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Author Topic: Adding a laser  (Read 1549 times)

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Offline vfauto

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Adding a laser
« on: November 25, 2017, 02:12:51 pm »
Has anyone added a laser to their sawmill and if so can you share your experience and pictures?
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Online Percy

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2017, 02:31:46 pm »
I have added the factory Woodmizer laser kit way back in 05. The stock laser is pretty much useless as it donít  have enough hormones to light up the blade path unless itís dark. I snagged a more powerful one ant itís much better. Some say the green ones are better. They are a time saver extraordinaire especially when cutting smaller logs.
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Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2017, 04:59:31 pm »
I tried it...It's so hard to find a place to mount it out of the way
and after you do mount it one little bump and it will need relined.
I did not trust it. 
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Offline GAB

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 05:13:17 pm »
Sneak a peek in BandMill Bandits gallery.
I think you will find what you are looking for there.
GAB
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Offline DPatton

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 05:19:27 pm »
In my construction experience with single and multi plane style lasers I would have to agree with what Percy said. The green lasers seem to show up better in most lighting conditions but when working in full daylight both the red or green ones I've been around have very limited working distances.

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2017, 07:02:47 pm »
Save your $$$ and train your eye to see where to cut, Your eye will work in all light. :)
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2017, 07:37:58 pm »
Have two, both burned out and I won't buy anymore unless they get real cheap. I do have a shadow lite over the fixed blade on the edger. This is dependable and you turn it off when your done. The draw back is you can't have any sun lite in the mill building. Some times I make a crayon mark at the end of the plank at the shadow line before I let it go in [the edger] and hand guide it to make sure I get a straight cut. [ I edge 2, 2  1/2  and  3 inch hard wood often that will be used rough  not resawn .

Offline tmbrcruiser

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 09:15:20 am »
I added lasers to the edger and mill. On the edger I would never run with out them, on the mill my success has been so so. I purchased red for the mill and wish I would have gotten the green. Mounted the laser under the dust shoot and powered the laser with a series of 9 volt batteries. Everything works well early or late in the day, not so well in bright light.
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Offline Pabene

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2017, 05:26:55 pm »
I have tested laser on my bandsaw mill. First I have to remind all about the risk for your eyes. In most mills the laser beam is in the same level as childrens eyes. For that reason it can be good to just light up the laser for each moment you need it.
A way to use an auto leveling laser at the mill is like this: Set up the laser on a tripod on the right side of the mill, with a posibillty to eysy raise and lower the laser. When a log is loaded on the mill, use the laser to adjust the log to the best position for the first cut. With a mark/line outside the saw, in the same level as the blade, you can then move the saw up or down so the mark will hit the the laser beam and then make the first cut.
That way is kind to the laser. No vibrations from the saw will destroy the laser. In my opinion the laser is very good, just to assist you to make the first cut right.

Offline Josef

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2017, 11:06:35 pm »
You might want to look at the apinex 50 mw line generator laser in green, I mounted one on my mill in 2016, still going strong, a few points needed addressing when adapting it to the mill, but it works great. Be careful though, at 50 mw it is visible in all but direct sunlight but will do damage to eyes. Probably the most useful mod I made to my old Timber Harvester mill.

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Offline Darrel

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 11:50:20 pm »
I have a red laser that I have never attempted to mount because I only use my mill outside during daylight hours doing mostly portable milling. If I ever get a saw shed built then maybe, however by that time my eye should be pretty well trained and the laser might just stay on the shelf.
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Offline starmac

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 01:31:09 am »
At the risk of sounding dumber than a smoldering stump, what exactly do you use a laser mounted on a mill for?
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2017, 06:16:18 am »
At the risk of sounding dumber than a smoldering stump, what exactly do you use a laser mounted on a mill for?

It's for people who can't see straight.  smiley_tom_dizzy01
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2017, 07:06:02 am »
If a laser is mounted on the mill and properly aligned, and bright enough, it will show the path that the band will travel!

Speeds things up a little, especially leveling the log and watching out for sawmill parts!
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Offline Hackermatack

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2017, 07:30:26 am »
If a laser is mounted on the mill and properly aligned, and bright enough, it will show the path that the band will travel!

Speeds things up a little, especially leveling the log and watching out for sawmill parts!


Thanks for that I was wondering myself. So the laser is aligned with the blade to show a line on the log where the blade will cut. I can see how that could be useful on the first cut. I am a fair weather miller probably won't work for me, I have a Harbor freight free with any purchase tape measure that gets me by.
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2017, 07:44:15 am »
Lasers seem to work best if you are in a building, sunlight will wash them out. I have a good one mounted overhead for my circular saw. Pointing down it poses little threat to eyes. If a fella does a lot of milling your eye is just as good and faster. For the occasional sawyer they help. Po boy laser get a cheap laser level that will pivot with the dot lined up with the band. I can't see them being a great advantage on a band mill. Frank C.
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Offline Josef

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2017, 08:48:58 am »
I find it's most useful when leveling the pith, I try to always set the log with small end towards the head, raise the head to match the pith of the far end and use the toe board to raise the small end to the laser line to match it. Secondly, it's great to determine the opening cut to assure it will yield a board of your target width, and lastly it will reflect off the stops, to make sure they are low enough to prevent a strike.

It just gives someone anal like me who always questions if "it's right on" a visual cue to confirm the blades path, someday I'll have my eye calibrated well enough not to need the crutch, but I'm not there yet.

Joe
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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2017, 09:12:21 am »
Ive had mine forever and when it did die, I went without for a couple years. I missed it. Where I found the laser especially helpful was with smaller logs where a difference of 1/4 inch blade height could make the difference between getting 3 pieces of 2x6 x16 instead of just 2. Also, I have a remote LT70 with 26 foot capacity.  Alot of walking to determine wether the blade is going to stay in the log on at that slight kink at the 18 foot mark.....unless you are using the laser.

Its easy to get by without one and its not nearly a big a deal when it quits compared to a debarker.....but mine has paid for itself many times over.
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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2017, 08:06:35 pm »
I have a laser on my mill. IMO it has no down side. It definitely helps in log leveling. I don't do any measuring unless I have logs that I am centering the pitch on. I still edge on my mill and that is where the laser really speeds things up.
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 03:16:53 am »
You might want to look at the apinex 50 mw line generator laser in green...
Joe

I looked on their website.  Would you be so kind as to tell us the model number you like so much, so we can look it up on the site. I love choices but that site is crazy with choices, and I was unable to get their search function to help.
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2017, 03:27:03 am »
My mill is a swing blade, and it is very hard to line up the blade for the first cut because of the way the mill is designed.   The machinery gets in the way.

Wondering if a rotating construction laser tactically positioned on a tripod beside the mill would be a workable solution?  Setworks mostly takes over once the first cut is done.

I am still hopng for a response on another thread as to whether not third party setworks can be adapted to swing blades like my Peterson.

 I am not a huge fan of the rather odd freely rotating dial that Peterson uses. I think I would prefer an actual lumber scale such as on most of the band mills, in the absence of electronics setworks.

 But even with setworks, it seems that first cut can also be challenging to line up on a band mill.
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Offline Pabene

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2017, 04:11:38 am »
I know a rotating laser would work good. Most of rotating lasers are "self leveling". That means you first have to level your mill. It is an easy task if you already have the laser. (The saw head has to travel the same way as the laser line.) The next to do is to make it easy to raise and lower the laser unit. I have a steel tube, mounted vertical to the wall, with a bracket for my laser. The bracket slides on the tube and hold the laser by friction. Some tripods has a pillar for the laser, as can be cranked up and down. Then you have to make a mark line outside the saw head in the same height as your blade.
Now you can adjust the log to best position for the first cut. The laser line is visible along the log and you can than lower the saw head so its mark also is on the laser line and cut.
If your mill has a swing blade it would be possible to have an other laser with a fix beam like such on edgers, to guide you for your vertical cut.

Offline MbfVA

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2017, 04:46:31 am »
Thank you, well laid out procedure.

I am still fairly new with this machine, but I think that if I get the horizontal cut lined up & started correctly as to height, the vertical cut is pretty much set automatically when I come back in the "pull" direction.    I think that works backwards as well, that I could start with the blade vertical and thus also be right for the horizontal (push) cut.

I'm trying to get out to the mill at the farm this week, so I'll try out what you suggested.  I have a Leica rotating laser, which does both vertical and horizontal.  I could put white paper or a white board on the side of the saw  carriage for visibility with a mark for where the saw blade is.  I don't think I want to secure my laser target to the saw because of the vibration.

I have been mounting it on my Giotto photography tripod and it adjusts vertically.

I am up way too late here in the states, so I'm going to call it a night.
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Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2017, 08:42:44 am »
For the people that's looking for a laser for a round blade saw....

You can buy a laser washer that goes under the nut that hold the
blade on. The laser turns on automatically when the blade spins.

Sample...

I have tried for an hour to get the hyper link thing to work...
I give up ...
Just type in (Bosch LS010 Miter Saw Laser Washer Guide) in Google
and you will see what I'm talking about.
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2017, 03:04:18 am »
Won't work on my Peterson WPF, sorry to say (blade is held on by a ring of bolts around the arbor, not a single center bolt).   If I could put it on there, it would get in the way of most 10 inch cuts.  I ran it past another thread where Ianab gave me the bad news.  Thanks anyway for the suggestion; maybe it will work on another brand, depending on the arbor.

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm optimistic about the tripod mounted laser level.   I do anticipate it being tricky to pick a spot for the laser where it shines on all the right places and none of the wrong ones, such glinting off the stainless steel frame uprights.  One big advantage: it will not be vibrating on/with the saw.   I recall someone saying that is the major reason why the Wood-mizer laser level accessory is so expensive (almost $1,000!).  Personally, I'd nominate the orange paint ;).
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Offline Josef

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2017, 10:05:34 pm »
The Apinex unit I added to my mill is the 50 mW 90 degree green laser, from my ordering receipt this is what I ordered from Apinex early 2015

GM-CW02L <50mW Compact green laser module with line generator US$ 125.00
AC110-220-DC3 110/220, power supply adaptor, 3V US$ 17.50
HS-12 Heat sink 12mm US$ 17.50
Sub Total   US$ 160.00
Shipping (United States Express)   US$ 24.95
TOTAL   US$ 184.95

I ordered a spare shortly after this order, and the one weak point in the unit is where they attach the leads on the back of the module. They are soldered to a very small pc board, and are made from wire I'd equate to frogs hair gauge. To remedy the weak point that became evident after only a few hours operating with the vibrations of a sawmill head I added a terminal board just behind the unit to support the wires where they're tagged to heavier wire to the power supply. You can see it in this pic.



I used the heat sink block as an "adjustable base" it has 5 threaded holes, one center and at each corner, I clamp it with the center and pitch it with jack screws at each corner to fine tune the alignment. In full disclosure I had the first module fail after 1 week, they replaced it free and it has worked flawlessly since, over two years. In this pic you can see how bright it is.



I also aligned it so the outside edge of the visible beam is only 2 inches outside the working side of the mill to prevent someone inadvertently looking directly into the beam. The mounting bracket is fabbed to bolt directly to the head frame, slung under the blade wheel guard to extend it forward so the laser is out front but protected by the cage welded to the bracket. It's fabbed from really heavy angle so it would take a pretty good hit to dislodge it. It does get dust in the mount occasionally, I just blow it out with air. I'm sold on it and would find operating without it a distinct disadvantage.

Joe

please note I modified the above post to correct the fan angle of the laser module to 90 degrees.
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Offline Pabene

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2017, 07:28:51 am »
Josef, I like your instalation and the photos shows all very good. I started with a similar laser, without moving parts inside, because I think it will resist vibrations. Unforfunately it just had 45į wide beam so it could not reach over a long log. If the beam angle would been 60į, in my case, it would been good for me to. ( To wide beam results in less light intensity). I have the mill inside and have a big door open in one end. In my case I can see the laser line most of the time. When the sun, one hour in the mornings, can hit the log through the open door, I cant see the laser line. So, to perform a test of the laser you are going to buy, on your own mill, is my advise to all.

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2017, 07:52:47 am »
Look into rotating mirrors. You can take a small mirror and glue
it on the shaft of a small motor and point the laser at the mirror
and it will project a straight line. This way the laser does not need
to be so big and powerful but it will project a very powerful line.
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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2017, 06:55:04 pm »
Josef, what kind of mill is yours on?  Band or swing blade?
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2017, 03:21:27 am »
Look into rotating mirrors. You can take a small mirror and glue
it on the shaft of a small motor and point the laser at the mirror
and it will project a straight line. This way the laser does not need
to be so big and powerful but it will project a very powerful line.

More info please.
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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2017, 07:51:56 am »
One mirror makes a strait line.



Add more mirrors and it gets goofy...



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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2017, 08:13:10 am »
Guess I'll have to wait until I get home to see what you are talking about. I can't view youtube over here at work. Blocked.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2017, 08:17:24 am »
I second Peter Drouin's comment.
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Offline Josef

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2017, 09:27:27 am »
MbfVA, the mill is a Timber Harvester band mill, but I would think it would work on any mill that has a frame mounting point on the head solid enough to keep the module stable, keep in mind that a laser strong enough to be easily visible in strong sunlight will probably also be able to do damage to the eyes anyone foolish to look directly into the laser. At 50 mW this module falls into that category.

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Re: Adding a laser
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2017, 01:41:27 pm »
MbfVA, the mill is a Timber Harvester band mill, but I would think it would work on any mill that has a frame mounting point on the head solid enough to keep the module stable, keep in mind that a laser strong enough to be easily visible in strong sunlight will probably also be able to do damage to the eyes anyone foolish to look directly into the laser. At 50 mW this module falls into that category.

Joe

Just 5mw will damage your eyes...
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