I designed this tube holder to replace my original tube holders for my generic 50w China Blue/White laser:
The basic faults with this set of rings is that they can't be adjusted for height. And, unless you have an elven wand or some magic tool, you can't get to the adjustment screws with the tube installed. That means that to adjust the tube, you have to REMOVE it. Dumb.
So this is the design I came up with:
It allows the tube to free float inside the frame with only TWO adjustment screws. I hate the three screw setup that most everything else has because you have to guess as to which pair of screws to fiddle with and how much. With clear vertical and horizontal adjustment knobs, there is no guesswork here.
Also, I designed the mount to be assembled with one allen wrench and a pair of needle nose pliers. The tube can be easily removed. It can be easily adjusted.
Download the STL files here:
Material List & Tools
To complete the install you will need to print 2 brackets each consisting of an outer bracket, a door, two ring mounts and 4 or 6 thumbwheels PER bracket.
Once you have the printed parts, you will need the following hardware PER MOUNT (2x):
- 6x M4 x 4.6mm heat inserts (McMaster-Carr)
- 2x M4 x 15 Cap Head Screws
- 2x M4 x 20 Cap Head Screws
- 2x M4 x 25 Cap Head Screws
- 6x M4 Nut
- Foam or silicone tubing for the tube buffer (less than 1' needed for both mounts)
- 4x Your original tube holder mounting screws from when you removed the old mounts to be used to mount these in their place.
As for tools, they are pretty basic:
- Allen wrench to fit the cap screws you bought
- Needle nose pliers.
Install is fairly basic. These steps assume you have installed the 6 heat set inserts.
Mount the outer brackets to the chassis using the old screws.
You can insert a ball head metric allen wrench through the top slot to easily tighten the screws.
Place your tube in the outer brackets and space it well farther back from Mirror #1 than you want it to eventually be. It will be moved forward toward the mirror mount later.
When attaching the rings, be sure to orient the two halves as shown. The recesses for the silicone tubing (or as I used, foam pad) should form a equilateral triangle.
NOTE: BEFORE you attach the rings, be sure to attach your water hoses and bleed any air in the tube before continuing with the assembly. Bubbles in the tube cause a reduction on cooling and hot spots on the glass which could lead to premature tube failure due to glass stress fractures.
Attach the rings to your tube but on the the outside of the outer bracket and on the side farthest away from Mirror #1. This allows you easy access to the screw holes to install the M4x15 screws.
Tighten the screws fully. The ring does not bear on the glass, the foam pad or silicone tubing (whichever you chose to use) will buffer the tube. Over tightening the screws will not damage your tube as the ring is 55mm for a 50mm tube leaving 2.5mm all the way around your tube.
Once both rings are in place and twisted so they are aligned the same, lift the tube and scoot it forward toward Mirror #1 aligning the rings inside the two brackets.
Press the M4 nuts into each of the 4 thumbwheels. Then assemble the a M4x25 screw as shown with 2 thumbwheels in the mount. Do this for both brackets.
Using 2 of the thumbweels from step 6, assemble the other M4x25 screw as shown on the two door piece. Set aside for now. Do this for both brackets.
Thread the top M4 screw into the tube ring. Don't screw it in any more than 3-4mm or you could drive it into the tube and shatter it.
Using needle nose pliers, tighten the nut against the ring so the screw can't turn. Don't over tighten it. Snug is good enough.
To avoid having to use pliers, you can print two additional thumb wheels for each bracket. Then you can simply screw it against the ring. Your choice.
Place the door in place and attach it with M4x20 screws. I did the bottom ones first as it seamed easiest. Use a ball head allen wrench if you have one.
Insert and tighten the top screw as well. The bracket should be very solid now.
As you did for the top M4x25 hanger screw, thread the horizontal hanger screw into the tube ring, no more than 2-3mm max. Then tighten the nut against the ring as you did with the top hangar screw.
Here is my fully assembled tube ready for alignment using normal methods but now you have complete freedom to move the tube within its brackets.
When the alignment is complete, snug down the outer thumbwheels against the outer frame. This will lock the hangar screws in place to prevent them from moving.