Last week I purchased a NEJE 20w Master Laser from NMCLasers (LINK) and so far I am really happy with the quality of the engraving and cutting of this machine. Having come from a NEJE 1.5w laser cube, which had a tiny working area, the open design of the Master is much nicer.
After my first project, which was to burn the grid on the cutting board I had mounted the laser on, my wife instantly complained of the smell of smoke from my office/maker space. She is very sensitive to smell, so I had to come up with a solution. Opening the window and blowing a fan seemed to help out a lot but wasn’t a long term solution.
I first started looking at solutions that I could build an the community provided some nice examples. Then I started thinking of what I could use off the shelf. That’s when I remember seeing “mini rack-mount cabinets” when I was looking at building a home lab and went to see what I could find.
I ended up stumbling upon a 6U Rack Enclosure on eBay (LINK) and it had the dimensions I was looking for, and a fan for ventilation!
After placing the order – I then started thinking about how I was going to do ventilation. This turned into a trip to Home Depot. I found some 4in Dryer Vent and a Square Duct in the section near the hot water heaters and duct work. The idea was to couple the vent on the exhaust of the 120mm fan on the top of the case and vent out of the window. Unfortunately I was not able to find anything that would fit the bill – so for testing I purchased a cheap vent and cut it to fit the top of the enclosure, as you will see pictured. I am currently in the process of printing a 120mm to 4in Duct Adapter on my 3D Printer. I will post an update once I complete that.
The enclosure arrived and needed to be assembled. A lot of the reviews I read about the case said they had damage from the factor, fortunately mine only had one slightly bent rail that I was able to fix. Assembly was easy, took me about 10 minutes and I did not install the server rails – as I was not going to need them.
After assembly, I was pleased to find that the laser and cutting board fit perfect!
I installed some cheap USB LEDs from Amazon (LINK) that are made to go on the back of a TV on the top inside of the case.
All of the wiring is hooked up to a GoSung Smart Powerstrip (LINK) which allows me to use my Alexa Routine and say, “Alexa, Fire the Laser” and power on my setup. I ended up having to punch out one of the panels in the rear to fit the power cord for the fan through – which I plan on 3D printing a proper block-off to fill back in.
The sides come off of the enclosure, and the door is easily removable, making it possible to do oversized items that wouldn’t fit the width or length of the case.
I then mounted the temporary coupler on the top of the fan exhaust with double sided tape and hooked the duct hose to it, attaching the vent to the opposite end. I was pleased to feel decent air output with the stock 120mm fan – as I was going to order a high CFM fan if needed.
I plan on building something to fill the remainder of the gap in my window when I have the vent in place.
After everything was in place, I did a test on a piece of wood with laser at 100%, making sure to create smoke. I could see the smoke being sucked up towards the fan, clearing from the path of the beam and vented out of the top. I let the laser run for a bit and asked my wife if she could tell I was running my laser – SUCCESS! I then tried some Acrylic – something that I could smell and I could not tell I was burning plastic – AGAIN, SUCCESS!
NEJE 20w Master Laser
eBay 6U Rack Enclosure
4in Dryer Duct
Rectangle Duct Vent
120mm to 4in Vent Coupler
GoSung Smart Powerstrip
Project To-Do List:
3D Printed Vent Coupler – In Progress
J Tech Laser Shielding (LINK) to replace the glass – Ordered
I am sure for most people who use their setup for small projects, this is overkill. However, if you are using your laser in your house and would like to vent smells (and potentially toxic fumes) outside – this has so far worked great for me! I will continue to update this post as time goes on and I make modifications.