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