Move the laser?!?!

Conversation about moving the laser to the front room.

We expect to make a go or no-go decision at the February 21 board meeting - two weeks out.

What’s the reason for the move?

What’s the projected impact on existing front-room activities?

If we can overcome the ventilation hurdles for the laser cutter. I’m for moving the Laser to the front room. IE Not cause an air quality issue to a clean space, in other words…not subject front room users to a smelly machine.

Points considered,

  • We have the space in the front room.

  • The back room is expanding the number of tools and capacity of operations and requirement for space

  • The dusty and dirty back room environment is not an ideal environment for a laser cutter.(Dust from wood and metal working causes maintenance uses for laser cutter)

  • The laser is essentially a quiet and clean operation, therefore more ideally suited to the front room

1 Like

Maybe we could put one of these on the ventilation switch?
Better than tape.

I’m all for moving the zing to the front room. Perhaps with off hours when certain groups meet. If it were in the front room, it would be much more comfortable to use and to keep an eye on while in operation. Using it when someone is welding or power sawing feels pretty awkward.

1 Like

PS. I dont know where to ask this question. Do we have a cnc? If not, is there a plan to get one? I like the handibot or shaper origon. Can cut big pieces yet the tool itself has a small footprint

Do we have anyway of measuring flow in our ventilation system? Are we getting the proper flow rate out of the laser cutter, and what will lengthening the duct run to it do?

1 Like

We have a printed circuit board cutter. It’s on the top of the filing cabinet next to the laser cutter. I don’t know if it’s operational.

It has been used fairly recently.

An operator with sufficient skillz should be able to coax out some results

it speaks gerbl.
the Pi next to is was supposed to be a headless octoprint thingamajig but it never got off the ground.
Far as I can tell, lack of headless print has not been the bottleneck, lol

I had used the small CNC a while back to cut some PCBs. There’s an application installed on the Pi called CNCjs that allows the machine to be controlled via a web browser on the local network. Alternatively, you can plug it into your laptop and use whatever Gcode sender application you want.

Elliot, I believe that was your Pi. Please feel free to reclaim it if nobody else is using it with the CNC machine.

PSA, be careful milling copper clad on FR4 material. It puts a lot of fine particulate matter into the air and it’s really terrible to breathe aerosol-ized fiberglass. From what I understand FR1 is better, but ideally, any milling should be done within an enclosed volume and ideally with vacuum extraction of the debris. Here - are - some - references.

I don’t have any sources regarding the actual effectiveness, but putting some oil on the board seemed to trap all the particulate (and improved the quality of the cut).

I have not used the laser in a while, but isn’t the compressor rather noisy?

Yes, the compressor is extremely noisy for the space, and probably constitutes a hearing hazard for folks in the back room who aren’t wearing hearing protection.

Fortunately, a couple of months ago Elliot and I did some research and bought a large aquarium air pump, which is much quieter. It’s now possible to hold conversations at a normal speaking level while using the laser cutter.

The compressor has been retasked to run things which actually require compressed air.

Okay the deed has been done! Authbox beta is installed too.

Notes: The table that the laser is on now has wheels, which should make it easier to move it either for cleaning, maintenance, or to try different orientations of that work space. There is not much extra slack in the exhaust ducting, however, so it should be disconnected before moving the machine more than a few inches.

The exhaust is connected exactly like it was before - meaning there is a flue in the shop that opens or closes the vent near the welding station. It is set right now to exclusively vent the laser, so welders, painters, etc will need to open it up to vent the shop, and close it when they are done.

Zing is connected to a pc workstation on the far right end of the desk closest to the laser. USB connection reported to be buggy, but mostly working.

Aux air pump and laser come on together, every time now.

First two users have reported the authbox is “pretty self explanatory”. :+1:

Remaining to do:

  • clean up signage

  • consider options for locating the laser workstation. this may be leaving it alone, or moving it a little bit, mounting it to the wall, etc. Maybe it should be closer to the authbox?

  • implement remote solution for the exhaust flue. There is an arduino-controlled servo device for that built by A. Zufal which may or may not be in working order. Currently disconnected and dusty.

  • Collect feedback!