12 – Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (42:34)

The Lightblade Learning Lab with Russ Sadler

The Lightblade Learning Lab is a series of videos that Russ did for Thinklaser Limited based on using the Lightblade 4060 Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine. Thinklasers Lightblade 4060 has a 400 x 600mm bed size and was supplied with a 60W EFR laser tube. In this video, Russ provides an overview relating to Laser Beam Alignment Setting and explains the key component parts of the laser machine that affect the beam path. He also gives a demonstration of setting up the mirrors for improved beam alignment.

Laser Beam Alignment Setting - Plan View of Machine
Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Plan View of Machine

Contents

  • (Making a beam-setting jig)
  • Introduction – don’t invalidate your warranty by trying the following on your machine!
  • Parts of the machine – floor, gantry, X and Y bearing rails, head.
  • Plan view of beam path and the various possibilities for adjustment
  • Detailed look at the head mirror, elliptical profile of mirror as seen by the beam as it approaches
  • Beam diameter and why it must be centred on the mirror
  • Issues with the design of the head and why some power was being lost in the tests in the previous video.
  • Issues with the design of the Beam Target made in Video 05.
  • Side view of beam path
  • Beam coaxial to glass of tube
  • Set the laser parallel to the floor of the machine
  • Making the beam-setting jig
  • Making a 30mm extension to the tube cover on the machine
  • Explanation of the beam-setting jig
  • Loosening the mirror assemblies
  • Lining up and setting the mirrors
  • Using a tube setting jig
  • Testing the alignment with a beam target
  • Putting the mirrors back (mirror 2 installation not covered on video)
  • Checking beam alignment at the ends of the machine’s movement
  • Using the beam checker made in Video 09

My thanks go out to Tom at Thinklaser for giving permission to embed these videos on this site. If you are looking for a new laser machine from a quality supplier, then I would suggest you check out their website: www.thinklaser.com.

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Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare

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00:22

well welcome to my warm and comfy easy

00:25

suite I’ve just completed the Edit of my

00:32

benches in beam alignment and now as a

00:36

think later customer what I’m just about

00:38

to show you in the following video is

00:42

not something that you need to do the

00:46

machine that you have bought is a very

00:49

good machine I know because I’ve had a

00:52

go at pulling it to pieces

00:53

I love the machine but if I see

00:57

something that isn’t quite to my liking

01:00

I’m not in the least bit worried about

01:02

pulling it to pieces and doing something

01:04

about it now I came across a small

01:06

problem with beam alignment which piqued

01:10

my interest the system of being

01:14

alignment on this machine is no

01:17

different than that of thousands of

01:19

other machines that come out of China I

01:21

had to have a different machine with a

01:25

different beam alignment system that

01:27

I’ve been used to so I found ourselves

01:30

in a certain amount of deep water when I

01:34

started fiddling with the beam alignment

01:37

system on this machine

01:38

now the breva Liebert system is not

01:40

something that you will have to fiddle

01:42

with and then every day user if there’s

01:46

a problem you will call in your service

01:48

tech I have a responsibility to you as I

01:51

think later customer to make sure that

01:54

you don’t invalidate the warranty on

01:56

this machine what you see me do is not

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

02:00

something that you necessarily need to

02:02

do want to do or have to do I’m afraid

02:06

of old school engineer and warranty plan

02:08

warranties don’t mean much to me if I

02:11

see a problem and I see a solution

02:13

I’ll go about fixing it sometimes it

02:19

gets me into trouble sometimes it leads

02:22

me into new and green pastures now what

02:28

are you going to see today is a

02:30

completely different approach to

02:32

aligning and setting up the Machine the

02:35

flexible standard kit that mounts the

02:38

mirrors on these machines is a piece of

02:40

kit that’s used on all sorts of machine

02:43

design and as such it has to be flexible

02:47

now that flexibility comes at a cost and

02:52

that’s complexity of set up now

02:56

complexity of setup is not something

02:58

that you will ever encounter because the

03:01

mirrors are already factory preset the

03:05

most you will have to do is probably

03:07

just tweak the mirrors a little bit but

03:10

even then I would suggest you probably

03:12

don’t because there is no reason why the

03:15

beam will guide an alignment

03:17

unless you start thrashing the machine

03:18

around so you’re going to join me in a

03:20

session where I will explain what beam

03:23

alignments all about now it’s your

03:26

interest rather than for your doing what

03:29

it has done for me as made me realize

03:33

that I think there’s an even better way

03:37

that maybe another adventure that you

03:39

watch me and it take or maybe it’s

03:42

something I should do behind closed

03:44

doors and you’ll never know it really

03:47

things on how to glaze a view my

03:50

reengineering approach so sit back relax

03:56

and enjoy but don’t do thanks very much

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

04:02

let’s get on with the video well welcome

04:08

to another light blade learning lab I

04:11

think you get the impression this might

04:13

be a quite a relaxed session I think

04:17

you’ve got that wrong

04:19

it’s going to start off in a very casual

04:22

way it’s all about beam alignment today

04:26

now beep alignment is actually a very

04:30

simple subject but it’s a bit like

04:35

entering a jungle without a map you can

04:40

very quickly get lost and not understand

04:43

which way to turn

04:45

you need a compass you need a map and

04:47

you can find your way through the jungle

04:49

what I’m going to do to start with is

04:51

give you an outline basically provides

04:54

you with the map before we enter into

04:57

this jungle I’m not going to touch this

04:59

machine myself again because already I

05:02

wouldn’t say burned my fingers but I

05:05

learned the hard way that this machine

05:07

is not the same as my other Chinese

05:11

machine over there and that it requires

05:13

a completely different strategy to set

05:16

this one up although I shall be focusing

05:19

on this machine anybody with a red sail

05:22

clone will have similar problems because

05:26

this is the style of machine that you

05:28

will have but anybody with the China

05:30

blue machine like I have over there well

05:33

I’ve already got well documented

05:34

procedures for calibrating and setting

05:37

the beam on that but these procedures

05:41

the basic principles this road map will

05:45

help you as well to understand how you

05:47

should go about and why you go about

05:50

things in a certain way in a certain

05:52

order I just want to lay down a few

05:54

ground rules before we start this piece

05:58

here all around the outside it is what I

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

06:02

would classes on this on this drawing

06:06

I’ve got here it’s called the light

06:07

blade floor and that is this flat

06:11

surface here upon which everything is

06:13

mounted then we got the top surface of

06:17

the gantry which is this piece here now

06:20

on this top surface we’ve got a bearing

06:22

rail and the head runs backwards and

06:25

forwards on this bearing rail and then

06:27

we’ve got the Y bearing rails down the

06:31

side here now the other key

06:33

here is that this bearing rail is 90

06:37

degrees to these two wine bearing rails

06:41

where we’re going to start off with a

06:43

plan view of the machine this is typical

06:45

of any of these small laces we’ve got a

06:47

later two we’ve got our two 45-degree

06:50

bending mirrors another 45-degree mirror

06:53

to bend the beam down towards the head

06:56

and the other key thing here whenever we

07:00

bend the corner we’ve got to finish up

07:03

with the beam running parallel to the X

07:06

or the Y bearing row that’s a that’s an

07:10

absolute fact we cannot deviate from

07:13

that what’s the problem well the problem

07:17

is on this machine with all sorts of

07:21

degrees of adjustment and non adjustment

07:26

for example the head mirror itself it

07:30

totally non adjustable it is what it is

07:33

it’s fixed and all it does it moves

07:36

backwards and forwards along this x axis

07:39

it’s angle can be adjusted very slightly

07:43

but it can’t be adjusted that way and it

07:46

can’t be adjusted in and out we’ve got

07:49

one mirror which is absolutely fixed in

07:52

space we’ve got this second mirror here

07:56

which is at the end of the beam you can

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

08:00

move it in X you can move it in Y you

08:02

can rotate it a little bit and you

08:05

certainly got adjustment on the mirror

08:07

to just tweak the mirror in addition to

08:10

that there’s a further plane of

08:12

adjustment which is up and down which I

08:15

haven’t shown on that picture and then

08:18

we’ve got mirror number one which is the

08:21

one that turns the laser as it comes out

08:23

of the tube now that’s only got

08:25

basically two degrees of freedom on it

08:28

it can move this way across the plane of

08:31

the beam it’s got a lot of twist

08:32

adjustment on it and it’s also got some

08:35

minor adjustment on it for just tweaking

08:38

the mirror the lace of itself had got

08:40

horrendous amounts of adjustment on it

08:42

you can swing it around you can lift it

08:44

up and down

08:45

you can twist it from end to end you can

08:48

twist it from side to side you can

08:49

basically swing the hold of that beam

08:51

around in space like that this is what

08:53

we’ve got to finish up with but how do

08:56

we get there that’s the problem ideally

08:59

we’d like to finish up with this beam

09:00

here running parallel to that bearing

09:04

rail there is it absolutely essential as

09:07

I kick the two round by five degrees you

09:09

can see what happens it misses the

09:11

mirror it’s got to hit the central point

09:13

of the mirror otherwise it won’t reflect

09:15

okay let’s look at the next picture

09:17

we’ve corrected that problem now we’ve

09:19

moved the mirror in that direction there

09:21

and we caught the beam on the center of

09:26

the mirror but because the laser is

09:28

tipped over at five degrees and this is

09:31

45 degrees we get a reflection off of

09:34

that surface which is there you could

09:37

say that we just move this mirror over

09:39

this way and catch the beam well and

09:43

then we can steer it back towards this

09:46

one that is true we could if there was

09:48

enough adjustment on there but the

09:51

problem is we’ve broken golden rule

09:54

number one we are no longer parallel to

09:57

the bearing row so we can’t do that what

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

10:00

we’ve got to do is adjust this mirror

10:03

here let’s see what happens when we

10:05

adjust this mirror fine but we can we

10:08

can put two and a half degrees of

10:10

rotation on this mirror and we can make

10:13

that beam round parallel here again

10:15

brilliant so we’ve got a degree of

10:19

freedom here and we have got some

10:21

ability to fix the problem that’s caused

10:25

by misaligning a plain view of the laser

10:28

tube and we’re back in back on plan

10:32

again so now this is running parallel

10:35

what can we do here so I leave my

10:38

biscuit to come into play now this makes

10:42

a great mirror doesn’t it until I eat it

10:44

we’ve already agreed that we can’t move

10:46

the mirror out of position because if we

10:49

do the beam will be non parallel to the

10:52

Royal so that technically means there’s

10:54

only one position in if you like the x

10:58

axis

10:59

direction for this mirror to be sitting

11:02

and that is absolutely in line with this

11:06

mirror so that it can pick up a parallel

11:09

beam on its center that’s parallel to

11:12

the bearing row we already said this

11:16

mirror has got zero degrees of freedom

11:19

on it

11:19

we need a beam to hit the center of that

11:22

mirror and it’s got to run parallel to

11:24

this bearing row

11:27

therefore we cannot have although that

11:32

was moving this mirror this way would

11:35

satisfy the parallelism in this plane if

11:38

it bounced off the mirror here it would

11:41

not be parallel in this plane so by

11:45

default there is literally only one

11:48

position for that mirror to be in so you

11:52

cannot mess around with these mirrors

11:53

very much and I’m very surprised that

11:55

this mirror on this machine has got so

11:59

many degrees of freedom it doesn’t need

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

12:03

them and it doesn’t need them because

12:05

the head is fixed okay so this is the

12:09

fixed head and underneath this

12:12

adjustable plate at the top here we’ve

12:14

got a gap this head here and this piece

12:19

are completely solid and fixed they’re

12:22

fixed to the bearing and the bearing

12:23

rail underneath so there’s zero

12:26

adjustment on there except for a small

12:28

amount of Swing on this plate just to

12:31

guide the beam okay so you see what it

12:33

looks like in reality here’s what it

12:35

looks like in detail now I’ve done a

12:37

fairly careful drawing and analysis of

12:40

this machine I’ve looked at it in great

12:43

detail and I’ve done all sorts of

12:44

measurements on it and I’ve done a good

12:46

detailed analysis of the actual head

12:49

assembly itself and what’s inside here

12:51

the rate is obviously the path the ideal

12:54

path of the laser beam now when I say

12:57

the ideal path of the laser beam I’m

13:01

going to explain that a little bit more

13:03

detail in a few seconds what I want you

13:06

to do is look at this drawing to start

13:08

with now here

13:11

is the mirror so allow a 25 millimeter

13:17

mirror it’s set inside a recess and the

13:22

exposed part of the mirror is only 20

13:25

3.1 millimeters diameter well I say 23.1

13:32

millimeters diameter if you were a laser

13:34

beam coming at this here’s what you

13:38

would see you’ve got a hole in the front

13:41

which is there and I’ll just put those

13:42

two dots there to show you how they

13:44

tally up and that’s the first thing I’ve

13:49

got to see I will see the entry to the

13:51

hate but then hiding behind that I’ve

13:54

got a mirror but because the mirror is

13:57

slanted back at 45 degrees it’s no

14:00

longer 23.1 diameter in fact it becomes

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

14:04

an ellipse but of course I can’t if I

14:10

was the laser beam I can’t see the four

14:12

mirror so that’s what the laser beam

14:14

will actually see by way of a mirror

14:17

it’s a very strange shape and I’ve drawn

14:21

this laser beam at 10 millimetres

14:23

diameter now most people are going to

14:26

say well the beam is only five or four

14:28

or five millimeters diameter well I

14:31

think we demonstrated the last time we

14:34

looked at mirrors that that beam is

14:36

something other than what most people

14:38

think it’s influenced its power its heat

14:43

extends way out beyond maybe the point

14:46

where it can do any damage but that heat

14:50

is still part of the power output of the

14:53

beam itself so we’re going to

14:57

investigate that a little bit further

14:58

later on but for the moment just assume

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

15:01

that we’ve got a 10 millimeter beam here

15:03

let’s be a little bit cautious and you

15:06

can see that we really don’t have much

15:08

room for error on either side to get our

15:13

beam onto the center point of that

15:15

mirror now if we aim at the center point

15:20

of the mirror which is this

15:22

point just here and look there’s the

15:25

centerline of the mirror through here

15:27

and there’s the mirror face just there

15:30

and we’re aiming specifically for that

15:34

point the bad news is the design of this

15:39

head is such that the center point of

15:43

the the center point of the beam does

15:47

not run down the center point of the

15:49

bore this is one of the lens tubes that

15:54

goes into the bottom of the machine what

15:56

we’ve got down the inside there is a 17

15:59

millimeter ball and what we’re hoping to

16:02

do is to aim that we’re trying to aim

16:07

this beam at the lens which is in the

16:10

bottom there we really want to be on the

16:13

centerline or the axis of the actual

16:16

lens itself but at the moment we’re not

16:19

and we cannot be even if I remove this

16:23

one millimeter gap here which will still

16:26

be slightly off-center so there’s a

16:29

fundamental design issue with this head

16:33

the other fundamental design issue with

16:36

this head is exactly the same issue that

16:38

I found with my China blue machine and

16:41

that is that if we take a look here

16:44

you’ll see that the center line of the

16:47

true mirror center point is not the same

16:51

as the port entry ie

16:55

the hole in the front here does not

16:58

represent the true center line of the

17:00

mirror so I think that my little targets

17:03

that I made are probably inaccurate and

17:07

need remaking a mistake I made I didn’t

17:11

check the position of the mirror it

17:12

looked nearly right so I I designed my

17:14

target to sit on the front there and

17:16

assume that the design was right but now

17:19

that I look at it in detail I think you

17:21

can clearly say look we’re 1.3

17:23

millimeters high so there’s several

17:29

sorts of design issues with this head

17:33

small details

17:36

but annoyingly important especially when

17:41

we’ve got a very small amount of error

17:45

here I mean that’s what 1.3 millimeters

17:48

looks like hey that’s nearly what we’ve

17:52

got here look so I’ve only got to be a

17:54

little bit out with my settings and I

17:57

can easily clip the bottom of the beam

17:59

or the top of the beam as I found out in

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

18:02

the previous session the beam was

18:04

somehow clipping the bottom here and

18:05

some of the power was being lost because

18:08

it was never getting through okay that’s

18:11

a detailed look at the head itself and

18:13

it’s quite important that you understand

18:14

that but what we’re going to do is let’s

18:16

assume for a minute that the head is

18:18

good enough which it probably is to

18:22

allow me to set to its center point

18:25

which is here the main reason I’m just

18:30

showing you this drawing here is the

18:32

fact that the the bore is 17.2 and the

18:36

difference between the beam centreline

18:39

and the true center line of that bore is

18:42

1.1 millimeters okay now this is this is

18:48

probably the most important drawing with

18:51

the least amount of information on it

18:53

okay

18:54

so now we’re on a completely different

18:56

plane instead of looking from above we

19:00

are now looking in from the side of the

19:03

machine and the same rules apply when we

19:08

look in this way as they do when we

19:10

looked in from above and that is this

19:13

beam must run parallel to the bearing

19:17

rails now the bearing rail for Y is more

19:21

or less fixed to the floor of the light

19:23

blade and the X bearing rail runs across

19:26

the gantry that runs across the machine

19:29

so the gantry is set parallel to the

19:32

floor the bearing rail is set parallel

19:35

to the floor this bearing rail is

19:37

parallel to the floor and therefore the

19:40

actual laser beam must be parallel to

19:43

the floor as well if it isn’t it ain’t

19:47

going to work

19:48

so how do we achieve that well we have

19:53

got a fixed head the head might be very

19:57

slightly out but if it is very slightly

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

20:00

out position wise there’s this little

20:03

plate on the top here which allows us to

20:05

direct the beam downwards and correct

20:08

for slight very slight manufacturing

20:12

errors on the head itself but in essence

20:16

what we’ve got to do is make sure that

20:19

the laser is outputting its beam

20:24

parallel to these rails and this as

20:29

simple as that so we cannot have this

20:32

tube sitting like this or can we well

20:39

let’s have a look at that because this

20:43

is the most critical part of

20:46

understanding about a laser beams path

20:50

people ignore this axis they concentrate

20:54

on the plan view which is actually easy

20:56

this is the bit that’s going to screw

20:59

you trust me okay so very crudely we’ve

21:07

got our straight laser beam that’s

21:10

coming out of the laser and into the

21:14

hate the laser tube itself is a very

21:17

long tube and the fact that it relies on

21:22

this surface here there is a part

21:26

reflecting mirror and right at the other

21:28

end of the tube

21:29

there is another reflecting mirror now

21:33

those surfaces are absolutely parallel

21:37

and normal to each other so that the

21:40

light can pass backwards and forwards

21:42

between them now that’s that’s a

21:45

mechanical fact so that beam has to come

21:49

out of there in a straight line that

21:51

beam can’t come out of here an angle

21:54

it’s coaxial with the basic construction

21:57

of the laser itself now even if this

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

22:00

tube is very slightly

22:02

eccentric because the tube is so long

22:04

you can still probably assume that the

22:08

external glass work will still give you

22:11

a very good representation of the axis

22:14

of the beam itself so let’s assume that

22:18

we set the laser tube itself parallel to

22:24

the floor that’s a good starting point

22:27

because everything on this machine is

22:29

fixed to this ground point this floor

22:32

okay so we’ve now got our laser beam

22:36

traveling in a horizontal direction but

22:40

just in case we didn’t do that let’s

22:44

just do this for a minute let’s make it

22:47

slightly wrong how do we do with that

22:49

well we could raise this mirror here

22:55

because this mirror is adjustable so we

22:57

can raise that mirror up so that it

23:01

catches the beam but then we got to make

23:04

sure that it still runs parallel beyond

23:07

there which we can do because we can

23:10

swing the beam so that it sits parallel

23:15

with this bearing row but then it means

23:18

we’ve got to move this mirror up to

23:20

catch that beam so we can move that

23:25

mirror up to catch that beam but the

23:29

head is not adjustable

23:31

so therefore the beam has got to run

23:34

downhill to get to the to get to the

23:38

head and we can’t allow that because

23:40

that means this part of the beam is now

23:43

totally unable to sit parallel with the

23:46

X rail so we may well have satisfied

23:48

this condition here but we can’t satisfy

23:50

it here now on my blue machine I don’t

23:53

have to worry about that because I have

23:55

made a bracket which allows me to move

23:59

my head into line and catch the beam

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

24:03

this machine has got a fixed head and I

24:06

don’t have that option so we’ve got to

24:08

deal with it in a completely different

24:10

way that’s why I’m saying this through

24:12

me because I don’t have the flexibility

24:14

this machine to play with so everything

24:17

has got to work from the centerline of

24:18

the head which brings us back to this

24:21

first picture here that’s what we’re

24:24

trying to achieve parallel to the

24:27

bearings and straight into the

24:29

centerline of the heap as I said it’s

24:31

very very simple to see on a piece of

24:33

paper how do we do it in practice my

24:37

background in design and production

24:38

engineering says spend the time and make

24:43

it simple don’t struggle so what I’ve

24:46

done having spent the time and measured

24:48

the machine up very carefully to

24:50

establish what the problems are I’ve

24:53

also checked and found out why my beam

24:57

is not correct by using a very laborious

24:59

iteration method my axis did not pass

25:03

through completely flat and at this

25:06

point I was only one point three

25:08

millimeters high so yeah I got there but

25:16

it was a bit of a struggle and I

25:18

wouldn’t want anybody else to go through

25:20

that same pain so I’m looking to try and

25:22

make it a lot simpler and a lot easier

25:25

by design it would be a lot easier by

25:30

design if the head was adjustable into

25:33

planes it’s not at the moment and I say

25:36

at the moment because if my first

25:39

attempt at setting this machine doesn’t

25:42

come out too good and you’re going to

25:45

witness that you’re going to see me go

25:48

down in a blaze of glory or be a hero

25:52

yet to be decided but I always know that

25:56

there’s a back-up plan

25:57

as I mentioned turning yesterday I’m a

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

26:00

bit of a wrecker I’m very happy to take

26:02

this head apart here and I’ll make this

26:04

adjustable that way I can catch the beam

26:07

just as I can on my other machine and

26:09

all of a sudden beam setting becomes a

26:11

doddle but I’m going to persevere with

26:14

this machine because not everybody has

26:16

the ability to go in and modify this

26:18

head so I’ll stay with as it is and see

26:22

if we can generate a jig that people can

26:26

emulate

26:28

maybe they can’t copy it directly

26:30

because it depends on the layout of the

26:32

various bits of the machine but the

26:34

principle you probably can copy or you

26:36

can modify the jig that I’m going to

26:38

manufacture let me despite the despite

26:47

the approximate setup that I use for

26:49

FEMA linemen it’s cutting reasonably

26:52

well

26:58

here we’ve got various pieces to our 3d

27:00

jigsaw puzzle hopefully this will make

27:04

the setting up of the beam and mirrors

27:08

on this new light blade machine an

27:11

absolute dream when as I dream I mean

27:15

maybe as little as 10 or 15 minutes who

27:18

knows but let’s make a start we’ve got a

27:25

base plate and on the base plate we’re

27:30

going to put this piece which sadly is

27:32

not quite a match for the other pieces

27:35

but hey the material was free so and we

27:38

had to use the material that would fit

27:40

the job so I think the first thing that

27:42

we’ll do and we just run some glue I

27:47

would like to work on kitchen roll

27:49

because if this stuff that goes through

27:50

then it just hold it upright and solid

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

28:01

okay what’s the basic frame the base

28:04

frame done well that’s just hardening

28:08

off a little bit let’s just do this one

28:11

now I could really do with how you keep

28:13

making sure that this stays although

28:16

this there’s nothing that kids do

28:17

anything I don’t think no so but I will

28:20

try and take it up right I’ll use that

28:23

one cell phone put my glue

28:38

we’ll pop this on next

28:50

turn it upside down there so that we can

28:52

just know the glue along the edges there

29:01

we put the brackets on first then this

29:06

piece just glue down these edges here

29:13

and we do the same thing on this end

29:19

we’ll put our brackets on there is our

29:25

finished cute now I’m going to take the

29:31

machine to pieces I thought I might as

29:33

well and put a case extension on because

29:36

I could do with a bit more space between

29:39

the later head and the first mirror so

29:42

I’ve got three pieces of ten millimeter

29:44

thick acrylic nail which I didn’t really

29:47

have the right size pieces so what I’ve

29:49

done I’ve just made myself a little

29:51

jigsaw piece to make the frames up so

29:53

I’ve put three frames on there ten

29:54

millimeters and that will give me a 13

29:57

millimeter extension which will be

29:58

plenty enough and there we go there’s

30:02

our little 30 millimeter extents have

30:03

already started to do some destruction

30:05

but let’s just explain what we’re trying

30:07

to do what we’ve got here we’ve got two

30:10

mirror reference points now these

30:13

mirrors are set the correct height from

30:16

the base to match the centerline of this

30:20

mirror here not the centre line the hole

30:21

that the calculated centre line of the

30:23

mirror itself and these two holes

30:29

represent the front edge of these two

30:31

holes have to be roughly where the

30:33

mirror faces are and they will tell us

30:35

the correct position in space

30:38

45 degrees each and the correct height

30:41

so which I’ll hopefully have three

30:43

mirrors which are one two three mirrors

30:45

all fixed and they will be fixed at 45

30:49

degrees so that we know that they’re in

30:51

the right positions to start with and

30:55

then all we’ve got to do is hopefully

30:56

tweak the mirrors mainly in the XY

30:59

direction because

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

31:00

can’t play with the Z so we’ll offer

31:05

this up and you’ll see what we’re trying

31:06

to achieve well okay we’ve now arrived

31:09

at the moment of truth the gate start

31:11

wrecking the machine and undoing all the

31:14

good work I did one new are removed the

31:18

thing is when I look at this there’s a

31:21

lot of adjustment on there but there is

31:24

no adjustment it’s right at the top of

31:26

the stroke already well we’ve removed

31:28

the mirror and I don’t think we could

31:31

have made it any more sloppy than happy

31:34

so we need to remove the y-axis cable we

31:39

slide our jig in to start with and then

31:41

we hook it over the end of the gantry

31:44

here and just move it forward so that

31:48

slips over the socket that’s in there

31:51

the Y drive socket now we’ve got a

31:54

certain amount of movement in Y not much

31:59

of a little bit hopefully that’s going

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

32:01

to be enough to allow us to make sure we

32:03

line all the mirrors up okay now it’s

32:06

very important that the first thing that

32:07

we do to both these mirrors this one and

32:10

this one is to set the gap behind the

32:13

mirror plate so that it’s exactly one

32:17

millimeter when we doing that with a hex

32:21

or blade and that’s a millimeter it just

32:24

happens to be a millimeter so we undo

32:26

the screw until it grips the hacksaw

32:28

blade you can fail because the screw

32:30

goes loose and then just take the

32:32

slightest amount of tension back on the

32:34

screw and the axle blade comes out okay

32:38

so we do that for all six positions on

32:41

these mirrors I’ve already loosened the

32:45

screws on the base plate here so that I

32:47

can slide this slide it around a bit

32:52

like this okay because what I want to do

32:54

is to slide it around in a minute but

32:58

before we do any movement of things now

33:00

we’ve got everything loose everything’s

33:02

upset we’ve got to set the beam to a

33:04

known position and the beam itself

33:07

should push against it and stop

33:11

that’s the known position where I

33:13

measured everything from when I designed

33:16

the jig so we push that against the end

33:18

stock the beam no longer moves and

33:21

because that’s our reference that we’re

33:23

going to work from now and the first

33:24

thing we’re going to try and do is to

33:25

get this set nicely so that it sits

33:27

snugly against that plate as you can see

33:30

at the moment this mirror plate does not

33:33

line up with this perspective plate so

33:36

it’s set approximately to the right

33:37

height now and it’s not too bad for

33:42

position so I just tighten up the screws

33:46

on the bottom there I think you can see

33:48

there that’s pretty good match those

33:52

holes and they will repeat the same

33:55

exercise on the back end look we’ve got

33:57

this thing all nice and floppy let me

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

34:00

just put my key I need to do two things

34:04

first of all I need to put then

34:06

approximately the right position and

34:08

just put a little bit of tension on

34:10

these screws just a little bit because

34:14

you can see the brackets in the

34:15

background are all floppy so what I’ve

34:17

got to do I’ve got to push this against

34:19

the plate now in approximately the right

34:22

position let’s just see if we can get it

34:23

into approximately the right position

34:25

and tighten up the screws I’ve already

34:29

got one screw that I can tighten up on

34:31

both of the brackets so there’s two

34:34

brackets and four screws and I can only

34:36

tighten up two of the four screws one on

34:38

each bracket now we’ve tightened it up

34:41

this way and see how much it moves now

34:44

you’re slightly out of line so you’re

34:46

seeing a little bit of perspective there

34:48

but from dead-on it looks pretty well

34:52

aligned up

34:55

so I can take that jig out now we’ve

34:59

removed the jig and I’ll just now

35:01

tighten up all the screws to make sure

35:04

that nothing is going to move and

35:06

technically what we’ve now done we set

35:09

this mirror and that mirror at 45

35:11

degrees to each other they’re the same

35:13

height and they’re also the same height

35:16

as the mirror down at the other end

35:19

there so we should have technically a

35:21

nice straight line beam that runs

35:23

through all the center line of these

35:25

we’re gonna push the beam forward again

35:28

we’re going to lug it up just now we’ve

35:31

got one more thing to do okay now here

35:34

we are at the back of the machine I’ve

35:36

got two pieces of kit but I’m going to

35:38

be using now this piece here what it’s

35:41

designed to do is to take the later tube

35:44

so it’s designed to set the laser beam

35:47

which sits in here the correct height

35:49

from the base from the floor and also

35:52

the correct position from the beam the

35:55

correct Center from the beam and as you

35:57

could see they’re loose they’re not in

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

36:01

the right position for moment so I just

36:03

laid it in there this one you’ll see the

36:07

reason why we’ve got this big notch in

36:08

here now and that’s because we’ve got

36:11

this water tube underneath here I’m also

36:13

loosening the fixings for the later

36:15

tubes itself okay I think you’ll see

36:21

that that’s rather loose right so that

36:24

one’s loose as well we will loosen this

36:26

one off and there are some screw

36:31

adjusters on the top here we’re going to

36:33

let those down or we’re going to wind

36:35

them up so that the beam can sag and

36:39

drop down onto the Vblock we do the same

36:46

with this one

36:46

whine the adjusting screw up the collar

36:51

and then we’ll put this

36:56

on – it’s very block and we’ll push it

36:59

back against make sure that is sitting

37:03

back yet we’re pushing it back there we

37:09

go

37:09

push it down bend it back and now I’ll

37:15

tighten up these screws on this one

37:22

again if I just lift that up and let it

37:26

fall down into the bracket there we go

37:31

now I’ll just lock that up there like

37:34

that I’m gonna tighten up – diagonally

37:40

up screws now we need our target and

37:48

this is the moment of truth before I

37:51

start I must remember to put the y-axis

37:55

plug on set my beam power to 15% we’ll

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

38:05

try a false

38:08

and what didn’t get surprise surprise

38:11

Wow look at that we’re just a smidge

38:16

off-center and how do we get it back

38:20

onto center to be honest I think it

38:23

would be very easy to just set that back

38:27

another milliliter and how I’m going to

38:32

do that I’m going to cheat I’m going to

38:35

stick a piece of masking tape across the

38:38

back of that bracket like that

38:46

the piece of masking tape across the

38:48

other fractal and we’re about just a

38:51

millimetre off-centre so what I’m now

38:54

going to do is to just gently slacken

38:58

off these screws and tap it a Military

39:01

Cross I just slipped the laser being

39:03

across after their leader or a

39:06

millimeter

39:14

that’s looking pretty damn good I just

39:18

put a couple of pieces of masking tape

39:20

on the back of the bracket here and I

39:23

slipped the bracket forward to give

39:25

myself a 1 millimeter gap on here so

39:28

it’s quite important that we put the

39:30

mirrors back in before we have a an

39:32

interesting accident

39:51

well there’s our target at the far end

39:53

of the stroke

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

40:00

is largely off-centre

40:06

and now we’ll check it close in

40:12

I think it might be good because there’s

40:14

a really strange characteristic coming

40:16

into the beam if we look the beam is not

40:19

even it’s just do that test first so

40:26

that’s pretty central height wise and

40:29

slightly to the right so we just check

40:33

it at the other end of the stroke

40:34

[Music]

40:39

you see and that looks absolutely

40:41

spot-on maybe it’s not spot on Center

40:47

perfect in that way which is what we

40:49

need that’s the most crucial direction

40:51

the up-and-down direction we’ve got a

40:53

little bit more latitude left and right

40:56

so I’m pretty damn smug about that now

41:03

suppose there’s one final check that we

41:04

ought to carry out well the good news is

41:08

we’ve got a perfect set of incorrect

41:10

marks and by that I mean I think you can

41:12

see that they’re all sitting down around

41:15

about six o’clock and there’s our final

41:17

set of results not bad they’re all

41:22

comfortably inside the target they’re

41:24

nice round holes there’s nothing clipped

41:26

there at all so we’ve got a full beam

41:28

that’s passing through the nozzle well

41:31

there’s the end result of our endeavors

41:33

I hope that you’ve learned something

41:36

from this exercise

41:37

I ain’t it with actually a great deal of

41:41

confidence because once I understood the

41:44

principles behind setting this machine I

41:47

felt very confident that it would all

41:50

work out well in the end and to be

41:52

honest it has it took about half an hour

41:56

maybe two mechanically set the Machine

41:58

and then it took about another half an

Transcript For Laser Beam Alignment Setting – Dream or Nightmare (Cont…)

42:00

hour to physically tweak the machine

42:02

just through the mirrors to get it into

42:05

a very good shape

42:08

and I hope that you won’t have any fear

42:10

in the future if you need to do the same

42:12

thing yourself obviously if this is the

42:16

think placer machine that you’re worried

42:18

about and you can see that you’ve got a

42:19

problem I suspect that you’re calling

42:21

the servers engineer but maybe you would

42:25

be brave enough to have a go on your own

42:27

good luck to you and wish you see it in

42:31

the next session

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