First, don’t even think about removing or blocking air assist! It’s a critical requirement for the optical system at the sharp end of our 'forges.
With that said, I’m sure I’m not alone amongst this talented group of creators in wondering if there could be a way to divert the airflow away from the workpiece without impacting those requirements. This would allow lightweight materials like paper/cardstock to be more easily cut (vs. engrave) without blowing material all over the machine.
I’m thinking specifically of a “shelf” that extends from the bottom of the vent to the “back” edge of the head itself.
I tend to think of its primary purpose as keeping fires from starting rather than keeping the air clear for the beam. That said, figuring that certainly materials and operations might not need the full power of the battle station though to get the job done.
Keeping vaporized material from depositing on the lens is FAR more critical than blowing out fires.
One test showed something like 10% reduction in beam power per 10 minutes of use without air assist. Doesn’t take much more to heat the lens and cause it to shatter.
It’s good to have that understanding. It is wild that as hard as the air assist blows, it does cloud up on the lens quickly.