An explaination and test of various air assist methods

I recently saw a video by American Photonics when looking at their CO2 beam combiners and noticed their lens nozzle based air assist has a very long tube and the nozzle is only ~6mm off the work piece.
I’ve been against the standard lens tube nozzle for air assist because it’s so far from the work material and the exit hole so large it’s just gently blowing the cut by the time it gets to the cut. Consider that while reading and/or watching what’s being tested.

Video showing long tube air assist nozzle:

You got me started down a rabbit hole!

And then that Hackaday article talked about 30 watt diode lasers!

You’re not being good to my sense of being productive! :grin:

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Did you see this 40 watt diode?

Watch the video it’s pretty informative.

Save yourself time watching the video, I’ll summarize:
He states he tested how much power the laser diode consumes and it was 20W. You should know these low end laser machine vendors chose marketing over intelligence in specing the capabilities of their machines… Then he said the manufacturer stated it puts out 2x the power of a “20W” laser diode so they called it a 40W laser. Grab the popcorn as this is going to get silly as more vendors use these laser diodes and make up specs… Then he shows a “20W” laser cutting a 30mm disc and shows how it puts more energy along the Y axis because of the output is an oval(not a dot) and it takes 1:45 to burn through. With the new “40W” it takes 1:05 to burn through.

Since I’ve seen people burning out their “20W” lasers far faster than “15W” or “7W” lasers my question is how fast with these “40W” lasers burn out due to excess over heating of the diode element. ie current designs can’t get the heat away from the diode fast enough to keep it from failing faster. We’ll need more popcorn to watch this play out too.

The video makes it clear that “40 watt” is a marketing number but that the Pro does have a tighter focus resulting in greater intensity of output so the 5 watt laser does cut better, if only in part due to it cutting better along the X-axis.

I’m encouraged by the strides diode lasers are making.
The video shows cutting 5 mm ply from a hardware store.
While the time and number of passes seem mildly ridiculous
In the end the results looked pretty clean and it definitely worked.

Given how little room these take up compared with a CO2 tube
I think they’re going to become a compelling proposition.

But we’re not there yet!

It will be interesting to see if this isn’t more than a better lens or if there is an improvement in the diode design itself. Or both. As I mentioned, these might be small but from stuff I’d seen in forums the higher power diodes don’t last very long if you use that additional power. Square “dot” is half length as opposed to a longer line… maybe 2 physical diode elements stacked?

Regardless, it would have cut even better with air assist. And the $44 75L Simple Deluxe pump is the one to get.

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