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Enclosure

Building an enclosure

As stated in the safety section, it is recommended to isolate your laser from the environment. The best way is to build an enclosure with fume extraction and filtering windows. Here is an overview of the one I build for my laser, but I have seen great designs within the community that are superior to this. You can take it as inspiration.

Here is an update of the most current setup.

The size of my setup is: width: 68 cm, depth: 66 cm, height: 47 cm (outer dimensions, wood is 12 mm thick); I ordered it already cut into right dimensions at the hardware store. It was about €55. Additionally, I put it on wheels to move it around (I need to place it next to the window during usage and remove it afterwards).
I would recommend increasing the height by at least 10 cm, better 20 cm. I designed it this way to reduce the overall size. If you want to use the LightBurn camera alignment feature (see below), you either need a fish eye lens (high distortion) or won’t be able to see the full work area. Using my €10 webcam, I’m now able to use 60% of the work area with camera alignment. On top, I have an additional power socket just in case and an on-off-switch which turns off power completely. I also had an old ThinkPad to use as a control PC and placed the docking station on the case. So, I don’t need to hassle with cables and can remove the laptop easily.

Ventilation: I bought a €15 ventilation fan plus hose (from Hornbach hardware store) to suck out the fumes, which works very well. No smell in my room as far as I can tell. It’s quiet as well. I can recommend this setup. At my window, I use such a cover to connect the hose to: Amazon-Link, hose: Hornbach-Link, fan: Hornbach-Link
AirAssist: I use the quite common Hailea ACO-318. I mounted it upside down because otherwise I would have needed much more room in the xy-plane. Amazon-Link. Further information in the respective section about AirAssist.
AirAssist Control: I connected a relay board to the controller, so I am able to turn the AirAssist pump on and off using M8 and M9 commands. Works fine – LightBurn turns on the AirAssist when starting the laser and turns off afterwards. It’s nice because the pump is quite noisy. See the guide on this page.
Since I had a 4-channel relay board at hand, I would like to connect the other channels as well and control the light and ventilation also via G-codes. If you use the standard grbl firmware, you require a high-level trigger relay (e.g., AliExpress-Link)
Light: classic LED stripe that I had lying around. Shall also be controlled by LightBurn in the end.
Webcam: €10 webcam from Amazon to enable the camera alignment feature (https://lightburnsoftware.github.io/NewDocs/UsingACamera.html). Works fine (except the short distance as mentioned above).
Noise: The overall sound intensity (without AirAssist) is really decent, it’s like a running PC in the room, I can have it in operation while working on the table next to it. Using AirAssist it’s still ok, but I need my ANC headset to continue working besides.

Safety features
  • I added a limit switch to the door of the case which turns off the laser in case the door is opened. Therefore, I put the switch in the signal wire. I will provide more piece of information in an extra article.
  • The integrated window is absorbing wavelengths around 455 nm, which should help in keeping scattered light away from the outside. That’s also the reason the case is painted black on the inside. Still, I keep on using safety glasses while looking through the window.

Sculpfun enclosure

Meanwhile, Sculpfun also offers its enclosures, the links to the stores can be found under Media. The assembly is relatively simple, although a bit fiddly. In return, the case is relatively small in shipping, which is probably the reason for the design. Due to the gluing of the protective foils, it is also difficult to disassemble it afterwards. But, there is also a long size version for the extension kit. Below is a video of the assembly.