Archive for the ‘Laser Cutting’ Category
This project came about as a result of my propensity to never throw away parts that were designed to or can be adapted to move electrons. I am also very interested in mechatronics and motor control in general and so it was all but certain that over time I would have accumulated enough of various discarded data storage devices because they are so cleverly combining parts of both mechanics and electronics. We live in world filled with discarded devices that only a few years ago were the stuff of science fiction. I always feel bad about the discarded yesterday’s technology and it gives me an extra kick to have it re-purposed for today’s needs. Read the rest of this entry »
During the course of my DIY laser cutter project I needed a laser diode driver that I could control with a CNC software, such as EMC2. I’ve already made an attempt to build one based on Linear Technology’s LT1121 voltage regulator with Enable input but the driver design that came out was not exactly successful
So, I took another stub at it … Read the rest of this entry »
Here is another model I’ve designed around the size limitations of Groover’s micro laser cutter from discarded DVD drives – 1.5″x1.5″. I wanted this model to be in the same scale as my earlier Supermarine Spitfire model – 1:212 scale after seeing a 1944 photo in Famous Aircraft: The P-38 Lightning (by Gene Gurney) picturing a P-38 (F-5 version on a reconnaissance mission) accompanied by a Spitfire and the caption said: “Two of the fastest aircrafts in the world at the time this photo was taken”. I though it would be nice to see them together again, materialized on a much smaller scale Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been using an off-the-shelf laser diode driver for my CNC laser cutting projects and came to realize that I need a different driver. Maybe not so small as to fit inside the laser diode enclosure but capable of driving both red diodes in 100mA-200mA range and blue diodes in 75mA-130mA. In fact, having the driver inside the laser diode housing proved to be inconvenient for this application because it is hard to monitor the current and also both the driver and the diode emit considerable amount of heat and I see no good reason to put them together to double that heat up inside a small enclosed space. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve opened about a dozen different types of CD and DVD drives so far (of both read-only and burner varieties) and every time it’s a thrill to find a working red laser diode in there. But it would be useful indeed to know what performance can be expected from the laser diode once it’s free of its mounting hardware (AKA “sled”) – if it’s the laser diode you’re after, the drive may not even be worth opening. It would be nice to know that before wasting some time on opening it. Although it would be hard to know the exact specs of the diode down to the part number, some of the specs can be found rather quickly doing an Internet search. Here is how I do that.
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It’s a weird looking laser diode (LD) that is mounted in the same case with the photodiode arrays which makes for simplified optics but I did not have any housing for this shape/size diode. By the way, if anyone reading this knows a professionally made housing for this type of LD, please post a comment with the reference, I would greatly appreciate that. The diode is just slightly smaller than your more standard 9mm LD – it’s smaller diameter is 6.50mm and the larger diameter is 8.25mm so it fits neither 5.6mm nor 9mm standard size housings.
This made me think that I may not be the only one stuck without a proper housing for a laser diode and I decided to see what it would take to build a housing for a laser diode out of parts available only in the disassembled drive itself and in a local hardware store. Here is what came out
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The idea for this model came to me when I was browsing Instructables and came upon this nice project – the Pocket Laser Engraver. Basically, its author, Groover, describes building a laser diode cutter not unlike the one I’m using here but based on parts of discarded DVD-RW drives. In fact, the diode he’s using is also salvaged from one of those drives. I got intrigued by the project due to the fact that I never throw anything electronics away and I have a little stash of CD and DVD drives myself that I would love to put to some fun use.