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OMTECH CO2 Laser Air Assist Upgrade

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Most CO2 Lasers come with some type of stock air assist. Depending on the brand and style, it may come as a built in addition, or a stand alone unit. These included air pumps usually work just fine to get started, and are perfect for getting used to your laser. Air assist is beneficial for three main reasons.

  1. Helps keep the lens clean and free of debris

  2. Reduces the chance of flare ups with the material being engraved or cut.

  3. Keeps smoke away from the laser beam giving the beam a clearer path through the material.

As you become more in tune with using your laser, you may find that the stock air pump lacks pressure and constantly runs (when the laser is powered on). Upgrading to a system that incorporates a compressor adds a huge boost in air pressure, and is beneficial for a few reasons. With added PSI, you will see cleaner cuts (less char on sides), less burn marks (top and bottom), and may see an advantage with faster run speeds. Also, with the upgraded air assist, which is wired to your Ruida controller, the solenoid only allows air to flow when the laser job is running.

Compressors come in many different sizes and styles. For your sanity working with the laser, I highly recommend a "quiet" type of compressor. Most big box stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, and Menards, all carry some type of "quiet" air compressors. Regular compressors are loud, and will rattle your brain after long periods of use. As far as size (Gallons), I recommend getting the biggest you can that will fit your space and budget. I personally use the Kobalt Quiet Tech 26gal (picture above) in my shop. This particular compressor supplies both of my lasers, the 60w OMTECH (20x28) and the 100w OMTECH (40x24). If a larger compressor doesn't work for you, there are smaller sizes available. Just remember that the smaller the air storage, the more the compressor will cycle (refill). I started with the 8gal California Air Tools Compressor (linked above). It worked great with my 60w laser. When I added the 100w to the shop, I needed more air, and upgraded to the Kobalt 26gal.

"The reason that you would want to upgrade your air assist is to have cleaner cuts. This will also help somewhat with engraving but the biggest benefit is seen when performing a cut operation." - Brandt (Bearded Builds Co.)

If you want to upgraded your stock air assist, I have created a parts list below that is needed to complete the job.

Air Assist Upgrade Components

To install the air assist upgrade to your laser, you will need each of the components listed below. You will have some parts left over, but these listings were the cheapest and easiest way to purchase them from one source.

Optional - (You may not need the following part. New machines most likely include these already connected to the Ruida controller)

Installation Instructions

1. Place the compressor next to your laser, or nearby.

2. Using one of the 1/4" NPT Push to Connect Fittings (PTCF), wrap the included Teflon tape around the threads two or three times. Screw the PTFC into the female quick connect coupler. Make sure tighten enough to ensure no air leaks. Set aside for later.

3. With the machine off, locate the stock air pump. Cut the stock tubing as close as possible to stock air pump.

4. Find the connected wires (2 wires - power and ground) on the stock air pump, and either cut them or de-solder them from the stock air pump. If cutting, do so a couple inches out from the air pump, just in case these need to be hooked up again for some reason down the road. Instead of cutting the wires, you can fully remove the wires from the machine if you would like. Trace those wires from the stock air pump to the the silver 24v power supply. One will be connected to 24v power, the other will be connected to ground. Loosen the screws, and slide out the wiring. Re-tighten the terminal screws. If you wish to NOT remove the stock wiring, and cut the wires instead, separately place a wire nut on each of the wires cut from the stock air pump. The stock air pump wires will not be used when wiring the upgraded Air Assist System.

5. Once the stock wiring and tubing is cut, you can now remove the stock air pump from the laser cabinet.

6. Take the 24V solenoid and two of the 1/4" NPT Push to Connect Fittings, and wrap the Teflon tape around the threads two or three times on each. Place one PTCF into each side of the solenoid (In and Out), and make sure tighten enough to ensure no air leaks.

7. Back inside the laser cabinet, take the stock air tubing that was cut in the previous steps, and feed it through the back of the laser. If there is not a hole, you may need to drill one yourself. If there is not enough slack in the tubing to make this happen, use one of the straight union push connectors (included in the tubing kit) and extend the stock tubing with a piece the new blue tubing. This will allow the stock tubing to be extended out the back of the laser cabinet.

8. Connect the air tubing from inside the laser cabinet (stock tubing) to the Push to Connect Fitting already installed on the the "Out" portion of the solenoid. The "In" portion of the solenoid will be done in a later step.

9. To use the push to connect fittings... push in the plunger, slide in tube, and release the plunger. If you need to remove the tubing from the fitting, press in the plunger, and pull out the tubing. Pretty simple.

10. Take the Filter/Regulator and two of the 1/4" NPT Push to Connect Fittings, and wrap the Teflon tape around the threads two or three times. Place one PTCF into each side of the regulator/filter (In and Out). Make sure tighten enough to ensure no air leaks.

11. Mount the regulator to the wall with included mount and screws or you can mount regulator to the outside of the laser cabinet with included mount and some stronger double sided tape.

12. Once the regulator is mounted to your liking, cut a length of new tubing that will run from the compressor to the inline regulator. On the compressor end, connect the new tubing to the female coupler/PTCF setup from Step 2 above. Next, connect the other end of the tube to the inline regulator on the "In" side using the already installed PTCF.

13. Cut another length of tubing long enough to run from the inline regulator to the solenoid.

14. Connect one side of the tube to the "Out" portion of the inline regulator and connect the other end to the "In" portion of the solenoid using the already installed PTCF's.

15. At this time, the solenoid will not be mounted to the laser cabinet. This will be done in a later step.

The tubing portion of the Air Assist upgrade is complete. Now onto wiring the solenoid to the Ruida Controller.

1. Depending on which 24v solenoid you purchase, they may be pre-wired (with leads extending out of the solenoid, or some are not and need to connect wires to the terminals located inside the solenoid. Both ways are really easy.

2. Using the 18g wiring spools from the parts list, cut a length of red and black wire long enough to run from the solenoid to the Ruida controller inside the laser cabinet.

3. If using the pre-wired solenoid, connect one end of the recently cut red wire to the red lead from the solenoid using wiring butt connectors, crimper, and shrink tubing. Do the same for the black wire.

4. If using the terminal connection solenoid, loosen the terminals inside the solenoid. Connect on end of the recently cut red wire to one terminal, and the black wire to the other. The terminal and color of wiring does not matter for this connection.

5. Run the red and black wires connected to the solenoid over to the Ruida controller. Look for the CN1 portion of the terminal block. Colors of wire now matter. Connect the red wire into the terminal marked "24V". Connect the black wire into the terminal marked "Wind". As mentioned above in the parts list, your laser might not have the 6 pin connector on the controller installed from the factory. If this is the case, you will need the part listed above in the parts list.

3. Mount the solenoid to the outside of the laser cabinet using a strong double stick tape.

The wiring portion of the Air Assist Upgrade is complete. Now onto machine setting changes in Lightburn to activate the air assist.

1. With Lightburn installed, make sure the laser is connected to Lightburn and they are talking to each other.

2. In Lightburn, go to "EDIT", then "MACHINE SETTINGS", and click "READ"

3. When the settings list populates, scroll down to "VENDOR SETTINGS". PS... don't go crazy and start changing random settings. These machine settings are very important. Please make sure you know what you are doing before changing settings other than what is outlined here.

4. You may need to hit the expand arrow to see the options listed under Vendor Settings

5. In the Vendor Settings list, find "ENABLE AIR ASSIST OUTPUT", and change it from "FALSE" to "TRUE" using the toggle switch.

6. Click "WRITE" and the click "OK"

Your Air Assist Upgrade is now complete.

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3 comentarios

02 mar

Thank you!! I should have done this a couple years ago. My cuts are super clean now. I like that the air only comes on when the cut starts. I set the air anywhere between 5 and 10 psi. For smaller parts, I'll lower it even further so that the air doesn't dislodge small pieces.

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10 mar 2023

Maybe I missed it in the article but what is the best psi setting for the regulator? (Omtech 60w, Kobalt 26 gal)

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Dustin Larson
Dustin Larson
05 ene 2023

Question. I wired my new air assist the exact same way as described above, however the air only comes on when I push the air assist button on my Ruida controller. Any reason why it doesn't work automatically. I have an Omtec 60 watt Co2 laser that was purchased from Omtec new in July of 2022.

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