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Old 08-08-2010, 06:19 AM #1
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Default How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

So, for some reason I am always able to convince myself that the performance of anything I buy steadily degrades from the day I bought it. This applies to consumer electronics, flashlights, lasers, tools, and many other things. This usually ends up with me disassembling half the things I buy and this usally results in further degradation of performance, followed by more disassembling, etc. Anyway, this happened with my aixiz 445 lens and since day 1 I have been polishing away at the lens with lens cleaning solution. Anyway, at some point I decided it would be smart to blast the front of the lens with a spray of lens cleaner. It turns out, right behind the first glass element is a very thin layer between itself and another glass element. This is the perfect place for vapors to get trapped and fog up the laser. I had to take apart the lens completely and polish each and every element. However, this proves extremely difficult as it seems that micrometer wide dust particle left on the lens will result in an unsightly dot in the laser beam, and lost energy. When you have three lenses smushed together, this effect is quite noticeable and very hard to deal with. I now have a beam that is acceptable for a small chinese sweatshop, but I would prefer original beam quality.

TL;DR-how do I clean each element of an aixiz 3-element lens and keep them all clean?

My current setup involves grabbing a glass piece, putting it in a microfiber cloth, spraying some lens cleaner on it, polishing until there is no visible dust or anything under a flashlight, dropping it in and pushing it in to place with some microfiber. This has failed to work properly.


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Old 08-08-2010, 06:33 AM #2
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Oss:

You need to be at a positive outflow optics bench using Methanol while wearing gloves to clean the lenses. At least that how we built our spectrometers.

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Old 08-08-2010, 06:44 AM #3
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Oh lordy.... a google search for positive outflow turns out a lot of religious stuff, no useful laser information I'm guessing you mean air flow? Well I think my school has this cool chamber where you can stick your arms in to work on stuff, and maybe it can push air out through a filter... as for the methanol, I'm guessing I shouldn't use liquid HEET. Any recommendations for where to get pure methanol, or any ideas for a suitable replacement? It won't damage AR coatings? Since I don't want to make this a huge pain in the ass, I think I'll just fill a glass with methanol, drop the lenses in and assemble it with gloves inside the liquid, then stick it in the oven to evaporate. These lenses are only like $12.50 after all.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:57 AM #4
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

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Originally Posted by ossumguywill View Post
Oh lordy.... a google search for positive outflow turns out a lot of religious stuff, no useful laser information I'm guessing you mean air flow? Well I think my school has this cool chamber where you can stick your arms in to work on stuff, and maybe it can push air out through a filter... as for the methanol, I'm guessing I shouldn't use liquid HEET. Any recommendations for where to get pure methanol, or any ideas for a suitable replacement? It won't damage AR coatings? Since I don't want to make this a huge pain in the ass, I think I'll just fill a glass with methanol, drop the lenses in and assemble it with gloves inside the liquid, then stick it in the oven to evaporate. These lenses are only like $12.50 after all.
Yea it's an air flow bench, but the benches can come in positive or negative. I don't know if You have a Zeep dealer in SA, but some industrial supply shops have straight methanol. Your school Chem lab might have some. Make sure to keep it sealed when not in use as it will absorb moisture from the air. You don't want Wet Methanol to clean optics. There actually is a whole procedure to clean lenses. It won't hurt any coatings, but wiping too hard or reusing a cloth will!
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:18 AM #5
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Alright, I'll shoot an email to the lab guy later. Should I only use 100% methanol? Also, should I rub it with any kind of cloth or should I just swish it around in the alcohol and rub it a bit through the glove? It's not like there's anything stuck to the lenses, just this microscopic amount of dirt that likes to cause trouble....

Also, will putting the metal lens nut in the alcohol cause any problems?
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:31 AM #6
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

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Alright, I'll shoot an email to the lab guy later. Should I only use 100% methanol? Also, should I rub it with any kind of cloth or should I just swish it around in the alcohol and rub it a bit through the glove? It's not like there's anything stuck to the lenses, just this microscopic amount of dirt that likes to cause trouble....

Also, will putting the metal lens nut in the alcohol cause any problems?
You want at least Reagent grade methanol. You should be able to find either Lens cloths, micro fiber wipes, or Lens tissues. You should try to gently wipe Them, but the lenses are so small it might not be easy. If They don't seem to have any really bad contamination just rinsing them off with methanol and letting Them dry might be all you need.

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Old 08-08-2010, 07:43 AM #7
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Do I have to let them dry individually? My plan was to simply assemble the thing inside the methanol and let it dry as one piece. I figure less chance of contamination that way.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:48 AM #8
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

I would let them dry and then assemble the unit. Putting them together wet might allow contamination that you would be unable to see until You turn the laser on. This is one of those better safe than sorry cases. Well I am off to Bed. Hit Me up this afternoon if You think of anything else.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:52 AM #9
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Alright, cool. I'll try and get this going. Thanks for the help.
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Old 08-08-2010, 01:41 PM #10
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

We used Laminar Air Flow hoods to prepare sterile pharmaceutical mixtures. Those hoods would work perfect for your application. I imagine the positive outflow optics bench that coherent is talking about is similar?

I'm sure they are insanely expensive so one would just have to have access to one. Here are some pics from google to give you an idea of what they look like and how they work: laminar air flow - Google Search

Good luck!!
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:58 PM #11
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

I contacted Leslie Wright about cleaning the optics in an Argon-- he made a tutorial for me and put it on Sam's- he said to use this

AMERICAN BIOANALYTICAL: Chemicals for Life Science Research

36$ a liter!!-- I found a guy that was willing to send me 4 oz. for $10- you will get water in it very quickly if you leave it open.
He packed in a ziplock bag with two small packets of silica gel- it is in a squeeze bottle with a snap-on tip and he sent me a small glass vial to use for transfereing some to work with. 99.99% pure. GL Will

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Old 08-08-2010, 03:22 PM #12
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

ossumguywill;

I assemble & clean lots of lenses.

Cleaning is required with normal usage (burning increases the frequency).

I use an ultrasonic cleaner with chlorinated solvents.

In your case, I would just purchase some pure acetone (home depot).
Remember, it is very flammable.

Immerse the lenses in it, take them out one at a time and clean while still wet with a microfiber cloth.

Then buff with a dry microfiber cloth on both sides. I use tweezers to hold the lenses.
Use plenty of pressure, the AR coating are durable.

Assemble in a dust free environment.

Don't worry if you see a dust particle after cleaning.

It has no effect on the powerful laser beams available now.

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Old 08-08-2010, 03:33 PM #13
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Just posting so I can later find this great advice from Larry--+rep for the help--TY
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:49 PM #14
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

I spent quite a lot of time on Photonlexicon speaking to guys on there that do a lot of lens cleaning.

I was given some good advice, some was this:

"Rob (Stanwax), he sells some polymer lens cleaner. It's not cheap, but a small bottle will last forever!"

Stanwax on PL apparently sells polymer lens cleaner in small bottles, which basically dries as a rubber layer of the lens, collecting any residue you have on there, you then peel it off in one layer and it takes all the dirt and grime off with it.

I haven't used it, as I never got round to buying any but it sounds like great stuff, I'm not sure if he still has it as this was back in 09.

The other method was to get hold of some wood sticked cotton tip swab, like q-tips, but on a wooden stick. These are used as they don't have glue used on the heads which can melt when working with the chemicals. To start isopropanyl alcohol from your drug store maybe good enough to clean it, if not then you can use some more expensive acetone and methanol, you start with acetone which leaves residue after drying, you then use the methanol to finish up and remove any residue the dried acetone left over.

You need as pure as you can get methanol and acetone, not the cheap stuff from 55 gallon drums

Hopefully this helps!
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:08 PM #15
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevlar View Post
We used Laminar Air Flow hoods to prepare sterile pharmaceutical mixtures. Those hoods would work perfect for your application. I imagine the positive outflow optics bench that coherent is talking about is similar?

I'm sure they are insanely expensive so one would just have to have access to one. Here are some pics from google to give you an idea of what they look like and how they work: laminar air flow - Google Search

Good luck!!
My school has one that looks just like that, albeit more old school (constructed out of wood and glass LOL). And for everyone else, the issue is not getting the lenses clean.... the issue is keeping them clean. And I don't think I'll need to buff them with microfiber, I think I could just give them a squirt of methanol (or acetone, as it appears) as it's not really tough dirt, just small dust.

@larryDFW
my concern with the small dust particles is the ugly spatter it produces, not the effect on power.


@hak
thanks for the link, the science lab has some henes so with any luck they will have proper cleaning supplies...
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:10 PM #16
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Default Re: How the **** do I keep an aixiz 445 lens clean during re-assembly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ossumguywill View Post
My school has one that looks just like that, albeit more old school (constructed out of wood and glass LOL). And for everyone else, the issue is not getting the lenses clean.... the issue is keeping them clean. And I don't think I'll need to buff them with microfiber, I think I could just give them a squirt of methanol (or acetone, as it appears) as it's not really tough dirt, just small dust.

@larryDFW
my concern with the small dust particles is the ugly spatter it produces, not the effect on power.


@hak
thanks for the link, the science lab has some henes so with any luck they will have proper cleaning supplies...
Will:

If You use acetone make sure You follow with methanol, because the tone will leave a film...

Rich:
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