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Thread: Ruby Thursday

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
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    1,161

    Default Ruby Thursday

    Another great old laser head brought to the collection with Ed Wesly's group from Chicago. This one's a late '70s Apollo pulsed ruby head, model unknown. It includes an iris diaphram, a set of Brewster angle polarizers and a Q-switch on the rail with the pump head and mirrors.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    These pics show what's inside the pump chamber. Notice the bulge in the top of the 1/4" thick aluminum cover! I'm going to put Ed on the spot to explain that.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
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    519

    Default

    Wow, nice laser, beautiful engineering!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Tampa Florida
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    493

    Default

    We have a larger one au USF...sitting in a store room. Could be made to work for sure but sad. Phil
    Phil Bergeron( AKA 142laser)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    63

    Default

    Provenance of this laser before Bob got it:

    This laser was originally bought by Borg-Warner for Holographic Non-Destructive Testing at their research center in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. It had done a fine job for them, but B-W was shutting down their research center, and we at Lake Forest College got wind of it, and bought it for a dime on the dollar, only $200! Plus a Coherent CR-2 and an early vintage Newport Table of the 3-legged era.

    We set it up at the college and got some decent burn patterns, but then its power supply stopped working. Even though I had the prints, I needed someone with more experience than I in the way of high voltage power supplies, so I tapped Ed Bennett, electronics technician supreme at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to help me get the thing running.

    I had tuned the two mirrors to be parallel to each other with a He-Ne, and he got the cap’s charging and discharging, but no action at the burn paper! Plus it was making an unfamiliar noise, like a clunk.

    We were staring at the target with our Laser-Grad goggles, not at the laser itself, so we did on the next shot. The clunk was from the laser rail bucking like a bronco! And you could see paint fly off the pumping cavity at the crease of the bubble on the top of the casting as the cooling H20 boiled from the injection of a few kiloVolts into it from as you have guessed, a cracked flashlamp!

    These old Apollos and even Korads had the flashlamp cathode underwater! They left this end of the helical tube free to flex, as the high voltage zapping through the glass spiral would try to straighten it out; if it were constrained like the anode end in a well isolated O-ringed well the tube would crack after a few shots.

    Legend has it that a broken flashlamp in a Korad could cause the pumping chamber housing to explode; here we see how much safer the very thick Apollo casting was!
    I know what I want and I know how to get it
    I want to destroy passersby! - Sex Pistols

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Mesa, AZ
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    Default

    Thanks for the story Ed! There are very good reasons why linear lamps in an elliptical cavity won the day.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Tampa Florida
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    493

    Default

    Right; our old Apollo also has the same style large helical lamp. Given the laser was designed to fire about once per minute a lamp might last almost forever.
    Phil Bergeron( AKA 142laser)

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