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Old 08-18-2013, 05:10 PM #1
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Default Time to enter the big leagues

So I've been stalking this form for a while and surfing. I have several lasers among them are three what in several lower power ones to play with. I'd like to enter the big leagues at some point and it seems like a CO2 laser is the way to do it. I'd like to build or buy something with a nice tight divergence at about 40 W or better.

How do I get started. Can someone recommend a parts list. I've seen several built out there but I would like to build a good one and it's hard to quantify the ones I have seen built.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


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Old 08-18-2013, 05:18 PM #2
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

Well, gas lasers typically have good beam specs. I'm not sure if that holds true for CO2 lasers, as I've never used one.

Grab a 40W tube from ebay, some plastic tubes to carry water, a pump, maybe a heat exchanger, and a cheap ebay PSU.

Just be careful when wiring up the tube. The electricity from the power supply is dangerous.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:00 PM #3
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

Can you be more specific on the specs and how to wire it up. Any good resources out there.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:33 PM #4
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

I'm no gas laser owner or expert, but...

I'm not sure if this will help, but you can try surfing around here: Silicon Sam's Technology Resource (SSTR) - Main Table of Contents

And, don't forget that this Forum has a ton of info... google search bar is at the bottom of the page. Good luck
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:39 AM #5
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

CO2 lasers have a poor divergence... they spread out like a flashlight.. unless you spend a lot on building the optics. these are great when using a focuser to burn your project out. I was able to burn a hole twelve feet away with unfocused 60 watt tube. Each tube seems to have its own personality though.. some are better than others. Anyway you might want to start with a smaller 20 watt tube and psu with a 10k pot power controller to start with. you will need a water reservoir and small fountain pump for cooling. AND osha approved safety glasses and some kind of beam stop that won't burn.. a big tile piece will do. there is a lot of reading up for you to do before you even think of getting the parts. Sam's laser faqs/co2 lasers is a good start.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:23 AM #6
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Programmergeek View Post
So I've been stalking this form for a while and surfing. I have several lasers among them are three what in several lower power ones to play with. I'd like to enter the big leagues at some point and it seems like a CO2 laser is the way to do it. I'd like to build or buy something with a nice tight divergence at about 40 W or better.

How do I get started. Can someone recommend a parts list. I've seen several built out there but I would like to build a good one and it's hard to quantify the ones I have seen built.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
IMHO, STARTING gas with a 40w CO2 is a bad idea, if you haven't messed with gas lasers before.

You might start in dabbling with some HeNe's or an argon before you jump into High Voltage and Liquid Cooling and IR beams and High power and Gas - All at the same time. IMHO its a recipe for disaster.

But YMMV.

Last edited by icecruncher; 08-19-2013 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:56 AM #7
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

Do. Not. Start. Gas. With. CO2.

Here's a start. Tell me how a basic gas, or ion laser operates. If you can't tell me how a HeNe, or Ar works. Then you cannot be dabbling with something that can burn your house down.

Coming from someone who has plenty of gas variety, and loses hours of sleep to reading and researching, and also doesn't have a CO2.

It is your life, but it would not be a good, or safe decision. There are plenty of starter lasers out there.
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Old 08-19-2013, 04:04 AM #8
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

Man, this guy...and people called me balls-out.

Be safe, fellow hobbyist. Listen to your peers when they tell you this is not the wisest of paths to follow.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:08 PM #9
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Default Re: Time to enter the big leagues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Programmergeek View Post
So I've been stalking this form for a while and surfing. I have several lasers among them are three what in several lower power ones to play with. I'd like to enter the big leagues at some point and it seems like a CO2 laser is the way to do it. I'd like to build or buy something with a nice tight divergence at about 40 W or better.

How do I get started. Can someone recommend a parts list. I've seen several built out there but I would like to build a good one and it's hard to quantify the ones I have seen built.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
I work with the kind of lasers your on about between 50 watts and 7.5 Kw, going to the lower end of the scale (40 watts 800mm tube) your looking at a supply that will kick 25 Kv DC at 20mA.
In a loop across your heart that's not going to end well.
Setting aside the dangers of that kind of open voltage you also have to consider the open beam itself is of course invisible, no pretty lights, no nice camera pics to post but able to permanently blind you in fractions of a second as well as do a pretty good job of setting stuff on fire. (remember you will have no blink reflex to IR beams).
Leaving those two issues aside you also need to provide somewhere for all that voltage to go if the tube fails, while nice glowing green acrylic boxes may look good they provide a non existent grounding point if the tube fails.You need to have a decent bonding strip between the enclosure and earth/ground within 2 inches of the positive connection on the tube to cover yourself in the event of a jumper.
Once the novelty of remotely setting stuff on fire has worn off CO2 lasers loose their attraction quite quickly unless you have industrial uses for them.

Don't be under any illusions, laser equipment in this power range are potential killers.

Quote:
Thanks in advance for any advice
My advice brother?

DON'T

cheers

Dave
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