CNC Plasma Cutter Filter Gets The Slag Out

No matter what kind of tools and materials you use in your shop, chances are pretty good that some process is going to release something that you don’t want to breathe. Table saw? Better deal with that wood dust. 3D-printer? We’ve discussed fume control ad nauseam. Soldering? It’s best not to inhale those flux fumes. But perhaps nowhere is fume extraction more important than in the metal shop, where vaporized bits of metal can wreak respiratory havoc.

Reducing such risks was [Shane Wighton]’s rationale behind this no-clean plasma cutter filter. Rather than a water table to collect cutting dross, his CNC plasma cutter is fitted with a downdraft table to suck it away. The vivid display of sparks shooting out of the downdraft fans belied its ineffectiveness, though. [Shane]’s idea is based on the cyclonic principle common to woodshop dust collectors and stupidly expensive vacuum cleaners alike. Plastic pipe sections, split in half lengthwise and covered in aluminum tape to make them less likely to catch on fire from the hot sparks, are set vertically in the air path. The pipes are arranged in a series of nested “S” shapes, offering a tortuous path to the spark-laden air as it exits the downdraft.

The video below shows that most of the entrained solids slow down and drop to the bottom of the filter; some still pass through, but testing with adhesive sheets shows the metal particles in the exhaust are much reduced. We like the design, especially the fact that there’s nothing to clog or greatly restrict the airflow.

Looking for more on CNC plasma cutter builds? We’ve got you covered, from just the basics to next-level.

Continue reading “CNC Plasma Cutter Filter Gets The Slag Out”

Automatic Capacitor Charger Lets You Have Fun With Sparks

[GranTotem] is delighted by the sparks put out when a capacitor is rapidly discharged. But he’s not impressed at the relatively slow process of connecting them to a power supply for a recharge. So he built this auto-charging station for his capacitors that provides a shockingly good time almost continuously. Check out the video to see what we mean.

We always like to see the guts of the project, and that’s why we chose this image for the feature. But when everything is properly seated in the project box [GranTotem] has managed to achieve a really clean look. There are two barrel jack connectors on the end, one for 16V and the other for 20V inputs. The lid of the enclosure hosts an on/off switch, adjustment knob, and two banana connector terminals. Once switched on, a relay connects and disconnects the capacitor from the power supply at regular intervals which are adjusted by the knob. Just connect a couple of probes to those banana terminals and let the sparks reign down.

Continue reading “Automatic Capacitor Charger Lets You Have Fun With Sparks”

Adjustable Tesla Coil Build

This coil has no trouble shooting sparks across four meters of empty air. [Finn Hammer] has been putting in some long hours on this labor of love, and we put in some time reading through his progress thread. He started down this path about a year ago and every step of the way he produces beautiful work. We enjoy seeing his prototyping techniques, moving from concept to hand drawing to CAD diagram before starting the physical build. Check out the demo video after the break and as you read through his thread look for the green arrows that lead to other videos and resources.

Continue reading “Adjustable Tesla Coil Build”

Turn Your Old Hard Drive Into A Sander/grinder


[Jipa] over at MetkuMods put up an original re-use for old hard drives: make em into power tools. The tiny servo motor that drives the spindle doesn’t generate much torque, but once the drive is spinning fast enough, the inertial force of the platter is enough to make it usable for small grinding/sanding projects. The platters are re-stacked directly on top of each other to increase strength – we’d suggest a few dabs of epoxy to make em even stronger. Once stacked, a piece of sand paper is cut to size and held on by the center platter washer. [Via hacknmod]