Author Topic: Air Assist  (Read 859 times)

mauriceman

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Air Assist
« on: November 15, 2016, 07:37:52 AM »
I do mostly vector engraving and use transfer tape (aka wide masking tape) to stop scorching. This requires a slower feed time (about 2:1) and limits my control of line width a bit. I have read about air assist and attempted with tools at hand. Looks promising to not having to use the tape method. Before I invest in a air pump any thoughts or ideas as to what others are doing/using. I was thinking about one of those aquarium pumps on eBay, 800+ gph, bending some tubing to fasten to the laser assembly and direct to laser focus point on material. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
Retired Industrial Electrician, PLC
500mmX500mm Openbuilds frame
1.6w, 2w, 2.5w laser heads

ggallant571

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Re: Air Assist
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2016, 07:55:41 AM »
I have a low volume a aquarium pump installed and it works quite nicely. Cost was approx $8.00US at local pet store. Also tried an $80.00US air brush pump.  More air and noise with no improvement.

Attached a basketball inflator needle at the laser end. Made a holder by wrapping bare 14 gauge copper wire around a steel nail. Needle slides into the coil and hanger is attached to laser heat sink. (Copper wire coil was posted by another benboxlaser user).

Currently it is attached at top of heat sink. Good for flexible adjustment, not so good for stability. Plan on making more hangers for different focal lengths (I have a couple of lenses) and mounting at bottom.
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mauriceman

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Re: Air Assist
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2016, 03:56:11 PM »
Interesting with such low air flow. I do believe now that most of what I have read so far is from people with CO2 lasers where the air exit is well above the material. Looks like I should start small (and cheaper) and see how it behaves. The application tape does the job well though. Thanks.
Retired Industrial Electrician, PLC
500mmX500mm Openbuilds frame
1.6w, 2w, 2.5w laser heads

nottingham82

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Re: Air Assist
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2016, 10:00:38 PM »
I use my garage air compressor because I already had it and its massive.  I couldnt tell you how it compares to a fish pump because I dont have one to play with.  The compressed air route gives me lots of options on psi.  although that gets me in trouble when I blow the work off the table.  High psi works awesome for cutting since it removes the ashen material.  It also helps keep things from catching fire.  I was messing with cork this week and everyone says it will catch fire quickly.  I actually couldnt catch mine on fire.  I have seen some marks from smoke with the air assist but usually its just soot and not scorched so it wipes off.  On important pieces I tape and air assist.

you might try craigslist for a cheap used compressor or even for that fish pump.  Keep it on the cheep till you know what you want.
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jtice

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Re: Air Assist
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2016, 07:58:39 AM »
I upgraded the cooling fan on the laser itself, and also wired it to run all the time,
this alone us almost enough to prevent any scorching or darkening from the smoke.
I also added a second fan on the side that blows down, and has an on/off switch. (will get a pic later)
This seems to work really well, though I have not done any testing with cutting,

as I stated in another thread, my laser will no longer cut for some odd reason, but seems to engrave fine.  :-\

mauriceman

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Re: Air Assist
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2016, 08:11:11 AM »
Thanks for the feedback. Initially I'm going to try a biggie sized cheap "O2" type fish tank compressor and accessories off eBay. I can bend some thin wall tubing to fit around the laser module and aim pretty close to the burn spot. By the middle of next week I should have the stuff. I will post back initial results. We'll see if I have to spend additional $$$.
Retired Industrial Electrician, PLC
500mmX500mm Openbuilds frame
1.6w, 2w, 2.5w laser heads