I added vacuum to my laser cutting honeycomb table as a hold down. It turned out to also work well as an air assist and kept my garage smoke free.
Jim – I posted this on the Avid and Opt Facebook groups as well – Here’s the laser table that I came up with piggybacking on your idea.
It’s about 24" x 36" x 4" tall and has two 2-1/2" dust ports wye’d to a 4" hose which will vent direct to outside via a 2hp Jet dust collector blower.
On the interior of the table, I’ve got three 1/8" x 3/4" aluminum bar cross members notched around the honeycomb frame so that it’s in direct contact with the bottom of the honeycomb in order to counteract the deflection from both the weight of the honeycomb and the vacuum. I laminated a sheet of aluminum to the interior bottom surface in the event that I ever add a laser with enough focal length to get there. If/when I add a higher than 15W laser to my setup, I may have to angle my laser head slightly to keep the laser from reflecting off of the aluminum and back into the lens. I cut 7/8" holes in each of the plexiglass windows and used a small bit of clear silicone in the corners to hold them in place.
Already saw it over there Very nice job. Looks a lot better than my rebuild job.
Thats nice honeycomb. So much more choice on Amazon than when I built mine. Is that aluminum or stainless steel?
I believe it’s galvanized steel. I fastened it in the casework with screws so it can easily be replaced if it takes a beating from the laser over time.
Good. Mine is aluminum. It stands up to the laser fine, but you have to be super careful not to drop or drag stuff across the top because its so thin it damages very easily.
So funny @ezambob I came up with similar (but smaller) version of what you did. I used 3D printed adapters for those hoses just like you did (are yours 3D printed?)
I ended up abandoning that idea in favor of this one:
This had some advantages for me… and for our users:
-It doesn’t rely on 3D printing
-It’s lower profile so you get some more Z clearance (probably more of an issue with our deployment mechanism than on your setup)
-You can build it with a 2x4 sheet of plywood
The idea is that you can fasten it down to your table and hang the dust port off of the end of the machine on either end. For smaller machines like 4x2s you can hang it off the back or the front and still be able to reach the entire honeycomb with the laser.
I have the 4" hose run into one of these fans:
I actually have the fan plugged into one of the relays in my control box so it fires up automatically when I start a job, and back off when I am done. I have the duct run outside my shop. It does a surprisingly good job at removing smoke.
Now that you all know we just launched a laser I am thinking of open-sourcing this design so that folks like yourself can make it. (You’re welcome to download and use this one if you want)
I really like that exhaust fan. The 15W laser will generate a lot of smoke if you are cutting. I use my dust collector, but that is very noisy. If you are just getting rid of smoke and not vacuuming down, this is a great solution.
This fan is nearly silent. The stepper motors make more noise. I am a big fan (ha) of this setup.
For a V2 I’d like to make one that is 24x48. I’m thinking that I might need a bigger (or second) fan for that though.