21st January 2020

K40 Air Assist Upgrade

Most of the people I’ve seen online that talk about the K40 Laser, say that an Air Assist line is an essential upgrade to improve the quality of the cuts and engraving.

I couldn’t find a design online that I was 100% happy with, so it was time to Tinkerneer my own creation.

The Air Assist for a laser engraver blows a jet of air down towards the point where the laser beam hits the material being cut or engraved. The intention is to blow away any particles of that material that have been vapourised. This leaves the path clear for the beam.

The upshot of this is that the beam cuts through the material quicker and it doesn’t get scattered by or ignite the smoke that is generated.

I found a number of nozzles on Thingiverse for my K40 laser, my favourites being the ones with the jet that comes in from the side. The problem I had was that, after printing a couple, i couldn’t fit them to the laser head without unscrewing various parts of the machine. This isn’t a problem (I have a screwdriver) but it then leads to the need to check the calibration of the mirrors that control the laser path.

In the end, I took a couple of “Things” and remixed them to create https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4098748

This can fit onto the laser head with or without an M3 nut and screw. It just depends on how tight a fit you want.

You can feed a length of clear aquarium tubing (https://amzn.to/37clu4j) into the hole on the side and I took the opportunity to hook this up to a cheap aquarium pump

Running the laser with the air assist does indeed make a real difference to the cutting process.

I’m really happy that I decided to add this as my first upgrade and I hope this video helps you understand how much an effect it has.

Let me know if you download the free model from Thingiverse, I’d be interested to hear your experiences with it.

For now though, thanks for stopping by.