View Full Version : Improved Laser Pointer

Travis Reese
05-22-2016, 3:47 PM
The pointer that came on my laser was pretty fiddly to say the least. I set out to design something better. The first picture below was one of the prototypes shown above the existing bracket I removed. It was printed at standard detail and had all the sharp corners. The last two pictures show the finished product on the machine. I tried both a red and violet line laser. I actually like the violet better. After focusing both pointers, the violet had a thinner and more defined line that was easier to see. Going to order another violet to replace the red.


Bill George
05-22-2016, 4:37 PM
Nice design. You must have more room inside than my ULS, that bracket would be crashing into the rails. What 3D printer are you using?

Travis Reese
05-22-2016, 4:49 PM
Thanks. Yes, I guess I must have more room. I can run to all travel extents with no problem. Using a Lulzbot Mini.

Kev Williams
05-22-2016, 6:55 PM
Pretty cool-- My Triumph is supposed to have a pointer but it's never worked. I've made do without it just by firing the laser at 6% until it's where I want it, then get the coordinates from the program.

But sometimes I need to find several coordinates on a part, so I came up with an ultra-cheap and cheesy solution using $4 ebay laser pointers, this is two of them--


Note the plex end, I cut that so it fits snug around the pointer, and the outside fits snug inside the mirror hole above the lens...look hard, you can see the red dot.

It works great too- I align it by firing a hole in a piece of scrap, then fitting the dot to the hole. From there on it's dead to rights!

One problem I had was the dots are too big and bright. My Gravo IS400 gave me the idea for the fix, which was to drill a tiny hole in a piece of .010 brass shim stock I have kicking around (cut with scissors, lol), and held in place with some doublebacked tape. (The IS400's laser sits in a brass tube with a tiny hole beneath, smaller than mine)

It works amazingly well. Here's some pics of my green vs red pointer as focused thru my 3" lens. Normally the red pointer is just as bright as the green... as you can see the green is simply too bright to really hone in on where it actually is, but the red dot is very small and faint, but still bright enough to see...


Since you're using a laser based on the size it's projected, I thought you might find this interesting! :)

Bert Kemp
05-22-2016, 7:17 PM
very cool I like the cross hairs.

Gene Uselman
05-22-2016, 8:08 PM
Travis- would you care to share what led you are using. Thanks Gene

John Noell
05-22-2016, 8:27 PM
Brilliant design! And yes, what source for the LEDs are you using?

Travis Reese
05-23-2016, 8:30 AM
Kev, thanks for sharing your solution. How do you align it to be concentric with the laser?

Travis Reese
05-23-2016, 8:37 AM
Gene, for the violet laser I ordered this...

For the red laser I ordered this...

A lot of different sellers sell these same lasers. I made sure to order mine from the seller farhop. Ordering from farhop I got Prime 2 day shipping. Several other listings have a short ship time if you choose expedited shipping however the shipping was very expensive.

Also, when I ordered the violet laser I was thinking it was also a line laser like the red one. It's not. It's simply a dot laser. The only difference is a little insert between the lens and the cap that makes the laser project a line instead of a dot. The red laser I posted above is actually a 2 pack. I simply took the insert and cap off of one of the red lasers and put it on the violet so that it projected a line as well.

Travis Reese
05-23-2016, 8:49 AM
I'm happy to share the STL file for 3D printing however I'm not sure how editable an STL file is. My tube size where the tube goes through the bracket would most likely be different than everyone else's. It is designed in Autodesk Fusion. I've never used the collaboration feature of Fusion but I know that it's possible to share a project that way for anyone that uses Fusion. I'm also working on another project to use one of these pointers to attached to the end of the laser tube for aligning mirrors.

Just FYI for anyone that's doing one of these, if you look closely at my pictures you'll see two little "nubs" that stick out on the sides of the bracket where each laser pointer is inserted. These are actually threaded holes with 10-24 set screws. By tightening one screw and loosening the opposite screw on each laser I can steer each laser pointer to move the line on center to coincide with where the laser is firing. The opening at the very end of the bracket where the laser pointer protrudes is exactly 12mm to fix the end of the laser. The rest of the hole that the pointer protrudes through is 13.5mm which gives me room to steer the lasers with the set screws. Hope the picture below makes it more clear.


You will also notice from the pics in my first post above the while collar that's above the cone on the nozzle. I made this to fit around the tube so that anytime I take it apart and put it back together the tube is always put back at the same position. It just acts as a spacer. I've seen other people use tape or scribe a line with a knife.

Bill George
05-23-2016, 7:11 PM
A STL file is editable but not easily and not with anything I have available. I do use Fusion 360 to make things for my MakerGear M2. I really don't need the laser pointer but its a very nice design.