No need to shout. We can hear you.
Using an air compressor with a laser is problematic. You will end up with a lot of vapour or actual visible water droplets which can crack your lens. You can also end up with oil in some pumps.
Make sure that if you do use one, fit at least one oil/water trap. I go belt and braces and have a water trap at the compressor, an intermediate reservoir between the compressor and the laser, then another water trap mounted to the chassis.
Don’t skimp on the quality of the trap - get one recommended by your local professional auto paint sprayer - water is a problem for auto-body shops as well as lasers.
When I was first resolving problems with a customer air line system (they used a lot of air tools and had a huge compressor) I just went to a local sprayer and asked him what he would recommend.
I’m pretty sure it was a Japanese unit, but then I was living in Asia at the time. YMMV.
I have used California Air Tools Compressors for years. The reason that I chose them is because they are so quiet. The model you are looking at is shown as Oil-free, which helps prevent oil film on the lens.
The biggest problem with compressors is that most people don’t seen to ever drain the tank. As the compressor runs, the compressed air forces water out of the air, which collects in the accumulator tank. When this builds up it can exit the tank with the compressed air. potentially ending up on your focus lens. So, regularly empty the water out of the tank. I also run with an inline water trap and a air dryer. With those four things, oil-free compressor, empty the water in the tank, inline water trap, and an inline air dryer, I have had no problems with my lens.
There are several choices for compressors. A few years back, basically for a low noise compressor, there was only California Air Tools and they were very high quality, made in the USA. Currently they all seem to be made in China and, in my opinion, seem to now be of just average quality. Hope this helps.
Even if you do drain the tank you likely still need a water separator in-line with the air. Condensation will happen, unless you have basically 0% humidity, so better to spend a few $$ on a water trap than have to constantly shell out for new lenses.
Hey Oz, thanks for all you do for us on this forum. I have a Boss LS-1420 and it came with that crap gold air pump. One already caught fire (literally), would you point me in a different direction?
I’ve used Vivosun for years - for me and customers. Rock solid, reliable.
Ok, thanks. I’ll give this unit a try, it just looks EXACTLY like the one that caught fire, with the exception that this one is silver instead of gold in color…
Brand matters. Vivosun are a reputable brand.
I trust you, ordering one now for when my current POS goes down on me! Thank you again for the help and the link!
I’m using a California Air Tools 5510A and I’ve been happy with it. I don’t think it’s rated for continuous use, but it has greatly improved my cutting efficiency.
Oz - do you have any idea what volumetric air flow you get through it? The largest Vivosun is rated for 110 Lpm at about 5 psig so might be considerably less by the time the air makes it through all of the lines and fittings.
I honestly couldn’t say. I definitely see a difference in cutting efficiency when I go from 20psi to 40psi, but what that’s translating to in air volume I have no idea.
Just curious - most folks seem to think that the higher pressure is the important factor but pressure just outside the nozzle must fall to atmospheric no matter what it is at the regulator. Higher pressure should translate to higher flow rate but it can be a complicated relationship depending on what is between the regulator and the nozzle outlet. I should get off my lazy butt and measure it for myself.
My air feed is through 1/4" line and a Cloudray No3 nozzle.I have a FLOW pressure of 5 psi for acrylic and 15 psi for my Premium MDF. And yes, good air assist makes a HUGE difference. Check out the Air Assist 04 pic on my Google Mod Page.
That link says “runs a bit hot…do not put on combustible surfaces.”
Don’t buy one then