Finishing the project

A project log for Lasercut Optics Bench

Use your lasercutter to make an optics bench.

Peter WalshPeter Walsh 07/09/2016 at 23:453 Comments


Finishing the project

Of late, interest in the project has flagged at my hackerspace.

Additionally, I think we're at a good stopping point. We have lens storage, a carrying case, a number of holders, and rings for most of the common optical components.

By common agreement, as a team we're going to finish the designs (one or two still need some minor development), fill in all the documentation, and put the project to bed.

I'll then open the GitHub project to other contributors if there's interest. In a month or so.

Lens Folio

As mentioned in the [updated] project description, I'm drowning in lenses :-)

So I lasercut some foam into well patterns glued onto posterboard backing, making a folio system for lens storage.

You can *really* store a lot of lenses this way.

I've since discovered that when you lay out the foam shelves, it's very easy to grab any component you need - they're all visible and accessible.

Project case

I found a Husky brand parts organizer case from Home Depot that's deep enough to store the holders. (Husky 16-1/2 in. 8-Bin Deep Pro Organizer, Black,
Model #

Then it occurred to me to make a lens folio that fits into half of the box, and with a small adjustment to the "clamp holder" the other side will nest 6 ring holders and 2 clamp holders.

The result looks pretty good, everything is organized and well dressed, and nothing spills or rattles when it's tipped or carried.

Various rings

We now have designs for a lot of interesting rings. On the left (below) are holders for a prism and a cuvette, on the right is a holder for a big 100mW laser.

The prism ring can be fixed to the holder to hold the prizm horizontally (like a table, shown) or vertically.
A polarizer ring can hold one or two polarizers (two shown). The angle can be locked into place by tightening the screws.
The slit ring has a ratcheting pawl held in place by a spring from a ballpoint pen. With a lasercut brass plate glued to the surface, this lets you select one of several single- or double-slits of various width.

Yes, you can lasercut thin brass.

No, it's not done yet. Still some issues to sort out.

Image and text flow on!

After much experimentation and trial-and-error, I finally (!) figured out how to get good looking text and image flow on!

This blog entry and the project description are the first examples of my new formatting method.

It's a bit tedious, but it *does* work!

I'll publish a "how-to" on my "Potpourri" project when I get the time.


Peter Walsh wrote 07/10/2016 at 02:36 point

Yes, in a couple of days. Another team member is doing this and I don't know what settings he's using.

Also, we're having trouble with this step - the thicker slits come out OK, but we're having some trouble cutting thin slits with a thread of brass between them.

Our brass is very thin, like aluminum foil thin. We are using an 80 watt CO2 laser.

I've been able to cut thin strips of steel on our laser, but it doesn't work very well. 0.001" thin steel seems to cut OK, but anything thicker comes out with very burned edges and doesn't look good.

The following is a cut/paste from my notebook on cutting steel:

Stainless Steel: Thickness [.001 … .01] inches 100% Power

.001 20 mm/s

.016 20 mm/s

.006 1mm/s

.008 1mm/s

.010 0.5 mm/s

I'm also able to cut copper clad PCB (double-sided), but it also comes out very burned and requires "secret sauce" to get it to cut at all.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ed0 wrote 07/10/2016 at 01:54 point

Can you explain what kind of laser and settings you are using when you mention "Yes, you can lasercut thin brass."?  If there is a way to do it with a 40W CO2 laser it would be very useful to people.

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Peter Walsh wrote 07/15/2016 at 15:25 point

The member who's doing the brass wasn't at our meeting last night. I've got your request in my E-mail inbox, I'll get to it eventually when I see him.

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