The Mahony laser power meter fits CO2 lasers and YAG lasers. It works with lasers that operate at 10.6 microns and 1.06 microns. At 1.06 microns it works for YAG, fiber, diode side pumped, and diode end pumped lasers and any additional laser technology operating at this wavelength.
Step 1: Put on Your Laser Safety Glasses With Side Shields.
If you do not have laser safety glasses, then the LIA, or Laser Institute of America is an official body that has complete safety information available.
Step 2: Set the Pointer to the Zero Value
Step 3: Decide Where You Would Like to Take the Measurement - Example: Directly From the CO2 Laser
Depending upon your needs, you can decide where to take the measure. Several common needs for CO2 laser power measurements for laser engraving and cutting machines are listed below.
1. Measure laser output power for laser settings over time. Whether you own an RF (Radio Frequency) powered laser such as a Synrad or Coherent used in an Epilog brand or Universal Laser Systems brand laser engraving system, or if you own a Chinese high voltage glass tube laser, all gas lasers reduce power over time because of internal gas consumption. Therefore, your power settings for materials will change over time. By using the laser power probe you can measure results and set the same power everytime, no matter how your laser tube has degraded.
2. Spot check for bad optics. Sometimes, the optics go bad, and absorb much too much energy. So, even though the laser may be performing as usual, when you enter your laser settings on your laser engraving or laser cutting machine, the results are not as good as in previous jobs. By using the laser power probe before and after the mirror, you can measure the power loss, and if it is significant then change out the optic for a new one.
3. Measure maximum CO2 laser output power to certify purchased lasers perform per the warranty. Whether the laser is newly purchased, or near the end of its warranty period, the laser power meter probe is commonly used to measure laser output power. If the laser power is below the specified value, then you can do a warranty claim to have it replaced or receive a partial discount (as offered by some laser manufacturers).
4. To determine good beam alignment, a quick spot check on power in the four corners of the laser engraving and cutting table will let you know if losses are present and the laser machine needs aligning. This saves frustration in trying to guess why the laser is not performing as when first purchased.
Step 4: Decide Where You Would Like to Take the Measurement - Example: After All the Mirrors on a Laser Engraving Machine
Step 5: Place the Black Body in the Path of the Unfocused Laser Beam
Firmly hold the laser power probe by the dial. Place the black absorbing block in front of the unfocused laser beam. Be sure that the unfocused laser beam does not hit the reflective stainless steel because this is a safety hazard.
Step 6: Turn on the Laser Beam for 15 Seconds.
Step 7: After the Laser Is Turned Off, Wait for the Dial to Hit It Maximum or Peak Value
The pointer will dwell at the maximum or peak value for ten seconds or more, before decreasing in value.
Step 8: For More Than One Reading, Cool the Black Body Back to Room Temperature
This concludes the simple method to take laser power readings using a simplified, low cost device.
CO2 Laser power meter probes can be found for sale online, such as Amazon.com.