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New CO2 project

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Today I retired my home-built CO2 laser which was very similar to the Scientific American design. It managed to produce close to 30 watts. It was both reliable and forgiving.
It is being replaced with a sealed tube 50W and matching power supply. No more vacuum pump, variac, NST, or trips to OE Meyer for gas.
Can't help but feel like a sell-out for replacing a truly self made device with a plug and play thing. It's like using a betty crocker cake mix! LOL
 

Cyparagon

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Where do you draw the line, though? Most appliances can be made cheaper and yet still of higher quality than anything you could ever build yourself.

No one would fault you for not blowing your own glass for light bulbs, hammering your own sheet steel for toasters, or growing your own trees for a carpentry project. Selling out - or just being economical and practical?
 
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Test fired CO2 laser a few minutes ago. In about 1/2 second at 50% power it scorched a piece of pine with a very gratifying flame effect! I am waiting for good water pump (Friday). I have been trying to eliminate small bubbles in the cooling jacket. I have high hopes that a distilled water pump will aid the process. It is currently connected to house water through a R.O. system. I have tried tipping and rocking the tube, but the bubbles persist. Perhaps due to low volume (1/4" feed). I read that a drop of dawn may help, but I am hesitant to introduce any kind of contaminants into the tube. Any advice on this situation would be greatly appreciated.
 

Cyparagon

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My advice is ignore them. You will get zero cooling benefit from fighting this.
 
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I respect your advice. I will probably connect the pump and fiddle with it a bit more, but I will no longer worry. Thanks.
 

pantherqs

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best thing I've found is use a touch of automotive water wetter, better for the pumps than soap, and doesn't leave residue behind.
 
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Thanks for your response. I did go to distilled water and a small aquarium recirculating pump. Bubble are 99% gone.
I did an interesting experiment that brought up a very serious safety concern:
Set output power to 30 W. Placed ordinary black anodized Al heatsink at 45 degree to beam. The reflection measured almost 4W which easily scorched and burned wood, paper, and plastic. Hate to think what it would do to eyes. Can only imagine what more reflective objects would do.
 

paul1598419

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Thanks for your response. I did go to distilled water and a small aquarium recirculating pump. Bubble are 99% gone.
I did an interesting experiment that brought up a very serious safety concern:
Set output power to 30 W. Placed ordinary black anodized Al heatsink at 45 degree to beam. The reflection measured almost 4W which easily scorched and burned wood, paper, and plastic. Hate to think what it would do to eyes. Can only imagine what more reflective objects would do.
Fortunately, at 10.6 um the light from your CO2 laser will not penetrate the corneas of your eyes. That means your retinas are safe. But, 4 watts of any laser will burn anything on the surface of your body. I suspect you would move out of its way very quickly as it would be painful, indeed.
 

RedCowboy

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paul1598419

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That's not a bad idea. Though, as far as pain goes, I used to wear contact lenses and if I ever got a speck of dust between the lens and my corneas, I couldn't get them off fast enough it was so excruciating painful. Your corneas are extremely sensitive to pain.
 
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Whenever I demonstrate this laser for friends or family I always insist they have on safety glasses and full face shield. This policy was in place even before the experiment.
Do you guys think a brief video is worth posting in the safety forum section?
 




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