View Full Version : Well 2014 isn't starting out great.......

Steve Clarkson
01-03-2014, 12:03 AM
Here's a picture of my laser after a fire on New Years Day. Surprisingly, it looks a lot worse than it was. The only real damage was the honeycomb cutting grid, the x-axis belt, and the air assist tube. I was sitting five feet away when it caught on fire and thankfully had a fire extinguisher sitting right next to the laser......that was what actually caused the most mess. It took about 5 or 6 hours to clean everything and replace the damaged parts.......the good news is that I had all three extra parts on hand. Surprisingly, the laser actually seems to be working better now than before the fire! I have been having issues with my air assist for the past few weeks as it just didn't seem to be blowing very hard and I was getting flare ups on almost anything I tried to cut......obviously, this was one big flare up! But all is well now.

David Somers
01-03-2014, 12:20 AM
Wow! Glad the damage was as limited as it was, and no harm came to people either!! Scary!

Steve, I seem to remember a post or thread a while back where folks discussed fire extinguishers and I searched a bit for it. Someone mentioned keeping a spray bottle of water handy that might be used to mist plants and that it helped a bunch with smaller flareups while not leaving a mess. And someone else mentioned using a First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguisher specifically because it left less of a mess than other extinguishers? I think this is the thread if it is useful at all.


I wonder if anyone else has a found a specific extinguisher they feel works well without leaving a mess?

And in the meantime! Here's to this being the one serious glitch you encounter this year!!!



brian saban
01-03-2014, 5:03 AM
Glad to see you are ok, must be scary. As far as fire extinguishers are concerned you should definitely get yourself a halotron fire extinguisher, pricey but does no damage and cleans up in one piece with no dust. here's the one I have by my machine at all times. You will see its about $130 for a 1.4lbs can. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KAO63G/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Just curious what were you cutting?

Joe Pelonio
01-03-2014, 7:48 AM
OUCH! Not a good way to start the year. What were you cutting?

Dave Sheldrake
01-03-2014, 8:17 AM
CO2 on everything except metal fires, water misting is fine unless somebody with a DC machine doesn't understand and sprays a PSU that discharges 30,000+ volts.



Glen Monaghan
01-03-2014, 8:58 AM
I was the one who mentioned using a spray bottle of water to mist a couple of small fires I recently had. Even the fire Steve had would probably have been easily quenched with my little spray bottle in just a few squirts, assuming the burning material was acrylic or wood (some plastics other than acrylic might not be so easily extinguished, so YMMV). The nice thing (if there is such) about a fire in a typical laser engraver is that there AREN'T any problematic electronics or electrical power connections, or much of anything else, that a few squirts of water will hurt. If a fire has gotten so big that you would be squirting PSUs and such, it's probably past time that you should be exiting the facility and calling 911.

Also, check your fire extinguisher specs. Especially those little 5-10 pound ones. They are only going to provide a couple of seconds of spray before they are exhausted. That means you need to direct them from the moment you pull the trigger where they will do the most good, because you won't have time to spray a while here, then try there, etc. You get one shot and they are empty. A small water mister can put out a lot of spray in comparison.

I'm starting to think that I need more exhaust flow. I've had a few flair ups and needed more lens cleaning since I switched from an out-the-window exhaust to a recirculating activated prefilter/activated charcoal/HEPA filter with 8" axial fan...

Mike Lassiter
01-03-2014, 9:02 AM
Sorry to hear; but glad to hear you where there and minimized damage. I agree with Dave about CO2 fire extinguisher. NOT dry chemical powder!
I started seeing flare ups when cutting acrylic on bottom side and realized it was residue on grid from cutting wood. I figured the same was happening while cutting wood products too just I couldn't see it happening like I could with clear acrylic. Upper left side of honeycomb was dark brown. My cutting table is a monster - 24" x 48" x 7"+ thick. Took table out and removed honeycomb and cleaned it with HVAC coil cleaner several times and again grid nice and shiny. I did see a considerable difference if cutting acrylic afterwards. First time ever to clean cutting table and grid which took me about 3 hours all together. Haven't got to see your pictures yet - don't see any on cell phone. Curious to see how fast this happens and magnitude of damage. Everyone this is a good warning. Imagine if he had of been "away" for only a couple more minutes before discovering this!

Mike Null
01-03-2014, 10:35 AM

Good point about cleaning the grid. There is no question that the build up on the grid of various tars, dust and other residue can cause flare ups.

A product called Krud Kutter available at HD works to clean the residue.

Dee Gallo
01-03-2014, 7:23 PM
Good Grief, Steve! Glad it was minimal damage, but what about your air assist? Does it work or not?

It's best to get this kind of thing over with for the year, so it doesn't bother you later on... Happy New Year!

cheers, dee

Dave Sheldrake
01-03-2014, 10:02 PM
Nothing wrong with a spray bottle Glen just not for all machines :)



Martin Reynolds
01-03-2014, 10:05 PM
Bottom line: you need Halotron AND a dry powder extinguisher.

As a fellow laser fire user:

1) That fire extinguisher powder is super fine and super corrosive. You have to super clean everything. Expect other stuff in the room to rust.
2) Water bottle is fantastic for small fires, even with the exhaust running.
3) As soon as the exhaust stops, or the hose melts off, the flames go vertical. As you open the lid or the lid melts - big flare up.
3) Halotron style is the next step up. Watch how you handle the lid!
4) The dry powder is messy, but if the Halotron doesn't complete the job, dry powder has vastly greater stopping power.

Bert Kemp
01-03-2014, 10:22 PM
Glad your OK Steve. I had one of those frisky little flare ups a few months back, I think I posted pictures here, Not sure. But mine was same deal, melted air hose and belt and all the rubber wheels on my laser head cartridge . Its a small bed machine so spray bottle worked ok. But what surprised me was how quick it got going , I'm 3 feet away looked over saw the glow lift cover spray it out and wow look at all the damage.All in under a min. I was cutting 1/8th BB and I guess I had my speed to slow and that caused it to ignite . We really have to be Careful and never leave the room when doing anything that can ignite.

Dan Hintz
01-04-2014, 10:39 AM
Surprisingly, the laser actually seems to be working better now than before the fire! I have been having issues with my air assist for the past few weeks as it just didn't seem to be blowing very hard and I was getting flare ups on almost anything I tried to cut.

Sounds like the fire was pointing out a failing air assist... if the tube was replaced due to the fire and it works better now, maybe the tube was becoming blocked?

Glad you caught it, Steve...

Larry Bratton
01-04-2014, 3:12 PM
Glad everything survived Steve. If I had to bet on what you were cutting, I would bet on acrylic..huh?