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DIY CO2 Laser

A simple design using plumbing parts.

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WARNING!
: Eye protection is required for this is my first Experimental Co2 laser.

I will discuss protection enclosures and safety interlocks.

To build a CO2 laser for cutting and engraving materials.

  • 1 × Lens Purchase from Ebay
  • 1 × Total reflective mirror Rear mirror for CO 2
  • 1 × T 30 Mirror Front mirror for CO 2
  • 2 × 3/4 x 3/4 x1/2 Plastic Tee Push'N'Turn Plumbing part
  • 2 × SWP 3/4 x3/4 x1/2 NPT Plumbing part

View all 12 components

View all 3 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    Construction of the Water cooling Jacket::

    The Nylon snap lock fittings were machined to allow the 1 inch, Outer Glass tube to fit easly to a depth of 1 inch.

    The same edge of the snap lock fitting was bevelled to accept the Rubber O ring.

    Next the Compession Nut was shortened by .25 of an inch and machined to fit over the 1 inchGlass tube.

    The one iinch glass tube was cut to length 36 " using a diamond cutter on a Dremil rotary cutter. This part is very critical. Slow and steady.

    Water will be pumped through this chamber, cooling the laser tube. The O ring is all that seals the liguid because I did not want to use any permanent sealant. This will allow easy replacement of damaged components.

    This is a 24Volt 7.8 watt fluid pump that I will be using for the cooling stage. It is fairly quiet and is rated as continuious duty.

    The cooling system is a closed loop. This unit is a salvaged heater core from an automobile. I shortened the hose connections and added some fittings. I will be using this 24v dc computer fan.

    I will add an aluminium plate between the fan and core to duct the air through the heater core.

    A small expansion chamber and filler cap will also be added to the loop.

    It is important to keep the laser tube cool.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Construction of the laser tube:

    - The laser tube was a used and salvaged from a water purifier. The ends were cut off with a diamond blade. A neon sign tube would also work.

    WARNING: These tubes contain small amounts of mercury.

    The Next series of pictures show the construction of the first stage of the end units.

    The fitting untouched.

    The fitting machined and two O Rings have been fitted.

    I modified one of the compression parts to clamp the first stage to the water jacket fitting..

    Fitting ready to be connected. I used a small amount of petroleum jelly to assemble the two parts.

    The middle nut clamps the first stage to the water jacket. The alignment is now perfect and sealed from the cooling fluid

    Two silicone Orings are placed on the 1/2 laser tube and 1/4 inch mylar tape is wrapped around to stop the Orings from moving.

    The fitting is machined with a tappered ream

    Here is the laser tube is inserted into the holder, sealed from the Liquid Coolent chamber.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Construction of the Anode and Cathode:

    This material is Copper 85% and Silver 15%. SILFOS.

    Here I have formed the Silfos around a pex barb fitting to achive this profile.

    I clamped the end of the Silfos to the pex fitting with needle nose vice grips and then rotated it around the fitting. I then moved the grips and continued the rest of the curve. I cut the end to where the curve started. Last I formed the exit angle.

    Here you can see the finished electrode with a 14 guage copper pin installed. I has also been cut to length. the shaft fits down into the 1/4" barb fitting,

    This is the Cathode and Anode holder;

    I changed the Nylon fitting to Brass. This allows better heat conduction and better electrical connection. Next I drilled and tapped a 1/4" threaded hole in the center of the brass plug fitting and installed a barbed brass fitting,

    The assembeled spring loaded Cathode .

    This end view shows the ring cathodes location. A Teflon washer is placed next to the cathode and the glass laser tube will rest up to the teflon ring. The Pumped Gas mixture will flow through the barb fitting into the laser tube.

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Discussions

Winston wrote 12/05/2015 at 16:27 point

On the use of Balloon Time helium, you do know this, right?

http://www.balloontime.com/contact-us/faqs/

"Our helium is rated from 98-99.99 percent pure. However, due to global helium supply issues, we are now mixing helium with air. All tanks will have 80 percent or more helium."

  Are you sure? yes | no

Joseph Lavoie wrote 12/05/2015 at 18:34 point

Thank you for the information. When was the new mixture implemted. The tank I am using is several years old. If you mixed 20% nitrogen with the helium you would solve one of my problem. Joseph

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Joseph Lavoie wrote 11/14/2015 at 22:49 point

A work in progress. Lots of research and gathering material. I have plannned this for a winter project and will post updates. Thanks for your interest. Joseph

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Jan--Henrik wrote 11/14/2015 at 22:42 point

Looks so far so good, does it already work or is it still WIP? :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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