DIY Laser Fume Extractor – Part 1

UPDATE:  I started the work on the filters tonight.  I still need some activated carbon to test them which should come in around Thurdsay or so.  Filters in progress here:


DISCLAIMER:  I know I go a bit crazy with the screws.  However my son says it looks like a robot with them so oh well!  If you build your own you will not need this many 🙂

This past weekend I decided that I would attempt a carbon filtering fume extractor stack (at least what I called it).  Basically the fumes from the smoke of many different materials is pretty bad.  The idea was to make it so the carbon would filter the smoke and output clean air (ok well a best hopes less smelly air).  Heres some photos of the build.  I will be putting the whole thing on thingiverse soon.  I do not like how the filters are working out.  They were the carbon filters you can cut to size from home depot.  I have a different idea how to make your own carbon filters from masonite, screen door material and the laser cutter.  I will post an update here soon.  Check back to this page to get updates on this project.  I have a lot more pictures on my flickr stream.






This little stepper motor with a PC fan blade is hooked up to 2 LEDs. When the fume extractor is turned on the air flows from the top of the "SYNstractor to the bottom" thus spinning the fan (stepper motor) generating a few volts to turn on the robot eyes!. Super cool IMO. Not sure if it will work but I think once the filters get too dirty then the LEDS will start to dim. But if not.. its super cool that this robot comes to life. Attrib: I got the robot logo from this website.



  • Nice job Ril3y,

    I would love to hear follow-up on how well the carbon filters work. I have a web site and forum dedicated to homebuilt laser engraver/cutters. There has been a lot of talk regarding this subject.

    bdringMarch 22, 2010
  • Cool! Every time I google’d this type of stuff I wound up on hash forums 🙂 I have a bio chem PHD friend that I talked to about this subject. After talking to him I was motivated to get this working. Oh, I did ditch the Home Depot filters and just laser cut my own. I am on my way to HD / LOWES tonight to pickup some screen material. I also am going to get some activated carbon from another friend. He works at a fish store at night and can get me bulk pretty cheap.

    Whats left to do is laser cut the other filters and then sealup any cracks / leaks. I am using window/bathroom sealer for this.

    Thanks for the comment bdring.


    Ril3yMarch 22, 2010
  • How did this project turn out? Can the little stepper motor reliably determine the filter saturation? Did you switch to using HEPA activated carbon filters?

    I’m looking at building a similar cabinet and would love to hear about your experience.

    Ovidiu PredescuNovember 9, 2010
  • Actually. I built it then I realized that I needed a blower for the laser to extinguish the flame if I was going to use this. Right now the exhaust system is so strong it basically sucks the flame out. If I put the filter on the output decreases and flames spring up. I have been meaning to get a little compressor from harbor freight however I have not yet. So I cannot really answer your questions right now. I am not sure if hepa filters would work any better either. Since I though hepa was to block small particles? Dust etc? I dont mind that stuff more so need to remove the smell. Dunno..


    Ril3yNovember 9, 2010
  • Very interested in your filter

    Why have you chosen to use four levels of filters?

    I was expeting the filter to have its own fan pulling the fumes throug in addintion to the fans in the laser cutter.

    bodgeitJune 7, 2011
  • Did you test it yet? What does it do to the smell?

    AshJune 21, 2011
  • great, Whats left to do is laser cut the other filters and then sealup any cracks / leaks. I am using window/bathroom sealer for this.

    mustafijurNovember 2, 2011
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