We are still working on this project and will update this guide in the process.
If you are interested in building your own Laser4DIY device, we recommend getting in touch with us. We can give you information about the current status, maybe it makes sense to wait for an update.
Warning: Laser radiation and mains voltage involved!
Let's start with a word of warning: Lasers are dangerous. High voltage (240V) is dangerous. If you look at the license the modules are licensed under, you will notice that they are provided "as is" and without any warranty. This is no joke. If you use this documentation, make sure you know what you are doing and take appropriate safety measures yourself. The finished device is designed to be safe (but again, not warranty, we do not guarantee anything), while building it, you can be exposed to high levels of laser radiation and deadly voltages. While working on the device, you should
- Never power it on, if any contacts with mains voltage are touchable
- Never power it on without wearing laser safety glasses. There are three wavelengths involved, so they need to shield all of them: 1024nm, 808nm and 532nm
- Also, do not put others at risk.
This is just a friendly, uncomplete reminder. Again: no warranty. Read the licenses for legal details. Consult experts for laser and electrical safety.
The device consists of several modules, which can be used not just in the Laser4DIY, but also in other setups. They are therefore documented separately. The modules are:
- XY table
- Supply unit
- Enclosure, including safety circuit
- TEC Controller
- Laser Diode Driver
- Laser Source
The assembly guide will reference the documentation and source files (open hardware, baby!) for all of these modules, but also describe specifics when used in a Laser4DIY device.
Manufacturing the Parts
All modules need custom parts, for which different methods for manufacturing are used:
|Module||3D Printing||Laser Cutting||Metal Laser Cutting||Sheet Metal Bending||Spot Welding||CNC Milling||SMT Electronics Assembly||Notes|
|Supply Unit||(optional)||(optional)||Custom enclosure needs laser cut metal and metal bending, but you can use other enclosures too|
|Laser Diode Driver||required|
|Laser Source||required||required||Base plate is laser cut, but could be done by milling or by hand|
While many different technologies are used for the project, you can also use service manufacturer for these parts. Here are some notes to the used manufacturing methods:
The XY table and the enclosure require 3d printed parts. We used an simple FDM 3d printer with PLA, which should be available at every maker space or fablab.
There is only a single (non metal) laser cut piece. It's for the XY table and made from MDF. It's a simple piece, so if there is no laser cutter available to you, you can also make it by hand.
Metal Laser Cutting
We use laser cut metal for quite a few modules, from aluminum and stainless steel. Most of these parts need high precision, so manufacturing them by hand is not recommended. We do not have a metal laser cutter in-house, but we used a service manufacturer. There a quite a few affordable services, where you can upload DXFs files and give you a price quote instantly. Alternatively, these parts can be made using a CNC mill.
Sheet Metal Bending
The enclosure requires a sheet metal break to bend the laser cut metal sheets. If you do not have access to one, you can try DIY tools (youtube is a great source). You will only need to bend 1mm stainless steel, so there is not too much force needed.
Spot welding is only needed for a couple of welding spots of the lid.
The laser source module requires CNC milled parts. The cooling blocks are made from copper and aluminium. Again, they need to be relatively precise, so manufacturing them by hand is not recommended. There are service manufacturers, you can use if you cannot do it yourself.
SMT Electronics Assembly
The two electronics components (TEC controller and laser diode driver) need a custom PCB. We recommend using a service manufacturer (at least unless you have a working Laser4DIY device :-D). The design includes SMT parts, but no very small parts, so they can be assembled by hand if you have soldering experience. There are assembly services as well, of course.
Additional Tools Needed
We assume that you have access to standard tools like screw drivers, allen keys, files and similar. Apart from these (and the machines to manufacture the custom parts, see above) you need the following tools:
- Laser power meter (suitable for 2 Watts of laser radiation at 1064nm and 532nm)
- Laser IR viewing plate
- Laser safety glasses (blocking 1024nm, 808nm and 532nm)
- ESD grounding wrist band
- Soldering station with ESD protection
- Rivet gun
The following notes should be considered for all modules:
- CAD files are provided for some of the modules. These are included to guide the assembly, an in-depth, step-by-step assembly guide is not (yet) provided. The CAD files are included in the github repository, in STEP format. This format can be loaded by most CAD packages, including the open-source software FreeCad. There is also a free viewer called STP viewer.
The following notes should be considered during assembly for all modules:
- Again: be cautious! Follow standard guidelines for laser and electrical safety
- Whenever a standard (non lock) nut is used, apply thread locker/sealant to secure it
If you encounter issues in the documentation or the source file, please report it to the development team:
- For issues concerning source files in any of the GitHub repositories, please use the GitHub issues feature to submit a ticket for the corresponding repository
- For issues concerning documentation in this Wiki, please submit a ticket at the Assembly Guide Github repository.
Assembling the Modules
For building the modules please refer to the linked instructions below
|XY table||Laser4DIY Low Profile XY Table|
|Supply Unit||Laser4DIY Supply Unit|
|Enclosure||Laser4DIY Enclosure Assembly|
|TEC Controller||Laser4DIY TEC Controller|
|Laser Diode Driver||Laser4DIY Laser Diode Driver|
|Laser Source||Laser4DIY Laser Source Assembly|
After assembling the individual modules, it is now time to integrate all modules into the enclosure.
This is described on the Laser4DIY Assembly page.
As a final step, the laser has to be taken into operation on fine tuned: Laser4DIY Laser Source: First Light and Fine Tuning
When you have completed building the device, you can start making PCBs! Here is our tutorial on how to do that: Using Laser4DIY for Prototyping PCBs