03 – More China Blue Catch Up

The Tangerine Tiger Series with Russ Sadler

In this Series, Russ has purchased a new 500 x 300mm, 50W laser machine from eBay with a view to modifying and upgrading it. In fact, he rips out the glass laser tube and high voltage power supply and replaces them with an RF laser source and PSU from Cloudray. Find out how this laser machine upgrade that adds an expensive RF laser source compares to a standard glass CO2 laser tube and prepare to get your hands dirty!

If you are considering purchasing a CO2 laser machine with an RF laser source from one of the big boy suppliers, I would suggest you check out this series before making a decision!

Laser machine upgrade: metal rf laser source
Laser Machine Upgrade: Metal RF Laser Source


I continue to be brutal with this machine as I manufacture a whole new tube mounting enclosure to prevent cutting fume ingress. Lots of cutting/grinding, sweat and swearing (edited out) and ripping out wires, sees good progress as things begin to take shape

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Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up

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0:00welcome to another session with my

0:03tangerine tiger yes i’ve been pimping it

0:07up unnecessarily

0:08but hey i thought it deserved it

0:11somebody described this as a pretty

0:13woman in an orange dress

0:17okay everybody has their taste in women

0:20so today

0:21while we’re waiting for pieces to be

0:23manufactured so we can get on with the

0:25guts of the machine

0:26we’re going to start working around the

0:28machine and doing a few other bits and


0:30now for instance there are pieces in the

0:33electrical cabinet that we don’t need

0:35let’s just have a look this is the high

0:37voltage power supply

0:39for the tube which is no longer in there


0:43we can immediately take that out this is

0:45mains power

0:47which we don’t need well we should do

0:51we do need the mains power but not for

0:54not for this power supply

1:01so where are we connected to

1:04let’s just work out that one that one’s

1:06probably the

1:07water it’s a rather old style of power

1:09supply i think that’s probably a k-40

1:12power supply because that link there

1:14shouldn’t be there that well

1:15it should be there for that particular

1:17power supply but that’s not the standard

1:19power supply

1:20so glad we’re getting rid of this this

1:23is cn5

1:24and that’s water protect which we don’t

1:27need because we’ve got no water on this


1:31so we can afford to take that out

1:35and lose the water protect so we really

1:37don’t need

1:38any of those cables i think the only one

1:41that was you’ll need

1:42out of here is ground and

1:46power with modular modulation which is

1:48pin number three so we’re only going to

1:50want pin and one

1:51pin one and three to control this rf


1:54so we’ve got a big space here which

1:58could be used

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

2:04so i don’t think it’s a sensible move to

2:06try and squeeze that in there when we’ve

2:07got plenty of room

2:08at the top we’ve got lots of things that

2:10we can put in this space here

2:13two things in particular one of them

2:16is a timing relay

2:20a delay timer which will

2:24turn the fan off 10 or 15 seconds after

2:27the cycle is finished so we don’t keep

2:29running the fan

2:30very annoying we’ve also got this kit


2:35from cloud ray which is the

2:40ultimate air assist kit which i will

2:43show you how to install

2:45on this machine a couple of years ago

2:48i bought this very cheap little

2:51board which is a delay relay board

2:54it’s got four little relays on there

2:56which carry something like about

2:58i think 15 10 amps we could delay the

3:01turning off of the fan

3:02if we really wanted to we could delay

3:05the turning off

3:06of the air assist pump i thought this

3:09was a superb

3:10piece of kit four time delay relays

3:13for 12 pound and yet i’m paying

3:16something like about 50 pound

3:18for that unit there now i’ve got to be

3:21very careful when i say that i bought

3:22myself a piece of rubbish because i


3:24it does exactly what it says on the tin

3:27but not what i expected it to do

3:29so therefore this is a perfectly good

3:32piece of kit

3:33for the right application let me just

3:35explain to you

3:37where i went wrong with this piece of

3:38kit and where you might be tempted to go

3:40wrong as well if you decide to buy this

3:42as a delay

3:43relay what i’ve got on the other machine

3:45is this

3:46i’ve got when the laser cycle starts

3:48when the program starts

3:49it automatically starts the fan okay so

3:52the fan

3:53actual extraction might be four or five


3:56after the start of the cycle but that’s

3:58usually not a problem because very

3:59quickly with the large fan

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

4:01the suction catches up and you draw all

4:03the fumes away

4:04but what we don’t really want is it

4:06running forever and ever in between


4:08so i’ve got the other one set so that

4:10after the cycle stops

4:13the fan stops as well but there’s maybe

4:15a 10 or 15 second delay it’s a variable

4:17time that i can set on this time delay


4:20not so with this little circuit board

4:24it does exactly what it says on the tin

4:26when you trigger it

4:28and any on signal triggers

4:31the circuits mode one it switches on

4:35and off and on and off and on and off

4:37and on and off for as long as you want

4:41now these other cycles can also switch

4:44on and off and on and off

4:46like this cyclically and you can count

4:48there are modes which enable you to

4:50count the number of cycles that it turns

4:52on and off

4:52you can turn the cycling completely off

4:54as i’ve done here

4:56or you can leave it on permanently so

4:58there are three modes of cycling

5:00none permanently or a counted number of


5:04excellent you can see here look we’ve

5:06got relay coil

5:07off on off on off on those are the start


5:12so you can either choose to have the

5:14power on the coil to start with

5:16or off i mean the instructions say

5:19just on or off but because this is a

5:22changeover relay you’ve got no idea what

5:24on or off means

5:25so i’ve just defined it against the

5:28relay coil itself so when the coil is

5:30not energized it’s low and when it’s

5:32energized it’s high

5:34okay so we can start with the energized

5:36coil high so we can get a delay

5:38off for x amount of seconds

5:43minutes hours i think up to about 100


5:48and then we turn it on and that’s it so

5:51we just get one delay cycle

5:54and that’s all we get so each one of


5:57is a delay cycle this one starts with it


Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

6:01and then it turns on then after a period

6:03of time it turns off

6:05and remains off

6:09so as you can see each one of these is


6:12triggering a cycle at the beginning

6:15of the laser switch on cycle and we want

6:18the delay

6:19triggered on the off-site it is possible

6:21to use this device

6:24with a separate relay which we are going

6:26to do anyway

6:28for the air assist kit

6:32but i decided that it was much easier to

6:34just have a completely separate timer

6:37rather than go through the complication

6:38of linking up relays

6:41because i’ve got to put a 24 volt supply

6:43on this as well

6:44i decided to bypass that unit now the

6:47other thing that we’re going to be doing

6:48is getting rid of these horrible


6:52sockets um i’ve had no end of complaints

6:56about those

6:57and at the end of the day people would

7:00much prefer to have

7:01iec sockets like that i mean we’ve got a

7:04nice iec

7:05socket there which is fused if i can see

7:07correctly yeah i think it’s fused

7:09i’m sure if i look in there

7:14come on there you come

7:18there we go china blue didn’t have

7:20anything this sophisticated but at least

7:22this one has got a fuse in it

7:23and there is just in case you do blow

7:26the fuse

7:27there is a spare fuse tucked in the back


7:30all right so let’s just have a look to

7:32see what this fuse actually is what

7:34rating it is i’m expecting it to be

7:35at least 10 amps so i’m going to remove

7:39this panel and replace it with my own

7:41switch panel so i’m just going to take

7:43the earth

7:46off of here

7:51and i’m half expecting

7:56to not be surprised let me explain

8:01i’m not surprised that’s an absolutely

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

8:05useless earth

8:06earth isn’t it it’s not earth now this

8:08chassis might be powder coated

8:10which is in itself insulation it should

8:13be connected to bare metal

8:14it’s not the earth is not connected to

8:17bare metal technically parts of this

8:18frame could easily go live if something

8:20goes wrong so we’re going to have to fix

8:22that problem and put a different earth

8:23system on

8:24so i think our first task is to decide

8:26what we’re going to do about these


8:28what’s going to operate what and what’s

8:30going to happen on this panel here

8:32now when you’re running this machine on

8:34110 volts which quite a lot of americans


8:37there is a wire that goes to this switch

8:41which is probably not suitable for


8:46huge amounts of current it’s a piece of

8:4810 amp rated cable

8:49which is what this emergency stop switch


8:52but of course 10 amps is fine for

8:56for all the places in the world that use

8:58220 volts because this machine doesn’t

8:59take more

9:00than probably five or six amps but if

9:03you decide to plug the fan

9:04into one of these sockets here the fan

9:08in itself could take two or three amps

9:09at 220 volts

9:11which means it’s going to take six amps

9:12at 110 volts

9:15you’ve already you’ve almost used up all

9:17of your capacity

9:18on this switch before you start putting

9:21any other current through it

9:22so these switches i’ve had many more

9:25than that number of reports

9:27about these switches melting from guys

9:29in the states that happen to be using

9:31110 volts

9:32the standard us domestic mains is 110


9:36you know you can get 220 volts if you’ve

9:38got a workshop so what i would prefer to


9:41is to keep all the

9:44external devices particularly the air


9:48and the fan on a completely separate

9:51mains supply that does not run through

9:55this emergency shop switch so i’ve made

9:57myself a new

9:59mains input plate here and basically

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

10:02what we’ve got

10:03is a single control for the machine

10:05power in and that machine power will

10:07power what’s in here

10:09and then we’ve got a separate ancillary

10:12power in with a fuse on it the same as

10:14this one

10:15and these two here one is for the air

10:18compressor which will be running

10:20instantly on and off with the cycle

10:23and this one which is the extraction fan

10:25which will come on instantly with the


10:27but there will be delay off on this


10:30so we can put 5 10 15 20 second delay

10:33on the fan we’re gradually just taking

10:36things off this machine that we don’t


10:38like we don’t need that we don’t need

10:40these water pipes

10:42and i always thought it was a silly idea

10:43to put the air on the door

10:46so i’ve got to get the air assist system

10:48in here somewhere

10:50we’ve got to strip quite lots of bits of

10:52cable out for instance up this

10:54this one here that’s the earth cable

10:55that came back from the end of the tube

10:57the cathode end of the tube

10:58and these are the two cables here which

11:00go to the um

11:02the led strip light that’s in the front

11:04there now i’m still debating whether i

11:06should use that

11:07maybe use this thing or at least the

11:10power to it

11:12and put the strip light underneath the


11:15so quite a few little decisions to be

11:17made which i’ll i’ll

11:18sort out as i can get your air assist

11:20kit you’ll find that it comes in pieces

11:22like this

11:24now the valve was marked up

11:27p r and

11:30a for the three ports but when you look

11:33at the drawing

11:34you’ll find that it’s marked up one


11:38and two now you probably can work it out

11:41for yourself but two

11:42is a one is p

11:45and three is r we’re going to put the

11:47mains air

11:49in at a and we’re going to put that

11:52straight forward simple fitting in

11:56there okay now we’re just spreading

11:58finger tight for the moment

12:01into p which is on the other side we’re

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

12:03going to put this so-called

12:05running tee so that screws into


12:12right so we’ve got a straight through

12:14run here now

12:15which is what happens when the valve is

12:17on the air goes straight through there

12:20now when the valve is off like it is at

12:22the moment

12:25the air is connected between here

12:28and here and so into there what we’re

12:31going to do is put the remaining fitting

12:33which is this one

12:34an elbow with a restrictor on it you can

12:37wind them in a couple of turns but don’t

12:39don’t wind them in really hard because

12:42they don’t have to be

12:43completely leak-proof because we’re only

12:45using four psi air

12:47just do them up so that they’re snug

12:48you’re given a piece of pipe here but

12:52really you don’t need

12:53much of that pipe at all what you’ve got

12:55to do you’ve got to join this

12:58here push that in

13:01and it’s got a loop over and it’s got to

13:03go into there

13:05and it’s as simple as that so we just

13:07cut off a piece about that long

13:10and plug that into there

13:15okay so now we’ve got all this tube here

13:18to play with we can plug it in the back


13:20there right and we can now move this

13:24where we want inside the machine so

13:27that’s my connection to

13:30the head and this is my connection to

13:34the door or wherever i’m going to

13:35connect it up here somewhere that gives

13:37me lots of cable

13:39to decide where i can put this and i’m

13:42going to take that right across to the

13:43front of the machine

13:45i think we’ve got plenty of blue blue

13:47tube there

13:49so we can afford to have this probably

13:52somewhere like this

13:54i’ve got to sit it flat

13:57because there are screws on the back


14:00and i’ve got a little template that i’ve

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)


14:04with two holes in it which hopefully

14:08match the holes in the bottom there

14:11which they do

14:13okay so i’ll just keep that the same way

14:16and that’s got to go on the outside so

14:18i’ll just roughly position this

14:20where i want it about there

14:26and i’ll stack my template on the

14:28outside of the machine here

14:30roughly where i need it

14:37there’s our two pilot holes

14:42there we go two holes

14:48so that’s the air assist valve fitted

14:51into the machine

14:55we’ll take the cap off

14:58ready to wire it up

15:02now these are funny little caps these

15:04things you have to take the screws right



15:14so we should be able to take that valve

15:17cap off

15:19because there is actually a an

15:21additional vent valve on the top here as


15:24which we don’t use just take that and be

15:27careful we’re going to use that spring


15:29so there’s the cap there’s a spring


15:34and then you can take that off to make

15:35it easy to

15:37connect the wiring it’s taking very

15:40little load so i’ve got some fairly


15:42three core cable here and there’s no

15:44plus and minus so we can just connect

15:46the two wires

15:47so we just put the two wires in the top

15:49two connections

15:51now the one thing we’ve got to do is to

15:54put the cables

15:55over that central pip there like that

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

16:01because that’s where our screw fits and

16:03that’s as complicated as that i’m afraid

16:07except i’ve put it on the wrong way

16:09around look that’s the top

16:11this is the bottom and it won’t fit over

16:13the bottom

16:14i don’t think so i’ve got to reverse the


16:18so now we don’t have to worry about that

16:20um cable going past that pip

16:24now we can put this back on doesn’t

16:25matter which way it goes if it’s

16:27convenient to have it upwards then

16:29or that way it really doesn’t matter i

16:32think it’s convenient to have it

16:34this way because then i’m going to bring

16:36my cable down here


16:41so we put our spring washer back on


16:45and then screw the cap back on and it

16:46very conveniently at the other end of

16:48the machine

16:51i have a hole to get into the cabinet

16:55sadly i don’t have a piece of din rail

16:58the great advantage of having a little

17:00workshop like this with a few basic

17:02tools in i can make my own din rail

17:05because i thought you might be


17:06how efficient you can be with very crude


17:09so here i’ve got a piece of a three

17:11millimeter thick material which i’m

17:13going to put onto a steel plate

17:16i’m going to put a piece of copper on


17:20and then i’m going to put another piece

17:23of three millimeter material

17:25on top of the copper like that

17:29okay so we’ve got two pieces of three

17:32millimeter material

17:35sitting on top of the copper

17:38delicately balanced there and lined up

17:43fairly well

17:46by eye then we’re going to put a third

17:49piece of metal on top

17:50and make a sandwich

17:55then we’re going to offer the sandwich

17:56up into the fly press

18:01and we’re going to give it a gentle kiss

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

18:10and there’s our din rail well not quite

18:12it’s a little bit wide at the moment but

18:14hey that’s going to be easy enough to

18:16put that in my guillotine and just trim

18:17it down

18:19and here we go i think we’ve got it

18:20nearly right so we just check

18:24all i’ve got to do is put a couple of

18:25holes in it to fix it to the back plate

18:28and we’re ready to rock and roll so i

18:30might want those power cables a little

18:31bit longer

18:32so just take the end one out which is

18:34the ground return from the tube

18:37i can pull that one out now something

18:40else jointed in with it as well


18:44crude isn’t it i think we’ll sort that

18:48out later

18:49let’s pull that out completely

18:52and work out what we’re going to do with

18:54that because that’s uh

18:57for a bit 240 volt stuff that’s not very



19:07i think it’s just a piece of pvc to be



19:19now the numbers are on this relay do not

19:22agree with the numbers on this diagram


19:26which is a little bit confusing to say

19:29the least

19:34one and five

19:39what i’m going to do is to give it to

19:40give myself a quick drawing

19:42of what they look like that will enable

19:44me to quickly

19:46see what’s going on so i have a couple

19:48of clamps for the din rail as well just

19:50end clamps the clamps don’t really fit

19:53the din rail because

19:56the din rail is not deep enough i

19:58suppose i could grind the bottoms off a

20:00little bit couldn’t i yeah

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

20:01i think it might make them fit now just

20:03about there we go they now fit just a

20:06little bit of persuasion with the


20:09there we go that’s nice and solid now

20:13i’m not going to come off this was the

20:15mains 2 the power supply

20:17and i want to pick that up to send it to

20:19the mains to

20:21my power supply on the surface the

20:23wiring looks quite neat

20:25but when you dig a little bit deeper

20:26it’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast

20:28couple of hours have passed

20:32and things can move on quite quickly in

20:33my world


20:41and here we have something i hope

20:45i’m going to be able to squeeze in here

20:47it may will be a little bit of a


21:00now i already knew that i was likely to

21:03have to take this corner off

21:05but how much i don’t know

21:09we can’t wiggle that piece of metal in

21:11there because the bracket

21:12that holds it is in the way so what i’m

21:15going to do is i’m going to drill a

21:16couple of holes in here

21:17to fix the bracket back on and then i’m

21:19going to grind

21:20the welds to take the bracket off

21:26i’ve got to get in there to grind the

21:28welds off


21:37just shows you how difficult worlds are

21:39to get off doesn’t it

22:02we’ve got the bracket off

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

22:06now can we wiggle this thing in that’s

22:08the question

22:09because we couldn’t before


22:26almost maybe just a little bit here

22:30just a little bit i’ve just made these

22:33little spacing pillars

22:36which will actually be screwed through

22:38the base plate there

22:40or the sliding bait the sliding plate

22:44i just want to see roughly where they go

22:47in fact what i should be doing

22:49i should be using the back face of this

22:52as the reference when i slide it

22:56backwards and forwards now when i mount

22:58the mirror on here

23:03it’s quite difficult to get to that

23:05adjusting screw under there

23:07so that i can set the mirror onto this

23:09beam center

23:11so what i’ve got to do is to make sure i

23:13put a hexagon

23:15head under there so i can get to it with

23:17the spanner

23:20now ultimately i’ve got to put a hole

23:21through here

23:23but i don’t know where and i’ve got no

23:25idea what size but i’m not going to make

23:27the hole

23:27much bigger than the beam so instead of

23:30having something like a

23:31an inch diameter or inch and a half

23:33diameter hole like they normally have

23:35i’m going to eventually put a target on

23:37there fire the beam at it

23:39and then i’m going to drill a hole maybe

23:41six or eight millimeters diameter for

23:43the beam to go through

23:44so we’ve got a drawing here for the

23:46centers of the holes which i’m going to

23:48make a jig

23:49out of a piece of acrylic and spot those

23:52dimensions through

23:54onto here for the pillars

23:57and then here we’ve got a sketch of

24:00all the dimensions that we found earlier

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

24:02the relationship between the rails

24:04the top of the bracket then we’ve got

24:07this angle here which is

24:08this piece of material here there’s a

24:10two millipiece two millimeter piece of

24:12material here

24:13which is the piece that’s mounted on

24:16this is the mounting face of the rf

24:18unit and this is the ideal height to get

24:20the center of the mirror lined up with

24:22the center of the beam

24:23at the moment the mirror is sitting at

24:2520 millimeters

24:26when we come to set things up i may have

24:28to put a packing piece

24:30under the mirror but this is a very very

24:32small beam

24:33and it probably doesn’t need to be on

24:34the true center of the mirror

24:37well forever look there’s little teeny

24:38weeny problems there’s another one just


24:41there’s a big lump of weld here where

24:42they’ve joined up

24:45across here it’s all been sanded off

24:46there because they didn’t know that i

24:48wanted to fit something tightly under


24:58something’s not very level is it look it

24:59runs from nothing to

25:01about two millimeters there right so

25:04with those pillars underneath there

25:06we’ve got a nice air gap air going in

25:10the end here between the pillars so

25:12everything’s nice and vented

25:14and we shall probably take this end

25:16panel out and i might see if i can fit a

25:18fan in there as well so there it is

25:19mounted on its

25:21channel ready to adjust

25:24backwards and forwards the 48 volts from

25:26there goes into there so that’s no big


25:29we’ve got a cable that comes from here

25:31which is the pwm

25:33that can run along the back here and go

25:35down to the electrical cabinet

25:38well i think that’s about as far as

25:39we’re going to go today

25:41next time it really depends how long the

25:43laser cutter

25:44is going to take producing my parts i

25:47was hoped that they might be available

25:48by the end of this week but um

25:50yeah it’s got a very busy time on at the

25:52moment and my uh

25:53my pieces are in a fairly long queue

25:56early next week i hope that we should be

25:58in a position to finish off the

25:59internals of the machine

26:00in the meantime we can do this and we

Transcript for Laser Machine Upgrade: China Blue Catch Up (Cont…)

26:02can do sort the wiring out

26:04so yeah there’s still a lot to do but

26:07we can see an end to it so thanks for

26:09your patience and time

26:10and i’ll catch up with you in the next


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