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Old 04-13-2012, 07:40 PM #1
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Default Re gas a Co2 tube

I am planning to make an airtight box big enough for a long Co2 tube to fit into. I have the gloves for the box and am looking at some 1" thick plexiglass and 1/2" aluminum sheeting. I have a bottle of Co2 mix gas that came with another machine and I just got a nice medical vacuum pump.

I am not 100% sure how I want to do this, I could put some vacuum in the box and then remove the rear end cap. Add some gas to the box to bring it back up to atmospheric pressure, then vacuum again, then put the cap back on? Anyone done this before? While trying to find out about regassing a tube all I could find out is it costs about 1700.00

So if anyone has managed to do this before let me know if this will or wont work. I dont have everything to get started yet, so I am up for suggestions on other things I might need to do this also.


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Old 04-13-2012, 08:04 PM #2
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

I dont know much about DIY gas lasers. But i do know people have done it with success. Heres about as much information on the subject as you could need to get started. I wish you luck my friend!

Sam's Laser FAQ - Home-Built Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:34 PM #3
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

That is an unusual way to regas a tube but it might work.
You will need to be sure you get that "cap" secured and you
will likely need to reallign the mirrors if I understand you correctly.
Look for cracks or obvious leaks first.
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Old 04-14-2012, 01:30 AM #4
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

You do realize that the vacuum on a box large enough to contain a CO2 tube will put thousands of pounds on the box sides, right? Why not pump the tube directly?
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:50 AM #5
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

got a picture of the tube?

going to convert it to a flowing gas type? You will need to re-align the mirrors as the change in pressure can cause them to move. With a proper vacuum you should have a pink glow... if it is purple it means you have a leak in the system that will need to be addressed. This is of course for a flowing gas type system.

Or are you trying to re-gas it and seal it? For this, I might suggest you talk to your local neon sign guy. They regularly deal with evacuating the air out of a tube, filling it with the gas of choice, and sealing it.

No matter which one you choose to do, you will need to be sure there are NO leaks in the system.

I can tell you, this is what it looks like when you get a leak in the system, note the purple glow. My DIY flowing gas CO2:

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Old 04-14-2012, 01:04 PM #6
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

It is a sealed tube, it was made in 1990. I would think a leak that small would be very hard to detect, it does lase but the machine it is hooked to says it is low power and needs calibrated. I want to get it fired up without the computer first, to see how it works on straight power.

It comes on as a pinkish purple, but it wont go over 4 watts according to the machine its in. At about 4 watts the machine locks down and says it is low on power and needs calibrated. I have contacted the company the machine originally sold through but I keep getting the run around just to get the manual.

I do understand vacuum, as stated the box will be pretty solid. I also didnt mention that I have a piece of high presure water line, 8 or 10 inch that the tube will go down in and the box will be on the end. So the box will only be a foot square or so, just big enough for the gloves and hands to work.

I do have a flowing system also but havent messed with it, dont want to use the gas before trying to regas this tube. I might get a hold of a neon sign place though, I had not thaught of that.


I figured the mirrors would need aligned, but I would think the rear one would be the easiest so thats why I was going to remove it.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:23 PM #7
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

Measure the tube current first. If it's anything like the Chinese tubes I'm familiar with, it should be somewhere in the range of 15-25mA. What power should it be outputting?
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:17 PM #8
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

It is a US made tube, supposed to 50W but I have not tried to run it straight off the ps yet. I will run it straight pretty soon and see.
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Old 04-24-2012, 04:29 PM #9
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

Quote:
Originally Posted by wby300 View Post
It is a US made tube, supposed to 50W but I have not tried to run it straight off the ps yet. I will run it straight pretty soon and see.
Your going overkill. Co2 contains nitrogen and oxygen radicals when it lases.
Thus the electrode structure can see air, unlike a Argon laser.

Thus you do not need the glove box at all.

However, sealed tubes have other gasses in them besides the He:Co2:Nitrogen mix, to recombine the small amounts of Co2 that breaks down into carbon and oxygen when the tube is running. Without those gasses, lifetime is greatly shortened.

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Old 04-25-2012, 10:27 AM #10
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Default Re: Re gas a Co2 tube

well that would make it a lot easier to do. If I do not use the vacuum chamber, then I will have to make a fitting to put on the tube to draw it down. I have considered cutting the glass nipple used to fill it originally, off. I could mount some kind of one way valve there so it could be drawn down then the hose removed and a cap put on it. I might still be overthinking this, but I dont know how else to draw down the vacuum on the tube.
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