I am crazy excited about this new project! A job caught fire in this laser cutter (a Red Sail Laser X700) at my friend’s company. They decided to let it go, but he was able to intervene before all of it ended up in the trash. Now I am trying to make it work again. First step was to transfer it from his garage to my now-even-more-crowded garage.
The appearance of the enclosure is a pretty good indication of where the fire was burning. And although the soot is concentrated mostly in this area, there was plenty of grime distributed throughout the inside. So the first step was to take off all the covers and make the gantry more accessible.
Cleaning involved taking the whole gantry off, buffing every part with steel wool, vacuuming up all the steel wool bits, wiping everything with isopropyl alcohol, and finally reassembling. It took a long time, but I couldn’t have imagined how well it would all clean up. As expected, the timing belts were pretty crunchy feeling after being exposed to such heat. But the plastic wheels (nylon I think?) that run along the aluminum extrusions seem perfectly fine.
The photo above shows the inside of the top cover where the button panel and kill switch live. The bottom of the button panel is pretty deformed. There’s a chance its still functional, but the rest of the controller was e-wasted shortly after the fire, so I will just buy a new controller with button panel all together.
The burned paint pattern is gross but also weirdly beautiful?
I used a Scotch-Brite disk to remove most of the burned paint. I really didn’t want to re-paint the whole cover, so I decided to mask off an area on both parts of the cover, and sand/paint only that small area. The masked areas did include some paint that wasn’t actually that damaged, but since it was being painted, I was sure to sand the surface a bit to roughen it up.
I hadn’t noticed before how much darker the door was compared to the rest of the cover. This makes sense because the flames would have been mostly upward and the door has less thermal mass. I’m really please with how the white patch came out – kind of modern looking, way easier than painting the whole thing.
I’m thinking the next steps will be to mount the laser tube and raise the whole frame up so that the other components (water chiller, exhaust fan, air filter) can hopefully live mostly underneath, and not take up even more space.