Hi All,

I'm new to this forum. I am planning on building a DIY CO2 laser cutter. I'm designing it to maximise cutting area as much as I can within the limited space available in my shop, so I'm planning to build the gantry to be 1200x600mm. That will be the linear rail size, so cutting space will be slightly less. I plan on using an 80watt laser, which should fit perfectly in the case which I expect to be around 1400x800 or so (probably a little longer to accommodate laser tube and electronics). The enclosure will be 20x20 and 20x40mm aluminium t-slot extrusion, with V-slot extrusions for the linear rails. Now, for all the brackets and gantry parts that I need... I'm not too good with assembling stuff in CAD so I'm designing my parts in onShape and 3d printing them for physical fitting together. I was then planning on machining them from aluminium for the final version when I have it all fitting together.

However, getting them professionally made will be very expensive and my CNC router and manual machining skills on my mini mill are capable of doing some basic aluminium milling, but not really up to scratch for what I will need.. I have seen lots of people using 3d printed parts in their laser cutters, including 3d printed tube holders so my question to the group is, for an 80watt tube, with good airflow and water cooling, how hot can I expect the outside envelope of the tube to get (worst case) and how hot can I expect the interior of the laser cutter (with lid closed, air assist, and a good extractor fan) in normal operation? Do you think 3d parts will stand up to it or will there be a risk of them softening in operation. In the event of a fire the intent, of course, is to monitor the machine all the time like a hawk and immediately stop it, but I've got to assume that a few seconds of flame is possible - if my gantry plate that holds the lens assembly were 3d printed, would it be a disaster?

I'm printing parts in PLA right now, but I can print in more hardy plastic for the final 'production' parts. I have a spool of Carbon Fibre filled PETG (This: https://colorfabb.com/luvocom-3f-pet-cf-9780-bk) which should be resistant up to 125 degrees. I've printed parts with it before and find it quite easy to print. Would that be sufficient for the parts?


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