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 Post subject: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:21 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
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I recently found this video today. This machine uses lasers to quickly remove rust paint and rust with out damage to the good metal. As someone who has spent countless hours cleaning rust from passenger cars and locomotives this seems like a game changer in the preservation World. What do you think?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACGSzBXKONo


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
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This technology could be a true game-changer in the world of car restoration. If a car’s chassis and bodywork are beyond the realms of a plug-in grinder to provide some mechanical sandpaper, sand-blasting can be used to remove even the thickest sections of corrosion, but this requires a complete strip-down and is a messy, arduous process. Therefore this handheld vacuum-like product could be the answer to every car restorer’s dreams. . . .

Unfortunately, there is a rather large drawback - the cost. These state-of-the-art contraptions ain’t sitting on Machine Mart’s shelves for £50. The cheapest version on the market is a much smaller, less-powerful 20W unit that starts at $80,000 (£62,000). That 1000W specimen from the video would set you back an eye-watering $480,000 (£370,000). So it’s fair to say that laser rust removal is probably out of the reach of most petrolheads trying to restore their project car for next month’s car meet.


https://www.carthrottle.com/post/does-l ... ffordable/


Quote:
I also reached out to Laserax, who also offer lasers for rust removal, and their starting price is $200,000. Although the tech is out there, it won’t be readily available to consumers for quite some time.


https://shortshift.co/laser-rust-removal/


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
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Give it a year or two. China will reverse engineer it. Still even at hundreds of thousands of dollars I would think it would pay for itself pretty quickly. Sandblasting and disposal is not cheap, neither is paying dozens of people to remove paint and rust manually. I wonder how long it would take one person with this machine to de-rust a steam locomotive boiler? Maybe a few days?


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 11:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
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Look closely as just how small of an area it's cleaning and how slowly it's working. It does an amazing job of it, looks wonderful. But using that to clean a locomotive would be like painting the Gold Gate Bridge, by the time you were done, it would be time to start over again.

Also, where's the stuff go? It doesn't just vanish. Do you need a $250K negative pressure spray booth and space suit to go with your $200K laser to control the emissions?


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:18 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
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Bobharbison wrote:
Look closely as just how small of an area it's cleaning and how slowly it's working. It does an amazing job of it, looks wonderful. But using that to clean a locomotive would be like painting the Gold Gate Bridge, by the time you were done, it would be time to start over again.

Also, where's the stuff go? It doesn't just vanish. Do you need a $250K negative pressure spray booth and space suit to go with your $200K laser to control the emissions?



They said it has a vacuum attachment that sucks in the vaporized rust. It looked pretty quick to me. Granted the laser looks only to be around 4 inches wide it only takes maybe two passes to get it clean. You could probably get all the paint and rust of the hood of a SD40-2 in maybe hour? I have seen guys work for weeks with wire wheels, needle guns and sanders doing that.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:47 am 

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There is a lot more than rust on the surfaces that need to be cleaned. Does this blow off paint? How about lead paint? How about lead fumes floating around? Got a respirator? Good. What about lead deposits on you and the walls and the floor and everything else? Might not be a panacea.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:03 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere north of Prescott, AZ on the Santa Fe "Peavine"
Another reason you're NOT going to see these things in your Harbor Freight Tools outlet any time soon:

They consume a LOT of power.

The makers freely admit they're designed for the surfaces of F-35 fighter planes, not your random car restorationist's garage.

I don't think even the Strasburg or Juniata Shops can justify one of these.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:15 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
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CCDW wrote:
There is a lot more than rust on the surfaces that need to be cleaned. Does this blow off paint? How about lead paint? How about lead fumes floating around? Got a respirator? Good. What about lead deposits on you and the walls and the floor and everything else? Might not be a panacea.


This as opposed to someone with a sander, or wire wheel who is sanding a locomotive or railcar for months on end producing endless amounts of dust covering everything and everyone in the shop?


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:30 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
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Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Another reason you're NOT going to see these things in your Harbor Freight Tools outlet any time soon:

They consume a LOT of power.

The makers freely admit they're designed for the surfaces of F-35 fighter planes, not your random car restorationist's garage.

I don't think even the Strasburg or Juniata Shops can justify one of these.



Yes that would be the downside. As with the introduction of Tesla cars, repair, parts, and technical support would be a monopoly costing a arm and a leg. Never the less there is already copies on Ebay selling for $30,000. Soon there will be more companies making these and prices will drop even further. I would think $8,000-$15,000 would be about right.

A machine like this would be ideal for boiler overhaul since sandblasting removes quite a bit of good material. In boilers this would be critical for minimum boiler thickness. Even if you could rent this machine for a day it would dramatically cut restoration times especially in those hard to sand places such as corners, round objects, and thin painted sheet metal.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 2:21 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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Modern disc and fiber lasers can easily be 40% efficient from AC supply power.

So a 1000W nominal laser draws ... about the same as a Pelonis disc furnace at full output (which for most of these little ceramic heaters is fixed at 1500W, but could go higher easily if 20A plugs and outlets were more common). None of the ones I've seen require power quality beyond what a typical small generator could provide. Yes, that's probably more than an electric needle gun or angle grinder, but not impossibly more.

Expect to see the functional efficiency of these things go up with the practical introduction of femtosecond-pulse chirped devices, which achieve effective powers into the exawatt-equivalent range per pulse -- it will be interesting to see the practical use of these in services like coating removal, especially as many of these are 'tabletop-scale' devices despite the very large near-instantaneous power delivery.

It might be interesting to see what would be involved in adapting the devices used for laser keyhole welding for surface prep. This might be a more attractive option for restoration shops, as the potential advantages of laser welding represent an attractive capital-cost sharing if one device can be adapted for both services...

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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
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There was a previous thread here I am pretty sure. Strasburg I think made an honest inquiry.

The vapor/debris concerns are of course still there, but so it is with sandblasting or scaling or stripper.

One BIG concern is lasers this powerful, one accidental reflection to the unprotected eye will almost certainly annihilate any rods or cones it touches.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:17 pm 
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Pegasuspinto wrote:
There was a previous thread here I am pretty sure. Strasburg I think made an honest inquiry.

The vapor/debris concerns are of course still there, but so it is with sandblasting or scaling or stripper.

One BIG concern is lasers this powerful, one accidental reflection to the unprotected eye will almost certainly annihilate any rods or cones it touches.

You would have to be close for that to happen someone at the other side of the shop should be fine. If you are closer the light will most likely burn the outside of your eyes not the rods and cones because certin IR wavelengths can't penetrte the lens of our eyes but will instead be absorbed and turned into heat. One of the more expencive parts of the laser will be the lenses and cooling the lenses. Expect the cooling system to suck up more wattage then what the output power is.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:19 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:38 pm
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Location: Roanoke VA
I can confidently say that at least one Class-1 railroad is actively using this technology in their shops. I've seen it used in component rebuild lines in locomotive shops which is certainly a step up from free standing blast cabinets and parts washers to prep components for magnaflux and inspection.

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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:59 pm
Posts: 565
The previous thread reported on laser stripping of aircraft parts. I inquired about using a computer-controlled laser for paint removal on a wooden interurban car.

The vendor has tested the laser on wood, and says that it works, although the laser is a bit "agressive" around knots (not sure if the knot was sound or rotted..).

The workhead has a vacuum pickup which collects the ash on a HEPA filter, which would be great since all it has to collect is the ash of incinerated paint.

The big drawback is speed. The vendor's 500-watt unit can strip about one square foot per minute for each .001 inch of paint thickness.

The car in question has about 600 square feet to strip. Six hundred minutes is ten hours, or 1.25 eight-hour days to remove .001 inch of paint. Since the paint to be removed is about .020 inches thick, I estimated that it would take 25 8-hour days to strip the car.

The rental cost and the difficulty in assembling a crew to work continuously during the rental period make this technique prohibitively expensive at this time.


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 Post subject: Re: Lasers the future of railroad preservation?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 6:29 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
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In my personal opinion - concerns with a considerable amount of industrial-laser-emitted radiation in the eyes are fully justified.

In some respects, the type of optical damage does depend on the wavelength of the emitted radiation. In a previous life I worked in an environment where even a small number of quanta from accidental reflection of a q-switched beam could cause serious and essentially permanent damage to both lenticular and retinal structure. Even the guide beam for an IR laser array might still be capable of this sort of damage, whether or not all the actual working frequencies would only cause steam explosion of cells in the cornea or some other such comparatively 'trivial' result. This is particularly true for devices that inherently raster-scan a laser beam or beams to distribute energy over a wider area in a given exposure time.

The answer I've always used is to have competent laser eyewear that fits right, and wear it at all times there is any possibility of a laser becoming energized in the shop. The eye protection in question ought to be effective against any of the general wavelengths that could be in use. These can often double as normal safety eyewear, so all the cost to provide them is not attributable strictly to the 'laser account'.

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