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Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotter.

jam4ar

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Hey folks,

I've been reading around for a bit, tried searching and didn't find anything that really answered my question other than an awesome video of a CO2 laser cutting a match... that was awesome.. Anyway..

I'm a bit of a robotics tinkerer and have been toying with the idea of building an X,Y Plotter just to play with. Nothing real will be done with it... Probably demo it to kids to get them interested in robotics, mathematics, science, and computers. Anyway, I was wondering if you guys could give me some tips on how powerful of a laser I could use. I don't expect it to be super fast like a commercial plotter, and I don't have a specified material I plan to draw stuff on... Though I'd like to be able to do stuff on wood or plastic of some sort.. I don't care about what color the laser is either...

Thanks!
 

GooeyGus

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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

If you want to etch on wood or plastic, the cheapest way will be with an infrared diode. You can get a 2W c-mount 808nm diode for like $100 on ebay, which would burn just about anything you put in front of it. Or, maybe even better, buy an infrared diode with a couple watts of power that is already fiber coupled. That way your diode can be remote, and the only thing on the moving parts of the plotter will be a fiber optic line for the etching. White surfaces are a bit more challenging but it should be able to do it. You could also try an open-can red diode, running at around 300mW but this will be partially limited to darker surfaces if you want any sort of speed out of it.
 

styropyro

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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

So you are looking to make something like this?
[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK1_jK4xBW0[/media]

The member pseudonomen137 made that one in the video, try PMing and asking him for tips.
 

jam4ar

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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

Ahh yes, that is exactly what I'm wanting to make.

I'll check on ebay and see what I can find, so it looks like I want to use a couple of watts at least though right?
 
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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

jam4ar said:
Ahh yes, that is exactly what I'm wanting to make.

I'll check on ebay and see what I can find, so it looks like I want to use a couple of watts at least though right?
Yep, you want about 2 watts, and it will cut just about any color. An open can red limits you to dark surfaces, just like gooey gus said.

Or, you could make it out of a PHR-803T diode, and draw on glow in the dark surfaces using Glow in the dark paper!! :D
 

diachi

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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

I like the BR PHR-803T idea, that would be uber cool, and you wouldnt need all that much power either :p

Diachi
 
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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

jam4ar said:
Ahh yes, that is exactly what I'm wanting to make.

I'll check on ebay and see what I can find, so it looks like I want to use a couple of watts at least though right?
The plotter in that video (and the maker of that modification) used diodes bought from my shop ;) If you are wanting to burn anything from light oak colored to darker than that - my diodes work fine...when I build out a burning red - I "draw" on my blonde oak desk to see if it works - if it burns the oak with no problems, then that laser progresses to the actual laser power meter for testing ;) I figure why waste battery power in my meter if I don't have to - besides that, I gotta admit it - it's fun as hell to burn my old "beater" desk :p

I guess the point is, you CAN do this on a budget - or you can go with loads of power :D
 

jam4ar

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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

So... I've been looking at some diodes and what not.. Looks like the biggest bang for my buck is c-mount. But since they're pretty barebones I'm kinda in the dark about how you actually go about using it.. Does anyone have any details or could point me in the direction of some info on using a c-mount? There are several to be found for < $50 for 2W. I've seen some 2W Fiber coupled diodes for about 180 on eBay, that's getting a bit steep though.

I understand where you apply the power, I guess I'm just not seeing how you'd mount it to a heatsink and how you'd go about focusing it (espically since you can't see the beam!). I've never built lasers so this is all pretty new to me and any help given is well appreciated. Thanks!

senkat, thanks for pointing out your wares to me.. I'll have a look around, I think I want a bit higher power on this build, but would like to have a lower powered laser for havin some fun with..
 

GooeyGus

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Re: Suggestions for a laser to use in a DIY Plotte

The body of the c-mount is basically a heat sink. Just get an aluminum block, tap some threads into it, and put a screw through the hole in the diode and screw it onto the block using some thermal grease. Then just make something that covers the entire diode with a lens in the top of it. Just make sure the top of the diode (where the die is) is directly under the lens.
 




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