American Laser Corp Model 60B Argon Ion Laser System

The American Laser Corp 60B is a true classic when it comes to Argon Ion lasers. They are capable of producing several lines of different wavelengths, with 488nm being most prominent for the majority of units. These were often found in large Xerox laser printers and copiers. This particular unit dates back to 1979 and still works, although the beam is quite weak now.

alc60b laser running with beam visible

The head assembly itself is extremely heavy and well built. Metal rods attached to mounting plates on either side within the head keep the entire assembly in alignment. The tube itself is pretty similar to other and more modern Argon Ion laser tubes. It is surrounded by metal fins for cooling. Two large fans force air through the head and the fins to keep the tube cool. Higher power Ion lasers often require water cooling for adequate thermal control. Smaller ones like this can get away with forced air cooling just fine. Notable features within the head assembly an over-temperature cutoff switch, and an internal laser power monitoring circuit that feeds back to the power supply. The output coupler and high reflectors are contained within the metal plates on either side, directly after the ends of the tube. Interestingly, the optics are contained within sealed collars/chambers with small plastic tubes connected to them. These tubes run back to metal desiccant containers mounted on the side of the case, this helps keep the optics clean over the lifetime of the laser.

alc60b inside laser head

The power supply is beast just like the laser head. It is rated for 10 amps at 110 volts on the AC input side. There is a large breaker on the front for controlling AC power and some analog potentiometers and meters on the front panel for controlling laser output. The power supply has two modes of operation: tube current control, and laser power control. The selector switch on the bottom is used to change the operation mode. The power supply is all analog, no digital control circuitry is going on in there. There is one board mounted in a card-edge type connector within the power supply. This board is likely responsible for the light output monitoring and control function of this laser system.

alc60b laser and power supply

alc60b inside power supply

alc60b inside power supply

If you want to learn more about Argon Ion lasers like this one, Sam's Laser FAQ is a great place to start!