OMTech 60 W Laser: Airflow Control

Russ Sadler points out that Chinese CO2 lasers lack air inlets matching their 6 inch = 150 mm outlet port, so fumes accumulate over the workpiece as air leaks in through various panel / hatch gaps and small openings. The simplest solution, at least for my OMTech 60 W laser, seems to be opening the front passthrough hatch:

Laser spike plate - side view
Laser spike plate – side view

The opening is 33×4 inch = 0.9 ft² with an airflow of just under 1 m/s into the exhaust fan at full throttle, so it’s venting at about 180 CFM. That’s half the duct fan’s 400 CFM in more-or-less free air, but the laser cabinet outlet vent has a perforated cover with maybe 50% clear opening:

OMTech 60W laser - modified vent
OMTech 60W laser – modified vent

It’s not exactly a flame arrester.

Directing the air flow across the platform from front to rear requires sealing the gaps along the front of the cabinet:

OMTech 60 W laser - front gap seal
OMTech 60 W laser – front gap seal

And the huge openings on either side of the exhaust duct:

OMTech 60 W laser - vent box seal
OMTech 60 W laser – vent box seal

Yes, all those are cardboard sheets and, no, they’re not the final implementation. This is all in the nature of figuring out what works, so being able to cut-to-fit is a Good Idea.

The large gap along the rear edge (on the right, above) for the rear feedthrough opening got a cardboard sheet after engraving some MDF.

Early indications are that it works fine, as witness the smoke streaming off the rear of a cardboard test piece:

Laser spike plate - smoke plumes
Laser spike plate – smoke plumes

Cutting MDF produces copious smoke that fills the cabinet, but it clears quickly and doesn’t escape into the Basement Laboratory if I wait a little longer than I really want to after the cutting stops.

Blocking the unused areas of the honeycomb helps direct airflow in the proper direction:

COB LED Shade - overview
COB LED Shade – overview

All in all, it works well.

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