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Offline BANETopic starter

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lazer melting plastic
« on: April 02, 2008, 11:04:37 AM »
Hello, I am working on a robot that can welding two small pieces of plastic with a laser.  I don't know much on lasers or if they can melt the amount of plastic I need.  What I am welding is two plastic wheel like discs together along the circumference.  The diameter is about 2.5" and I have a servo underneath it to rotate it.  The laser Will be in a stationary position directly in front of the welded surface.  As the servo rotates 360 deg. the laser should melt the two completely.

What my question is what type of laser to buy, where to buy it and do lasers melt standard plastic or burn it? ???

I have two computer fans and proper ventilation for it.

Bane

Offline AndrewM

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 04:35:03 PM »
A 200mW laser is capable of melting very thin plastics (slowly), and that is the most powerful "retail available" laser I have seen.  To effectively melt plastics like you are talking about would require something in the magnatude of 500mW to 1W laser (that is a best guess) which you are not likely to find available to a consumer.  If you do, please let me know where because I could have some major fun with a 1W laser. (*poof* and Andrew goes on the homeland security watch list for that one statement)
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Offline cooldog

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Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 06:23:56 PM »
hey i found a 600mw one here:
http://www.markettechinc.net/details.aspx?SPID=46&PPID=Products&_kk=dfb%20laser&_kt=436247c9-242b-4d12-ba1a-45e142c8a0ed
If you do, please let me know where because I could have some major fun with a 1W laser. (*poof* and Andrew goes on the homeland security watch list for that one statement)
lol  :D

heres another
http://www.lasermate.com/HighPower808LD.html

what about focusing muitiple lasers on a single point?

check out pics of my robot(not finished) and the plastic to be melted ;)

Bane
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 06:58:18 PM by BANE »

Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 06:35:20 PM »
Hey andewM, i found you a 1W laser generator thing a bober
http://www.dragonlasers.com/catalog/532nm-1000mW-Green-Laser-p-16215.html
pretty cheap if you as me :o

check out this one too
http://www.dragonlasers.com/catalog/Aurora-GW-price0-p-1-c-274.html

Bane
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 06:44:16 PM by BANE »

Offline airman00

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2008, 08:26:43 PM »
very nice design BANE , very organized

you used CNC right?
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Offline AndrewM

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2008, 09:51:18 PM »
Those lasermate high power diodes look pretty promising, but you would probably need a focusing lens of some sort (basing that statement off the beam divergence spec).  I wonder if they will sell them to the general public...  I'll get a friend to call  ;D

check out this one too
http://www.dragonlasers.com/catalog/Aurora-GW-price0-p-1-c-274.html


You can see from the above video just how long it took to light the match and then cut through the paper with a 150mW laser.  A 200mW (true 200mW, most labelled that measure in around 180mW) with a proper focusing lens might be able the melt those wheels together at a slow rotation.

You know had you found that 1000mW laser a week ago it would have been great.  My girlfriend had lasik eye surgery last Friday, she could have just given me the $3K for the laser and I could have done the surgery, saving her $2K.  Either way, she would have never needed glasses again.  Muahahahaha   ::)
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Offline AndrewM

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2008, 09:55:54 PM »
Just incase you decide to give a high watt laser pen a try, take a look here:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11315

They care a green as well, if you are picky on the color.  Just be careful on the shipping if you live in the US, as customs has been known to have a problem with lasers over 50mW.
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Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2008, 12:16:18 AM »
But you could also have more lasers....
But this is going to be quite painful...

Just think of mixing different wave length lasers (green light laser with red light laser...) with a prism, a nice pure glass prism...
Supposing you have two 200mW lasers of DIFFERENT color, including IR... you can get much mixed power at almost 400mW!!!

Suppose you mix IR color, green color and Red color... every laser at 200mW... you're going to get a 600mW laser....
Consider my option...

BTW, where to get the lasers... just try DVD burners and so on... find at google...

Cheers,
Lefteris
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2008, 04:53:45 AM »
You know had you found that 1000mW laser a week ago it would have been great.  My girlfriend had lasik eye surgery last Friday, she could have just given me the $3K for the laser and I could have done the surgery, saving her $2K.  Either way, she would have never needed glasses again.  Muahahahaha   ::)
  Nice, never thought of it that way! :D

Those lasermate high power diodes look pretty promising, but you would probably need a focusing lens of some sort (basing that statement off the beam divergence spec).  I wonder if they will sell them to the general public...  I'll get a friend to call  ;D
  let me know what you find b/c i'm interested too ;)

very nice design BANE , very organized

you used CNC right?
    No, not at all actually, I used a jig saw w/ super fine blade and some mad machining skillzzzz :D  But hey, it took alittle more time but saved alot of $$$$

I'm going to make a totoral on it someday when i get it finished

Bane


Offline airman00

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2008, 07:08:52 AM »
    No, not at all actually, I used a jig saw w/ super fine blade and some mad machining skillzzzz :D  But hey, it took alittle more time but saved alot of $$$$

I'm going to make a totoral on it someday when i get it finished

Bane



Wow , I'm impressed

Looking forward to the tutorial !
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Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2008, 10:54:49 AM »
So i guess a 200mA laser could work... does anybody have a laser they know of that is like the one on the Instuctables (too lazy to find address, but i hope you know what i'm talking about ;)) under $50 (perferable not on e-bay) that i can legally get?

Bane

Offline AndrewM

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2008, 11:58:15 AM »
If I am not mistaken the last page of the instructables article you are referring to had a comment where someone posted a schematic for a proper powersupply for the laser.  $4.50 for the laser housing (the 5mW brass housing referred to in the article), $20 for a DVD burner, and about $10-15 for parts for the power supply and you can "legally" build yourself out a higher watt laser.
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Offline cooldog

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2008, 02:25:10 PM »
If I am not mistaken the last page of the instructables article you are referring to had a comment where someone posted a schematic for a proper powersupply for the laser.  $4.50 for the laser housing (the 5mW brass housing referred to in the article), $20 for a DVD burner, and about $10-15 for parts for the power supply and you can "legally" build yourself out a higher watt laser.

computer repair stores just through out broken dvd burners so -20
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Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2008, 04:59:16 PM »
If I am not mistaken the last page of the instructables article you are referring to had a comment where someone posted a schematic for a proper powersupply for the laser.  $4.50 for the laser housing (the 5mW brass housing referred to in the article), $20 for a DVD burner, and about $10-15 for parts for the power supply and you can "legally" build yourself out a higher watt laser.

computer repair stores just through out broken dvd burners so -20

So a DVD burner laser is powerful enough for what I need?  If true = yes! getting a junk computer w/ dvd burner would be great!
I've got some homework to do but i'll check out the instructables article

bane

Offline airman00

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2008, 05:33:19 PM »
I'm not sure if the DVD burner laser can melt plastic

I believe it can only pop balloons and light a match
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Offline AndrewM

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2008, 06:11:34 PM »
The DVD burner diodes usually sit between 200mW and 250mW power.  They can melt thin plastics.  I still think something in the range of 500mW or up would be needed for melting the plastic wheels.

I haven't been able to get ahold of my friend to call about the diodes from lasermate.  I'll let you know what I find out though
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Offline AndrewM

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2008, 08:57:34 PM »
Ok, curiosity has gotten the better of me now, and I am wondering why you want to melt the wheels together with a laser instead of some other method like a hot air iron or even chemical welding?  Given the difficulty of finding a high enough power laser and the price associated, not to mention the actual danger to your poor eyeballs; it would seem there would be better choices out there.
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Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2008, 05:22:52 AM »
I'm making this robot for my college portfolio and i just thought that using a laser would be a cool yet difficult project to make.  I mean how many kids make robot's that use a laser to make something?  The melting of two pieces on plastic has no purpose other than being able to do it.  And don't get me wrong on this but if someone gots a better way to make something cool, i'm all ears :D.

Bane
« Last Edit: April 04, 2008, 05:23:24 AM by BANE »

Offline airman00

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2008, 07:30:35 AM »
I'm making this robot for my college portfolio and i just thought that using a laser would be a cool yet difficult project to make.  I mean how many kids make robot's that use a laser to make something?  The melting of two pieces on plastic has no purpose other than being able to do it.  And don't get me wrong on this but if someone gots a better way to make something cool, i'm all ears :D.

Bane

a torch would be just as cool and safer
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Offline Anoroc

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2008, 08:00:58 AM »
Make sure your plastic wheels aren't made out of polyvinyl chloride. That stuff is Bad bad bad for you (if burnt). We cant put that stuff in our lasers because, not only can it be lethal, it's also caustic.

Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2008, 10:53:16 AM »
Make sure your plastic wheels aren't made out of polyvinyl chloride. That stuff is Bad bad bad for you (if burnt). We cant put that stuff in our lasers because, not only can it be lethal, it's also caustic.
  Anyway to tell?  All I know is thats is used to keep paper rolls from crushing (= cheap) and its black.

bane

Offline Anoroc

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2008, 11:30:53 AM »
ahh, your talking about core chucks :D I know what your talking about. I don't believe those are made out of PVC (not 100% though). Its usually recycled garbage platic. Sometimes those core chucks will have a marbled color effect to them.

Offline BANETopic starter

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2008, 05:23:19 AM »
Hey now >:(, i get these things for free and i'm just going to melt the crap out of them anyway :D

So can i melt the core chucks safely?

Bane

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2008, 05:28:18 AM »
I'm making this robot for my college portfolio and i just thought that using a laser would be a cool yet difficult project to make.  I mean how many kids make robot's that use a laser to make something?  The melting of two pieces on plastic has no purpose other than being able to do it.  And don't get me wrong on this but if someone gots a better way to make something cool, i'm all ears :D.

Bane

a torch would be just as cool and safer


what about the tip of a soldering iron.  I could get a cheap one, tear it apart, (so no handle) and have a motor push it into the surface of the core chunk will another motor spins

Bane

Offline airman00

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2008, 09:11:46 PM »
soldering iron idea sounds good

all you need is for the soldering iron to move vertically and horizontally -- all that can be accomplished with gears
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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2008, 05:48:16 AM »
OK, the old soldering iron looks like my best option.  I want my robot to be all battery operated though, if i used a 9.6 vdc 1.3ah drill battery to just power the iron, do you think  it will work?  I have never tried running a AC appliance with DC ???.

Bane

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2008, 05:54:40 AM »
OK, the old soldering iron looks like my best option.  I want my robot to be all battery operated though, if i used a 9.6 vdc 1.3ah drill battery to just power the iron, do you think  it will work?  I have never tried running a AC appliance with DC ???.

Bane

Just get a different heating element for your set, because thats all a soldering iron is


or just use a small torch flame instead of the soldering iron
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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2008, 06:00:25 AM »
here is some pictures of what I've built last night on the device to spin around the cores

check out the plastic cover i made from pieces of my old printer, i melted it together with a soldering iron and smoothed it over with rotatory sander

Bane
« Last Edit: April 06, 2008, 06:32:45 AM by BANE »

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Re: lazer melting plastic
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2008, 05:07:43 PM »
Quote
Hello, I am working on a robot that can welding two small pieces of plastic with a laser.

Strange, you mention weld plastic together, and everyone gets into *cut* plastic mode . . .

Quote
me now, and I am wondering why you want to melt the wheels together with a laser instead of some other method like a hot air iron or even chemical welding?  Given the difficulty of finding a high enough power laser and the price associated, not to mention the actual danger to your poor eyeballs; it would seem there would be better choices out there.

I second this. Chemicals are great for welding plastics together - basically look up the chemical that would dissolve the plastic you are using. The plastics will basically 'melt' together. Superglue can dissolve several plastics, for example.

Also, consider brazing:
http://www.societyofrobots.com/mechanics_brazing.shtml

And contrary to popular belief, lasers do not cut smooth edges. I used to get quarter inch steal laser cut (yes, you read that right) for a project I was working on, and the edges were really rough!

 


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