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Thread: F2 Laser Fire - Don't leave laser unattended!!!

  1. #16
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    Interesting thread and applies to shops without Lasers. Every shop should have adequate fire extinguishers in multiple locations. With a Laser you need even more protection. Shops should have some fire detection system. I have heat sensors in my shop hooked to a monitored system.

    I am glad that those with Laser fires did not have total losses. But, it would seem that a lot more needs to be done for fire protection.

  2. #17
    A fire blanket would help to contain the damage. I've been lucky--for over 20 years I've not had a sniff of a fire. But I stay with the machine whenever I'm cutting anything.

    I have two fire extinguishers in reach.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

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  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hair View Post
    I'm not sure a sensor by the exhaust would work out so well as the fast moving air would be much cooler than anywhere else. I think I'd rather put it in a corner where there isn't much air moving instead. Just a thought, could be wrong.
    You're right of course that the exhaust air would be cooler, but it would for sure be warmer than normal if a fire is brewing underneath the work, for the exhaust an 80-on sensor should work (assuming a 75-ish degree climate-controlled shop)... And since these sensors are cheap insurance and require only 2 wires and no outside power source, my thoughts are that putting in 2 or 3 sensors would be easy enough; one in a corner, one in the lid, one in the exhaust, $40 and a couple hours work
    ========================================
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  4. #19
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    Sorry for your loss John I've been there done that twice, first time I was a newbee and left it unattended second time I was sitting right next to it and it stilll caught fire, lucky I was next to it and got it out with out to much damage. I really like that fire stop Idea, but thinking it might give you a reason to walk away instead on watching the cut.
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  5. #20
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    Wanted to make one more point. Guy on another site posted some pictures of his setup. Had made a box of mdf to capture small rounds that he was vector cutting. Bottom of box was about 2 inches below his cut. The laser was still close enough to deeply char the mdf after cutting through his material. If anything but mdf, it would have caught fire. I could very well see acrylic cutoffs being burned by laser after dropping below your sheet.

    In other words, it is very likely that it isn't the laser cutting the main material that starts the fire, but inadvertent burning below.
    Just a thought....
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  6. #21
    Thanks for everyone's replies! Very informative. Ray from Rabbit Laser came by to pick up the laser to take to his shop to work on. He was on his way back from delivering a laser in NY, so it worked out, but I was up til 2AM cleaning it up, vacuuming fire extinguisher dust etc. Nice thing about buying a laser from an importer like Ray, is that he can service it (helps that I am from Ohio like him).

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    john.blazy_dichrolam_llc
    Delta Unisaw, Rabbit QX-80-1290 80W Laser, 5 x 12 ft laminating ovens, Powermax 22/44, Accuspray guns, Covington diamond lap and the usual assortment of cool toys / tools.

  7. #22
    I'm a complete Newb when it comes to laser cutting, and joined to glean information of the experts. Running across this thread gave me thought. My workshop is in my basement, but I work with flammable materials such as Nitrate and Butyrate dopes, and the associated thinners/reducers. I build RC planes in there, so have a really good ventilation system to pull the fumes out, and have fire extinguishers handy everywhere, but may reconsider where to actually put the laser.

    What I was wondering that could prevent this from happening, maybe it works, maybe not, but when welding metal together, especially thin materials, the welds are not done in a continuous line, but rather done a small section at a time, jumping back and forth to keep the metal cool. Could the same be done with the cutting, cut a small section, jump to another point, then come back and maybe cut it in reverse toward the already cut section? Would doing this help alleviate the heat buildup and prevent fires? I know it may take longer to cut, but if it prevents heat build up, would it be worth it?

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Heide View Post
    I'm a complete Newb when it comes to laser cutting, and joined to glean information of the experts. Running across this thread gave me thought. My workshop is in my basement, but I work with flammable materials such as Nitrate and Butyrate dopes, and the associated thinners/reducers. I build RC planes in there, so have a really good ventilation system to pull the fumes out, and have fire extinguishers handy everywhere, but may reconsider where to actually put the laser.

    What I was wondering that could prevent this from happening, maybe it works, maybe not, but when welding metal together, especially thin materials, the welds are not done in a continuous line, but rather done a small section at a time, jumping back and forth to keep the metal cool. Could the same be done with the cutting, cut a small section, jump to another point, then come back and maybe cut it in reverse toward the already cut section? Would doing this help alleviate the heat buildup and prevent fires? I know it may take longer to cut, but if it prevents heat build up, would it be worth it?
    hat type of laser do you have? and what are you going to be cutting with it.
    W
    If the Help and advice you received here was of any VALUE to you PLEASE! Become a Contributor
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  9. #24
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    The solution is very simple - watch your laser while it is running.

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Heide View Post
    I'm a complete Newb when it comes to laser cutting, and joined to glean information of the experts. Running across this thread gave me thought. My workshop is in my basement, but I work with flammable materials such as Nitrate and Butyrate dopes, and the associated thinners/reducers. I build RC planes in there, so have a really good ventilation system to pull the fumes out, and have fire extinguishers handy everywhere, but may reconsider where to actually put the laser.

    What I was wondering that could prevent this from happening, maybe it works, maybe not, but when welding metal together, especially thin materials, the welds are not done in a continuous line, but rather done a small section at a time, jumping back and forth to keep the metal cool. Could the same be done with the cutting, cut a small section, jump to another point, then come back and maybe cut it in reverse toward the already cut section? Would doing this help alleviate the heat buildup and prevent fires? I know it may take longer to cut, but if it prevents heat build up, would it be worth it?
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

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  10. #25
    I watched a fire about to start in my big Triumph about a week ago. Very interesting- how it happened was I was cutting a crapload of 1/8" w/black Rowmark Ultramatte in the machine like I do about every 3 days. When there's lots of plates I'll have Gravostyle's nesting function pack all the pieces together. GS leaves only about .030" of space between parallel cuts. I was watching while the laser was cutting upward along a previous cut, and I get flareups from the honeycomb occasionally... suddenly about a inch below where the laser had just passed, a flareup lit the leftover sliver of plastic on fire. I just kept watching, waiting for it to go out, but it didn't, the sliver eventually caught he edge of the cut piece next to it on fire. That's when I intervened...

    Now that I know the slivers catch, I leave much bigger slivers now! -But I still keep watch, it sure doesn't take much...
    ========================================
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    FOUR - CO2 lasers
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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    I was watching while the laser was cutting
    And Kev reveals the only way to reliably keep your laser from catching fire.
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

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  12. #27
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    I just love it when the newB's come on post 1 question and never bother to return or answer question or even find out if we were a help. guess they don't want to become contributors
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  13. #28
    Jumping around on the cuts definitely helps reduce the fire hazard, albeit at the cost of taking more time.

    I cut some snowflake ornaments from 1/8 clear and white acrylic a couple of years ago, with the cut file optimized to reduce head movement between successive cuts and minimize cut time. The design was pretty intricate with lots of small cutouts closely spaced, so the laser spent a lot of time in the same area cutting out small sections and leaving sort of a spider web skeletal snowflake shape. After a couple of flare-ups, I turned on the air assist and thought that did the trick. However, as the laser finished cutting one snowflake and went to the next, I noticed the surface of the just-finished snowflake starting to bubble and then saw a shimmer. At that point, I raised the lid to stop the beam and grabbed the squirt bottle. As I started to spray the area, the clear acrylic was definitely bubbling and I could see a faint flame.

    Leaving on the paper mask, using air assist at a higher pressure, and de-optimizing the cut sequence so that the laser jumped around the design to let each cut cool as much as possible before cutting again right next to it, all contribute to not having any more fires cutting these designs. I don't recall the difference, but all the jumping around made a significant increase in overall cutting time, which I find preferable to catching fire...

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Bert Kemp View Post
    hat type of laser do you have? and what are you going to be cutting with it.
    W
    Don't have one yet, and it will mainly be balsa and plywood for starters, then maybe once I get the hang of the software, other things like engravings. Still working out details of what to get, how much to spend, and what fits etc.

    I think you posted in my starter thread too. Thanks.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Heide View Post
    Don't have one yet, and it will mainly be balsa and plywood for starters, then maybe once I get the hang of the software, other things like engravings. Still working out details of what to get, how much to spend, and what fits etc.

    I think you posted in my starter thread too. Thanks.
    I meant is it a co2 or a fiber. Sounds like your looking to get a co2 tube laser.Engraving risk of fire is pretty low but cutting balsa even jumping around I would never leave it un watched. Balsa is very flammable, Plywood also don't leave it unattended just asking for trouble.
    -
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