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Old 08-26-2013, 11:52 PM #1
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Exclamation Co2 laser: what tube ?

Hi, I want to build a co2 laser but on ebay there is "engraver tubes" and just "tube" I want to know if there is a difference between both.


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Old 08-27-2013, 01:10 AM #2
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Usually power output, engravers run below 80 watts and cutting tubes are usually 80 watts+. Both will cut but tubes over 80 watts have a minimum strike power below which they will not lase.(engraving is done at low power, typically under 15% so making high power tubes too powerful for engraving).

CO2 gas laser tubes come in several types,

Sealed Glass, Sealed RF, Boxed Glass are just three of them.In function there is no real difference (they all produce invisible IR laser beams) in function but price they go from $150 to just over $35,000.

If you want to build a laser machine the parts are readily available off the shelf, if you just want to build a lasing box then while pretty easy it's also dangerous. The wavelength of the lasers they produce is invisible, (no pretty beam shots) and they run typically (in glass DC tubes) from 16Kv upwards (around 40Kv being the max).

While the amperage is low, in a loop across your heart they will throw your ticker into cardiac arrhythmia , unless you get some pretty quick help from a medical professional (like within 3-5 minutes or so) then I'm afraid it's lights out.

Big numbers tubes also have a sometimes unexpected ability to set shit on fire...very quickly and at quite some distance. Just because you can't see the beam doesn't mean it's not dangerous.

Before even thinking about a tube buy some laser goggles rated for IR in the correct wavelength (10600). NEVER power up an exposed tube unless you are wearing them. Remember these things aren't pointers, they aren't toys, and they never forgive mistakes.

cheers

Dave

Last edited by Spooky; 08-27-2013 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:51 AM #3
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

I think CO2 9.4 to 10.6 micrometers. or 9400-10600nm
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:51 AM #4
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Umm, yah, what Speedy said ^^^^

Goggles for 1064 may not be much protection.
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:46 AM #5
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

CO2 lasers do a range of IR actually, but I think its primarily 10.6um (10600nm), which is blockable with most plastics...but as mentioned above-extreme caution using these. the beam is invisible and very powerful. definitely not a beginner's build in my opinion. High voltage that is more than enough to kill you will be present, and water cooling is necessary, as well as very dangerous amounts of laser radiation will also be present with one of these. Unless you know exactly how the beam will behave and have a large enclosed room with no flammables in it that you can use to house the laser and keep people out of while you're using it I'd strongly advise against these. They're a very serious tool and not something I'd choose to impress friends with, and any stray light from it will be blinding and very unforgiving.

Edit:
If you're interested in gas lasers, I'd recommend starting off with a HeNe so you can get a feel for it first. Then prepare a place for the CO2, and then build it after. Make sure you have protective eye wear for everyone who will have access to the room while it is running. Unless you need one or are very experienced with IR lasers, I'd recommend against one.
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Last edited by ultimatekaiser; 08-27-2013 at 05:50 AM. Reason: Afterthoughts
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:31 AM #6
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

My bad, I'm used to calling them 1064's at work of course you guys are correct 10.64um is the correct way to refer to it

cheers

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Old 08-27-2013, 04:54 PM #7
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Ok guys I'll weare them and thx for the reps

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Old 08-28-2013, 12:56 AM #8
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimatekaiser View Post
High voltage that is more than enough to kill you will be present
The current isn't high enough. You'll just wish you were dead.
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Old 08-28-2013, 01:10 AM #9
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

True, hene lasers are not like that too, most people would likely live, but still why take the chance?
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583.8nm: DPSS line
586.2nm: DPSS line
588.6nm: CNI PGL-M-80

591nm: DPSS line
593.5nm CNI MGL-H-50 Lab Laser
594.1nm: Coherent 31-2230-000 (4.5mW)

604.6nm: LOR-150 HeNe line
609nm: Raman HeNe line?
611.8nm: Melles Griot LOR-150 HeNe (5mW), LOR-006 HeNe (0.5mW)

632.8nm: Spectra Physics Model-127 (>35mW), Model-124B, Model-120, Model-117, others
Melles Griot LHB-580, LHB-190, WHR-570

641nm: Melles Griot RCS
647nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
659.6nm: Laser Quantum IGNIS DPSS laser 0.5W

671nm: CNI PGL-III-C-100
676nm: Omni-643RYB Whitelight Line
690nm: custom diode laser
694nm: Portable Q-switched Ruby Laser

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:37 AM #10
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Ive touched the end of my HeNe trying to align a lens and it was not fun at all.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:25 AM #11
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Quote:
The current isn't high enough.
True, in DC it takes about 500 Ma at least but if the loop runs hand to hand the impulse across the heart can make it go arrythmic leading to the same end result. I've had a few belts from the remaining current in a 35Kv supply when changing out tubes bloody hurts too, we tend to use earth straps on the wrist of the working hand when we have to open the cabinets on powered up lasers at least that way, while painful, the shock doesn't run across your chest.

It's imperative that box lasers have an earth strap fitted close to the positive end to cover yourself for the eventuality of tube failure, it's alarming how far that arc will jump when a tube goes even from a tiny 16Kv supply (not forgetting how well the same arc sets stuff on fire)

Edit: On a side note, seeing your avatar Speedy reminded me I lost two friends to IR burst from those type of flares, Mandy Simms and Sharon Collingwood. They were working on the 2x1 flare for the C130 and 16 of them went off in a box by Sharons feet, Mandy lived a few days with 98% burns , Sharon died instantly.Neither of them were hit by projectiles, it was just the IR that killed them.

cheers

Dave

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Old 08-28-2013, 03:09 PM #12
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Sorry to hear that. I can feel the heat off them when they go out through a 2 inch thick lexan window in the back when they are 50 feet away or so.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:49 PM #13
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Default Re: Co2 laser: what tube ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy78 View Post
Sorry to hear that. I can feel the heat off them when they go out through a 2 inch thick lexan window in the back when they are 50 feet away or so.
cheers bro,

was a long time ago when we were making them at Pains Wes*** just up the road from here, we did the 1 x 1 and the 2 x 1. It's quite a surprise with what actually makes them up, there's nothing particularly complex and only 3 materials used but the IR signature is massive!

cheers

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