Large Laser Repair Vote

This is a highly used resource. Let’s get it done sooner rather than later.

Proposed Purchase

  • 2 EFR or RECI 100W CO2 laser tubes. ~$800-$1000

  • Shipping costs will be high due to the length of these tubes (1.5 meters).

  • It would be cheaper to purchase a spare tube in the same shipment to save money, as well as prevent future down-time.

  • I have inquired with LVL1 and other spaces to see if they need a tube at this time and are interested in lowering cost with a group buy.

  • I have inquired directly with EFR and RECI, as well as resellers. I am waiting for quotes to come back.- Electrical repair parts. $200-$400 (worst case – IF a new HV power supply was needed)

  • Mirrors, lenses, and other replacements $50

  • Industrial controls / safety & protection $100-$200

  • Coolant flow switch. ie. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/water-sense-to-protect-the-laser-tube/1361956447.html

  • Overcurrent relay or similar protection to fail safe if tube limit is exceeded.

  • Over-temperature switch.

  • Coolant level sensor.

  • Proper wiring & status indicators to insure that laser is ONLY operable with all systems functioning.

  • Padding for shipping costs, duty, etc. $400
    I am requesting $2050 for this vote. Hive13 currently has 30,000 in the bank (fanance.hive13.org). This maintenance represents 6% of that balance. Based on previous trends, we can expect to offest this expense and restore this balance within a period of months, not years.

It is likely that this will cost less. This is a conservative estimate, which allows for unexpected expense and possibility of further failures. Most likely, it will cost less.

I am working on logistics, research, planning. Bill Steele has volunteered to lead the installation. He is the most qualified person to do this. Thank you Bill.

I will update everyone with more information as I gather it. I will not be round this week, but wanted to get this process started anyway. I will be able to answer limited emails this week, and will be back next Monday.

Lorin

I vote yes EXCEPT I have one question. It’s my understanding the that tubes have a shelf life. If this is the case let’s just get 1 tube. No reason to get 2 if it’s just going to degrade while we use the first one.

Would it be worthwhile to include whatever is necessary to have both lasers up and running simultaneously in this?

We will have BOTH lasers set up and running soon. So, yes Kevin. I just need to add a cheap windows computer to the Vote to make sure we have independent control stations (a requirement).

2 tubes allows us to anticipate the replacement of the small laser tube, which can be expected sooner rather than later. Also, it’s a risk analysis, does the cost of storing the tube outweigh the cost of another $300 shipping bill down the road. Also, factor in the likelihood of damage due to accident, malfunction, etc – this is getting more significant. Hive13 is a space for the experienced as well as the inexperienced; patient and the impatient; etc. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of accidental damage to equipment, and that’s okay. The damage to this tube was sustained due to it running without adequate cooling, and at increased power. How likely is this to happen again?

Yes, CO2 laser tubes have a shelf life. Known, good brand like RECI or EFR have been known to last for 5 years in storage. A no-name brand will not store well. Even RECI or EFR will possibly age in storage, though.

So, there’s a trade off either way. Also, I may not be considering something key that Bill or someone else may know.

I’m simply trying to anticipate future problems and needs, if possible.

Data points for those interested:

EFR-ZS1450 http://efrlaser.com/2-co2-laser-tube/200477/ or RECI will last if stored properly due to solid construction.

The problem is the galvanic action, metal fatigue, internal optics & oxidization of the laser electrodes. Cheap laser tubes have cheap, thinly plated vacuum deposition electrodes. Also, most of the problems seem to be from people using the tube, removing it, storing it, and then reinstalling it. Storing an unused tube is a bit different. Most indications I see are from people who get an extra RECI spare tube with purchase of their laser. I only see reports that the spare works, even when stored for a long time. Maybe not 100%, but works.

I’m anticipating about 250 hours of wear per month (either 250 hours at 60% or 50 hours of hard driving or oops overpowering). Fact is, that we’ve probably seen more wear on our laser in the past 6 months than the first 3 years. It’s being heavily used, and should be!

Cost of shipping will be approx 1/3 to 1/2 if the cost of the tube itself.

Also, I forgot… A mandatory cleaning and maintenance schedule will be established‎.

Here’s lvl1’s schedule below. I’d also add dust with light, dry air every 2 weeks at least. Big dust problems…

  • Based on observation, this schedule is 3x the length of the “estimated” schedule recommended for full-time laser shops.
  • Every three weeks - Clean the main lens.
  • Every three months - Clean the lens mirror.
  • Every six months - Clean the X-axis gantry mirror.
  • Every nine months - Clean the Y-axis mirror.
  • Every year - Clean the laser output lens/mirror assembly.
  • As needed - Lubricate the linear slides with 3-in-1 oil (or similar light machine oil).
  • As needed - Clean crumbs out of crumb tray and the bed (on top of the support rails where crumbs can’t fall freely)
  • As Needed - Replace coolant water (use distilled water only).‎


From: Lorin Edwin Parker
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2018 1:14 PM
To: Hive13
Subject: Re: [CHP] Re: Large Laser Repair Vote

We will have BOTH lasers set up and running soon. So, yes Kevin. I just need to add a cheap windows computer to the Vote to make sure we have independent control stations (a requirement).

2 tubes allows us to anticipate the replacement of the small laser tube, which can be expected sooner rather than later. Also, it’s a risk analysis, does the cost of storing the tube outweigh the cost of another $300 shipping bill down the road. Also, factor in the likelihood of damage due to accident, malfunction, etc – this is getting more significant. Hive13 is a space for the experienced as well as the inexperienced; patient and the impatient; etc. Over the years I’ve seen a lot of accidental damage to equipment, and that’s okay. The damage to this tube was sustained due to it running without adequate cooling, and at increased power. How likely is this to happen again?

Yes, CO2 laser tubes have a shelf life. Known, good brand like RECI or EFR have been known to last for 5 years in storage. A no-name brand will not store well. Even RECI or EFR will possibly age in storage, though.

So, there’s a trade off either way. Also, I may not be considering something key that Bill or someone else may know.

I’m simply trying to anticipate future problems and needs, if possible.

Data points for those interested:

EFR-ZS1450 http://efrlaser.com/2-co2-laser-tube/200477/ or RECI will last if stored properly due to solid construction.

The problem is the galvanic action, metal fatigue, internal optics & oxidization of the laser electrodes. Cheap laser tubes have cheap, thinly plated vacuum deposition electrodes. Also, most of the problems seem to be from people using the tube, removing it, storing it, and then reinstalling it. Storing an unused tube is a bit different. Most indications I see are from people who get an extra RECI spare tube with purchase of their laser. I only see reports that the spare works, even when stored for a long time. Maybe not 100%, but works.

I’m anticipating about 250 hours of wear per month (either 250 hours at 60% or 50 hours of hard driving or oops overpowering). Fact is, that we’ve probably seen more wear on our laser in the past 6 months than the first 3 years. It’s being heavily used, and should be!

Cost of shipping will be approx 1/3 to 1/2 if the cost of the tube itself.

I vote yes

I’m wondering if it is worth moving both lasers to the Annex and just getting that whole deal out of the way since they need so much work already

I vote yes

Lorin, I do have some windows xp and windows 7 desktops that I used at my shop. I can gladly bring one down to get things a step closer to opperational.

I vote YES on the repair and parts request.

John2pt0

I vote yes.

I love the maintenance agreement.

Who will be incharge of performing all of the maintenance? Lorin, Bill, Brad, others?
Can we keep the maintenance records posted so we can know when the last time everything was checked?

I’m guessing the FabLab warden.

I vote yes.

I vote yes too.

Thanks to everyone working to repair this.

I love the maintenance agreement.

Who will be incharge of performing all of the maintenance? Lorin, Bill, Brad, others?
Can we keep the maintenance records posted so we can know when the last time everything was checked?

I think it’s time that everyone who uses the laser has to keep it clean and understand the maintenance. Although cleaning mirrors & lenses should be done by people familiar with cleaning precision optics (there’s a technique involved, and it is possible to do damage), everyone should do some simple dusting & wiping down with each use. For example:

  • Checking for dust & debris.

  • Check the sight glass on the chiller to verify water level.

  • shine a flashlight at the mirror in the cutting head to verify that it is clear & lens is not covered in dust.

  • A light touch with an office duster spray-can if not.

  • Wipe down the cutting area after you’re done with a cloth. Wipe any films or residue off.

We lost track of this sort of ongoing care. That’s fine, but we all need to start now. Dust and dirt absolutely kills lasers or any optical instruments.

Of course the big job is going to be to clean everything, including the chiller (which probably has build-up) so we start with the best machine possible and keep it that way. In the new space the venting blower should be much much better with a short, clear path, so VOC’s and soot will not linger as well.

Also, everyone should be familiar with the lens, gaskets, and heavy wear parts so we can all troubleshoot & keep it in tip top shape. I’m happy to do some inservice, documentation, etc. Believe it or not, Hive13 is getting close to 100 members – everyone is going to need to chip in if we continue to grow.

I’ll post the checklist by the machine, laminated.

But, yes, if a lens is bad or a mirror is coated in film, or whatever, ping the list and ask for assistance.

I used the small laser last night, 6/13, and I was able to trip the breaker when the a/c unit was on, a couple times in fact. I turned the a/c off and it worked properly.

Probably should put up a sign to unplug the A/C when using the laser.

I vote Yes!

Update on laser vote based on further research:

  • 1 EFR ZS-1450 100W tube for large laser

  • Most durable tube, so a good choice for hive.

  • Best price found is $637.53 including fedex shipping from Beijing.- 1 EFR F2 80W tube for small laser (60 watt tubes in the proper geometry seem scarce).

  • Best price so far = $396.84 including fedex from beijing.
    Same estimates for other stuff.

  • Electrical repair parts. $200-$400 (worst case – IF a new HV power supply was needed)

  • Mirrors, lenses, and other replacements $150

  • Industrial controls / safety & protection $100-$200

  • Coolant flow switch. ie. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/water-sense-to-protect-the-laser-tube/1361956447.html

  • Overcurrent relay or similar protection to fail safe if tube limit is exceeded.

  • Over-temperature switch.

  • Coolant level sensor.

  • Proper wiring & status indicators to insure that laser is ONLY operable with all systems functioning.

  • Padding for add’l shipping costs, duty, etc. $300
    Still asking for $2050 which will likely be more than is needed, but will allow some wiggle room if other issues emerge.

All the quotes I’ve gotten suggest that one can only save on shipping cost if ordering 6+ tubes. So, let’s forego the spare and get the most durable tube, parts, optics, etc now.

Lorin

I’m not available for the meeting. Sorry. Will try to “phone in” in a sec if I can.

Nonetheless,

I vote yes.