Bluey installation: Exhaust ventilation

Installing the new (Spring 2023) laser cutter know as “Bluey”.

Related threads:

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Thanks for posting this Martin! :slight_smile:

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If the laser cutters each have a low power fan to extract fumes, I wonder if the existing extractor fan is powerful enough for both cutters. I’ve drawn what I have in mind. We could try this out and if it’s insufficient, create a new extractor duct for the blue laser.

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Looks good.

It’s worth trying it with what we have as that will save considerable installation costs which were not planned for initially.

As mentioned in the maintainers chat, we can then run both at once (or maybe add a smoke bomb into each laser?), and see how they fare.

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I measured the ducting for the orange laser cutter, and it’s 19ish inches, which I think means it’s 150mm diameter.
I found this Y piece on ebay (item no 134412248724) which looks suitable:

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We’ve got a few threads relating to the Bluey laser cutter set up, on top of those mentioned in the original post above there’s also Setting up - Laser Cutter Extreme!.

To keep things organised I’ll rename this thread to “Bluey installation: Exhaust ventilation” if nobody objects? (I can undo that rename if anybody does!)

Ventilation options

Chatting to a few folks in & around the space about ventilation, there appears to be two approaches in consideration:

  1. Re-using the existing exhaust ventilation with a splitter valve (as specced out slightly above)
  2. Setting up an entirely independent parallel exhaust ventilation, entirely unique to the Bluey cutter.

I’d personally lean toward the latter approach, primarily from the perspective of risks of reusing the existing exhaust infrastructure:

  • Inline fan power, needs to be able to cover simultaneous operation
  • Have to guard against backflows from one laser to the other
  • Sharing the exhaust system means a fan or exhaust failure would take both lasers out of operation, whereas an ambition of having two lasers was redundancy from failures
  • The (slightly) more complex electronics required to share the inline fan theoretically increases opportunity for failures

The one big benefit of the re-use approach is reduced & minimised costs if we can make it work, but if the inline fan isn’t powerful enough it may cost more to upgrade it than it would setting up the independent exhaust. (On this point, 6in fans - that I assume we currently have – seem to be rated in the 300-400 CFM range, so there may not be many models in this form factor we can upgrade to?)

As we’ve already had the laser in the space and in the process of being commissioned for about ~4 months, I’d personally prefer to avoid “risky” shortcuts and – space budget permitting – invest in whatever approach has the greatest opportunity for immediate success.

To help explore & make that decision, I’ve done some very rough exploration and speccing out what we might need:

Speculative parts list for independent exhaust

(Quick search, not made a massive effort to find cheapest parts)

Requirement Part Cost Qty Total cost Notes Got
6in inline fan, 300-400 CFM VORTEX Pro Metal In-Line Extractor Fan (6" Inline Fan (800m3/h) 150w) £56.50 1 £56.50 To be ceiling mounted / suspended :white_check_mark:
5 meter, 6in flexible ducting (Already in space) £0.00 1 £0.00 From Laser exhaust to inline fan :white_check_mark:
6-8m rigid ducting Ebay dealio (4x 3m 150mm; 1x 3m 100mm; plus couplers & bends) £70 1 £70 From inline fan to external wall :white_check_mark:
150mm male spiral ducting couplers ? ? ? ? Will review if we need any more once we fetch the eBay ducting :white_check_mark:
External wall vent cover Duct Gravity Flaps 150mm 6" Wall Outlet £4.89 1 £4.89 :white_check_mark:
Subtotal £135.08
Additional budget for general supplies & fixings £30? ? £30? Happy for thoughts on reasonable budget for supporting materials?
Total £165.08

Possible second-hand eBay supply for 4x 3m 150mm spiral ducting (and a smaller pipe & small accessories): Galvanised Steel Spiral Ducting Ventilation Extraction fi 150mm | eBay – we might be able to explain the Hackspace & make an offer on these? :white_check_mark: Won the eBay lot for £70.

Speculative install plan for independent exhaust

  1. Exterior wall ventilation hole
    1.1. Drill pilot hole(s) from Snackspace interior to exterior wall
    1.2. Drill holes from exterior wall, using pilot holes for reference
  2. Interior wall ventilation hole (snackspace doors)
    2.1. Repeat steps as above
  3. Mount ceiling hooks inline with duct holes, where required to support spans of ducting
  4. Hoist and mount rigid ducting, suspended from ceiling hooks.
    4.1. Connecting spans with couplers, as required
  5. Hoist and mount inline fan on end of rigid ducting
  6. On external wall, install exhaust vent cover
  7. Attach flexible ducting from laser to inline fan
  8. (Electronics work, to enable inline fan when laser is powered on)

Totally agree with the approach.

The laser team have been slow deciding an approach for this but some of us are leaning towards a separate duct for all the reasons and more i.e. redundancy

I’ll bring you into the laser maintain chat (although I thought someone else would’ve done it already) to help speed this along.

New exhaust ventilation all in place and plugged into the laser! Seems to be doing a good job :slightly_smiling_face:


Amazing work!