Darkly Labs Community

Air Assist

I am thinking of adding the air assist to my pre-order of the E2. Would it be possible to see a picture of it and other details like size, noise, etc.

Thanks

Mark.

We helped Darkly Labs with the early development of the air assist, so it probably looks & works similar to the one we designed for our EmBlaser 1. Noise is minimal because it only requires low air pressure (5-10 PSI) through the small orifice that the beam exits through. 

http://forum.darklylabs.com/index.php?p=/discussion/362/3d-engraving-using-picengrave-pro-5/p2

 

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Thanks Jeff for the reply. What powers the air assist?

We use a small oil less compressor and an air valve switch to turn the air on/off. I’m sure that Darkly Labs has come up with a much quieter compressor then we are using. 

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Hi Mark,

We are currently awaiting parts from our manufacturer for approval so we only have very rudimentary developmental setups at the moment, which are not pretty to show.

The Air-assist system will comprise a small compressor that mounts internally within the Emblaser 2. It will have an air-hose that routs up to the laser head and connects to an air-assist nozzle that screws onto the laser unit.

It’s neat, compact and noise is minimal with the lid closed. We haven’t measures decibels yet.

The system can be easily installed in 5-10 minutes so purchasing this down the track is not a problem.

Pics and more details will be posted in time. We are planning to run performance tests once we have all the final parts in the machine so we can ensure the results are realistic. So far the big advantages of the air-assist are much cleaner cuts, especially in wood as well as improvements in cutting various materials, such as leather.

 

 

 

Thanks Domenic. That answered all my questions regarding the air assist. I will send an email to sales about adding the air assist to my current E2 order in a few weeks.

 

Mark

Quick video showing an extreme case where air-assist makes all the difference.

Cork-board has been notoriously difficult to work with traditionally. Here is how air-assist helps.

https://vimeo.com/203536325

Thats a big selling point for the air assist, I’m glad I added it to my order!

I’m glad I added the air assist to my order as well. It looks like it will greatly improve the E2s capabilities.

I read all about the benefits of air assist when I was researching lasers. I didn’t hesitate…

There are some photos just added to our website showing more ‘common’ results of using air-assist. 

www.darklylabs.com/emblaser2

Scroll down and expand the ‘+’ next to air-assist.

I received my Emblaser 2 before Easter and am having fun learning what it can do.  But think I will need the air assist upgrade.

Do I order the air assist through the darkly lab website or through the 3D printing system website.  

I had one in my shopping basket but kept getting warning messages directing me to the 3D printing web site for Emblaser 2 purchases.

Hi Steve,

If you originally ordered the E2 through Darkly Labs it will be easier for you to get the air-assist from us.

Can you please contact our sales (sales@darklylabs.com) with your serial number and what you would like to purchase. They can organise it for you.

 

Domenic,

Are there future plans to use an air-assists nozzle similar to the design suggested above by Jeff? Or the below thingiverse design?

I have found that the current air-assist design can be easily misaligned if bumped or is accidentally jogged into the laser bed. Also could better cutting results be expected with an air stream which shoots directly down along the path of the laser? Presently cuts which align with the y-axis (vertical cuts) cut better than those along the x-axis (horizontal cuts) due to the direction of the air-assist.

 

Thanks,

Jeremy

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Hi Jeremy,

While we were developing the air-assist we designed and tested many approaches. The most robust and effective design we found was the one we are using.

The design you have attached does give you direct airflow along the path of the laser but there are many disadvantages:

1: The nozzle diameter needs to be large to allow the beam to pass through cleanly. This means the compressor needed to maintain the flow-rate and air stream pressure needs to be much larger. 

2: Alignment is much more critical with the above design.

3: Collisions with material of the design above could cause damage to the nozzle or even the laser assembly.

The differences in cutting along the x & y axis are most likely not associated with the air assist direction. They are associated with the shape of the beam. You can always loosen the air-assist and rotate it 90degrees so it faces the x-direction and see how it performs.

Our testing with the current design and misalignment have been that it is quite forgiving. If we have it hit the bed or some material accidently it usually springs back into place. At most, we pull up on the hose so that the brass nozzle is seated ad much as possible into its plastic holder.

We are happy to hear your experiences with this and always open to new ideas and improvements. Please keep us updated with any other observations you make.

I found out today how important air assist is and how much more useful it makes the Emblaser2. My air compressor annoyingly died half way through a job - actually it went from working normally to switching on and off to suddenly becoming immensely loud at which point I had to abort the laser.

I’d been rastering timber at the time so I thought I’d run a couple of little jobs without air assist. This pic shows the results. The bottom ‘K’ and the two hearts were done using air assist before it died, they are 1 pass at 100% laser power and cut cleanly 3.8mm deep, and the result is clean and crisp.

The charred messy ‘k’ iwas done without  air assist (because it was broken),1 pass  with the laser turned down to 75% laser power, It cut to just under 1mm deep  and it actually caught on  fire! (This is cheap Bunnings pine )

Apart from the air pump dying and ending my fun  I am getting more and more impressed with what the Emblaser2 can do. This is what I was working on when the air pump  went mental and I had to abort before the neighbours complained and/or my hearing was damaged. I haven’t bothered cleaning it up, this is straight off of the laser. 

Its also done on the same cheap Bunnings pine.