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Old 02-03-2008, 11:08 PM #17
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

Well... I really want to make any type of laser but argon would be the coolest because of the color... that's why I first suggested it.


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Old 02-04-2008, 05:26 PM #18
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

If you absolutely *must* make a laser completely from scratch in order to satisfy your ego, I would suggest a ruby laser. The power supply is very easy, and the laser head itself is quite straighforward. Sure, the ruby rod is going to be expensive, but that's the only part that will be really pricey. The rest of the components can probably be found in a surplus shop or on e-bay. (For the record - stay away from unfinished ruby boules. The optical precision needed to turn a raw boule into a finished rod that will lase is beyond the reach of all but the most experienced people.)

Yeah, a ruby is pulsed-only, but it *is* visible. If you build it right, you should be able to pop balloons with it and burn holes in things. Not a bad science project...

Forget about ion lasers - either argon or krypton. Bad idea. Way too hard, for the reasons mentioned above and a hundred other ones. HeNe will be equally difficult, but for different reasons.

A CO2 laser would be a nice challenge, but it's certainly doable - even with nothing more than a high school science lab to work with. Still, you're back to an invisible beam again. The N2 laser is probably the easiest, but again - invisible beam. :-/

A ruby laser is a nice compromise though. Go to the library and check out "The Story of the Laser" by John M Carroll. In the back (around page 230 or so) there is a description of how to build a ruby laser that should get you started. Show it to your teacher and see what he/she thinks.

Remember too, that even a ruby laser will have deadly voltages on the PSU capacitor bank. Any laser construction project is going to carry risks. But if you're careful, I think you can expect to complete a ruby laser sucessfully.

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Old 02-04-2008, 05:35 PM #19
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

I still think a TEA pumped dye laser suits you well.. It's probably the easiest to construct visible laser for the amateur.

Check out this vid:

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JduZTEevvBA[/media]
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:35 AM #20
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

Oh I know the ruby laser story...

But since I'm so new to the building end of this hobby, what should I expect in prices? I don't want to be scammed over by some guy on eBay or some untraceable website...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Ruby-laser-rod-6...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/RUBY-LASER-ROD-N...QQcmdZViewItem

:-?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBZOZBzdLZ0
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:34 PM #21
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

You don't want either one of the rods in the two auctions you listed. The first one gives no details about the rod length or diameter, and since you'll end up having to add external mirrors to it (which is a royal pain), I wouldn't pay $250 for it unless you knew it was a decent sized rod - say 6 inches or more. (It might only be a 2-3 inch rod, and in that case I'd pass.)

The second one has UNPOLISHED ENDS, which means you'd need to do the end polishing yourself - a difficult and very demanding task. So that one is automatically out.

Google around and see if you can find a source for a ruby rod (3-4 inches would be nice) that has dielectric mirrors already affixed to the rod ends. Such a rod will make your life a lot easier. Of course, the cost might be prohibitive, but at least you'll have a benchmark. (Raytheon would be a good place to start.)

Then look on the surplus market and try to find one with similar specs. Then you can compare the prices and decide for yourself if you are getting a deal or not.

Remember: You want the rod to be completely finished. That means the cylindrical sides are fine ground, the ends are smooth ground and parallel within 1/4 the wavelength of soduim light, and the dielectric mirrors have already been attached to the rod. If you don't get a rod in this condition, you're going to face a nightmare trying to finish it yourself.

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Old 02-05-2008, 03:17 PM #22
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

If you insist on doing a ruby laser, it's still no picnic. Look around for a surplus M1 tank range finder laser. They pop-up on ebay from time to time. That will probably be the easiest way to get a ruby laser going.
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:07 AM #23
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

A good start for argon from "scratch" would be pulsed, you could cannibalize a spectra physics model 120 hene laser for it's tube and fill the tube with argon. Then swap the optics out and power it using a strobe circuit. It will emit watt level ms duration blue or blue-green pulses depending on gas pressure :P
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:05 PM #24
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

got myself a mini-henelaser by the size of a laserpointer... only 15 euros. uses 10-14vdc 4mA and the included psu pumps out 1250vdc..
nice beam coming out
next is the co2 laser (already got the optics and a very powerful focussing lens from a 3kW lasercutter)

try sam's laserfaq, there's lots of info to start with
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Old 02-20-2008, 07:44 PM #25
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

I donno, I would suggest buying a pre filled glass tube, like a CO2, then building the PSU, and attaching a water cooling unit. I know its not completely do it from scratch DIY, but it works, and its big...

http://www.powerlabs.org/laser.htm
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:28 AM #26
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Default Re: Making an argon laser?

I built three lasers from scratch in the '70s *These were all metal vapore ion exchange lasers using low pressure helium. *I still have an unused glass 3 T tube, but no more ultra pure selenium, cadmium or lead like I used back then. *Coolest part was, these would output multilines from 9 to 17 lines (visible)simultaniously and total ~1 watt with ~20 inch tube. *My H.S. physics teacher was pretty impressed. *Basically you need a vacuum pump, cavity with end windows, I used slanted ends, inert gas, and h v transformer, *(neon sign type, attach to the two outermost side tubes which end in tungstin electrodes,) and one of the side pipes has a heater to melt the metal. Only the lead had problems, it would burn off the end windows in seconds. *The parameters were in an early '70s Scientific American mag. *Be careful, they emit in some invisible waves too! *Happy experimenting! *-Glenn
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