bitmap editing, and raster-to-vector conversion. Also, there are many 3rd party supports options available for CorelDRAW and the laser operator.
Does ULS use a standard printer driver?
No. The ULS print driver is a custom driver written by the ULS’ in-house software engineering team. It is specifically for the needs of laser processing and for Universal Laser Systems. Enhanced vector cutting, 3-D engraving and rubber stamp mode are standard features. The Versa Laser, PLS and ILS systems also use
a custom print driver that has a number of different features, including a materials based print driver. The materials based print drivers offers a number of unique advantages when processing a material that you might not have experience working on.
What kind of bearings and motion system have the ULS systems use?
Universal's motion system is renowned for its smoothness and accuracy. The system is manufactured with sealed inner bearings that are self-adjusting and pre-lubricated. There is minimal maintenance, required of the motion system. Bearings can be easily replaced by the ULS owner at a much lower cost than replacing an arm or bearings that some manufacturers claim to never wear out. Universal's durability testing has shown that this design provides excellent engraving quality and long service life at a very reasonable cost. The drive system is easy to maintain and the best part is all the parts are low cost if you need to service the laser in the future.
Some laser manufacturers are charging for support after the sale. What's the policy at ULS?
Lifetime non-fee support from both distributor and manufacturer via phone, fax and e-mail. The factory staffs seven full-time support technicians. We also provide phone support and we recommend working with us first prior to ULS involvement. Since we do the installation and training, we are the most qualified to help you with problems as they arise.
What power of laser do I need?
Power requirements are relative to the material you are using and to the production times you want to meet. Can a 10 watt cut 1/8" wood and plastics? Yes, but you will have to go so slow that it is probably not practical. We will help with the selection process of the power you need to meet your quality expectations/goals.
Can a CO2 laser cut through bare metal?
The Co2 wavelength at 50-watts will cut bare metal; However you would have to use an Oxygen assist and a variety of programming techniques would have to be employed. It isn’t practical to use a Universal for metal cutting and you could invalidate the warranty if you tried. It is best to not use the laser for that purpose.
Why does ULS enclose their optics?
ULS has shielded, interchangeable focusing optics on all models. Enclosing the optics provides protection and keeps the lens clean for a longer period of time. Equipped with quick release covers that make them readily accessible for periodic inspection and cleaning. With an enclosed lens, your lens will remain cleaner, and the optics will last longer with less maintenance.
How thick of material will your laser cut?
Cutting depth is dependent on the laser power used, the material being cut and the speed at which the laser is traveling. If you had an infinite amount of time, then the laser could (theoretically) cut through an infinite thickness of material. If we get more specific, you will see that 50 watts, or any other power level, of CO2 laser is going to cut the same depth on any machine, as long as the material and speed are the same.
Maximum cutting depth on systems like ours is not a good measure of a machines capability. It only measures the lowest speed the system can be set to - which on a ULS machine is 6 inches per minute. In order to achieve more depth of cut, either higher laser power is necessary (for one pass cutting) or multiple passes. Keep in mind that if you travel too slow while cutting thick materials you will increase the opportunity to start a flame up which could damage your optics. Always consider using an Co-axial Air assist when cutting thick materials with your laser.
How long does a laser cartridge last?
Some companies claim 20,000 hours life for their laser tubes. So, how long is 20,000 hours? It ends up being 2.28 years. ULS has a two year warranty on their laser cartridges. The average life of a most laser cartridges is 3-5 years. We have customers that have ULS laser cartridges that are over 9 years old and they still produce nearly the same wattage as when they purchased the laser cartridge. We find that customers that don’t over heat their laser cartridges by running the laser in a temperature that exceeds 80 degrees seem to have laser
cartridges that last for many more years than normally expected.
How much does Universal charge for recharging a laser cartridge?
The average cost of replacing a laser cartridge is $1350-2300. However, Universal doesn't just recharge it's cartridges like many companies. It completely rebuilds them replacing the electronics, the internal optics and by recharging the tube. Most other companies just fix what is broken, leaving you open for the possibility of other failures. When comparing “Apples to Apples”, Universal charges the least amount for recharging their laser cartridges.


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