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Old 04-18-2012, 06:14 AM #1
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Red face DIY gas laser

This is my first serious attempt at firing my DIY gas laser. I decided to make a new thread for this portion of the journey

If you want to take a look at the build notes/pictures, I posted it on a website here http://home.gci.net/~thundersqueak/CO2_Laser.html

The setup is a Yellow Jacket Vacuum superevac pump, lots of tubing, a 15kV neon sign transformer controlled by a variac, and of course the laser head. I also wore safety glasses just in case I got lucky I didnt hook up the cooling system at this time, just wanting to make sure I didn't have leaks and such.

I switched on the pump and let it hit 30", which it did in a matter of a second, so far so good. Then switched on the variac and ramped up the power... and wouldn't ya know it, the tube glowed

The center was a very bright pink with a lovely purplish aura that the camera picked up on. Hard to take a picture of the pink with my phone (only camera I had handy at the time).



That is it for tonight, next time I will hook up the cooling system and run some gas through it, I just wanted to share my progress.

Btw, I also discovered that the voltage travels up the gas line if I open the needle valve, which has a metal knob on it.... and all I can say is ... OUCH!





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Old 04-18-2012, 08:28 AM #2
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

where do u buy these parts at... i would like to build one of these when i get home in next year
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:23 PM #3
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

This is some great stuff!!

I feel your pain, I did get a short burst from my NST with a TEA build...WOW!

Keep the build notes and pictures coming. It's great to see a real for real DIY build like this!
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:44 AM #4
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

that's insane man
cant wait to see a video on your build haha
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:48 AM #5
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnmardister View Post
where do u buy these parts at... i would like to build one of these when i get home in next year
Well most of it came from your standard hardware store, in this case lowes and home depot. I have been experimenting with things as I go along with this build. The glass tube came from the local neon sign place, as did the nst, which I got for basically free. It did cost me a batch of chocolate chip cookies .

He is getting me some 25mm tubing and I have a real output coupler and high reflector for my next build for that setup.

I really enjoy documenting projects as I go along, that way I can look back at what my mistakes were and learn from them. I hope to have video of it in action up soon. I made some modifications and now have themirrors aligned using a small 650nm diode laser. To do this I set it up using a stack of blank DVD-rw disks on the spindle, and then shimmed the angle with some pieces of paper. This let me set the proper angle and height for the alignment laser. After that, I set a peice of paper in front of it so that the beam went through a hole and down the shaft of the co2 laser, and adjusted until it bounced back properly. Easy easy .

This is the little laser that I cobbled together for this task.



One of these days I need to get a proper mount for my smaller lasers for use in aligning, or I guess I could just build one .

Thanks!

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Old 04-19-2012, 09:22 AM #6
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

could i have an idea of how much the complete laser will cost? i looked in to the diy diode lasers and i ordered the components to build a 1w 445nm but i really feel like im just putting pieces together and really making a laser so i would really like to start a project like this... just need a nudge in he right direction
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:28 PM #7
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

It isn't the laser head itself that really costs a whole lot, most of the cost is in the support equipment such as a vacuum pump. Other things that can add to the cost are the optics, depending how DIY you want to get. Tools will include things like a butane torch, drill press, files and rasps, clamps, bench vice, etc. Most of these, if you do a lot of DIY stuff you may already have. I had to go get a vacuum pump, found a good one at the local pawn shop for 100 dollars.

When you get down to it, the laser itself is nothing more than 6 washers, some fittings, PVC pipe and fittings, and some neon sign glass tubing, some grommets and gaskets.... Maybe About 40 dollars without optics. Keep in mind that you can buy a 40w tube online for about 100 dollars.

To sum it up, the price of such a project Depends on how good at scrounging you are, what you already have, and how you can re-purpose other items to fit your needs... I see it as a puzzle, and for me that is absolutely a major contributer to the fun involved.

I don't usually include the purchase of tools in the price of a project . I *KNOW* I will use them again, to me, it is an investment. I guess that is part of why I love Alaska so much, many people here have the same spirit as I do with this... we all love DIY

Would I do it again? Would I invest my time and money into a project like this a second time?

I am already planning out a version 2

The knowledge gained is worth it

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Old 04-19-2012, 05:53 PM #8
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Default Re: DIY gas laser

well thanks for the advice... i will have to wait til i get back to the states of course but in any case, i cant wait to start my own project... even more exciting is the cost ... alot cheaper than i thought.

"i made a scarf!!! "

"yeah? ... well i made freakin laser!!!"

cant wait for that lol
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