Aligned the laser today. Having watched the alignment tutorial video from FSL, I ordered these Intermec 4" x 6" White Direct Thermal Printer Label from Amazon to use while aligning the laser as it looked way easier to use sticker labels than taping receipts over the mirrors every time I want to align them. They were $5 for a roll of 100 and came Amazon Prime style 2 day shipping free. But, somebody screwed up. What I got was what you see to the right... a roll of 1000 that weighs 16 lbs. Oops. Anyone need labels?
While following the procedure in the video I noticed that the red diode spot wasn't much of a spot, it was more of a horizontal line. So I called FSL on their direct support number; no one answered so I left a message. I then sent an email with the images you see to the left. I got a reply in 40 minutes. Not too bad for a company having "terrible support" according to the forums. Henry said it's normal and to use the center of the line. Done. Fired a bunch of test fires and got it pretty well aligned, though I might just do it again to practice before I run any jobs. The video is easy to follow and it's super nice to have the red dot to align with instead of having to fire it over and over to get the alignment right. You can't see the actual CO2 laser beam, but you can see the red diode laser so a beam combiner shoots them through the same optical path. So once you line up the red dot with the first mark you make before mirror 2, you know they are following the same path, making alignment of the subsequent mirrors easier. Overall mine was pretty close to spot on already, I just move the beam closer to the center of the lens.
I also tensioned the guide wheels on the X carriage as demonstrated in the video Full Spectrum Laser 5th Gen CO2 Hobby Laser Proper Wheel Adjustment. It takes TINY adjustments on the eccentric wheels to get this right.
Tomorrow the iMac arrives so hopefully... first cuts tomorrow night if I can get all the software installed and Parallels/Windows 7 playing nicely together!