The first stage of the Far Infrared Sample Heater shield (or the FISH Tank) has been completed, with the acrylic shield in place. TOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhe CO2 laser shield has been funded by an Institute of Making staff bursary, which has covered the cost of the acrylic (supplied by The Plastic People) and electronic components (purchased from RS).

The 8 mm thick acrylic was bought cut to size; all that was required was to join the pieces together using aluminium struts from RS (p/n 761-3300). Originally the plan had been to glue the sides together  – the struts are simpler in construction and give the shield rigidity. Adding a 6 mm thread to the top of the posts allows the lid of the shield to be bolted down securely.

The samples in “The Tank” are accessed by removing one of the shield panels; the laser port can then be taken from the stage to change samples and bake out the port.


The next stage of the project involves completing the electronics. Interlocks need connecting to the laser, along with an Arduino Uno to monitor which interlocks have been tripped, and some lighting to show when the laser is powered up and ready to go.

CO2 Laser in use

* Yes, I know 10.6 um is technically Long-Wavelength-Infrared, not Far-Infrared, but LWISH doesn’t work.