Safety Recomendations For an X-Carve Enclosure

I have been planning to build an enclosure for my X-Carve to drown out sound, and keep particles contained, very similar to the one built by ChinhTMai https://discuss.inventables.com/t/soundproof-enclosure/27458/12. I understand that there are many resources about these enclosures, however my father is preventing me from building the enclosure, as it may pose a fire hazard. I understand the concern and him and I have come up with ideas to improve the safety of the system by using fireproof materials, attaching a vacuum or a coolant system, or by making the container air tight. This has halted my design process, and before I continue further, I would like to reach out to the community. My X-Carve will be modified form an 1000mm system to a 1000x750mm system, and I will have other modifications like a raised gantry, and maybe in the future attach some ball screws (Just extra information and context).

Please note that I am very new to CNC machining, the X-carve being my introduction and explaining may be necessary. This is also my very first forum post so if I am breaking any rules or misconducting myself please let me know.

Thank you.

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Your best defense against fire is to never leave the machine alone while it is carving. Be sure you build the enclosure so you can always see what is going on inside and then be in the room while it is running. Before anything catches fire there will be a lot of smoke and time to hit the E-Stop.

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I figured that would be my best option as well, however its very hard for me to always keep an eye on the machine. I tried arguing this point with my father, but he still wants something that would have a minimal risk of fire. Would making the enclosure out of metal, and making the system air tight so that if a fire breaks out it would be starved of oxygen? Ether way I would keep an eye on the machine, and never do stray far from it so your suggestion is implemented. Also I would have a front viewing window that ensures visibility. Thank you for the suggestion :smiley:

Making the enclosure air tight is not an option since you will need to have some type of dust collection operating and you can not pull air out without letting air in,

I still would go with the enclosure simply for dust collection, and noise control. My dad leaves the toaster unattended, why so worried with the cnc :smile:. Anyways, very good points about leaving things unattended, and thanks for the welcome.

Jeez, must have slipped my mind, that’s something I should have easily recognized. Thanks for pointing that out. So far what I have for the enclosure:

  • Made out of sheet metal, or aluminum
  • Large viewing windows
  • Has a dust collection system hooked up
  • Should me heavily monitored

I could also line the inside with acoustic foam, or any other soundproofing devices right? At least without any issues for some reason.

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I would probably make my own dust collector, as its customizable with the enclosure. Also I may need to silence the shopvac, because when I first got my X-carve I had to hold a vacuum to it, and did notice the vacuum was quite a bit louder. I need to get a proper shopvac anyways, I’m sure you can get some quieter ones. Also I can build an enclosure around the shopvac as well (a separate enclosure, not one that’s for the cnc). I would however try and find a real quiet shopvac first to avoid the extra hassle of building a enclosure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q-aXbm2BVE

Would placing a smoke detector above the xcarve enclosure help ease concerns?

If you have room for a real dust collector you will be much happier. A 2hp DC is a lot quieter and can run all day without overheating.

The Harbor Freight DC goes on sale for about $160

https://www.harborfreight.com/70-gal-2-hp-industrial-dust-collector-61790.html

I guess it would be preferred if I get a proper dust collection system, but I don’t quite have the room or the money unless I find something smaller, and work a little harder. Mind you I’m not the one paranoid about building this, its my father who is. So I need to convince him on a design that would ease his concerns. I’m sure a proper dust collector will ease some concern. Thank you RobertCanning, and AllenMassey for the information.

As others have said, having the X-Carve start a fire is an extremely low risk if you are in the room with it while it is carving. The noise it will make when something breaks will instantly get your attention!

The much more serious hazard is the potential for lung damage from all the small dust particles the cutting tool will create. Without proper duct collection and air filtering the air in your shop will be full of very fine particles that can lodge in your lungs. Very few shop vacs are capable of adequately filtering the material without modification (adding a cyclone separator)

What’s to late? Every situation is different. A smoke detector is still considered an early warm device.

Ok, I’ve discussed with may dad, on what to do, and I will be getting a proper dust collector, this will eliminate both the fire hazard caused by having a shop vac, and the air quality hazard of fine dust particles being suspended in the lungs. I don’t see any drastic errors with the X-Carve, and all I am doing is just building a box around it. I am also planning to add a sensor array with a camera, heat sensor, smoke detector, etc. I will use these sensors to send data and a live video feed to my phone where I can constantly monitor the CNC even when I have to step out for a while. I am also planning to have the ability to shut off the machine from my phone incase anything goes wrong.

Thank you for all your recommendations. Anything else I should consider before I start the design process?

I am glad you are moving forward and your safety sensors are certainly a useful addition. But I must still stress that even with the sensors and live video monitor, you should not allow the X-Carve to run unattended for any length of time. There are just so many things that can go wrong while the machine is operating (most are caused by human error). It is just a really bad idea to be out of hearing range for more than 5 or 10 minutes at most. I would never leave my machine for even 10 minutes if I could not hear it.

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I’m aware that having the sensor array wont guarantee safety. Its only in place if I ever have to step outside for a moment. I don’t trust my machine enough to leave it alone, so if I ever have to step outside for a time I’m not comfortable with (i.e 5 minutes), I will just send my brother to look after it. He already knows how to use the machine, so if anything went wrong I can trust him. The sensor array is only in place to be able to monitor the CNC for a brief moment or to check up on it while I’m outside, and my brothers watching it.

Thank you for your concern :smiley:

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That sounds like a good plan. I look forward to seeing some of your finished work.

I really don’t know either, its summer time, and I always need some project to keep me occupied :slight_smile:

What are you cutting and how are you cutting it that a fire would start? :grin:

There are several things that you could do to warn yourself about a fire inside an enclosure when you are not near the X-Carve. You can use a Nest Protect or Roost smoke detector (http://www.getroost.com/product-smokealarm) inside the enclosure and they will send alarm messages to your iPhone. You should also be able to also use a Amazon Alexa / Dot for this with a corresponding sensor. Using a relay/sound sensor before the X-Carve e-switch would also immediately shut the power off once the smoke detector sounded. A heat sensor/meter could also be attached to the same relay. A simple solution is to use a Insteon Smart Outlet where you plug the X-Carve in. Once the app alerts you to high heat or smoke, simple turn the outlet off via the Insteon app. This is just one quick example.

Also don’t get your hopes up too high about noise control. You could make your enclosure tight as a drum and the noise would still be heard, this is because noise travels via vibrations, and you’ll need to use special materials in a specific manner in order to fully control the vibrations from the motors used in a X-Carve. You should be able to reduce the noise a little, but it’s not as easy as many think it should be. Isolating the motors vibrations will help you deaden the sound better than using multiple layers of material. Welcome to the forum and let us know what your making with your X-Carve :wink:

Thanks for the trove of information, You threw a lot of stuff for me to think about. I’m already making an app that will allow me to monitor and shut off the cnc remotely, I love your idea about hooking up sensors directly to the e-stop switch and I will implement that. I’m also hooking the spindle to the x-controller so I have remote access with that. Also since the enclosure will be made out of sheet metal, it will carry vibrations a lot easier than say wood, so I am planning to layer the inside in acoustic foam, or any other sound dampening material. It wont make the system noise free but it should make it easier to work near the machine without killing your hearing, the sound of the stepper motors are not troubling but the sound of the spindle. I’m not trying to make the system completely sound proof, because I still want to hear what is going on. Materials I’m cutting would be wood, and aluminum, so the wood would pose a greater fire hazard than the aluminum. Thank you for these ideas, you guys are certainly giving me lots to do over the summer :grinning:

UPDATE:

I have created the blueprints for the enclosure. I drew them by hand instead of using Auto Cad, because I miss mechanical drafting. The lettering looks sloppy because I lost my letter stencil and had to print all the letters. I will be sending the design to a local fabrication shop because my dad wants the enclosure built out of sheet metal instead of wood or aluminum which is expensive. I have also raised the gantry of my X-carve and shortened it to a 1000mmx750mm machine. I am also planning to add a T-slot wasteboard, and new Z-axis and a 1000mm ball screw for the X-axis. I modified my cnc based on CurtisCummings modifications Finally looking like an X-Carve again... well kind of. I have also started work on developing the app that will allow me to remotely control the cnc. How it works is I will have sensors read to a java program on my computer, and my computer will send that data to my phone. I real issue I would be facing is controlling my cnc from my phone.

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