I manage a lab for a largish art university. We got a new relatively cheap (although in arts and crafts context this is not cheap) Chinese laser and we are having problems with autofocus crashes that take the laser out of commission for the largest part of the day and require a lot of maintenance. OK, the question I would like to ask - and I think it stretches the boundaries a bit: is this on topic, and how can I make this more on topic?
I am having a bit of a problem with a new laser cutter crashes a lot using autofocus.
So, all the public lasers at campus and all the ones I have seen in libraries rely on manual focus. Users need to be ready to go with a really short 15-25 minute intro, manual focus errs on the side of caution. This works really well for our other laser, I haven't seen a single crash or problem in 3 years (about a 1000 users during that time).
But my knowledge is a bit anecdotal,as I have only used 7 different machines. Is it typical that publicly accessible machines that use lasers do not use autofocus? Or maybe having the public operate lasers is really uncommon to begin with.
Are there any guidelines for this?
OK, after some valuable feedback here's a second attempt:
We have a few laser cutters set up so that users can make whatever they want with them. From earrings to mechanisms. I am having a bit of a problem with a new laser cutter using autofocus. However I instruct the users, somebody will eventually crash it. All test users have crashed the machine by mistake. After all, crashing the machine only requires one single miss click in the GUI.
Note that it's a hard requirement that users need to use it unattended - we can't afford to spare instructors. This works very well for the other laser, as about 1000 different users have managed to use it with no problem.
I have also noticed that all other laser cutters in similar contexts around me either do either not have autofocus or have it disabled. My data is too anecdotal, though, as there are only 7 such other machines I know.
So my question is:
Is it typical that public laser cutters do not use auto focus? Or are public laser cutters so rare that there is really no info? Any best practices?