Laser Finances...or how to replace $30-40K worth of lasers every 2yrs


Massive air extraction also means you’re pumping a lot of heat or AC out of the building. You want enough - but not too much! Thunder sells similar blowers as what we are using. What helps keep the smoke from exiting into the room is to leave the door closed for the 15 seconds the blower runs after the machine stops cutting!

Also, systems with closed, fresh air pressurized laser paths (to keep the mirrors clean) require massively expensive air filters so the air that gets pumped in is completely dust-free. When I talked to the guy at Dragon Laser (who has lasers that use this type of system) he mentioned the replacement filters on that system were many thousand dollars EACH and the air filtration system was many, many thousands of dollars to start with.


I think the lasers at Dragon Street laser are another step above what we’re talking about. Im referring to a small sheet metal housing that ULS placed over each mirror with an air stone-like piece inside to help keep the dust and fumes away from the mirror. The majority of the beam path was still open.


This is all great information, but unless it gets converted into action, it’s merely academic mind-fodder. Would anyone contributing to the exhaust thread rally to form a SIG dedicated to adequately addressing the new Laser work area exhaust question? I’m sure @sixvolts, @JoshW and the rest of @Team_Laser would be very grateful for the rolled up sleeves.


I was at the last laser maintenance day/committee meeting and suggested a few things. I understand the whole ‘new guy comes in and wants to make changes’ dynamic I’ve got going for me though so I don’t want to push too much.

I would absolutely love to help out, but I’m pretty new here so I’m not quite sure where to start. I do recall some discussion of exhaust during the meeting, so I think there’s already some planning going on and I’d like to get in touch with whoever’s handling that, hate to have redundant work going on.


Hi, yes I remember seeing you at the meeting and Team Laser can use all the help it can get. Welcome aboard and thanks for participating! I count at least 5 people on this thread that have contributed great ideas and input regarding Laser exhaust options. Might I suggest that you and these individuals (whomever may be interested in turning knowledge into action) coordinate via a separate DMS message thread, looping in Andrew and Josh (Chair and Vice-Chair)?

Team Laser needs more volunteers like you, especially at this important juncture with the looming facilities move.


This is all great information we will be having more meetings soon but waiting for some scheduled meetings to happen first well informed leaders always lead better. @sixvolts and myself @JoshW are open to ideas but we have to work with in guidelines set forth by dms.
We look forward to working with interested individuals or a team in time.
Please exercise patience we will share when we can.



Would it be reasonable to find someone that has experience in buying and maintaining lasers in
a high use situation to consult with us

I would think that someone with a university system might be a bood idea


I just took the 101 class and can say that I don’t feel entirely comfortable to go use the lasers. I’m not dogging on the trainer/training, but it’s simply not that in-depth, and I didn’t get to touch anything. Being a responsible member, I’m going to request some help onmy first attempts.

I took the MultiCam CNC class and feel quite informed about it. I also know that I’ll get some supervision when I go do the hands-on test.

I feel like the laser training should follow suit similar to the MultiCam CNC training.
A 2 hour training session. Training videos available for review as well.
Written test - no notes, member should know which materials they can cut or not cut.
Hands-on test - gives each user some supervised time to ensure they can independently operate the machine.
Sure, fewer people would be approved for laser usage, but this would likely help with a lot of the dumb mistakes people make.



I use to help operate a prototyping lab at a university, where I helped setup and operate a laser and other equipment that required high-airflow exhaust for safety reasons.

I’ve provided data to Chris from the expansion team about the airflow requirements, who is in turn working with a MEP engineer.

I can assure everyone that we plan on improving the exhaust system during the move within the bounds we have been given by the landlord, the expansion team, and physics.


This would be great. The folks responsible for the CNC router training set a high bar.


TBH making sure that people know where to look up that information and have a basic understanding of WHY some materials are bad is more important than making someone memorize a list long enough to pass the test that they are going to forget in a few days or a week at the most. Some more hands on training would be great. I’ve felt like I was fumbling along in the dark for the handful of projects I’ve done so far.


It’s always nice to add to the sample board in laser please use caution and get approval from team laser on new materials. It’s most to share an msds sheet when looking for new material approval.


If screens are already being added to help track issues, couldn’t a reminder of which materials can’t be used be displayed with a check box confirming it has been read? Then, assuming people are trained to be aware of their material and use this reminder to double check the material, it should in theory help lower issues related to the cutting of improper materials. Additionally, laminated reminders for appropriate and inappropriate materials could be posted on each machine next to the screens in big red lettering or something of that accord.

Best regards


If we go as far as making the go nogo listpart of those screens how hard would it be to list recommended power and speed settings along with them. I know that those can vary somewhat as lenses get dirty or things loosen up between maintenance, but a good place to start would be helpful. I think it could also help get people to actually pay some attention to such a list instead of just checking it off.