Laser is down, out-of-focus

True confessions - I used the laser earlier this afternoon and left it worse than when I found it. My bad. I need someone better experienced than me to tune it back into shape. Sorry to one-and-all that may be affected by this.

Someone else’s work was left on the PC when I arrived (which I saved). I thought I knew what I was doing but drove the carriage into the end-stop by accident in my startup. This is known to sometimes knock the beam out of alignment. I managed to cut a first part OK. but then had about half power on a second adjacent part at the same settings. Repeating the cut finished the second part OK. Then I tried adjusting the mirrors to get a better spot. I was able to get what looked like a good spot, but cutting a third adjacent part to the left with the same power settings did not cut through the part. I guess I don’t yet know how to adjust the laser focus correctly. I left a note with my cell phone number at the machine.

Let me know and I will work to document a better setup and repair procedure so I (and others) don’t repeat this experience.


Thank you for telling us!!

I will attempt to realign it. I can normally get it fairly close, but not perfect. Anyone else want to help out?

I started refocusing the laser cutter this evening. It’s able to cut wood again, but needs further work. I’ll finish later this week if no one beats me to it. I’m just out of time tonight.

One of the mirror assemblies fell apart while I was looking elsewhere, (your spring retention pins are now missiles!) so Will and I took some time to fabricate new slotted pins. I’ve also replaced all the terrible giant thumbscrews with cap head screws, nuts, and lock washers. This makes it much easier to precisely adjust and lock down the mirrors. All the original hardware is in a ziplock bag in the tabbed Lazor box.

  • Ry

I had the same pin missile issue and had good luck with a string loop reinstall method. I am back in town today and will be at the hive after work to retry more lasering. I’m willing to document a new laser alignment procedure if others can share the good method.


Jim -

If you have a set of small metric wrenches, bringing them along this evening will save much frustration with needle nose pliers. The laser is using M3 hardware now, and the hive doesn’t appear to have anything that small.

There might be a suitable wrench in the Shapeoko tool kit, but I was unable to locate that last night.

  • Ry

We might have a M3 wrench in the shapoko kit. For next time, you will find all the shapoko tools in the original box of the shapoko under the table where the shapoko stands.


Allen wrenches for M3 SHCS, or box wrenches for M3 hex head screws/nuts, and/or more? I’ll presume both for now. I’m thinking to donate a dedicated set/kit of the needed wrenches to keep at the machine, once it’s sorted out what is needed.

I’ll be there by 6:00pm tonite and won’t stay too late, but will have extra time at the Hive for this, this weekend.


OK. The laser now has a dedicated kit of alignment tools to be kept at the machine.

We still need a PRO laser tech to put the mirrors into correct alignment to get the laser back on-line.

The kit includes:
(a) one 2.5 mm allen wrench, long-shank, ball-end, marked with blue masking tape
(b) one 3.0 mm allen wrench, long-shank, ball-end, marked with blue masking tape
(c) one 5.5 mm box wrench, open-end and closed-end, marked with blue masking tape
(d) on pair of scissors, marked with blue masking tape
(e) a first new 8-1/2" x 11" page of printed consumable laser mirror targets

I’m at the Hive now. Email back and I’ll stay or return later to meet up with whoever can help set it right.


Thanks for making a kit.

Does anyone know what happened to the bin of laser parts?

It was a smallish clear plastic bin with blue handles on it. It had extra keys and a handful of other things for the laser. Not sure why it is not in the fab lab, but it needs to go back in there!

I can align it up Tomorrow when I’m there. As for the laser parts… they’re actually not in a clear case, but were in that wooden laser cut box that was by the laser.


Thanks Bill. If I catch you while you’re doing it I would love to see your technique. Seems like everyone’s is a little different for aligning the laser.

I think Ryan got the laser sort of in alignment. It has a fairly small beam, but it isn’t near its full cutting power.

Also, I checked that wooden box yesterday for some test pieces and it didn’t have anything extra in it. I’m guessing Will may have possibly moved the box somewhere.

Thanks for stepping up Bill:

Like Jon, I’d like to also be present to observe your laser alignment work. Can you pin down a time?


Maybe someone can video it and put it on the wiki?

Probably put on youtube and link to wiki… :slight_smile: You don’t want to ask too much of it.

Another vote for a video of the process!