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Old 06-22-2011, 08:23 PM #1
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Default help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

I saw this awesome little tube LINK and considering its low price, i wanted to buy it. Can anyone please help me on what basics do I need for this first build, and some protection would be greatly appreciated thanks.


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Old 06-23-2011, 01:28 AM #2
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

Other than somthing to keep the tube cool it looks like you're all set.
For my 40w tube I use this 12v water pump to re-circulate some ordinary tap water through it and into a fairly large container(3L or so).
In terms of eye protection I use standard cheap polycarbonate saftey goggles, as far as I know i haven't gone blind yet.
That's about everything you will need to get your laser up and running as far as i can remember.

Oh, and you'll probably want a beam-stop, that is, unless you want holes in your wall... I just use a house brick, came free with my house...
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:13 AM #3
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

And to power it? I just have to connect wires or do i need anything special? I am planning on using fiber cables so i can engrave with it.
P.S. sorry for the noob questions but I am still really new to gas lasers.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:46 PM #4
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

Ahh right, didn't think you were that new.
Yeah just connect the positive (thick red) wire to the side of the tube with the smallest electrode (almost always the end opposite to the output) and the negative (usually either blue or black on those power supplies) to the other end. There should be 2 small sticking out pin/nail type bits of metal either end of the tube, this is what you connect the wires to. I think you can solder them, but i've heard reports of that cracking the tube from thermal stress.

Fiber cables? I assume you mean fiber-optic cables to direct the beam?
As far as I know they dont exist for the CO2 lasers due to the extremely long wavelength (10.6um, 10600nm). Pretty much all things that are transparent to visable light, such as glass and transparent plastics, will absorb the CO2 lasers output completely and just turn it into heat. Which usually results in its imediate destruction...
By the way, thats why polycarbonate saftey goggles work great for these lasers, they absorb all of the nasty invisable 10600nm light flying around your room.

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Old 06-23-2011, 03:17 PM #5
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

So you're starting with tens of thousands of volts and class 4 invisible radiation?
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:06 PM #6
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieznice29 View Post
Ahh right, didn't think you were that new.
Yeah just connect the positive (thick red) wire to the side of the tube with the smallest electrode (almost always the end opposite to the output) and the negative (usually either blue or black on those power supplies) to the other end. There should be 2 small sticking out pin/nail type bits of metal either end of the tube, this is what you connect the wires to. I think you can solder them, but i've heard reports of that cracking the tube from thermal stress.

Fiber cables? I assume you mean fiber-optic cables to direct the beam?
As far as I know they dont exist for the CO2 lasers due to the extremely long wavelength (10.6um, 10600nm). Pretty much all things that are transparent to visable light, such as glass and transparent plastics, will absorb the CO2 lasers output completely and just turn it into heat. Which usually results in its imediate destruction...
By the way, thats why polycarbonate saftey goggles work great for these lasers, they absorb all of the nasty invisable 10600nm light flying around your room.
Thanks! I understood till safety, though I cannot understand how, if the laser's output is absorbed completely by glass and transparent plastics, how can it be focused or contained in glass? again sorry for my ignorance.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:22 PM #7
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

Ok i really think you need to go learn how CO2 lasers work before you go and buy one...

The laser light itself does not touch the glass of the laser tube at all, it travels up and down the tube, never reaches the side. There are mirrors at both ends, one that reflects the laser completely and one that is slightly transparent to the laser, this lets the laser light out of one end for you to use. The mirror that is semi-transparent is usually made of germanium, which is transparent at these wavelengths.

For focusing the laser you will need a zinc-selenide (ZnSe) lens, these are the only really usable type. You can get salt lenses (NaCl) as salt also passes these wavelengths of light, however these types of lenses decay if they get wet/exposed to moisture in the air.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:04 PM #8
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

I was just reading about gas lasers! thanks for your help
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:29 PM #9
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

No problem If you need any more info just ask.
Just make sure you're safe and know what you are doing, that power supply will nock you dead before you even notice, the laser will set paper/your carpet/your cat on fire in less than a second and then probably go on to burn your house down if you take your eyes off it...
By the way, hope you enjoy your laser
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:31 PM #10
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

This was just the planning :P I have yet to see if my budgets allow me to buy long focal length lenses and stuff, because this is going to be some sort of "engraver" (hopefully)
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:34 PM #11
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Default Re: help, I am planning on buying my first CO2 laser

Ahh right, well good luck with your project
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