User:Pranav Rathi/Notebook/OT/2010/10/31/Laser Shutter .1

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I have constructed a cost-effective mechanical laser shutter system for our 1064 IR-laser. System contains a mechanical shutter, a control box and a power supply. There are many shutter systems available commercially; mechanical, semi-mechanical, electromagnetic and optical. Most of the systems are expensive and above $1000. These systems are fast (msecs to micro secs) and precise. In our case we needed a shutter which is precise and cost effective but not that fast. Some of the specifications of the system:

  • Type mechanical with electronic control. Can also be controlled by a micro controller.
  • Aperture 10mm.
  • Open time 1.5 second, .3 second over the beam waist.
  • Cost $ 30 excluding the power supply.
  • Operational voltage 3.3, 5 and 12 volts.
  • Laser intensity upto 10 W.

There might be many ways to make a mechanical shutter; I used eclipsing technique in which a shutter moves over and across an aperture through which the beam passes. To move the shutter I used an electric motor and a gear box. This method is relatively tuff because of the motor timing. While working on this I got couple of ideas of achieving the same goal: A 6 inches audio speaker with/without a micro controller can be converted in to a shutter (I will use this method if I plan to make a shutter for He-Ne) OR simply an electromagnet with a cantilever can be used as a shutter. The advantages of such a systems are, easy to make and similar in speed to commercially available systems.

Design & Construction


There are three major parts of the system.

  • Shutter.
  • Control box.
  • Power supply.

The components used:


  • Glade automatic air spray: Air spray uses a motor and gearbox to mechanically operate the spray bottle.
  • Thorlab Cage System Removable Filter Holders CFH1: To make shutter holder.
  • Two 3 inches cage assembly rods: To install the shutter holder on the skin of air spray.
  • Black aluminum foil: To make the shutter.

Control Box

  • 2 3-pole on/off switch
  • 1 Push on/off button
  • 1 Resistor 100K Ohm
  • 2 Resistor 10K Ohm
  • 1 Resistor 100 Ohm trimmer (pot)
  • 1 Resistor 1.5k Ohm
  • 3 Resistor 240 Ohm
  • 1 1N4148 diode
  • 1 0.1uF 50V Ceramic Capacitor
  • 1 222uF Radial Electrolytic Capacitor
  • 1 npn KD-7B C1815 Y transistor
  • 2 14 pin DIP IC Socket Adaptor Solder Type
  • 2 RED LED 3mm
  • 1 Yellow LED 3mm
  • 1 A-5032 Prototyping Board 300x400 mm
  • 1 12V relay
  • 1.5m red, black, green and yellow wires
  • 1 6X8 cm aluminum box.

Power Supply

I used 300W desktop computer power supply which i salvaged from an old computer.



I made the shutter system inside the spray box. First I removed the electronics which controls the motor. Then I made two holes to install the cage rods directly on the box’s skin, these rods support the cage holder at the gearbox level roughly 5 cm away from it. I used a plastic stick to connect the gear-arm with the shutter (inside the holder), so the shutter moves in and out with arm as motor rotates one full rotation. I also installed two touch sensors at the ends of the shutter, so they can sense when the shutter is fully open or closed. I made these sensors by carving two sets of conduction strips. When the shutter travels to the end it pushes on strip into another. Once the strips are connected the current flows so the touch sensor works as an on/off switch. I ran totally 5 wires into the shutter 2 for the motor, 3 for the touch sensors out of 1 is common and 1 of each wire is for red and yellow LEDs. Red LED shines when shutter is fully open and yellow LED shines when the shutter is fully closed. I made ¼ inche hole to install the post directly on the skin, so the box can be directly installed on the optical table with the post holder.