Air assist fan upgrade?

has anyone looked into upgrading the air assist? when cleaning last night, i took a snapshot of the label, and searched on the googles. found this on digikey

https://bit.ly/3s74dDG

it shows that it only moves ~20.5 cfm, but i can find on newegg some that move up to 80 cfm… is this something that could be done? @dan - could engineering look at this? maybe?

1 Like

I did a deep dive on fans in that form factor here:

I think the biggest thing to consider is likely going to be mass. This fan gets thrown back and forth, as it’s on the head assembly. Any fan that operates at the same voltage, draws similar current, and has similar mass should be fine, I’d think. Question is whether or not you can find one that throws more air with those specs.

You’re limited by the scoop geometry, and at some point trying to shove more air through it will have diminishing returns, but there’s probably some room for improvement.

1 Like

Looking at fans with the same physical form factor and voltage, it looks like there’s not much more CFM to be gained:

2 Likes

i didn’t think about the increased mass of having a thicker fan. still, curious to see what would happen…

It would only make it harder to keep some materials down. I don’t see anything wrong with the one it currently has.

3 Likes

being a mechanical designer, and having worked on a project over the last year or so, designing a unit that had to take airflow into consideration to keep from overheating with severely limited space, my brain automatically wonders about airflow improvements.

2 Likes

But the air assist fan is not in there to help with cooling. It is there to clear smoke from the area so it doesn’t impede the laser beam. Since it can affect the material I would think you would want a fan with the least amount of flow to just get the job done.

6 Likes

and you’re probably right. i’m still learning, definitely. the “mechanical designer” bit wasn’t to try to throw my weight around, more of an explanation of why i’m wondering these things. i’ll shut up now.

1 Like

Haha, no don’t think for a minute your musings are annoying anyone. In fact just the opposite. Ideas thrown out there can kick start other ideas. Keep them coming.

5 Likes

And more airflow would probably help with that. @jbmanning5 has talked about this before re: his other machines.

The issues that are really hard to get around are physical… mass and dimensions and power supply. These largely scale with fan capacity, and we appear to be pushing some limits already. The higher volume fans are largely combination fans, with multiple turbines inline to generate more airflow, which would probably break our physical constraints by a large margin. Think of how precise clean corners has to be. If we increase (or decrease) the mass of the head we’ll probably first see clean corners break down. Increase the mass enough, and we would eventually overwhelm the steppers and/or belts, which is a whole other level of bad.

So we’re already up against some pretty exacting physical constraints. Not sure how to deal with that.

1 Like

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

2 Likes

You are too kind. :grin:

2 Likes

If I were more inclined to improve the air assist, I would first look at creating a more concentrated, direct flow as opposed to just a larger flood of air. However, I’m not an engineer. I don’t know precisely what happens when you force feed fan generated air into a very small outlet to concentrate the flow. I think that you’re going to come up against static pressure problems. Having compressed air comes with its own host of problems, beyond just the all-in-one form factor GF worked to develop. One thing to note would be that generally air assist works (on other systems) at a pre-determined distance from the material. The table moves up and down, so the lens and air outlet maintain the same distance from the material regardless of how thick the material is. That won’t happen with the Glowforge since the lens moves and the table is static.

You’re definitely right that EVERYTHING is connected. The whole is greater than the parts.

3 Likes

I read recently that it’s not about the volume of flow in the air assist but the smoothness of air flow that makes the biggest difference in cut cleanliness.

2 Likes

I try you deserve a compliment every now and then for what you contribute. I for one appreciate and enjoy reading you posts. :grin: :grin:

2 Likes

Thank you. I appreciate that.

1 Like

You are very welcome…

i would definitely be intrigued to see how it could be improved… i wonder if a direct nozzle, similar to how coolant is sprayed directly on a cutting tool in a mill, would affect the cut. would definitely kill the need for the rear-mounted air assist to clean…

gears slowly whirring

1 Like

I am thinking a direct air stream may be more hazardous in some cases. It may cause more flare up on combustible material.

1 Like

I have small direct air stream on my micro sabre saw and it blows the dust everywhere that much air directed into such a small area could very well cause flare up.

1 Like