New Used Laser

I recently purchased a used GCC LaserPro Explorer II with chiller, fume extractor, and air assist in unknown condition at a great price. The seller claimed that it was a 100 watt laser (!) and that it had been working when it was mothballed. After renting a truck, roping in a friend to help (thanks Jonathan!), driving over 200 miles each way to get it, not to mention getting the >400 lb engraver and its almost as stout companions loaded and unloaded using a ramp, come-along, and pulleys, it was home! Then another friend helped run a 220V circuit for the laser and chiller. The first test firing failed but I realized that most of the mirrors had been removed and put into a bag labeled “extra lenses”. After installing them, it fired right up! Within five minutes I was cutting 5/8″ fir! I haven’t yet measured the laser power output but based on the materials I’ve cut so far and my experience with my other laser, which is only 25W, I’d guess that it has to be pretty close to spec. I’ll measure it soon with the doHICky digital calorimeter I got from Russ Sarber.

The smoke and odor coming from the fume extractor, a Quatro CSA-600, indicated that it needed new media and filters. I could only find the HEPA filter locally, so I ordered the rest online and I’m still waiting for them to arrive. In the interim, I plumbed a separate exhaust path to an outside vent, with a blast gate on each path so that I can switch between them. And I got a small Halotron fire extinguisher just in case. Finally, it was ready for production!

So far, I’ve only cut some small runs of earrings in wood, acrylic, and melamine laminate and done various material testing. The much more powerful laser, better optics, larger bed, and faster mechanism vs. my older system will translate to faster production, better cut quality, and more material options. Now I just need to make time in my schedule to take more advantage of this great new tool.