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Cloth is one of the most ancient inventions of the human kind alongside fire, religion, or weapon. And new technologies always partially get inserted into the fashion production. Even 3D printing has found its place in the textile. And today we will talk about the laser industry in the fuse with the cloth.

Advantages of a CNC fabric cutting machine

cutting fabric on conveyer

Let’s start by understanding why machines, in general, have become increasingly used. What are their advantages compared to traditional methods?

  1. Precision.

While manual cutting always carries the risk of errors, a machine will execute tasks  consistently and precisely according to instructions. This is ideal for situations where errors are considered flaws in production rather than creative successes.

  1. Speed. 

Machines operate quickly, which is beneficial for mass production where time is of the importance.

  1. Convenience. 

All it requires from you is attention and minimal physical effort. The fabric laser cutting machine can operate almost 24/7. There’s no need to manually measure anything, run around the material with a pattern, or use extra equipment.

  1. Design versatility.

Machines can engrave on various materials or cut out diverse and intricate shapes. There are no limits — only your imagination. Moreover, you can change the design at any time without spending money on new layouts, which is not possible with mechanical cutting!

Application

clothe on cnc laser machine

Because of the benefits outlined above, machines are used for fabric laser cutting and engraving materials like as:

  • Cotton;
  • Synthetic fabrics;
  • Tulle;
  • Leather;
  • Silk;
  • Linen;
  • Acrylic;
  • Denim, etc.

Clothing, curtains, bed linens, theatrical decorations, banners, car seat coverings, toys, and other items are manufactured using laser technology.

Of course, CO2 fabric cutting machines may treat a variety of materials, including wood, acrylic, plywood, stone, and others. However, the machine’s purpose is determined by its design characteristics.

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Technical features

cutting fabric on cnc laser machine

Wattsan CNC machines for fabric has six options that make working with fabric exceptionally comfortable.

  1. Through table

This is necessary when working with large materials. Fabric normally comes in rolls, and working with it requires a machine with a special opening on the back of the case.

  1. Duos
co2 laser tube wattsan

Two laser heads increase the machine’s productivity by working simultaneously. The minimum distance between them is 130 mm.

  1. Conveyer
1610
DUOS CONVEYER
Work area 1600 x 1000 mm
Tube power 100-120 W
Max engraving speed 600 mm
Dimensions 2200x1800x1105 mm
More
laser cutting coveyer

An essential feature for working with fabrics, especially rolls! It allows for the gradual feeding of material into the machine, making the process continuous.

working area for cutting fabric
  1. Fabric unwinder

This is a very useful and smart feature! The unwinder has many sensors in different parts, which enable it to monitor the condition of the fabric as it enters the worktable. For example, it adjusts its course if the fabric starts sliding left or right!

  1. Camera

A machine with a camera designed specifically for working with textiles. The camera enables the recognition of the edges of cut objects and the overlaying of vector layouts onto photos of the worktable to accurately position cutting lines on the material. This is particularly useful for cutting chevrons and, for example, T-shirts printed on fabric rolls. There is no need to spend hours transferring patterns onto the fabric. The machine will do it all for you! Simplifying work and reducing production time – that’s beauty right there.

The camera and conveyor can be combined for even greater convenience.

  1. Flat bed

Machines labeled with this feature are typically used for large-scale material cutting. Rolls, in particular, are processed well on such machines. There is no need for any preliminary cutting.

How to choose a fabric laser cutting machine

laser heads on cnc machine
  1. Size of the table

It depends on your tasks, of course. If you’ll only be producing chevrons, then a machine with a 600 by 400 mm table may suffice.

But more often than not, for working with fabrics, a machine with a working area of at least 1600 mm is purchased. This allows roll material to easily fit onto the table widthwise, eliminating the need for additional cutting into smaller pieces.

  1. Tube power

For fabric, usually not much power is needed — around 40–60 watts. However, this might not be sufficient in terms of thickness and variety of materials.

The optimal choice is 90–100 watts. This is also related to the size of the table — the larger it is, the longer the optical path through which the laser travels, and the more the laser dissipates. This affects its ability to cut through. If fiberglass fabric is on your table, then a tube of 100–280 watts will be needed.

  1. Additional options
fabric for cnc machine wattsan

The CNC laser machine for fabric can be equipped with an extra equipment known as a fabric unwinder. It makes it easier to feed the cloth into the working area without folding. It also minimizes wrinkling, jamming, and other issues caused by mistakenly feeding too much cloth. It also retains lightweight fabrics like tulle and keeps them from drooping.

You may also install a pneumatic paddle beneath the gantry. It goes along with it, smoothing out the cloth. This helps to smooth out any folds or snags that may arise while operating the conveyor table. There’s also a mechanism that allows the gantry to go to the far end of the field and traverse the entire area forward to coordinate the fabrics.

engraving jeans on cnc laser
  1. Extraction

An important aspect when working with almost any material. If you’ll be cutting leather, the smell can be very unpleasant, and it’ll be difficult without extraction.

Additionally, it allows for the removal of combustion products.

We’ve covered how to cut and engrave leather in this article.

Beautiful edges 

Sometimes fabric laser cutting process can cause it to yellow or burn, for example, when cutting material folded in several layers. But there’s a way to prevent this!

You’ll need a blowing system with an inert gas. It has the wonderful power of neutralizing oxidative reactions. Such gas can be supplied without any additional modifications to the machine, directly through the existing blowing system. This is relevant for those who work with white leather. Otherwise, we recommend using minimal blowing: the fabric is quite lightweight, and the airflow can shift it.

Let’s return to cutting multiple layers. In some cases, this is quite easy and doesn’t lead to yellowing. You can comfortably cut five layers of felt if the material is well compressed. Ensure there are no air bubbles between the layers, and smooth it out well.

With this approach, productivity will increase significantly!

An Lee
We are happy to advice you from the very beginning
Contact us now.
Make a request

Fur

artificial fur cutting on cnc laser machine

In the textile industry, there are times when fur need to be cut. Doing this manually can be quite problematic: during the fabric laser cutting process, fur flies around and settles on all possible surfaces, even on the worker itself, and then meticulous cleaning is required.

With the help of a machine, this process can be greatly simplified. Placing the fur with the underside facing up allows for cutting without fur flying around, as the laser can cut only the base without affecting the fur itself. Fine-tuning the power so that the laser is absorbed by the substrate can be achieved with a potentiometer.

Fleece

This is one of the materials, on which the engraving differ not only by color but also tactile sensations. A few tips for operating this textile. 

  • cutting (100 W tube): speed 50, power 25%;
  • engrsving (100 W tube): speed 300, power 10%.

Loose fabric

Organza has a characteristic of fraying fibers, which can be very troublesome during cutting. This characteristic is also present in silk, linen, chiffon, and others. When cutting manually, it’s necessary to leave larger seam allowances, and meticulous edge finishing will be required.

Thanks to the machine, this can be avoided: the laser seals the fabric, annihilating fraying edges. Once cut, you can proceed with your work. It’s easy and simple!

Speaking of silk, the following parameters can be used for cutting:

  • 60 W tube: speed 60, power 20%;
  • 100 W tube: speed 60, power 16%.

Engraving on a CNC fabric cutting machine

It’s worth discussing this feature separately.

Fabric is not the most durable material for engraving. Often, it is quite thin, and any additional, even partial, reduction in its thickness can make the material practically unusable for wearing: you put it on once, and it tears.

However, there’s fleece, for example, where engraving helps create tactilely prominent images.

When it comes to denim, we recommend processing only those areas that are least exposed to rubbing during wear. The power is usually set at 10–15% (depending on the tube, this value may vary). A potentiometer is used, through which, along with a little experimentation, the optimal solution for engraving is found.

Tendencies

You can’t escape technology; either it will crush you like an oncoming train, or you’ll be able to hop on board. Laser technologies are not only penetrating the world of mass textile production but even high fashion.

They were first used as early as 2012 by Marc Jacob in the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer collection. Or the German designer Martijn van Strien since 2014. Or Iris van Herpen practically from the beginning of her career. They all use 3D printers and fabric laser cutting machines to create new, unique forms in the fashion world.

Not to mention mass-produced items, which become even easier and faster to produce with technology.

Conclusion

piece of fabric
  1. Laser machines are used for fabric laser cutting because they provide high cutting precision, speed, make the process more convenient, and allow for experimenting with various bold shapes.
  2. This equipment is used in the production of clothing, curtains, bed linen, theatrical decor, banners, car covers, toys, and other goods.
  3. They are used for cutting and engraving various materials such as cotton, synthetics, leather, silk, etc.
  4. Fabric laser cutting machines have specific technical features: two laser heads, a conveyor table for working with roll materials, a camera for simplified pattern work, and a flat bed.
  5. The conveyor table allows for cutting long pieces — longer than the table itself. Cut, roll, cut utill the finish.
  6. When choosing a CNC machine for fabric, consider the size of the working area and the power of the tube. It all depends on your tasks: if you’ll be engaged in producing chevrons, then a machine with a 600 by 400 mm table may suffice.
  7. Additional options such as fabric unwinder and inert gas blowing system can increase work efficiency and result quality.
  8. Laser technologies are actively entering the world of fashion, allowing designers to create new, unique shapes and textures. And the use of technologies becomes a necessity for mass textile production, simplifying and speeding up the process.
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