The Fiber Laser Project is Over

After almost two years of effort, we are unfortunately ending the fiber laser project.

We have the motion, cooling, air, and computer control all working. The problem is that the fiber laser source that this is all built around is not functioning.

It’s possible that we’re doing something wrong with how we’re interfacing with it, but the deadline given to us to fix the laser source and complete the project has unfortunately lapsed.

We looked into repairing a different laser source that we have on hand, but we couldn’t find someone with the fiber optic splicing equipment necessary to complete the repair.

The best option would be to buy a new laser source for $7.5k. We had tried to fundraise it privately, but we couldn’t raise enough. Then we were going to open the funding publicly through the forum, but Asmbly asked us not to. We also tried to finance the purchase by having the class fee go towards the laser source, but that idea was shot down. Finally, we offered to donate the machine if Asmbly purchases the laser source, but sadly there was no interest.

It hurts to see something fail after you’ve invested so substantially in it, but it was still an edifying experience for me. This project improved my CNC, CAD, and welding skills. I also learned a lot about industrial machinery and got experience in the design->manufacture->test pipeline for hardware.

We’re going to move the machine to another location and continue working on it there. There is also a fully running fiber laser at the shop of @JoeN, so if you need work done you can reach out to him.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the laser, I’m sorry we couldn’t get this project to the finish line.

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Thanks for posting this @iheartblocks and letting the membership know the status on this project. Also deep thanks to you and @EricP, along with all those others who have contributed to the build over the last several years, for all the efforts that went into this. It was something we were really hoping to see come to life like the Tarkin laser build, and like the Tarkin build we needed to put some strict deadlines in place on this project (which were agreed upon by all involved parties) to get resolution on it one way or another. I’m truly sorry it wasn’t able to work out.

From the start of operations two years ago, Asmbly as an organization has decided to focus financial investments related to equipment towards manufacturer supported machinery rather than custom built. While a custom built machine can offer its own unique benefits, the backing a manufacturer can provide is not the same. We also do not feel it is appropriate for Asmbly as an organization to ask members to fund a tool that is not owned by Asmbly or to allow members to post fundraisers on our platforms making such a request. Asking Asmbly to forfeit class fees that normally go to the organization is in essence asking Asmbly to make an ongoing donation towards a machine that it does not own (Asmbly does pay for consumables and maintenance on hosted machines based on their hosting agreements).

We still very much so want to see a fiber laser or equivalent machine at Asmbly and will be researching options to purchase one. If anyone has input on machines or would like to be involved, please reach out to @jamesfreeman

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