C02 Laser Tube Modified Mounting Bracket

Posted by admin on November 19, 2011

The laser mounts supplied with the plastic parts kit from Buildlog.net were functional, but left a little to be desired.  

  • My first concern was over tightening the screws, and breaking the tube. (when left to my own devices, I have a tendency to over tighten and break things) 
  • The second was breaking the tube during transport due to an overconstrained condition if the frame flexed at all.  
  • Third was ease of installation and removal of the tube.  I'd prefer to just set the tube in the pre-aligned mounts, then loosen at least 1 screw and try to slide the tube in from the end.

Alignment systems that are not subject to high forces, and use 3 point alignment method, generally have 2 points that are adjustable, and the third is compliant. It prevents over constraints, and is easier to adjust, because only 2 points need to be adjusted, and the third automatically moves to compensate.


If the laser mount was designed like this, then it would be easy to align the laser without the worry of breaking it.  Also, it eliminates the need to loosen one screw as the other is tightened.

I thought about wrapping the tube with a strip of rubber at the contact points, to allow for some compliance and prevent slip.  However, this makes all the points compliant, and adjustments would not be as exact.  Also, over time, the rubber can creep, and the laser could loose alignment.

Without knowing how strong the laser tube is, and not wanting to test that, I was concerned about using a spring loaded point.  I also did not know what the required strength of the spring would be to keep the laser in place.

A third of the mount with one of the screws was cut off. Using an extension spring that wrapped part way around the tube would help distribute the point force.  It also allows for compliance if the frame is twisted, and will prevent the laser from breaking.

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Lightwave bindings adapted to WLF Liquid Force kite board

Posted by admin on November 18, 2011

Lightwave makes a great pair of bindings, but after purchasing them, I realized that my Liquid Force WLF kite board uses non-standard 6.5inch screw spacing. The screws for the Lightwave bindings are spaced at 6in apart.  The bindings have a metal plate through which the screws go through. I wanted to decrease the spacing to 5.5inch, because that would probably keep it stronger as opposed to widening the spacing more. I could just dremel the slot, but that would damage the metal support plate, and possibly make it too thin.

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Sprinter Maintenance Record

Posted by admin on November 18, 2011

  • 72,000 miles Purchased from DHL
  • 72,060 3/29/2009 – engine air filter, cabin air filter, fuel filter, intercooler air intake hose replaced, engine oil change, oil filter, windshield wipers, wheels and tires (front tires are new, rear tires are approximately 70%, the tires that came with the G500 wheels were too big for the front), transmission fluid, transmission pan seal, transmission filter, transmission electronics plug, serpentine belt, serpentine belt tensioner (not sure if the old one was bad, because replacing it did not solve the rattling at idle problem)
    G500 wheels were purchased off craigslist. 
  • 72,400 Replaced waterpump.  Old water pump started leaking
  • 74,916 4/16/2010 – Replaced factory 90A alternator with 200 Amp alternator, replaced the 2 serpentine belt idler pulleys (this eliminated the rattling at idle sound)
  • 79,000 6/12/2011 - Replaced the power steering fluid.
  • 80,500 4/24/2011 - Replaced the original front and rear shocks with Koni red shocks.  Huge ride improvement.
  • 83,000 10/01/2011 - made the Dr. A's RSN fix modification to the transmission.  Replaced 2 quarts of transmission fluid that was lost during the modification.
  • 84,000 10/20/2011 - replaced the oil, oil filter, engine air filter, cabin air filter.
    Replaced the hose from the windshield washer fluid reservoir to the splitter (1 meter length). This was done to stop fluid from leaking out of the reservoir at the barbed hose fitting on the pump. 


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Laser DSP 2012 Installation

Posted by admin on November 17, 2011

After trying to use Mach3, I decided that the 2012 Laser DSP controller from LightObject.com would be a much better solution.  However, I wanted to keep the parallel port input of the laser control board used for Mach3, incase I needed to use Mach3 for a custom purpose in the future.

The solution was to wire everything from the Laser DSP into a parallel connector, and run a parallel cable to the laser control board.  This also reduced the amount of re-wiring to practically nothing.

Below is the DSP with the parallel connector mounted to a bracket. 


In order to run the USB connector from the DSP computer, there would be a cable dangling out the back of the laser.  This is not a clean setup, so I created a panel mount USB A to B connector.  That way I can run a USB cable from the DSP to the inside panel mount connector, and then connect a seperate USB cable between the computer and the laser.

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3D Printed Enclosure for the DSP Laser Controller Keypad

Posted by admin on November 11, 2011

The DSP laser controller keypad arrives without a housing.  The edges of the pcb are exposed, so they will be visible unless flush mounted.  Using Solidworks and the 3D printer, I quickly threw together and made an angled housing for the keypad.  The housing needs to be printed in 2 halves.  The halves capture the keypad pcb and hold it in place.  The 2 halves have 3 pins that align the 2 parts to each other, and several holes in the bottom for threaded inserts as a way of attaching it to the laser panels.

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Taig CNC Mill

Posted by admin on November 10, 2011

Mach3 Setup

This guy has basically the same setup.  Taig CNC mill with the HobbyCNC stepper driver board.  He has some good detailed pictures on how to setup Mach3.


HobbyCNC Unipolar Stepper Controller

The CNC stepper controller being used is an open source controller sold by HobbyCNC: http://www.hobbycnc.com/products/hobbycnc-pro-chopper-driver-board-kits/


Detailed construction and instructions for the HobbyCNC controller


LED Light for CNC Mill

This light was built from surplus parts I had.  A 3W Luxeon Star LED from a headlamp that I upgraded, a cheap flashlight, a heatsink with a threaded plate, and a flexible arm.

The plastic lens was scratched with a brass brush to create a diffuse light.  This reduces glare, and is not blinding if you happen to look directly into the light.

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Laser Cutter Build Cost and Sources Spreadsheet

Posted by admin on November 4, 2011

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Laser Cutter Vector Table Surface Material

Posted by admin on November 2, 2011

1.  Aluminum Egg Crate Return: ~$25  http://surpluscityliquidators.com/view_product/152513/ for $9 + ~$15 shipping.

On the Buildlog.net forum, they report good results using this aluminum egg crate return.   Supposedly, it's commonly used for fluorescent lighting fixtures, and from what I can tell it's the same thing that http://lazergrids.com/, but they charge a premium for cutting to size.

You may want to check a local electrical/hvac supply store.  I found one in Atlanta, called:

Atlanta Supply
1333 Logan Circle
Atlanta, GA 30318

However, I called them to inquire, and at $75, I think I'll risk shipping damage from Surplus City Liquidators.  UPDATE: I purchased and received the egg crate return from SurplusCityLiquidators.  It arrived quickly and in good shape.  It's actually painted white, although the paint is not very thick.  Total with shipping came to $23.  Hopefully the white paint does not have detrimental effects.

Here's an alternate source if you need a lot (share with friends). It's 2 pieces of 2'x4' grid for $57.95+shipping = ~$75.

2.  http://lazergrids.com/ - $80 Considering that it's the same as the Aluminum Egg Crate return, this is expensive stuff for the dimensions that I need.

3.  Laser-links.net - $225 durable stainless links, but very expensive

4.  Expanded Aluminum -  $62.99 Available from McMaster.com.  This is the standard "vector cutting grid" used in laser cutters.  Fragile, and needs to be fully supported.  Laser cutter companies often charge hundreds of dollars for this stuff.


The aluminum egg crate from SurplusCityLiquidators was cheap, and should work great.

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C02 Laser Power Supply Connections 40W

Posted by admin on October 31, 2011

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Easy Cable Termination Using Solder

Posted by admin on October 30, 2011

How to Instructions:

  1. Drill a hole through the object that the cable slips through, but not too loose.
  2. At the termination side of the cable, drill a larger hole to create space for soldering the frayed ends of the cable.
  3. Push the cable through the hole, and fray the ends of the cable.
  4. Pull the cable back into the hole, such that the frayed end is in the larger drilled out area.
  5. Heat and fill the large hole with solder.  I used a heat gun for the the parts shown in the images, and it worked great!
  6. Clip off excess cable sticking out if necessary.
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