Parallax Insider News

Laser Room Control System

  • By: Parallax Insider Published: 26 November, 2013 0 comments
Parallax houses two lasers in a small confined room in the warehouse. One laser has a 24 x 36" bed, while the other is a 36 x 48" monster. Both lasers are used to cut many different parts that become pieces of our kits and product offerings. Lasers produce fumes that must be extracted from the building. To clear these fumes we’ve installed a high-powered cyclone style air handler vent and system, controlled by our own products.
Several switches activate the ventilation system. The Parallax Propeller Board of Education (32900) monitors and displays (on an LED bar graph) the amount of negative pressure in the main duct of our Epilog Laser system.
The project is connected to the internal controls of each of the Laser systems. If the cyclone were to fail, the system would send the appropriate signal to the Laser Controller, putting it into a pause state. The signal sensor used in this system is from Digi-Key (Part #MPX5010DP).
Venting and signaling is important for a few reasons: 
  • If we lose suction the room would fill up with fumes, which aren't all that good for you (especially in high concentrations).  
  • The suction effect is used to pull the raw material down flat to the honey-combed cutting platform. It's important for the material to be as flat as possible because the laser must be focused at a particular distance from the source of the material being cut.  If it's not at the right distance, the laser will cut a "wide" kerf, resulting in poor quality and a lot more fume production.
  • When Propeller Board of Education detects there is sufficient vacuum, it indicates that it's ok to begin cutting and that the fumes will be extracted from the building. The fumes are then contained within a fume collector outside the building.
Although the system isn't fully implemented yet, (we still have mechanical work to do in the Laser room), it will end up being a clean and foolproof ventilation and suction system. The byproduct of that results in higher quality parts and less scrapping of material. This in turn allows us to keep our costs down and provide cool products at low prices.