YAG Laser Megathread

Exciting stuff, we have our very own megalaserblaster on site :slight_smile:

Moving it went well on thursday, very little dramas.

From here, this is the list of things to do, not comprehensive, in no particular order, and in no particular level of importance (ie not all these need to be done before we can operate)

  • I’m currently talking to manufacturer to get every bit of doco out of them i can
  • Verify that the compressor can produce 8 bar (120psi) continuous for the laser
  • Source an air line dryer, either on its own, for the whole shop or just for the laser. In general need to assess our shop air. The cnc coming will also need shop air fwiw.
  • Get the power for the laser. This is a mission but after thursdays meeting with cbre and edq i have a path forward. I dont have a timeline, we have to jump through a bunch of hoops first.
  • The control pc for the laser needs to be imaged so we have a backup
  • Control pc needs some kind of security lockdown, like deepfreeze.
  • All the cds, software paperwork etc that came with the laser needs to be digitised
  • Figure out having a second pc installed in the control unit, perhaps a nuc. This is so we can have users interacting with that pc, with whatever software they need without messing with the control pc. Needs some basic way to easily transfer files to the control pc. Control pc shouldnt have any network access. Can have a second monitor and use synergy or we can put a basic kvm in there to swap between.
  • The chiller, control and laser all need to be reconnected to each other.
  • We need to figure out and document the workflow for making filtered/treated water for the chiller. Probably a pair of black ibc’s?
  • Chiller at some point should be ducted out of the shop in some way.
  • Gantry over the laser needs both/either a sheet metal clamp or a magnetic pickup for transferring heavy sheets easily to the bed.
  • Have to bring in the seller for a training session with a team of people to learn once its up and running. need people to video this session
  • Once we are trained, need to turn that into a course on canvas

So to break that down into some headlines:

  • Compressed air
  • Power
  • Water management
  • Control PC
  • Training and Documentation

I’ve started a wiki page for it here using the new template: https://wiki.hsbne.org/tools/metalshop/yaglaser

Compressed air

@antifoo found this: https://www.graysonline.com/lot/0019-7027707/plant-services-compressors-and-generators/hydrovane-hv04-screw-compressor

and I found this https://www.jjairsystems.co.uk/product-category/air-compressors/industrial-air-compressors/hydrovane-hv04-hv45/

So maybe theres a deal there. Otherwise this is sort of the size of compressor we need:


We don’t know what the Free Air Delivery we need is, but we know we need a Pressure of 8 bar (120psi) “continuous”.

We know that air should be dried, no oil etc.

I called trade tools to figure out our current compressor and this is what I learned:

the last RP35 they sold was in 2005, so our unit is at least 15yo
180L tank, 750L/m FAD, probably 120PSI maxop, relief valve probably triggers at 140PSI.

I also got in touch with Blue Elephant CNC and asked what the requirements were for that machine and they stated:

0.7mpa [sic] is fine
For ATC machine is about 400L/min is ok

So thats 100psi pressure and 400L/min FAD

If I were you I’d go that screw compressor listing. You’re not going to find something equivalent cheaper, or even close (given the dryer and massive air tank - this will help with air delivery on shorter cuts and things like air tools). It’s also going to be quieter than our current one which will make the “plant container” less deafening.

It is only 7 bar capable however I can’t imagine that’s a massive deal for the laser cutter, if it needs more airflow, just change the orifice size. Trying to find a better compressor to do 8 bar, as well as the dryer etc will likely cost an arm and a leg.

Also to consider is if you do still want to go 8 bar, you’ll likely need to run a separate line to the laser cutter for it, rather than up the whole system pressure.

@riumplus if you’re still around, maybe you’d like to chime in on the water situation? Previous owner said they were told to use only distilled water and change it every 2 weeks. They just used tap water through a carbon filter and changed it every 2 weeks as advised.

I believe you use some manner of additives in the small laser cutter water loop to keep the water from fouling, which I’d imagine we should do rather than trying to constantly change the water in this.

There seems to be be 2 HV04 models as by the second link. if its the former its 7bar, if its the latter its 10bar. i agree it would be a good get, but it wont stay that price, it will jump up as we approach the auction deadline, so we need to decide what its worth to buy. I’m going to confirm which model it is on monday when the owner returns.

We have discussed the idea of having a ‘big machines only’ airline. so yag, cnc mill, cnc router. It really comes down to what the free air delivery that we need ends up being, and how much we anticipate simultaneous operation.

I can get details on this from work, I know we do exactly that with our machines.

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another brief thought, it might be worth putting an air receiver tank near the machine itself.

Oh, one other thing i forgot, is building the safety barriers. Nd:YAG operates ~500-1200nm wavelength. So the easiest thing is fully opaque walls, but we might also want to look into thick pvc strip curtains or similar.

Good catch, didn’t notice that the models repeated on the 10 bar units. However, I’d be willing to bet it’s the 7 bar unit, 10 bar would be pretty uncommon in industry.

I doubt you’d need a receiver at the laser cutter itself, that is only really necessary for things with short, high bursts or air consumption. That would be more suited to the metalworking area, with high uses of air tools. However the air lines in the building are of reasonable size so that’s still not real necessary with a large tank at the compressor.

I’d set a budget for it and still try with that auction. A new Chinesium air dryer for 600L/min is worth $1800. A new compressor is $2700. You score that listing for like $2k, and just cope with it being 7 bar is like half the price of getting it all new.

Do you know what the router needs air for? It doesn’t need to clear smoke and assist in the cutting process like a metal laser cutter so it seems a bit… excessive… to use 400L/min just to clear the dust (not to mention that’ll make a lot more mess).

Its for the atc i believe? I think that number is high also, but its the one they gave me. They didnt really understand the question.

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the air compressor auction stops at 6pm tonight and it’s up to 3,600 + 7.5%.
Josh has inspected the unit and had a photoshoot with it.
Tank was built/tested in 1999 and the chiller in 2007. The gas is 134a which will get expensive in 3-5 years.

I think the topout is 4-5k and its basically there already. a new unit is in the range of 10k so its not worth paying more than 50% for a unit this age.

It’s bid * 1.075 * 1.1, so $3600 is approx $4200.

$4200 bid is $5000. So I think this is on the high side already and will exceed what I think its worth.

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I have an industrial water deioniser that was used for jewelry manufacture. I don’t have the water pressure to use it at home. It takes standard filters like the lasers existing filters, and the RO filter lasts about 5 years, we may need to buy a new one. Let me know if its a good idea and i’ll donate/set it up near a water / drain and the space can have RO water.

Jewellery also needs RO water, as does the electrolysis coating machine under some circumstances. Who’s the HSBNE “official” plumber ???