First Jobs Run on the Laser

With the exhaust blower installed and ducted, and wired up enough to be used, the laser is now capable of doing work! I successfully ran vector engraving and cutting jobs on paper, thin plywood, and corrugated cardboard.

Running at full power seems to be more than our existing circuit breaker can handle. The circuit is wired for 20A but only has a 15A breaker, so there’s reason to hope that a simple breaker upgrade will solve the problem. If not, we’ll need to do more wiring work.

I’m waiting for word from the manufacturer on how best to level the Z table, which is far enough out of level to cause problems for large jobs.

Exhaust Ducting Installation

Today the ducting for the exhaust blower was completed and the blower was mounted in its new doghouse on the roof of Colab. Thanks Natural and Joe!

The Laser Lases!

Progress on laser setup. Friday I got the water chiller connected (with new, longer water hoses and signal cable), which meant I could safely power on the laser and do some tests and initial alignment. So far, so good. Also got the computer hooked up to the laser (with a new, longer Ethernet cable) and the air assist compressor connected. Main things still to set up: the exhaust blower and the air conditioner.

Laser Futzing Day

A bit more progress to report. The dedicated computer is installed. I did an inspection of all the laser’s components and planned out the rest of the tasks for hook-up. I want to put the water chiller near the far wall, to keep it away from you when you’re working at the computer. Unfortunately, all the hookups for the chiller (water hose in, water hose out, and a status signal cable) are on the left side of the laser chassis, and the provided hoses and cable are not long enough to reach to the right side. I’ll have to make longer ones.

Laser Tube Installed

Today the laser tube was unboxed and mounted into the main chassis. Progress!

Wall Rebuilt

The end wall of the upstairs laser lab has now been rebuilt, thanks to Natural. The wall now features a large window, so the laser user can look out into the main build area and won’t feel quite so isolated.

Immediately beneath the window, there’s an open area in the framing. This potential opening lines up with the side door on the laser chassis, which can be opened to feed long stock through the machine.

Richard assists Natural in framing the interior window for laser lab.

Richard assists Natural in framing the interior window for laser lab.

Laser Forklifted Into Place

The laser was forklifted up from ground level into the laser lab today! Thanks to Yeti for driving the forklift and to Jon Ray for arranging everything.

Installation schedule

At the Colab managers meeting on July 10, we set some dates for the next few major milestones in the laser project:

  • July 12, Natural will knock out the end wall of the laser lab and frame it up as a raw opening.
  • Sometime the next week, a rented forklift and skilled operator will pick up the laser and oh-so-carefully deposit it in the upstairs laser lab through the opening.
  • July 26, Natural will build some kind of new wall/doors/windows to close off the end wall opening.
  • Once the wall is safe again, Paul will begin hooking up the laser. Expect at least a few days of fiddling around before any actual lasing takes place.
  • July 31, first laser training class (for Colab managers only).

After that, we hope to get started pretty quickly with training classes and your laser projects!

Laser Arrives at Colab

We took delivery of the laser today at Colab!