Mirror Mounts

Mirror Mounts… where to begin, in many ways… these are the make or break it for this project.  These have some very high tolerances and requirments.  Especially considering I am doing this all by hand, after all, the goal of this project is to see if I can do this with as little as possible.

To start off… walking through the home improvement store I began looking at ways to create an electrode as well as alow gas to enter and exit the tube AND be able to adjust the mirrors in any direction or angle.  Lots of ideas came to my mind, many of them were WAY to complex for this project.  In the end, it hit me… I can simply pump the voltage through the mirror mount itself… and if I used a simple sharkbite T fitting I had a ready made way to pump gas in.  For the mount itself, washers with some creative drilling and soldering was in order.

In the beginning, the main concern was a way to get the whole thing square and flush.

When I got home, I cut off the last barb on the sharkbite fitting, the washer I selected had a slightly to small center hole, so using a rat tail file I filed this out carefully to create a VERY snug fit… it was so snug a rubber mallet had to be used to get it into the fitting.  The next step was filing down the end that would fit into the tube.  For this I used a dremel, a fine file, and find sand paper.  I test fit it as I went into the glass tubing, be sure you cut the end off the tube as they fire polish them and the diameter will be a lot smaller there.  For a proper fit, you have to cut the ends

snug fit                       T fitting filed properly

The next step was to drill holes for the mounts.  Pick a drill bit that is slightly larger than the bolts you are going to use.  You need them to be able to spin freely in the holes.  The easiest way is to somehow stack all 4 larger washers, I simply used some zip ties.  Put a mark along the edge of them so you can line them up again after… trust me on this.  Then using a drill press if you have one… or being VERY careful if you dont, drill 3 holes through all 4 washers at the same time.

washers held together                          showing the bolts through the holes.

The next step was to solder some nuts over two of the washers over the holes you drilled.  The easy way to do this is to simply thread the nut onto the bolt through the hole, this sort of autocenters it then also get a couple small bolts to solder face out.  I didnt do this until the last step, in retrospect it would have been a lot easier to do it when I did this step.  Best part of DIY stuff is making it up as you go 😀

I also took the time to notch the washers that I put over the end of the T fittings.  This was to make room for the bolts as you can see later.   I sanded each surface to rough it up a bit, applied flux, then heated each with a toch and soldered. In the end, the result was as you see below.

soldered     soldered and assembled without gromets

After a while, and some major thinking… there was a problem…  How to hold on the optics while the vacuum formed inside the tube.  I needed a mirror mount.

This is where I had to solder on the small bolts as shown in the final product.  then after, you make a loop of wire and using nuts simply tighten it down over the optics.  If you are worried about slippage or damaging the optics, put some heat shrink onto the wire.  I put a gromet into it to form the seal that will be needed later.

with bolts added for the optics

And there we have it, fully assembled mirror mounts ! 😀


Nope… not quite, today while walking through the hardware store, I got a great idea upon seeing some pipe fittings and hose fittings!   I picked up these, with the hopes to make my own lens focus for this unit.   For the OC I plan on using a gold mirror with a hole drilled in it and a ZnSe window, just a flat plain old window. Why? Because they are cheap.  Then I will use a convex ZnSe Lens that I have and make my own variable focus 😀

Pipe Fittings I found at the hardware store

The next step was soldering it to the adjustment, I removed the old screws that I had soldered onto the mirror mount.  The next step was centering the hose fitting and soldering it on.  The excess solder on that one side is from the old retention bolt, I didnt bother to remove it.  I did verify that the joing was 100% sealed with the use of flux and then testing under water as before.  So far so good.

After soldering the hose fitting with retention bolt installed

After this, I remounted it to the laser and installed the gaskets for this system.  after which I took the pictures of some possible configurations.   😀  Lots of possibilities with this system AND it should make a nice heatsink for the optics.

Total cost of this addition, 6 dollars per side.  I do need to go pick up the parts for the other side now, and a standard solid “plug” to allow for better contact and heat disipation.  Note: Do NOT over tighten!  You will break the optics!

top down view with 1 gasket installed  primary method with just retention

And now for the possible lens configuration.

Fist screw in the large one to retain the OC, then use the smaller one with a lens mounted in it.  I can do a few possible configurations with this setup.  Not sure if it will work or not, but that is the point of it. To experement and learn 😀

lens setup

on a side note, I need to adjust the screws to fix the alignment, it is crooked 😉

And NOW finished! … almost 😉

Copyright © Jessie Tank

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