Friggin' laser!!

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Minerva
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Friggin' laser!!

Postby Minerva » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:15 am UTC

Someone at the university was throwing away something that took my fancy... so I "inherited" it.

What is it? A Melles-Griot 643-LICA-A01 ion laser, and associated Melles-Griot 171B ion laser power supply. It all appears intact too :)

It's badged as an Omnichrome Series 43. I'm guessing it was formerly used for laser scanning confocal microscopy, FACS or cytometry, making things fluoresce, or some biology shit like that.

The safety label specs it as 457-647 nm, 250 mW. Now 457- 647 nm is very interesting indeed - blue, all the way through to red, in one laser! A rare beast.
I'm pretty sure it's a mixed-gas krypton-argon ion laser... I think that's the only thing that could produce those kind of wavelengths.

Unfortunately, having something that spans pretty much all the visible spectrum in one laser means that you can't really protect yourself effectively with safety glasses - something that blocks, say, blue will transmit, say, red - and you can't have completely opaque goggles.

Would it be best to use goggles that are designed for one particular wavelength... say, the blue-green Ar ion laser lines?

There's a PointSource kineFlex laser-to-fibre coupler on the end... and a little rotating wheel thingy with several different filters and a stepper motor to turn it... presumably this lets the software for the confocal microscope or whatever select which laser line you want.

http://www.lamdapacific.com/mlx_manage/ ... 359734.pdf

http://www.lamdapacific.com/mlx_manage/ ... 394734.pdf

(The 171B power supply isn't mentioned here... but the 175/176 looks very similar.)

Anyway... I can't get it to start.

The "AC connected" light comes on when the power is plugged in... as well as both the "interlock open" lights. But I don't know where the interlocks are, if they're present at all, or how they're interfaced to the laser's power supply. The main power switch on the power supply's front panel doesn't seem to do anything, nor does the starter key switch.

Any ideas as to how to close the interlock interfaces and try to fire it up?
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Charlie!
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Charlie! » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:06 pm UTC

The very last page of http://www.lamdapacific.com/mlx_manage/ ... 394734.pdf might have something for you, though I don't know if it would bypass the internal bits.
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LaserGuy
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:15 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:Someone at the university was throwing away something that took my fancy... so I "inherited" it.

What is it? A Melles-Griot 643-LICA-A01 ion laser, and associated Melles-Griot 171B ion laser power supply. It all appears intact too :)

It's badged as an Omnichrome Series 43. I'm guessing it was formerly used for laser scanning confocal microscopy, FACS or cytometry, making things fluoresce, or some biology shit like that.

The safety label specs it as 457-647 nm, 250 mW. Now 457- 647 nm is very interesting indeed - blue, all the way through to red, in one laser! A rare beast.
I'm pretty sure it's a mixed-gas krypton-argon ion laser... I think that's the only thing that could produce those kind of wavelengths.

Unfortunately, having something that spans pretty much all the visible spectrum in one laser means that you can't really protect yourself effectively with safety glasses - something that blocks, say, blue will transmit, say, red - and you can't have completely opaque goggles.

Would it be best to use goggles that are designed for one particular wavelength... say, the blue-green Ar ion laser lines?


Your best bet is probably to use two or three different kinds of goggles that have a bit of overlap. You should be able to pick up some goggles that cover say from 450-550 or so, and another set from 530-630 or so. Despite that the laser does cover that whole wavelength range, it still only emits one wavelength at a time, so as long as you have an idea of what should be coming out, you should be able to protect yourself appropriately.

[edit]A tunable dye laser would be my guess to hit that entire wavelength range.

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justaman
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby justaman » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:09 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:Someone at the university was throwing away something that took my fancy... so I "inherited" it.

What is it? A Melles-Griot 643-LICA-A01 ion laser, and associated Melles-Griot 171B ion laser power supply. It all appears intact too :)

In my experience people don't usually throw out pieces of equipment worth approx $17,000 unless they are broken and non-repairable... there might be a reason you can't get it going. LASERS like these tend to stop firing and never work again, but that is as much as I know.
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby SummerGlauFan » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

You could always try asking the person you inherited it from, though I wouldn't get my hopes up for it to work; being broken is probably why the person was throwing it out to begin with.

Then again, it's also possible you could think of a way to repair it that the other person didn't.
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:57 pm UTC

Uh, be careful.
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justaman
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby justaman » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:37 am UTC

SummerGlauFan wrote:You could always try asking the person you inherited it from, though I wouldn't get my hopes up for it to work; being broken is probably why the person was throwing it out to begin with.

Then again, it's also possible you could think of a way to repair it that the other person didn't.

If its from a confocal microscope, and that's pretty likely given the company, the person who said it was busted was probably a specialized technician from the supplier, still there could be a way.

Izawwlgood wrote:Uh, be careful.

Yeah... be careful! That's quite a bit of power coming out the shiny end, some quite short wavelengths too = burns/eye damage.
Felstaff wrote:"deglove"? I think you may have just conjured the sickest image within my mind since I heard the term "testicle pop".

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Cobramaster
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Cobramaster » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:08 pm UTC

For the safety aspect just get regular tinted sunglasses or tinted safety goggles as dark as you can find I know Nemesis makes some good ones but they will not protect against a full powered shot directly to the retina so never put your face too close to the laser. I use them when working with the laser in our Building called Sheila and she is a blue range laser operating between 30-100 mW most of the time.
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby J Spade » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:35 pm UTC

Would a welding mask be too dark?

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Cobramaster
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Cobramaster » Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:04 am UTC

You can never be too dark when it comes to light protection just too dark to work with so if you can set it up then put the maxk on right before you flip the on switch you will be good.
SlyReaper wrote:Did you never notice the etymological link between "tyrannosaur" and "tyrant"? 1% of the dinosaurs had 99% of the prey. Occupy Pangaea.

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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby scikidus » Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

While you're trying to get the thing up and running, couldn't you get some gel sheets from your local theater tech shop to minimize the range of wavelengths against which your goggles need to protect?
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Carnildo
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Carnildo » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:28 am UTC

Would the gel sheets survive the process?

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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby scikidus » Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:03 pm UTC

Carnildo wrote:Would the gel sheets survive the process?

That's something I don't know. maybe you shoudl just put the welding mask over the laser instead.
Happy hollandaise!

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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Poku » Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

Carnildo wrote:Would the gel sheets survive the process?


I'd guess that they'd get zapped pretty quick, but you might be able to get away with it by moving the gel around after each firing, as the laser would probably just burn out a small point.

As a general note, gel is not considered valid protection, etc. If you still want to go that route, manufacturers publish wavelength vs. %transmission figures for all their gels.

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Minerva
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Minerva » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:17 am UTC

justaman wrote:
Minerva wrote:Someone at the university was throwing away something that took my fancy... so I "inherited" it.

What is it? A Melles-Griot 643-LICA-A01 ion laser, and associated Melles-Griot 171B ion laser power supply. It all appears intact too :)

In my experience people don't usually throw out pieces of equipment worth approx $17,000 unless they are broken and non-repairable... there might be a reason you can't get it going. LASERS like these tend to stop firing and never work again, but that is as much as I know.


I had to work out the pinout of the 7-pin fan power supply connector on the head so I could close that interlock circuit, get the pinout for the D-25 connector for the remote control and wire up a plug to close those interlock circuits, and repair the damaged keyswitch...

I did all that... and it didn't work.

Turns out that I forgot to plug the keyswitch wires back into the power supply internally.

Now... it works :D

scikidus wrote:While you're trying to get the thing up and running, couldn't you get some gel sheets from your local theater tech shop to minimize the range of wavelengths against which your goggles need to protect?


There's already a little wheel with a pair of gel filters that seem to be designed to select a couple of different wavelengths from the white-light output. One gives deep blue light and the other gives yellow-green light.
...suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. - Richard Feynman

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Cobramaster
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Cobramaster » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:04 am UTC

Congratulations on fixing the laser now you should take pictures of it working and rub it in the face of the guy who tossed it.
SlyReaper wrote:Did you never notice the etymological link between "tyrannosaur" and "tyrant"? 1% of the dinosaurs had 99% of the prey. Occupy Pangaea.

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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby SummerGlauFan » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:45 am UTC

And take pictures for us!

Really, congrats on getting it to work.
glasnt wrote:"As she raised her rifle against the creature, her hair fluttered beneath the red florescent lighting of the locked down building.

I knew from that moment that she was something special"


Outbreak, a tale of love and zombies.

In stores now.

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Minerva
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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Minerva » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:25 pm UTC

http://www.ebilmorris.com/luke/laser/

Pictures, for your viewing pleasure.
...suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you play with them. They are so wonderful. - Richard Feynman

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Re: Friggin' laser!!

Postby Zeroignite » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

Now that is one friggin' cool laser. I'm especially fond of the photos where you used the prism to separate the frequencies, this one in particular.
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