Hamar laser alignment system from 1992...still good or obsolete ?
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    Default Hamar laser alignment system from 1992...still good or obsolete ?

    Hamar L-711 system, previous owner built large CNC routers and apparently used it to align the router axis during the final fittings of linear rails and such.

    Can't find much about it on the web, except two dealers have the same system for sale in the $8,000 range. So I guess the question is, are there less expensive means (lasers ?) of accomplishing machine tool axis alignments these days with similar ease and precision....or does a 1992 vintage Hamar laser system still rock for certain applications ?

    I could scan and post a link to the entire manual in PDF file as it's only 32 pages... if that would help. Here is a link to a brochure on the L-719 system, which is basically the same as the L-711 system, except newer version of it. http://www.hamarlaser.com/systems/L719/719_720.pdf

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    Laser tubes have a finite life, with ten yeas being a reasonable average number.

    This is due to gas diffusion through the glass and through imperfect seals.

    You might find an individual example that would still work fine after 20 years or more.

    Or you might not.

    - Leigh

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    The basic system technology may be different from the brochure you linked to; as Leigh implied, if the laser system is helium-neon, there could be age issues with the laser(s) and beam quality. The L719-720 material indicates a diode laser, which would be a much more reliable system. I don't recall if diode lasers were commonly available in 1992, but this would be something to know. My gut feeling is maybe not.
    The basic elements in the electronics have only gotten better in the interim, but this looks like a fairly simple system, and if there are no 386 computers involved, it's hard to see that it's obsolete. Good optical alignment hardware is hard to beat, and 3-point leveling hardly ever goes out of style. The linked brochure does mention something about info now being presented in a graphical interface, which might be an indication of a previous version being a bit less "user-friendly".
    And if all else fails, you could always take out the advertised Barden ABEC7 bearings and repair the spindle bearings in the machine...

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    Default Hamar lasers

    We have Hamar lasers and discovered repeatability problems from maybe concrete dust caused it to need repair.

    various magnetic bases are used and often bottom is standard magnetic base bottom, as these are not 3 point contact, concern about the laser rocking or not sitting securely can be a problem.

    much depends on the distances of the readings. for over 5 feet electronic theodolites which use computer for error compensation are not that expensive , if you need 0.001" tolerance or finer the Hamar laser we had could be put in 0.0001" mode. theodolites without optical micrometers or precision cross slides can use finer rulers 1/100" or finer or use angle measurement to distance chart to calculate perpendicular distances. or use 1/100" ruler. if 10 arc seconds moves cross hair 0.010" as seen on ruler then each arc second is 0.001" at that distance. lets put it this way the Chinese easily can figure this out I have have seen them use a $1500 theodolite where the Americans insisted you had to have $20,000+ in equipment to do optical alignment

    optical tooling like Brunson Jig Transits and optical levels / collimators with optical micrometers can read 0.001" and less at closer distances. minimun distances are often easily less than 2 feet. but remember as any experienced field machinist will tell you if cross hair is 0.010" wide at 20 feet (measured with ruler at target) it would be hard to say for sure you are less than 0.005" at 20 feet as this is 1/4 of the cross hair width which is not that big to begin with.

    the Chinese use to smile at Americans using old tools checking factory setups in China. They would use the latest Swiss or Japanese tooling (or Chinese clones of them). Also they would figure out ways to do things cheaper. For example locking on to a center punch mark on the machine floor 20 feet away we had some custom made targets to go in center punch mark and thought it could not been done any other way. Then we saw them just use a 1 cent paper clip rebend it in there hands in seconds and use that to pick up center punch mark from 20 feet away.

    technology changes fast, not every thing needs lasers and lasers often have there limits. For example the laser detector needs to be put in contact with object to be measured without influencing it's position. a theodolite can pick up a plumb bob thread using 0.005" thread with plumb bob in a cup of water to measure objects that a laser can not measure because of block line of sight.

    i myself would not trust any instruments without checking their calibration. it is well known by experienced field machinist any instruments exposed to temperature differences of 15C or about 30F and or subject to vibration or shock need the calibration checked. This means the best will check instrument calibration each day and adjust instruments if needed or not use them. So being able to easily check calibration and do adjustments easily and quickly should be a concern before buying any instruments.
    ........ a calibration sticker from yesterday is just that from yesterday and could be totally wrong today.

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    The manual does seem to indicate a gas-based laser, since there is apparently a high-voltage supply for the laser. I find the label pictured that shows the wavelength a bit puzzling. Standard He-Ne wavelength is 632.8 nm, and the closest "normal" value to that shown that I can come across is ~594 nm, again for He-Ne. 600.30 nm is a bit oddball for any sort of common laser, at least in my limited experience in this area. Might be tough to replace if it were necessary, or at the least might require some recalibration of some sort. Hamar Instruments might have much better info. As a BTW, some company named PLC something-or-other services these, and describes them as "OBSOLETE" on their website. So, I guess there's your answer...

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    FWIW, I plugged in the Hamar today and it seems to work fine. Crisp red dot projected 20 feet...didn't have room to try further. Vert/horiz DRO works.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The real Leigh View Post
    Laser tubes have a finite life, with ten yeas being a reasonable average number.
    As it turns out, this thing is way older than I thought... 1978...so that's 31 years old. And yet it works fine. Maybe the laser tube was replaced in 1992...can't remember now where I got that year from...

    Anyhoo...here it is, complete with video..

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...:L:LCA:US:1123

    I guess I really should do a video with the target 50 feet away but setup for that would be a PITA in my place. I'm still just guessing at some of the laser settings and how the cross hairs on the target should be aligned.

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    I have one that was made in 1984, and it still works.

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    Default Komo, 711

    Milicron,
    After using that old 711 for many years at Komo, I don't think very highly of it.
    I'm quite sure its in a sad state of repair, was just looking at it the other day.
    May go for cheap though and hopefully the software is still around for it.

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolutionEng View Post
    Milicron,
    After using that old 711 for many years at Komo, I don't think very highly of it.
    I'm quite sure its in a sad state of repair, was just looking at it the other day.
    May go for cheap though and hopefully the software is still around for it.

    Scott
    This one didn't come from Komo, but from a smaller outfit in North Carolina. Software ?? what software ? No mention of software anywhere in the manual and I can't imagine what it would be for on one this old anyway. This one seems to work fine...on the first video I did I didn't have it adjusted right but on second video the beam was at proper strength. FWIW, I sold it yesterday.

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    Default Hamar 711

    We have 3 working 711 systems that we use with caution as we know that they are not as accurate as newer systems. Hamar will not longer repair or certify the 711. They are diode lasers and I have never had to replace a tube. If you contact NIST about laser calibration they will reference a document that one of their engineers wrote that explains the theory of lasers and how they are intrinsic as they are the measurements of light wave and not much to calibrate there. There is no software that works with the equipment, only a package you can use to calculate flatness and squareness after you collect the data. They are a very useful piece of equipment and can be used as a straightness reference with out much concern. When using the squareness adaptors, there is a tricky calibration procedure not well explained in the manual. I always use a "reversal of squares" to check the squareness.


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