Laser Cutter 2.0 : That is one big *ss tube…

by Stephen Hobley on September 10, 2011

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Good news! The laser tube, power supply and cooling system arrived yesterday.

The 80W tube is *MASSIVE* – even though I knew the dimensions before I ordered it, I guess my subconscious had chosen to ignore the fact of exactly how long this thing was going to be.

Hmmmm… I might have to move my router bed somewhere else.

First thing to do was hook up the active cooling system and take it for a spin. I put just under 2 gallons of distilled water in the tank and hooked the inlet/outlet ports together. Everything seemed good, water was flowing and the readout displayed 22 degrees centigrade.

It looked like the port connectors and tube connectors were different sizes, so the supplied pipe wasn’t going to do it. A quick trip to the local hardware store got me the following:

Watts SVHF10 (Clear vinyl tube) 10′ x 7/16″ OD x 5/16″ ID [x 2]
Watts A-277SH; SH-77 Hose barb adapter 5/16″ x 3/8″ [x 2]
Watts A-298 3/8″ Barb x 3/8 FIP [x2]
Teflon tape.

I was then able to hookup the laser tube to the chiller. Be very careful when connecting vinyl tube to the glass of the laser – it would be very easy to break it at this point. (Latex hose might be better).

So that’s got the cooling up and running.

The next challenge is hooking up the PSU and actually operating the tube.

Update :

That’s got the tube running successfully. Now I need to build an enclosure for it.

I’ve ordered another bounce mirror, due to space requirements I have to ‘fold’ the laser beam one more time before I can direct it towards the gantry.

It goes without saying – I’m wearing safety glasses throughout all the testing procedures.

So should you.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael September 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hey there Steve, thanks for the informative content on your site.
I too have, in an attempt to get a bit of knowledge about laser cutters have purchased one of these el-cheapo Chinese models. It looks very much the same as the one in your pic.

You may be able to help me as it looks like you are not afraid to get your hands dirty and amongst the inner workings. I’m still scared of a stray laser burning out my eyes at this stage.

I have no room for this thing in my office, do you know if a wireless parallel port would work? so I can put it in the spare room and control it from the office…? something like this:

I also was trying to see any pics of things you have cut out with the laser cutter to get an idea of what I can expect. Ebay (where I purchased it) said that it would cut through pretty thin perspex but on my initial test, to make sure it arrived in working order (I am in Australia), i was only getting a fuzzy burn on paper that would cut through with 2 or 3 passes … that worries me a little.

Thanks once again.
By the way that new tube you have purchased look great.. and should do a much more comprehensive job on more materials, I will be keeping watch to see how it goes.


Stephen Hobley September 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hi Michael,

Having spent some time with CNC milling and lasers I would not recommend the wireless approach. I would suggest keeping everything in the same room. Picking up an old computer is relatively cheap nowadays.

The 40 W laser I had would cut through paper in one pass, 1/8″ perspex in 2-3 passes, and 1/4″ plywood in 2 passes.

The tube I have now is significantly better quality, but so big I’m going to need to order another bounce mirror to “fold” the beam back on itself. I’m just about ready to test the PSU so I’ll be posting an update soon.


Michael September 17, 2011 at 5:40 am

Thanks for the reply Steve. Good to know what I can expect.
Yeah I figured it is probably best to be in the same room as soon as you send a job to it anyway.
Your new tube is huge. I dont know much about lasers but does 80W mean it should be able to do twice as much? From the size it looks like it should do better than that.

Good luck with it!

Dylan April 16, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Steve, great prodject and write up, I’m about to update my el-cheapo laser cutter where did you buy your tube PSU and cooler from?

s s jandu July 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

I want lesser machine size 10″ cutting pipe slot 16 swg s s pipe how Mach prces

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