How often do you clean your lens?

I’m trying to get this laser dialed in and am running into inconsistencies. Been running a bunch of material tests on tiles with various paint. Did a test a minute ago and it seemed like laser was super weak, couldn’t get through paint at 1800-2000 until after 40% power whereas before it would at least get leave a little shade of gray.

So I cleaned my lens with a q-tip and some rubbing alcohol and ran the exact same test on another tile, and this time it’s performing more like expected.

I’ve been running material tests and doing tiles for only a couple days now, but have done lots of them. I’m guessing maybe 15-20 hours of laser time max so far since installing the laser. Does the lens need cleaned that often? How often do you all clean your lens on this thing?

I have not cleaned my lens in 18months. It is set back inside a shroud by around 2 inches. I try to ensure that I am not making any smoke when engraving wood. When cutting wood that too can be arranged to be nearly smokeless. I have no fan extraction working. Engraving glass, slate and ceramic is also smokeless. I guess it has something to do with optimum power. My laser is only 4.2W diode laser so that may be it. I fitted a high resolution lens and set it to focus at 1/8" and I use that for everything so that the lines are super sharp. Like photography in one sense, if you have a decent lens, don’t keep cleaning it because that glass is ‘soft’ and can pick up cleaning marks that cannot be removed without re-polishing. Possibly a little isopropyl alcohol will clean grime without marking the glass if you use a very soft cloth.

You might be running too fast. I use between 1200 - 1600 mm/min with a G7 lens for tile & the Norton method.

I’ve not cleaned mine yet, after quite a few jobs.

I think it somewhat depends on your set up. I have no air assist, so the smoke is not blown away. I do have good smoke extraction, though, so that may help.

Thank you all for the feedback!

As the original issue has been addressed, I’m closing this topic. If anyone else has a similar concern, feel free to start a new topic, which will ensure that it is addressed promptly.