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Old 08-16-2013, 08:09 AM #1
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Default Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

Hi Everyone!

My name is Matt, I live in Northern Virginia on the east coast of the USA. I'm currently 21 years old in college, and majoring in criminal justice - hopefully to be a police officer one day. I've been interested in lasers for many many years, and decided that I should insert myself into the LPF community to take advice, as well as give it where I know it.

Apart from having a small laser hobby (I've smashed apart many dvd burners attempting to extract the diode to make a high power laser and failed every time), I am a part time swim coach (I enjoy swimming), and I spend a lot of my free time when I am not in class or working at a local nature center where there is a blacksmiths guild I am part of. Blacksmithing has become my biggest hobby, and I enjoy it very much. I am also an amateur photographer. I have done a lot of real darkroom work developing negatives, and I still prefer doing that to digital... but darkrooms have gone out of fashion and I have nowhere to go to do that anymore.

I am also a gamer (who isn't? ). I play Minecraft, Runescape, Starcraft (brood war, not sc2), and Halo (combat evolved). I own a Wii, but I pretty much only play on my computer.

I've been perusing LPF for a few weeks yet again, the last time I was here considering buying a laser was 5 years ago, as you can tell from my join date... I completely forgot I made an account, until I went to make one and it said my email was already in use. Here I am!

The laser I bought back then was a 75mW greenie, that I still have today. It cost me a bit over 180 bucks shipped from dragonlasers. I am pretty sure that its power output has severely degraded, as I have taken it apart several times when the (insert name for the part that holds the diode) became loose in the housing, and it no longer pops balloons nearly as well as it used to.

I have some lasers in mind to purchase in the immediate future.. but that is for another thread. Thank you all for the advice many of you have given me without even realizing it - from your signatures, to helpful reviews and safety information... I have learned a great deal, and I hope to learn even more!

See ya around,
Matt



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Old 08-16-2013, 08:54 AM #2
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Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

Greetings, fellow 21-year old student!

See the blue line in my signature - if you ever need any help, feel free to shoot me a PM.

Blacksmithing, you say? Most impressive! What does such a hobby encompass? Would, say, smithing a sword fall into that as well?

BTW, investing into Dragon Laser was a good choice, they are a distributor of a manufacturer known as "CNI lasers" and are one of highest quality manufacturers, along with Viasho and several others.

Today, you can buy green lasers far cheaper than that, got a 400mW greenie I payed $230 waaay back (now it's like $180 I think), also build far more powerful ones, as you've probably seen around the forums. But that's how it is. Things get cheaper with time, which is fine by me
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:26 AM #3
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Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

Greetings, and thank you! I appreciate the offer for help

Hopefully one day I will be able to make swords - it is quite beyond my ability at the moment, and I would prefer to make a special kind of firepit just for making a sword. Right now I make small things such as hooks, nails, knives, that sort of thing. I'm looking into making a few sets of tongs as well, for handling different shaped metals. We have plenty at the guild, but I want to set up a small forge at home and for that I need tools

If I can give you an example, a traditional firepit would be looking like this ( - ) with the hottest coals in the center where the dash is, and a round bowl surrounding them. If I were to start making swords I would want to make a firepit looking like this ( ------------ ) kind of like a hot dog, so that I can evenly heat the metal for consistency... but as I said, beyond my ability at the moment. There might be someone in the guild willing to teach me though

My purchase from dragonlasers was very expensive at the time, but yes things have gotten a lot cheaper since then, as I can buy something 4x the power for the same price nowadays! And oh my, how far along violet/blues have come in just a few short years! Going to have to get some real safety glasses now rather than just 'being careful' when I upgrade

Added some more of my hobbies in the 1st post!

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Old 08-16-2013, 09:47 AM #4
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Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

Oh, right. I know basically cr*p about blacksmithing but more I think of it, more fun it seems

My metalwork has been constrained to a lathe lately, as you probably saw the link to my shop in my signature.

Nice to see somebody with diverse hobbies. Swords are cool, I own a katana myself, along with being a practitioner of Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu).

Other than that, I am also a gamer, though I have much different take on games than you - Dead Space, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, various shooters like Crysis and Serious Sam, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance, Dungeon Siege games... those are favorites, though I play pretty much every Call of Duty and Battlefield games that go out, as well as, well, pretty much everything that's on headlines of a game magazine.

Regarding lasers, yeah blue lasers were a sudden change in the hobby overnight, suddenly there were multi-watt diodes out there. Who would've figured? Though, they are almost never recommended as starter builds or first time lasers, purely out of the degree of danger they pose to somebody not accustomed to dealing with lasers.

Well, let me know if I can do anything to help you out man. See you around!
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:16 AM #5
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Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

It is very fun, and is something you really CAN just jump right into, provided you have the right equipment and a few people around you willing to help out.

I had some fun with a lathe in high school, was working on a miniature cannon but never finished it - that was the last (and first) time I have ever used a metal lathe.

That is quite a hobby of yours, sounds very interesting! I am interested, but one can only have so many hobbies before you start to lose sleep

I am interested to know though, in your opinion, what would be the best (combination of quality and inexpensiveness) laser website to order from now? I have seen many posts on lazerer, but the more recent ones say they have become unreliable. I have looked into laserbtb and o-like (and dragonlasers, but they are still quite expensive compared to the others...) and heard many different opinions. Do you (or anyone else that is reading this post) have any suggestions for me?

Thanks very much!
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:34 AM #6
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Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

Welcome to LPF!

Hopefully you will make the right judgement when you see people pointing lasers at inappropriate places.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:04 AM #7
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Default Re: Greetings from Northern Virginia, USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big View Post
It is very fun, and is something you really CAN just jump right into, provided you have the right equipment and a few people around you willing to help out.

I had some fun with a lathe in high school, was working on a miniature cannon but never finished it - that was the last (and first) time I have ever used a metal lathe.

That is quite a hobby of yours, sounds very interesting! I am interested, but one can only have so many hobbies before you start to lose sleep

I am interested to know though, in your opinion, what would be the best (combination of quality and inexpensiveness) laser website to order from now? I have seen many posts on lazerer, but the more recent ones say they have become unreliable. I have looked into laserbtb and o-like (and dragonlasers, but they are still quite expensive compared to the others...) and heard many different opinions. Do you (or anyone else that is reading this post) have any suggestions for me?

Thanks very much!
Good question, I was recommending Lazerer but yeah, like you said recent posts says they are not what they used to be, and O-like went down that road before, so basically I have no idea what to recommend for a cheap but good website.

It's not too much of a gamble to go with Lazerer or O-like, otherwise you can pick up some great stuff from Buy/sell/trade boards, or if you're looking for raw components, check out DTR's shop (just google DTR shop).
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