Visible light and laser beam have in common the same nature, as both are composed of photons, however the difference between them is in the fact that visible light has an optically isotropic propagation (that is, it propagates identically in all directions) while in the laser all the energy is concentrated within a single beam of very small section. Therefore, when the laser hits matter, it is instantly able to radiate a great power in a very small area, causing a sudden and rapid increase in temperature that alters the state of matter.
Laser engraving machines, such as Longer Ray5, are able to emit a laser beam that instantly transforms the state of matter by combustion, and the contrast between the laser-subjected surface and the surrounding surface creates the visual effect commonly called Laser Engraving. However, the energy hitting a single point is not limited to that point, but the heat generated is also transmitted to the areas surrounding the point causing the typical burning effect of laser processing.
In order to avoid or reduce this effect, an Air Assist mechanism can be used, which consists of a compressor capable of continuously blowing pressurized air directly onto the area subjected to the laser. In this way, the heat exchanged between the laser area and the surrounding area is mitigated by the fresh air of the Air Assist compressor, thus avoiding the burnt effect around the laser engraving. In addition, the air blown on the engraving zone cancels the heat exchange with the surrounding areas, but does not damage the engraving ability of the laser beam. A simple example to understand this phenomenon can be this: if on a summer day with the sun high in the sky you go to the sea, if there is wind then you feel cool while if there is no wind then you feel hot, but in both cases the sun causes burns to the skin in the same way.
Longer Ray5 10W Air Assist installation
Longer Ray5 10W has an official Air Assist kit that consists of two parts, the nozzle kit and the air compressor, available at the following link: https://www.longer3d.com/products/air-assist-set .
Installing the Longer Air Assist on 10W Laser module is really easy, just follow the steps below:
- Install the metal nozzle on the laser module
- Connect a rubber hose between the metal nozzle and the pressure regulator, and connect another part of the rubber hose to the regulator inlet
- Connect the inlet pipe of the regulator to the outlet of the air compressor
- Finally, install the laser module on the Ray5, activate the compressor switch and start an engraving from the Longer Ray5 display
Longer Ray5 5W Air Assist installation
To proceed with the installation of the Air Assist kit on the Longer Ray5 5W, it is necessary to purchase, as for the 10W version, the kit consisting of the nozzle kit and the air compressor, available at the following link: https://www.longer3d.com/products/air-assist-set . However, the metal nozzle included inside the kit is compatible with 10W module only, therefore it is necessary to have a 3D printer to print with PLA or PETG the following nozzle: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5585296 .
Installing the Longer Air Assist on 5W Laser module is really easy, just follow the same steps as the installing method for 10W Laser module but install the 3D printed nozzle on the laser module instead of the metal nozzle. After that, as mentioned, just follow the same steps as shown for installation on the 10W module.
The use of Air Assist not only increases the engraving quality, but can also increase the laser's cutting capacity thanks to the possibility of removing smoke and combustion debris thanks to the continuous breath of air; without Air Assist, these would end up settling on the laser lens, hindering the output laser beam of the module. Whether for hobbyist or professional use, Longer Air Assist is absolutely recommended if you want to achieve the maximum performance offered by Longer Ray5 10W and Longer Ray5 5W.