Laser Aligner: Alignment Thereof

I mentioned my cheap laser alignment gizmo for my Sherline milling machine at Cabin Fever and several folks wondered how I aligned the aligner. Having just mounted the counterweight gantry and bashed out a bracket for the pointer, here’s how it went down.

Laser pointer on bracket on counterweight gantry
Laser pointer on bracket on counterweight gantry

The blue-gray bracket started life as a shelving support strut. I machined the web from between two holes so I could slide the pointer along the strut, filed off some sharp edges, and mounted the laser pointer with an assortment of machine screws & wing nuts.

I used a plumb bob to figure out roughly where the laser beam must start in order to go straight down the milling machine’s bore, then wiggled & jiggled the strut and pointer to get it more-or-less there. None of this is very precise, but it provides a starting point.

Here’s the trick: put a mirror flat on the mill table. When the reflected spot hits the bezel around the laser’s outbound lens, you know the beam is (pretty nearly) perpendicular to the table. Tweak the pointer’s mounting screws to make that come out right.

Use the plumb bob to figure out where the pointer is in relation to where it should be, wiggle & jiggle & slide everything until it’s there, then tighten & re-jigger everything to tweak the spot location.

Takes about 15 minutes, doesn’t involve any cussing, and works like a champ!