Shark laser specs

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Shark laser specs

Postby Devlin » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:14 pm

Ok I have the laser... it works and I’ve done a test burn. Are there any specs on this laser so we can get comparison info as to what it will do. Can it cut and if so how much. I’m sure it’s not much or needs many passes. How many watts is it. Type of laser. Diode I guess.
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Re: Shark laser specs

Postby Rando » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:35 pm

I believe it's a 455 nm wavelength "blue" laser diode, with a 1-element glass focusing lens. I've heard <3w, I've heard 2.8w, I've heard 1.8w. I believe their certification filing with the FDA might be publicly available, and that would be required to contain the exact measured optical power output....which is of course different from the fact that the 1.8...3w numbers might be ELECTRICAL power. So, who know the exact number...it will tend to go down over time if there is insufficient cooling of the laser diode, or if smoke accumulates on the focusing lens. The light output is quickly obscured by this condensed smoke, which defocuses the working spot, and ends up causing the lens surface to heat and crack. It only takes a few percentage transmission loss to see a big difference. That smoke-on-the-optics problem is a big part of why they have huge fume extraction from traditional laser systems...if it didn't mess up the optics, they probably would have never put the fume extractors in. Well, that and many of the fumes are quite substantially poisonous :D.

SPEAKING OF WHICH: DON'T CUT OR MARK PVC PLASTIC WITH THE LASER WITHOUT EXCELLENT VENTILATION....POISONOUS FUMES ARE PRODUCED!

All that said, it's good for marking wood, paper, leather: organic materials. It's obviously not going to mark or cut metal, well except maybe for pure lead or something ;-). It's certainly not going to cut the bridge plate the local highway department can't seem to come up with for the failing bridges around town.... As for cutting, I'm guessing "yes" for some things. Paper, yes, with burned edges. Leather, maybe, but it will take a while. Wood...yeah, if it's veneer and you don't mind both waiting a while AND having your inlays have burned edges...

The problem with "cutting" with the lower-power lasers, of any kind, is that it is "burning" the wood instead of "obliterating" the wood. In both cases the stuff is definitely burned away; but in higher-powered systems, there is SO MUCH radiant light intensity, that the heat physically evaporates the material, not just chars it until it's deader than dead.

That said, at one point I made a 3W laser using purchased parts, that I mounted on the Shark as well (don't ask!). I was able to easily cut things like plastic films (to make the light shield for the laser, duh!). I was able to burn away latex paint on a PCB sufficiently well enough to then acid-etch away the copper to make a PCB. I was able to make light and dark marks in things. I was able to mark and cut paper. The in-focus height of the laser is pretty small: on the order of 0.020-0.050" (0.5-1.25mm), so it's going to be important whatever you're cutting stays flat. And what happens to paper when it burns? IT CURLS...remember that....if you're cutting something out of paper or plastic film, as it gets cut, it may very well curl up and get in the way of the laser as it moves around.

I would say the most likely maximum thickness it would cut in a reasonable number of passes (8?) is something just thinner than photographic mat-board (~1/8"). It would probably cut things as thick as pressed-cardboard boxes (like cereal box-thickness), but again, you're looking at the burnt-edge aesthetic. If that's okay for the design, then you're in. But if you're looking for clean edges, that last isn't likely to give it.

But, that doesn't mean lots of cool stuff can't happen! Think personalized birthday messages on home-baked cookies! Think steaks for the BBQ that come out of the freezer saying "MINE!" on them. Well, okay, those were really the only ideas I could come up with....I must be hungry ;-)

But hey....I'd love to be proven wrong on this one :mrgreen:

Regards,

Thom
=====================================================
ThomR.com Creative tools and photographic art
A proud member of the Pacific Northwest CNC Club (now on Facebook)
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Re: Shark laser specs

Postby Devlin » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:26 pm

Thanks.
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