OSE got a Lasersaur from Stefan in 2013. It was shipped from Europe and sat in the workshop until August 2014.
Documentation and Support
The primary risks come from operating a CO2 laser tube. Please operate your first system with a laser source within your level of expertise, even if this is a laser pointer. From there work yourself up until you can safely run a high-powered system.
CO2 lasers involve high-energy infrared beams that may be reflected or scattered and can cause fire on many materials. Most importantly lasers may cause permanent damage to the eye. The best way to manage these kinds of risk is wearing protection glasses certified for CO2 wavelength and having proper fire extinguishers available at all times.
The second danger is high-voltage. Depending on the tube, you are looking at 25000-40000 volts. The power supplies are rated in the 50mA range which puts any electric shocks into lethal territory. One might be able to survive such a shock but depending on things like physical condition, length of shock, and the fact that the power supply may actually supply more amps temporarily puts this into the avoid-at-all-costs category. Also note that electricity at these voltages jumps through the air for several inches and be aware that the power supplies stay charged after disconnecting them from the outlet for quite some time.
Most countries have specific regulation for laser radiation that is typically dependent on the class of laser. Any laser that is suitable for cutting is class 4. Only after proper encasement and applying specifically regulated safety measures will a laser cutter be class 1.
The H20/Propylene Glycol mix that's in the chiller for the Lasersaur (and likewise in the hoses and lasertube) is rated to about 15°F, so it should not be allowed to get that cold. The lasertube should be drained before the weather gets much below freezing - if the fluid is allowed to freeze, the tube could be cracked and destroyed.
Get a nice clean container to catch the coolant fluid and disconnect the hoses from the chiller itself, draining the lasertube, but leaving the hoses attached to it. Then, stopper the outlet and inlet on the chiller, pour the drained fluid back into the main coolant chamber, and take the chiller indoors for the winter. Alternately, you could drain the chiller completely, and put the coolant in a container that's OK to freeze (i.e. a soft plastic jug with lots of air space).
Bill of Materials
- September 2014 Email with Stefan - has some notes on our 40W laser, good safety goggles, ventilation, etc.
- Physics lecture about how CO2 lasers work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cLSnuXGC_U
- Lasersaur Steps