The laser cutter is probably the single most popular tool currently at Noisebridge. It’s important we keep it working.

As many of you have noticed, the “main fan” attached to the ceiling above the laser cutter is making a lot of noise. This is because it’s bearings have failed and it’s gummed-up with laser exhaust.

I estimate the fan will stop working within 1-2 weeks.

It will be expensive to replace.

Once the main fan fails, the laser cutter will rapidly fill with smoke during use (as it did last time), causing the mirrors and internal parts to become coated with sticky residue. This will cause poor quality cuts, require the laser to be run at excessive power, and potentially damage the tube.

Although we could install a new fan, it too will eventually fail - because the type of fan needed to generate enough pressure to force the laser cutter’s exhaust through our extremely long exhaust duct is incompatible with the sticky, resinous exhaust the laser cutter generates.

A simple, cheap solution is to move the laser cutter next to the back wall, and use the boost fan to discharge its exhaust through a window pane replaced with a piece of plywood with a hole cut in it. This will reduce the exhaust duct length from about forty feet to less than two, and will probably result in a 10X improvement in airflow.

Moving the laser cutter is an easy, low-risk, two-person operation: it has built-in wheels.

So all that’s necessary is to raise its leveling feet and roll it over to the back window. The VR space currently occupying the back wall area can be moved to many other places in the space. And while the laser cutter requires 220V power, it doesn’t require much of it, and we have a 120V to 220V converter transformer on-hand that’s more than sufficient.

I propose we move the laser cutter to the new location and give it a try for a few weeks. If there are any problems, we can roll it back to its original location and try a different solution.

Total effort is about 1/2 a day of work, including cutting the plywood window panel. Reversing the changes is 1 to 2 hours.

Here are the layout changes I propose:

@ruthgrace @pyconaut @themanmaran @David

…your thoughts on moving the laser cutter and relocating the VR area?


Before we do anything I want to hear from @hicksu who was key in the original set up about what he thinks

Just to jump in one more time tho… this just sounds like a larger do-ocratic action, but not a capital “C” consensus item. If the laser trainers and a few of the regular users seem okay with it, i’d just move it and see what happens. Its revertable.

Great! Glad there’s no hidden gotchas with moving it. Thanks Jarrod!

I don’t think it’s a capital “C” item either. I just wanted to get some feedback from other members before I make any changes. I don’t want the VR enthusiasts, for example, to get upset when we move the VR area back to its original location in the rear corner (which could actually be a good thing because its getting dirty from people walking across it and having tracking problems because of reflections from the hack shelves)


I am fine moving the VR space to anywhere in noisebridge. Though keeping it close to wherever gamebridge happens is very useful. Also I might change up the mounting system soon if I can find out where there are secure ceiling studs, or stuff like that. So I can fold up the pop up.

@pyconaut oh! VR Elevator??

On the Laser cutter movement - I don’t have a strong opinion, but I agree with alchemist that is would definitely provide better ventilation not having to move such a long column of air out of the space.

Plus we could probably blast the fumes far enough up that the bathroom doesn’t always smell like burnt plastic.

  1. Temporarily putting a VR system inside a (powered down) elevator could make for a really neat art project! Especially if you close the door. You could (in VR) take it to different floors and have them be different departments in some crazy company.

  2. Having only 2 feet of duct will not only make it easier to blast the exhaust further away from the building, it will also me immensely easier to maintain.

Okay folks, I think we’ve agreed this is a good experiment to try, so I’m going to double-check everything will work as planned, then grab some volunteers and do it …probably this weekend.


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I can move the VR area at any time.

Please do not try to do it without me or one of the other game dev people around as there are a lot of delicate parts. Especially the lighthouses, and the greenscreen.

I can also move some of the stuff from the back area. That goes with it.

Ryan I am thinking it might fit nicely in the southwest corner where the rest of the game stuff is. And I was thinking we could do our games classes there as well just by re-arranging the area on class nights

@Mark That sounds like a good idea. I can probably do that tommorow afternoon. I can clean up the area some, though I wonder where foxlounge would move to, or would we want to move the desk that is over there to the back (which makes sense since it’s where a ton of the computers are being worked on anyway.

That would be excellent.

I’d like to do the move on Saturday. The entire back wall doesn’t have to be clear, but as several people have previously mentioned, the VR area is fragile, so do your best to get it moved to its new home before Saturday morning.



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I’ll move the vr stuff Saturday morning between 10 and noon.

I’m on my way to noisebridge, I should be able to finish moving everything by 1pm

VR area has been moved.

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Heading over now to start moving the laser

Hello all!

I’ve just arrived home after a 21 hour marathon getting the laser cutter moved. Happy to say some other members helped with the process.

I did an extensive tear-down cleaning, and re-balance of the boost fan to eliminate the vibration it was causing. It’s unlikely we’ll have to do this very often in the future due to the much higer airflow.

The whole system fits perfectly against the back wall, and looks great.

Power switch

clearly marked

We ran some of the nastiest smokiest crap we could find through the system last night, and it worked like a champ. The trick was the laminar flow nozzle:

So get out there and start using i!



EPIC LEVEL HEROISM, @alchemist. Slam dunk!

And @pyconaut with the assist!

Good Game, Noisebridge!

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Oh, don’t wait for me on this. I not against experimenting with the laser cutter setup. I would defer to the laser trainers / regular users.

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