14 comments on “Laser Alignment Tool

  1. Pingback: Laser Alignment Tool – 3D printed stand | Tripping Through The Dark

  2. So this process is to ensure your mirror (or negative in the carrier) is level with the baseboard for your print? I have not had very much experience in the darkroom, and did not know that one can “Turn the alignment tool on the base board” — so I will have to look out for that next time.

    You rotate the (Laser Alignment) Tool 360 degrees to ensure the “two planes (mirror and baseboard) are parallel and the laser is perpendicular to the tool”.

  3. Ok, apparently I’m still trying to understand… are there adjustments on the baseboard to ‘level’ it? It sounds like you are simply adjusting the laser sight on the 3D printed mounting bracket?

    “Turn the (laser) alignment tool on the base board. If the beam is perpendicular to the base the reflected dot will stay in one spot. If it circles a spot as you rotate you will need to adjust the set screws on the (laser) sight”

    • There are two things going on. The first is you need to make the alignment tool so the beam is perpendicular to the base. The best way I know is to rotate it. If the reflected spot (or just a spot on the ceiling) does not move as the tool is rotated then the beam must be perpendicular. I use the adjustments on the sight to adjust the beam.

      The next is using the tool to align the enlarger. There you don’t need to rotate the tool, but adjust all the enlarger parts to return the reflected spot to the laser aperture.

      Hope that helps.

  4. That does help, thank you. I just found a commercial product for this from Versalab which has a little target board around the opening of the laser which makes sense to me… so you can see just how far off you are in alignment until the laser reflect back (from the mirror in the negative carrier holder) into itself. A bit more expensive for the commercial version. (Which is certainly the truth for ‘print washers’ too!)

    • The Versalab is certainly a premium product compared to this. It may seem expensive, but my guess is they are not making much money on it given the probable small sales volume.

      You could easily put a target on top of this one too, but I don’t find it’s needed at all. If I’m not getting a reflection back to at least the area around the laser emitter it’s not close enough. If I am the target won’t add much value.

  5. Looks intriguing. I don’t have a 3d printer but looking at a few local services.

    Do you have suggestions as to material?

    Also, the services seem to charge based on cubic cm of material. Do you know what that is for your design?


    • I printed mine use PLA, but I’m sure ABS would be fine too. It’s not a high stress part so almost any material should work.

      I’m not sure on the volume. Netfabb reports about 34cm^3, but that’s the piece volume, which doesn’t need to be 100% filled. I print simple parts like this with 10% infill, and a few solid layers on the surface. To print like that should use 293 cm of 3mm filament, which is about 21cm^3 of plastic. Hope that helps figure out the pricing.

      • I found a somewhat local person that provided an estimate based on the stl file. His initial estimate assumes 40% infill. I’m not sure if 40% is adequate from a strength and rigidity perspective or if I should go to 60%.

        The areas I’m most concerned about is the joint where the perpendicular piece meets the base and the clamping surface.

        He offers both ABS and PLA. From my admittedly basic research, sounds like ABS might be best.

        BTW, his quote was $5 for the piece plus $5.25 for shipping. Which sounds very reasonable to me.

        • I think even 40% is overkill for the infill, but it won’t take too much extra time to print it since it’s a small piece. I’ve found PLA is adequate for parts like this. It doesn’t flex much, though it is brittle. I took an early prototype that had the vertical column a bit too short and tried to break it. It took a lot of force before it broke, and when it did nothing was bent. The column came off of the base, along with some of the top of the base, so you are correct on the failure point. The two pieces could be put back together and it didn’t look like it had even snapped. That was with 10% infill and PLA. Certainly nothing wrong with going to 40% however, and for the price he’s offering I would jump at it.

  6. The one I had made came today and, to my eye, look pretty good. Not sure how to insert a photo but in reality looks just like the one above. Mine came from http://www.oberdas3d.com and was just over $10 for qty 1 including shipping.

    Now to get the laser sight.

    • That’s quite a deal. I’m not sure how they make money at that rate. As long as it doesn’t wobble and is close to straight it should be good. You’re the first one I know of to pull down my design and get it printed. It’s a pretty cool thought that it’s now a possibility.

  7. They seem to be just fine. I still have to align the sight to the base. As I see it, the rotation approach will only work in the laser is exactly in the center of the base. Mine appears to be, but not sure. Do laser sights have a predetermined and consistent offset from the “rail” attachment point?

    What I’ll do is drop a plumb bob from a tall ceiling over a level (or made level) surface. Then align the laser to that.

    Here’s a link to the guy I used to build these: http://www.oberdas3d.com

    I plan to have him make some hard-to-find slip on lenscaps next.

    • The rotation approach doesn’t rely on the laser being in the center. The returned spot will be relative to the laser source, not an absolute position. There is no standard for the laser relative to the rail, at least in the cheap sights.

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