I’m nearing the point that I need to sit down and design my enclosure. This is my first laser and I’m currently using a grow tent, so I don’t have a really good a idea of what makes a good enclosure. I know this grow tent sucks.
My machine is approx 43" x 27" outside. I haven’t measured the max height yet. Not sure if I want to accommodate a rotary or not. Something between 8-16", depending.
Also haven’t decided if I want to accommodate a camera.
I want the laser to cut its own enclosure panels. As much for experience as anything. I don’t have a table saw, but I’m pretty good with a circular saw and straight edge guide, so I could do it that way if necessary.
Current vent blower is an AC Infinity S4 (4" spigots) rated at 200 CFM.
Some specifics I’m mulling over…
-Material? 1/4” ply? Maybe less?(I have some physical limitations, so don’t want it too heavy and don’t care AT ALL about noise)
-One window sufficient? (Was planning 24"x12" JTech windows(s))
-Slanted front/top? (Best visibility and access?)
-Air in & out locations/sizes?
-Fixed bottom or “lift-off” (remove machine from box or remove box from machine)
-lining or interior coating to minimize odor retention?
-Details I’m missing?
Thanks for looking and helping me learn from your experience.
No pic(s) ATM, but a few details of my ATA style enclosure for XTool D1 Pro.
That’s approximately what I chose, mainly because there’s plenty of Adam Hall ATA hardware and extrusions available for that thickness, it’s rigid enough (with some bracing on certain places), and using the 9mm gets very heavy, very fast.
The thickness of plywood makes very little difference to the soundproofing cpability, but plenty for the rigidity and ease of building the enclosure.
No window(s) on mine, both the “blue” and (low/near)IR frequencies are such that the material costs for anything transparent are IMO way too much for the added convenience.
So a USB camera is more than sufficient for me.
Mine is a box (outside wdh) 720mm x 650mm x 400mm, mainly for the ease of building, and secondly for the ease of transporting when the need arises.
I have the ventilation on the side of the ~90mm high bottom part, the exhaust is through the honeycomb, the supply is ATM the air assist.
If there’s no need for air assist or it can’t be used for some reason, I either detach the supply line from the head, or the make-up air is randomly drawn through the intentionally non hermetically sealed joints.
The top part on mine is hinged, with detachable shocks so the lid can be removed if necessary.
There’s butterfly locks that secure the top part to the bottom, and 3 ATA case handles, one on each side and one on the front.
The bottom part that acts as the base for the laser and the chamber for exhaust is ~90mm high, and the laser is fixed to the removable top plate that has also a cutout for the honeycomb.
The top plate sits level with the edge of the bottom part, so I can feed material from sides as well if needed.
ATM the top doesn’t have feed through trapdoors though, but those are pretty easy to do if the need should arise
That’s pretty much impossible, at least easily.
Can obviously be done but with IMO way too much additional work.
The cutouts are a different thing, even though I did cut mine with a router and the templates I already had from previous ATA style case projects.
Those skills will be more than sufficient when building an enclosure, whatever the design.
Those details depend solely on the enclosure style You choose since You do have the basics pretty well covered up.
As for Your question about what I’d change on my current DIY enclosure:
When I’ll at some point make the enclosure for the D1 with extension, I’ll use AH basemaker extrusions instead of separate pieces for the bottom part.
On some tasks that I most likely need to do in the future, I’ll need to seal the enclosure hermetically and use Argon, Nitrogen or Argon+co2 mixture.
But that’s easy on an ATA style enclosure, on others not so much.
So plan ahead as much as You can, so the design doesn’t restrict too much the available choices later.
Remember to “measure twice and cut once” and especially to have fun .
I don’t use an enclosure with the dpssl diodes, but have a similar exhaust fan as yours, but 300cfm near as possible to the head.
I can pass on some information I think is most important based on my co2 experience.
1.) proper air flow
Generally you want a smooth air flow that doesn’t change direction as it goes from the start of the engraving to the end, where the exhaust exists. This is making an assumption of an engraving… When doing vectors, if the air flow is across the material it should carry away any debris.
My China Blue had no way to control the origin of replenishment air. Therefor it made for more smoke with very little flow direction. It was pretty easily solved by a 1" block to hold the hood open, greatly improving the air flow path.
Personally I don’t like having machines run where I can’t see them… I’ve seen cameras on machines and I’m just not comfortable with that… I guess I just old and don’t trust them
It’s nice to be able to see all the parts and material, as they work. Many times you will notice an anomaly before it damages too much. You can only notice it if you can see it.
It’s much nicer to be able to access not only the work area but the other parts of the machine. I got one of the first runs of cabinets that had a large access panel on the left side.
You will need to do basic maintenance, including cleaning of the debris that didn’t make it out of the ventilation system.
These are the basics that I figured out for me.
The number 1 issue is air flow. It’s also the main reason for snubbing honeycomb beds. I was a supporter till I saw a few videos on it then had one, they sound as good as sliced bread but… It totally destroyed the air flow on mine. This video is from Russ Sadler on honeycomb beds… ~ 15 minutes. Lots of people use them…
This is an older video of my machine, not the original head, but otherwise the same as stock. I’m using a sheet metal plate instead of the honeycomb. It’s using the same aquarium pump compressor that was stock along with the ventilation fan. Also the lid is fully open… a major disruption of airflow.
A good air assist is really needed for keeping debris off the lens and really shines when cutting…
Whatever you build it from is porous then it will pick up the odor. You would need to seal it with something.
Appreciate the input. I am definitely sweating the airflow details. I already have a bellmouth for the blower inlet at the cabinet wall that I may or may not use.
Air assist will be a simplified version of the cloudray Ultimate Assist with regulated shop air feeding a L/min flow meter for M8-switched cutting and a bypass circuit with needle valve metered lens purge that’s always on.
My current cutting bed is an Ikier/Atomstack design that’s a modified knife-bed (finger bed?) and is MUCH better for airflow than a honeycomb, but I may still eliminate it and use standoffs for even more improvement. I will be cutting a lot of very thin materials, so keeping those materials flat will be an issue with standoffs.