Darkly Labs Community

Cutting performance decrease from certain materials - (MDF)

We have been running a number of tests recently in the lab after getting some feedback about cutting performance decreasing after working with MDF.

We can confirm that cutting MDF does cause an accelerated dirtying of the lens. There is a significant buildup of residue from this material which in-turn causes the cutting performance to decrease.

During last week we have devoted some time into a simple and safe (on the lens) cleaning process. We have decided on the use of a clever product called a ‘lenspen’ to do most of the cleaning work. We have these on order and will be supplying a ‘lens cleaning kit’ very soon with the required parts. There will also be very specific instructions on the cleaning process.

In the meantime, please do not attempt to clean your lens unless you know exactly what you are doing. Any scratches or damage to the surface coating will be permanent. 

1 Like

Thats awesome thanks. i have noticed that the laser is not getting all teh way through as often.


do we need to order this? i was just about to order the fume filtration system and may as well get it all at once.

any guides on cleaning the lasers fan and the machines fan, and the x/y bits as well would be good. i doubt the small tube of lube is going to be all i need, so a brand name so i can buy some more would be good as well.





1 Like

HI Alan,

it will be a kit you can order. We expect the kit to be ready in about a week for purchase.

We recommend a synthetic lubricant called Super-Lube. It’s the same as the tube that we supply with our machines.

Please remember that you only need a very small amount of lubricant. If you can see it on the rails or bearings then it’s not actually doing anything other than capturing dust and debris. It’s real use is inside the bearings.

1 Like

Sounds good.

Domenic, regarding your tests, how much MDF cutting did you do before you started noticing a degradation? I have probably accumulated about 20 hours of MDF cutting so far, but can’t really tell if I have performance decrease. I usually attribute anything uncut to the MDF being bowed.

By installing a new fan on my EB1 as recommended by Jeff Woodcock (picengravertoo) in the old forum some time ago , my cutting performance was significantly increased.  I went from 6 to 8 passes to cut through 1/8" thick cherry wood, to 3 to 4 passes.

http://forum.darklylabs.com/index.php?p=/discussion/92/air-assist#latest   (last post)


I know this will help keep the lens clean, and blow smoke away from the cut more efficiently than the stock fan.  I do not know if it will work with the EB2.

My Best to All,



We tested runs of approximately 3 hours before stopping and checking lens condition. These were very intense engraving tests, producing a large amount of fumes.


This fan will not fit the Emblaser 2. We also do not recommend customers make any alterations to their machines.


Claification, please,

After cutting (once) melamine and some mdf,

The lens appeared dirty. Isopropynol, gently applied on a cotton bud made a great improvement.

Is that a recommended practice?


We are about to release a cleaning kit for the lens.

In the meantime, your method will work but may leave some residue on the lens. After gently cleaning it with the isopropyl alcohol, we recommend letting it dry for a few minutes, then giving it a careful wipe with a LINT-FREE LENS TISSUE.

More details to come on the cleaning kit very soon. We are awaiting stock to arrive any time now.

This is exactly what has happened with our machine, I used to be able to cut one type of paper and now it won’t cut it. Hope the cleaning kit comes in soon :) 

I’m loving the machine though, it works so well - I did get it to cut mainly paper and card - someone decided to try a very big raster job on mdf and that’s caused the problems. 

Hi Darkly,


Any word on the cleaning kit yet? I’ve done minimal MDF but about 8 hours of ply cutting and engraving.

I began noticing a fair drop in performance (ie as time went on I kept having to slow the laser or add additional passes) to the point that it was worse than what my Emblaser 1 can do!  I was blaming the Bunnings ply until I re-ran the recalibration test and noticed very poor cutting of that too.

I cleaned the lens using a lint free swab, isopropyl alcohol and a dental mirror and re-ran the calibration test with much better results. This pic shows (apart from a new use for a letter from the taxman) the difference. The top one is before cleaning and it was bad to the point that the outside rectangle wasn’t cut right through, and based on that my offset would need to be set somewhere greater than 4. The lower one is post cleaning and shows the offset at 2.5, which is what it was when shiny new.

I can now cut 3mm Bunnings ply in 2 passes rather than failing after 6! I still think its pretty rubbish ply though…

Hey, any updated on the lens cleaning kit? 

would like to order along with the fume filter and air assist, itching to get it soon.



We have just added the Lens Cleaning Kit to out online store.



The User Manual has also been updated to show how to keep the lens clean: