Lasers, Wood-Cutting And CO2 (possibly nitrogen maybe)
by Lord Reacted The Censored
So we upgraded to a 60 watt laser and word got around that we have it. Been cutting a lot of thin wood for various customers.
Top of the sheet, the laser head has an air-assist. When the beam fires the wood ignites briefly and the air-jet extinguishes it. There is a char-spot where the beam burns through and of course the edges of the cut are singed as well. The air-jet prevents fires and blows out flare-ups... in certain situations though the wood can ignite and you end up with an air-jet fueled fire.
Seems to me better results could be had if I use a stream of Co2 instead of air. The laser has a huge exhaust fan so we'd be pulling the CO2 out of the work area and our workshop has an always-open (even in the winter) window-and-fan because of the fumes we generate doing other stuff. I'm thinking CO2 would prevent even that brief flare/burn at burn-through and it would work better at keeping flare-ups under control. Given that we are effectively directing cool CO2 gas at the burn point we've displaced oxygen and kept the work surface cool at the same time.
Aside from the hazard of overwhelming one's self with CO2 and ending up dead and on the news, am I thinking right here? It seems it would work, there are some safety challenges (interlocks?) that I would have to work through but if it's technically sound I might look into it further.