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  1. #1
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    Apr 2003
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    42

    Adapting Lasers for CNC

    We were going to build a laser, but found two working surgical CO2 lasers, each with articulated arms. The smaller of the two is Coherent 30 watt with hand piece, and is a sealed beam, with sealed liquid cooling system. Once we got it home, it wasn't junk...it works!

    The larger is flowing gas 60 watt CO2, with instrument panel showing approx. 300 hours on it. It has sealed liquid cooling system as well as the vacuum pump. It appears to be almost new, just doesn't have the pressurized tank, or such external parts. You don't want to know how little it cost us...less than the price of a new transformer for it...

    Originally, we were going to use them as scrap and build off of the parts....great transformers, sealed liquid coolant system with pumps, integrated He/Ne pointer laser, articulated arms, and very robust build for a rack, associated with operating room equipment. We were going to use the parts and adapt the "newly functioning" lasers for light cutting duty and engraving, on two machines we were building or re-fitting.

    Once we found that the Coherent actually worked, we decided to use as is. since it is a very nice, compact mount for all the nec. equipment. We wanted to gather the technical manuals so that we could tell those helping, just what kind of laser tubes were involved and exactly what kind of electronics is in the package. There is even a computer port for the Cooper flowing gas laser....to what for what?

    Therein is the rub....we are unable to find schematics and technical manuals.

    So, does anyone out there familiar with these two instruments have any source for technical manuals? Neither Coherent nor Lumenis has them (at least they are not willing to dig in the graveyard files for unsupported equipment.....) ??

    It seems a waste to throw out all the circuits ( with all kinds of power settings, pulse settings, and so forth) and go with what is essentially a home brewed laser!!??

    Sorry to not be able to provide all the documentation before we opened up the thread...maybe there isn't any interest in what appears to us to be a good place for some basic laser/cnc learning...?? Lots of good, basic learning to be discussed in the forum as we convert.

    Initial equipment is on hand is an Isel cast off engraver (somebody thought it to be junk!) with servo motors and 4 axis DeskCNC system....up and running with rotary now and hand piece for laser ported for pressure air. Other things are being built or converted.

    But we are definitely newbies to all of this!!! Help!!! Maybe we can learn together? Does anyone have a source for technical information for these lasers? Or do we just open it up to you experts here, and start throwing out parts ??

    Marc and boyz
    In the boonies...

  2. #2
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    May 2003
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    340
    Your best bet maybe to take some decent photos, post them here or on the web somewhere and then ask on alt.lasers there are a lot of people on the industry who keep an eye on that group. Sam of Sam's FAQ is one of them.

    Remember that for cutting all you really want is PWM control of the power.

    Graham

  3. #3
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    Apr 2003
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    Thanx
    I posted quick pictures of the two in files here.
    I will post message as you indicated later today.

    I did find one place that had 3 of the flowing gas for sale and a university that rents time on a Coherent one like ours, for surgical OR manufacturing time !!
    We couldn't build them cheaper, so we would rather modify.

  4. #4
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    Marc Soren: "We were going to build a laser, but found two working surgical CO2 lasers, each with articulated arms...... Once we got it home, it wasn't junk...it works!"

    Evodyne: "Thirty four in total, all THK, all 80" long....two trucks each....HSR series."

    2muchstuff: (2) 80 1/2" THK rails, (4) slides, Reliance servo motor, Ametek servo motor w/ planetary gearbox (brand new), assorted bearings/timing belts/pulleys/odds and ends/ 150lbs x aluminum (to be scrapped out)..... I paid $100 dollars for it all.

    Well, I've never taken any notice of the people that tell me about the golf ball typewriter stepper motors and rails (or that sort of thing) they scored for free. (Good luck to them but it's just that they don't interest me) I've never bothered to stop at a machinery junkyard in my life either. However, these three guys above have certainly made me change the way I think. Well done guys!

  5. #5
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    Apr 2003
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    42

    block diag. only for Coherent

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham S
    Your best bet maybe to take some decent photos, post them here or on the web somewhere and then ask on alt.lasers there are a lot of people on the industry who keep an eye on that group. Sam of Sam's FAQ is one of them.

    Remember that for cutting all you really want is PWM control of the power.

    Graham
    So far, I have received nothing, yet, from the posting to alt.lasers...

    I did find one place back east that would sell documentation to me for the Coherent laser, for $200. They said there was mostly just block diagrams...

    After poking around, I found locations completely covered, for other circuit boards, with usual bundles coming and going....so it is NOT as simple as I thought....story of all bargains, right?

    It is looking like we may just have to treat it to a complete re-wire unless I can find documentation that would let us know which boards do what, and where....and looks like $200 added to the "bargain"....,

    Marc and boyz
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails circuitsCoherent.JPG  

  6. #6
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    Jan 2005
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    746
    Marc,
    Don't give up all hope yet. You say they are sugical lasers and you have tried the usual avenues (manufactures) to get information on them. Now the time has come to think outside the box. First, who uses these lasers? --surgeons-- where do surgeons work? --hospitals-- most hospitals have a BME (bio- medical engineering) department. These departments repair the equipment in the hospital. A friend of mine used to be a BME and the department has all the schematics and repair/calibration information on all the equipment in use. They used to repair the equipment down to component level not just the usual board jockey. Another source may be the small independant medical repair companies that service the individual doctors office. Check you local yellow pages under medical equipment repair.

    Skippy,
    Thanks, by the way, I picked up a 5mw He-Ne laser and power supply at a local electronics recycle yard for free. Don't know what I'm going to do with it but I've got one.
    If it's not nailed down, it's mine.
    If I can pry it loose, it's not nailed down.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2003
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    42

    We're not in Kansas, Toto !

    Thanx
    You are right, naturally.
    We have been contacting second hand dealers all over (why so many in Florida?!!)

    Armed with a new term now, BME, we will be collecting yellow page phone numbers for hospitals all over the West Coast. Somebody would be willing to photo copy stuff for $50 soon, I am sure....maybe even offering $50 reward for a referral that leads to documentation (as long as THAT doesn't end up costing me an arm and a leg as well...) '

    Both units are not even serviced by manufacturers any more, so manufacturers (or whatever company bought them out once or twice since then) do not even stock docs...or so they say...

    thanks again....
    onward...

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    28

    Adapting a laser to current cnc mill

    I have been reading your post and I am interested in adapting a laser onto my Haas vertical TM1 cnc mill. It has a woking area 30" x 12" and 16" in Z

    http://www.haas.co.uk/master.html?ht...o.uk/used.html
    goto vertical tm1


    How far along are you into this project and have you done this before? Where and what kind of laser should I be looking for? I would like to do engraving (anodized aluminum) and cutting panels (acrylics 1/4 thick). I would appreciate any info.

    Thanks
    Bob Flores
    Modern Machine Technologies
    mmtech@chartermi.net

  9. #9
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    Apr 2003
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    42

    conversion to laser engravers

    GO!!

    We started to convert a working laser ( we have two) into an engraving system earlier, but ran into snags in other areas, not the least of which was knowledge. (and lots of cash)

    We would love to follow along as the wizards ( including our Fearless Leader, who just built his cutting laser here,) explore what is needed to do engraving.

    We can horse trade one of the lasers ?

    Keep going....we are ready to learn and it sounds like laser engraving is next!!! There have been some great laser cutting systems developed here on CNCZone and lots of great learning was shared.

    How can we help this next phase?
    Marc and boyz, Oregon

  10. #10
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    Sep 2005
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    28

    How are you planning on adapting your laser

    Marc, Based on what you have described about your laser with an articulating arm and trying to envision a method of holding the laser head in a modified tool holder or clamp to the spindle head that only moves in z, maybe select an auxillary gcode to turn on power for the laser (let the current laser units control panel vary power setting), with this setup it seems like it would be minimal fabrication. Anybody please comment if there are big holes in this picture. Looking for input on what type of laser I should be looking for.



    Some ebay items I don't know if these are the right type
    CO2 LASER SYSTEM Item number: 7542425777 (will this engraving anodized alumium)

    Sharplan 2100 Yag Laser Metal Cutting Industrial Medic Item number: 7542606636

    Coherent Innova 70 Water Cooled AR Laser NR Item number: 7543522814

    LASER DUAL SYSTEM FOR PARTS COHERENT BRAND ? Item number: 7543652367

  11. #11
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    42

    laser adapting for CNC engraving

    Bob
    Sorry to be gone so long.

    My 3 sons and I were building a larger plasma torch but that got put on hold. We lost the mom and family business due to cancer and I had to quit work due to messed up back....so that is why we have to watch our spending. We have most parts for a couple of other machines and we are
    currently wanting to adapt our laser(s) to a used Isel table we also scored for cheap from a lab shut down. (no electronics came with it, dang it).

    We can clamp one of our articulated hand pieces to the gantry and cut but we need to control the laser completely through the computer....and we are also poor in our electronics skills. And we have scored 0 in getting tech manuals etc. for the lasers....a 40 watt and a 70 watt, both CO2. Our big need is for engraving, so we need to be able to do photo engraving with the laser....not much use for cutting thick stuff, now or in the future.

    Because of our limitations in knowledge, Bob, I feel unqualified to comment on which laser system will work best for what you have. I am sure the knowledge for both of our needs is out there on CNCZone, and we are hoping to swap some hand holding for one of our lasers. We would love to document the successful conversion here so that others can learn. We are very envious of Owen's experiences that he shared so well here and that others are sharing likewise.

    So, how about it, oh experienced ones...any quidance for converting perfectly good CO2 surgical lasers to CNC engraving? It is the electronics where we need the most help, :drowning: since all aspects of the laser are taken care of....power, cooling, lenses, and so forth.....anybody else wanna burn holes in their pool table? (they were not supposed to be working when we plugged them in....) It looks as if three different people at CNCZone are wanting to take their current CNC tables and learn how to do the electronics for serious engraving without spending another $10,000 or more.

    Marc and boyz
    Oregon

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