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  1. #1
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    Default Used tracking laser

    My company is engaging in some new business and will be machining some parts to large to fit under our CMM (6MX2.5MX1.6M). I’ve been asked to investigate finding a used laser. Anybody have any ideas where to look? Any advice at all would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    krink --

    My first advise would be to hesitate a good long while before buying a second-hand Laser Tracker system UNLESS you already have a crew of skilled Laser Tracker operators using the same model Tracker and hardware. The price of a new Laser Tracker system includes latest-and-greatest hardware, software, startup training, some follow-up hand-holding, and a guarantee, which provides peace-of-mind that won't come with a used system.

    Second, the Leica Laser Tracker has time-and-again demonstrated itself to be both robust and stable, but at the cost of being larger and heavier than the competition. My second choice would be one of the current generation "R2D2" Faro Laser Trackers.

    A Laser Tracker really wants to be on a stable platform. My first choice mount would be a steel pylon grouted to a monolithic concrete foundation, but portability is also nice. Brunson Instrument Company's "portable instrument stands" aren't really all that portable, but are reasonably stable . . . especially if you can mechanically fasten it to the foundation. The easily-portable stands are glorified movie-camera tripods, and really need to be fastened or glued to the floor. A keep-out barrier around the Laser Tracker stand is a heck of a good idea, and may help keep the looky-loos and hummers from leaning on the instrument stand.

    Sunbeams and heater / air conditioner vents are not welcome around a Laser Tracker metrology job.

    Hubbs Machine and Tool of St. Louis makes a wonderful variety of "nests" for Laser Tracker "targets" -- which are usually termed either a "Spherically Mounted Retroreflector" (SMR) to "Tooling Ball Retroreflector" (TBR) -- and accessories; ATT of Seattle also offers an assortment of nests and accessories. You'll want both the Hubbs and ATT catalogs, and you'll almost certainly need double-handfulls of nests and accessories to make the measurements you need to make.

    You'll seldom be able to measure everything you need to measure from a single Laser Tracker setup. Measurements made from two different setups can be "stitched together" by including a fixed constellation of reference targets in both setups. Ideally, the fixed constellation of reference targets will surround the object being measured.

    John

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    krink --

    A couple more thoughts:

    1. You do NOT want an interferrometer-only Laser Tracker -- one that does not have an Absolute Distance Meter (ADM) -- lest you have to return the SMR to its home nest after every break of the laser beam.

    2. An ADM-only Laser Tracker (no laser interferrometer) is probably entirely sufficient for all except the most demanding applications, such as checking the linear scales of a machine tool.

    3. SMRs are delicate and expensive, but there are a couple of "aftermarket" makers that can save you $$ relative to OEM makers' prices.

    4. There's a "cousin" to the Laser Tracker, sometimes called an "Industrial Total Station", that is fundamentally a high-grade theodolite with a built-in, high-accuracy Electronic Distance Meter (EDM) that has a ranging uncertainty of 1/10 millimeter or so. In comparison to a Laser Tracker, the Industrial Total Station offers better angular accuracy but lesser distance accuracy, must be pointed at its target manually, and sells for a substantially lower price. There are at least two makers of Industrial Total Stations, Leica and Sokia.

    5. Leica and Faro both sell their own Tracker operating and measurement-analysis software; API sells New River Kinematics' Spatial Analyzer software with their Tracker. Each software package has its own look and feel, and most people have their own preferrences. (I prefer SpatialMetrix's Insight software, as do almost all of the Laser Tracker operators where I work. Unfortunately, Faro quit supporting Insight almost immediately after they bought SpatialMetrix.)

    John

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    Hi John,

    Sound like you have used these trackers extensively. What kind of business are you in where you use these regularly? We also use these on a regular basis to align beamlines and survey machinery installations.

    Tom Lipton

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    Tom --

    I work for one of the Bay Area companies making spacecraft. The Laser Tracker has been one of the longer poles holding up our measurement tent over the past decade.

    John

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    Sounds very cool. Care to swap tours and lunch?

    I can offer a great tour of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Machine shops, Advanced Light source, high energy physics everywhere you look, and the best view in the Bay Area.

    Tom Lipton

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    there is a faro on ebay right now, but I have no idea if the price is reasonable or not.

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    Thanks for the advice on the laser. More questions. I have some SPC software called ProFicient made by InfinityQS. Does anybody have experiance with data transfere from Tracking Laser to SPC data base?

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    Up front Declaration: I work for Phase Vision Ltd, who make a white light scanner/fringe projection system that should do what you need, depending on the ultimate accuracy you require.

    Depending on your resolution/accuracy requirements have you looked at fringe projection/white light scanners? If you only need a couple of points then the laser is simple, but if you need to get surface form then fringe projection might be the way to go.

    There is more info about our system on the website: Phase Vision - Optical Inspection Solutions

    I hope this doesnt come over as a sales pitch, but this technology (its not just us who make them, tho ours is of course the best ) doesnt seem to have reached the wide coverage that more established (laser) techniques have.


    If there are questions about how it works etc might be best to start a new thread about it.

    Dave


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