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Handheld Co2 Laser Project

twenglish1

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Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
Here's the latest project I have been working on, haven't seen it done very often, a handheld Co2 laser, purchased a 50watt tube, and been working on putting together the control box for it, using a 12v motorcycle battery and a 500watt inverter to power the electronics and laser power supply, added a digital current meter, and using an arduino to monitor water temperature, will be using a 10k potentiometer to adjust output power and the arduino will also be measuring this value, currently waiting for a new laser power supply, had a little incident with a flash over on the high voltage side and it damaged the control input, so now I always get high voltage out anytime the supply is powered. Will continue to post updates
 

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extremeodd

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Oct 8, 2010
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206
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18
You are absolutely mental, and I love it. Can't wait to see it works out, just always keep in mind that items that normally are nonconductive can be strangely conductive when multiple kilovolts are involved.

If I hadn't already purchased all of the v channel extrusions, timing belts, etc to make a co2 cutter/engraver I would do something similar since the 40-50w tube I snagged was only $80 off amazon warehouse.
 

twenglish1

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Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
Yes, definitely one of my more crazy ideas that's for sure. That flash over incident I mentioned in the original post was exactly that, I completely overlooked the location of the high voltage lead from the power supply being so close to the mounting screw of the terminal strip, i will be removing more of the screw terminals and moving the HV line to the middle of the terminal block. But anyway I had since added another switch somewhere below the terminal strip to activate the laser. Flipped it on to test it and it arced from the HV line on the terminal strip to the mounting screw, through my hand (outside the case but near said screw) and finding ground through the switch into the laser power supply control input that the switch was wired to. It was not a pleasant experience, and definitely on par with a jolt from a cars ignition system, if not worse.

Definitely sounds like a cool project building the CNC cutter, and sounds like you got a really good deal on the laser tube! I paid about $160 for mine
 

twelti

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Jan 3, 2019
Messages
40
Points
8
Did you find gas for it? I had quite a heck of a time finding it myself. I have a tank, almost full, and regulator if you are interested.
 

Photon Master

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Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
82
Points
18
Wow a 50 watt laser rifle! I talked to this dude Rick Trent a few years ago about building me a 50 watt blue laser rifle by aligning the beams from multiple emitters but it was gonna be like $2K
 

extremeodd

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Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
206
Points
18
Yes, definitely one of my more crazy ideas that's for sure. That flash over incident I mentioned in the original post was exactly that, I completely overlooked the location of the high voltage lead from the power supply being so close to the mounting screw of the terminal strip, i will be removing more of the screw terminals and moving the HV line to the middle of the terminal block. But anyway I had since added another switch somewhere below the terminal strip to activate the laser. Flipped it on to test it and it arced from the HV line on the terminal strip to the mounting screw, through my hand (outside the case but near said screw) and finding ground through the switch into the laser power supply control input that the switch was wired to. It was not a pleasant experience, and definitely on par with a jolt from a cars ignition system, if not worse.

Definitely sounds like a cool project building the CNC cutter, and sounds like you got a really good deal on the laser tube! I paid about $160 for mine
Oh it was a total steal, Amazon Warehouse is amazing for that. Works great, press test button and something (that isnt what I was aiming for) catches fire. Hell, I built a turbo s10 with nothing but roughly $300 in parts purely through the warehouse section, 17 psi on a bone stock 4.3l makes it fly.

The only thing that I don't like is the clock is ticking now that I have the tube, damn shelf lives of sealed co2 tubes has me feeling pressured to get it done which, of course, keeps giving me "engineering block". AKA in my head I can lay out how to do it, but the moment I go to find the bits I need to print my mind goes blank or everything seems wrong. Fairly certain I've printed all the bits to make a corexy setup, and a regular x/y setup but the second I touch an extrusion I lose the mental image. Think that means I should bite the bullet and learn how to use autodesk, so I can make my mental image into a tangible guide. That, and I've misplaced one of the mirror holders, the one that the laser reflects off of first which isn't helping things.

HV can be an utter pain in the arse for randomly finding stuff to jump to, got bit good by an ungrounded fluorescent tube from my tesla coil, had a 10 stage Marx generator manage to hit a wire that jumped to another wire that was close to my variable voltage psu and fried it. Just the RF energy alone from the aforementioned tesla took out not 1 but 2 garage door control boards. Despite making a rudimentary faradays cage from chicken wire, things still flicker weirdly so I've shelved it for the time being, which is a bummer as I had just nabbed 2x 15kv 30ma NSTs for like nothing and made an improved vacuum spark gap that would really let it go nuts.
 

twenglish1

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
That's awesome, I don't think I ever saw a co2 tube that small.

Haven't posted in a while, but it works! And it's a beast, I think I need a bigger inverter, can't seem to get it to full power, or maybe it's too much voltage drop on the battery? Will need to do some tests. I can get it up to about 10mA with the potentiometer turned up to about 95% I thought i remembered seeing that 20mA was full power on the tube specs. Turning it up to 100% the beam fizzles out, definitely seems to be a voltage drop issue, I plan to hook the laser supply to the mains power and see if it will work correctly, and I still need to build it into a handheld
 

Photon Master

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Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
82
Points
18
I’d be very interested in buying a handheld carbon dioxide laser, even if it’s the size of a laser rifle
 

twenglish1

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
I liked the idea cause it's crazy and you don't see to many of them, practical? Not really but I've only seen it done a handful of times. Drains that 9Ah motorcycle battery in probably 5 minutes
 

Photon Master

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Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
82
Points
18
Can you focus it and burn stuff? Obviously you’re using IR blocking glasses right? I just got some orange glasses that block violet, green and blue
 

twenglish1

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Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
Yeah got the proper goggles. I purchased a focusing lense but haven't mounted it on the end yet, but it burns just about everything I tried with just the raw output of the tube, instantly catches cardboard and plastic on fire, creates a small molten spot on bricks and rock, it's wicked for sure
 

twenglish1

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
I built everything into one of those harbor freight "pelican" gun cases, plan on adding a shoulder strap to it once I finish building the handheld portion of it
 

twenglish1

Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
62
Points
8
I like that idea too! Hardest challenge I faced was isolating of the HV output of the power supply from other components in the box, you can read about it above but initially had the HV line a little too close to a mounting screw and didn't realize it until I flipped the switch for the first time and got a nasty shock and fried all the electronics at the same time
 




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