Laser Cutter Migration

Hey everyone, we managed to get a motor / belt-drive working and attached to the roof-top fan that is “mounted” on two chairs near the arcade machine in the Press Bay Court (upstairs) space.

We also bought a thing that will automatically turn the fan on when the laser cutter is turned on, and turn automatically turn it off when the laser cutter shuts down after some delay.

So what is it going to take to get the Laser Cutter out of the Press Bay Alley (basement) space woodshop, and into it’s new home in Press Bay Court (upstairs)? There are just a few minor hurdles to clear, as I understand it.

  1. The fan unit needs to be securely installed on the roof in the opening that already exists for that purpose. Wouldn’t be a terrible idea to give clean the fan “blades” off (e.g. with a Shop Vac) while they are easily accessible.
  2. Ducting needs to be procured and installed inside the space, routing from the fan to the intended location of the Laser Cutter. It should be securely attached to the exhaust opening of the installed roof-mounted fan, braced to interior structure as necessary, and end in an opening suitable for attachment to the Laser Cutter, ready to be coupled. The power cord needs to also be run along that ducting so that the fan can be plugged in near the Laser Cutter (we’ll probably need to procure a 35+ foot extension cord that we can cut to length and run through a flexible electrical conduit.
  3. The Laser Cutter and its Authbox need to be safely transported from the Press Bay Alley (basement) space to the Press Bay Court (upstairs) space, hooked up to the exhaust and to power and Ethernet.

If people want to help with this, have experience / expertise in this sort of thing (air handling and such), I’m guessing help would be welcome at this point. My impression is that progress is mostly being limited at this point by human ingenuity and availability.

/cc @Elliot_Wells @Mark_Rosen @StevenMartin

I would be glad to offer my hands/eyes/legs/noggin to help with this project.

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Last week I saw a nice example of small distributed ducting for individual stations from the metal-smithery at artist alley - Ithaca College.

Each branch/pair of vents has a closable vent, and Elaan used flexible dryer ducting at the ends so the vents could be places near the work at just the right spot.

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How does the machine get moved? Do we need to hire a piano mover or rent a forklift? A crane? I don’t remember how it got down there in the first place!

I don’t think it’s all that heavy. A couple of people could probably handle it pretty easily. According to the owner’s manual (available at, “the Zing 24 weighs 140 lbs (64 kg).”

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OK gang, lets get this done, this Saturday (tomorrow). The laser cutter is upstairs but not connected to anything, the fan is operational but needs to get installed. We’re getting there.

I’ve created this Doodle poll so people can say what times they are aavailable and we can try and pick a time that works well for the most people. Please select all of the times that would work for you tomorrow if you want to participate in the installation.

@Elliot_Wells are you available to quest to Home Depot or Lowes later today (Friday) to acquire ducting supplies, etc (if the timing works out, I’d be happy to accompany, but I’m preoccupied after 6pm).

@Mark_Rosen what are the chances of coordinating your electrician to play a role in running a one or two new circuits to a receptacle (one for the fan and one for the laser)?

Called Wes (my electrician). still waiting for return call (just messaged him too) =m=

My Electrician was interested but is too busy on a job right now (but he really wants to see IG sometime).
I’ll try to get him to come to the next Tues. mtg whatever happens.

@laurence @Elliot_Wells @James_Maniscalco … I’m waiting on you to answer the Doodle poll?

Sorry @vicatcu, we’re out of town this weekend visiting family. Next week or weekend would work for me.

Well folks, it’s a bit hard to say if we have a critical mass of maker-power to get this done tomorrow. We have three people willing to show up from noon to 1pm, so that’s what I’ll plan on. I may come down earlier to see if there’s any activity. It would be cool if we could at least install the fan on the roof of the building to nudge the ball forward.

I will pick up materials for the ducts in the morning and come to IG.

Getting that stuff installed in a tidy manner could take the better part of the day even if we don’t make it onto the roof or get electrical stuff hooked up. I’m sure we will have plenty to do

Cool, I’m here at IG East awaiting further orders.

Great progress today! …but we hit a snag.
Fan housing doesn’t fit over the vent box anymore. When the roof was redone, they re-lined that hole so it became 1/2" wider on both sides. We decided to break the corner weld-seams of the fan escutcheon, re form it over the hole and then make use of the old cover as flashing by cutting it in half.
I had to leave at 2:30 by Eliot, Vic and Andy were still at it.

Sorry I didn’t see this email in time!

We got the ventilator modified and installed on the roof. Thanks to new member Andy and Jon S. for sticking around till the bitter end!

Thanks to Vic and Mark R the authbox is up and working too. When you power on the laser, the fan comes on. There is also a manual “on” mode if you just want to run the fan (in the future it may be hooked up to ventilation for other work areas for example).

Tomorrow we can start putting the big shiny ductwork up. Interested folks can coordinate with me - I’ll try to be there late morning but could be flexible.

This fan moves a lot of air! The motor we have on there is a fraction of what it originally came with, but even so when you crack the door you can feel the amount of air being sucked in. It’s pretty remarkable.


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Sunday update:

John gave us the key for the Genie Lift, which is now parked inside IG. I used it to install the plenum up at the top by the fan end of things this morning. Didn’t get as far on running the ductwork as I had hoped but progress is progress.

What’s left to do:

Cut two or three pieces of uni-strut to span the ceiling beams and hang the ductwork from.
Hang 6" duct from the plenum to the wall and then down the wall a ways using unistrut and galvanized metal tape.
Transition to 4" diameter and connect laser with flexible 4" “dryer” duct.

laser stuff

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Laser is back online!
Hung the first hunk of duct this morning, then Jon came in with a plan for the uni-strut on the wall - but was missing parts.
Vic and I came in at 4 and we finished the duct line.
Later Vic configured the laser on the new network and we ran a couple tests on wood and plastic.
A couple points:

  1. The system is super quiet - which is great! No vibrations, no whistling etc. It would be nice to add a simple indicator light so we know the fan is actually on.

  2. The suction should be a bit stronger. It works, but we should probably try to move the fan belt to the higher speed setting.

  3. Still left to do: Vertical section (the wall run) should be fastened. Since it’s not tied to the wall it’s being pulled a little askew. Jon has a plan but couldn’t locate bolt inserts for the unistrut.


If you have a Windows computer you can install the Epilog network drivers on your own computer with the knowledge that the printer is at ip address on the local network, following the instructions in the Zing24 manual. Otherwise, the Windows computer already has them installed and you can print from there.

There is a network shared folder on the Desktop of that machine (grasshopper) as well (username and password is ig if prompted), for ease of transferring files.

Oh man you guys are awesome. After my meeting with Mandy I came back to help but you had left already.