Enclosure for laser engraver

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I bought a cheap laser engraver to sign my work, do some lettering etc. This laser isn't actually powerful enough to cut anything, but the engraving seems to work pretty well.
It's a very simple design that just moves on the X and Y axis. That's also the reason it can't really cut, the moment you go deeper than a millimeter or so the beam is out of focus.



As with jointers, planers, band saws, 3D printers, capacity matters. What's nice about this model is that for large pieces, you can simply put it on top of the work piece and engrave anywhere . But most of the time I expect to work on smaller items, e.g. a cutting board or jewelry box.

Apart from the laser light being dangerous, these things produce a ton of smoke. So I figured I'd build an enclosure. Nothing more than a simple box with a fan.



I created some air in take holes on the opposite side of the fan. The covers are 3D printed, and I figured the angled louvers would help block any reflected light.


To manage the wire mess, I cut some holes in the back for the laser power cable, USB cable, and fan power cable. I bought a USB port I can mount in the case, to make it easy to plug in a laptop.


The lid was a bit of a disaster. I had glued it onto the top with the idea to then cut it free on the table saw. Great plan, but my fence must have been off a bit because the lid was about 1/16 to 1/8 off. Fun fun. But after some sanding it fit nicely without gaps. The lid is attached with a piano hinge, and since I want this thing to be tight I mortised all along the back. That's why there is a middle panel glued in temporarily, to ensure I could run it on the router table.


Picture with the laser inside, just to check the dimensions.


(to be continued....)
 

smallboat

smallboat
Corporate Member
Cool. I've not seen a freestanding laser engraver like that.

You'll probably want to exhaust it outside unless your work is minimal.
Definitely if you are doing anything on acrylic. Nasty smoke.
Keeping the smoke out of the laser's path will make for neater work as the smoke won't be scattering the light.

Nicely done
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
You'll probably want to exhaust it outside unless your work is minimal.
Thanks for the feedback. As for exhausting outside - absolutely. I printed a dust port connector that will go on the outside of the box in front of the fan, then run a short piece of hose to the window.
 
Last edited:

kserdar

Ken
Senior User
Not sure where you are locating your enclosure, but if you suck sawdust into your "box". That would be another problem.

Also, make sure your fan is QUIET and moves enough air. The Glowforge laser has the noisiest fan I have heard.

Remember that some of the fumes can be hazardous.
 
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Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I picked up some paint a while back at Lowe's in the "oops" section. Hard to beat $2 for a quart, and it was exactly the industrial gray I was going for. But the paint is flat, which isn't so good for a box. Oh well. Under normal circumstances I'd get a can of spray paint to top coat it, but I'm trying to avoid unnecessary trips at the moment.

I designed some simple grommets and printed them using a flexible filament (TPU). They came out better than expected, and close up nicely after inserting the plug. Gluing TPU is not as easy as the harder plastics, but 5 minute epoxy should hold it in place.

I also printed some feet for the case, lots of good designs available on Thingiverse
 

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
The grey is too light ........... :p ......... Looking awesome. With everyone staying at home, I am guessing the quality of our work will go up.....or down, depending on how much you drink ...;)
 

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Make sure you do 6 coats then wet sand and buff :p wow this is great ! we are kibitzing from a far ..........:D
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
Make sure you do 6 coats then wet sand and buff :p wow this is great ! we are kibitzing from a far ..........:D
yes! and paint some wood grain on it too. maybe some keys in the corners for strength! oh, o
and I think some feet are in order. add some legs so you don't need to take up space on the bench.... :p see how easy it is for me to waste your time?
 
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Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Make sure you do 6 coats then wet sand and buff :p wow this is great ! we are kibitzing from a far ..........:D
I was thinking about a French Polish :) But maybe I'll redo the case with some hand-cut dovetails first.....
 
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Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Don't forget the Hand Carved Rosettes. If you do decide to install them I could send you some Lychee and Monkey Pod wood ......... then you would have a truly unique "Grey Box"

....................... ;) o_O:D
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
i think sides should have been raised panels, however now you can do a moulded frame and create a shaker look :):):):p:p:D:D:cool::cool:
 

Bear Republic

Steve
Corporate Member
Need to add a remote control motorized drawer to slide the work piece in and out..... :cool:
FYI With the smoke being pulled out, your engraving will be clearer and clean. The smoke can interfere with the laser.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Those grommets you printed are very ingenious. Are they available commercially or did you create them yourself?

Roy G
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Those grommets you printed are very ingenious. Are they available commercially or did you create them yourself?

Roy G
Created them myself :) using Fusion360. I'll upload the STL file to Thingiverse when I have a minute - currently swamped in printing PPE face shield parts
 

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