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Old 02-12-2014, 06:04 AM #1
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Default Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Hello, this is my first time on this forum. So, I guess a bit of an introduction for what I am hoping to do is in order.
What I like to do (as a hobby) is to take video game weapons/devices and make as accurate as possible real-world versions of them. So, the next project I decided to tackle was the Tau Cannon from Half-Life / Black Mesa (reference model below).





From gameplay, this outputs a yellow-orange laser (goldenrod, if you will). Looking into different ways to make a yellow laser, I found this forum Ė and quite a few walkthroughs for combining red and green into yellow. Problem is, Iím so new to lasers and laser drivers that I donít understand any of this. Would anyone be so kind as to explain what-all is required, how to build and power such a device? Given that the prop is handheld (albeit relatively large) Iím hoping to avoid wall outlets or AC (though given that a significant portion of the discussion was about alkaline batteries, I doubt this will be an issue, right?) I would also like to make the laser Ďstrongí enough so as to light a match, say. Iíd *really* like to make it melt through steel, but I somehow donít think thatís feasible for someone whoís never built a laser before. Could this be done through the use of a capacitor bank, much like coilguns and railguns can output a very high power for a very short time through the same method?


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Old 02-12-2014, 08:58 AM #2
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Hello ElementsnStuff, before you go any further you should really go and read up on laser safety. Any laser that can light a cigarette is quite capable of burning out someones vision and unlike a video game you cannot get a second chance, its "Game over" Lasers are NOT toys, even small ones are REAL weapons!
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:06 PM #3
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Well, if you are looking for something cheap...forget it. A few mW's of orange will cost you 200-300$, easy. If you want over a 100mW (fairly visible) in a handheld, that will cost you 800$+.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:10 PM #4
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

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Originally Posted by busman2 View Post
Hello ElementsnStuff, before you go any further you should really go and read up on laser safety. Any laser that can light a cigarette is quite capable of burning out someones vision and unlike a video game you cannot get a second chance, its "Game over" Lasers are NOT toys, even small ones are REAL weapons!
I feel relatively aware of the danger - and yes, I agree. This would not be for the usual frivolous activities of laser pointers. I have since read up on basic laser safety, which mostly confirms what I already know (don't shoot the beam into someone's eye, wear safety glasses, etc.). So, before I start, I should probably look around for some safety glasses as well!
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:11 PM #5
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Thumbs up Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

I made mine out of parts laying around over 100mW. [The Yellow Lantern] Mag-Lite 638/520nm combo
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:36 PM #6
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Quote:
A few mW's of orange will cost you 200-300$, easy.
if it is an orange HeNe then maybe if you are lucky 593.5 ins not orange it is a "amber-yellow"
a few mW of dpss orange that would be small enough to integrate in this build would be around $4900.

For a RGY combination laser you will need to pick some things. there are two types of green and red lasers you can combine. For green there is 532nm this is DPSS so it has great divergence and it is common so it is cheap. Also you will get deeper richer yellows and oranges. It has some drawbacks though: it would be more fragile and it is very bright so you will need a lot more red. the main problem with it is that the beam for almost all green DPSS lasers it that it does not exit the aperture straight so it is harder to align with the red laser. Since the DPSS greens use a IR pump diode they tend to be case positive which tends to make it more difficult to wire in a host with another diode. The second green you can use is 520nm. this is produced by a diode so it is harder to break less temperature sensitive and more stable. being a shorter wavelength you will get less powerful yellow and orange colors. Since the divergence will be similar to the red diodes and the beam does come out straight it will be easier to get good alignment. The diodes come in 50-100mW and 120-200mW. dpss 532nm green comes in 5mw up to several Watts but It would be hard to get enough red to mix with those really powerful greens. For red you have the common 650nm which is easy to come buy as pretty good divergence (since they are singlemode up to 500mW but you most likely wont find one of the 500mW diodes) If you use this since the wavelength is so long you will need a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of red to green. the other red is a much brighter 635nm which is about 4 times brighter than 650. The 635nm diodes you could use would most likely be the 120mW singlemode which can be pushed to over 200mw or the 300mw and 500mw multimode ones which can be pushed to 500mW and 1W respectively. The problem with the multimode ones is that they have absolutely horrible beam specs (worse than most multimode diodes). so It would be hard to get a good mix. I think your best bet would be the 120mw 520nm diode at 150-160mw and the 120mw 635nm diode at 200-220mW. with losses from the optics you would be looking at about 320-330mw of yellow which would be really bright and could burn stuff. Then you are going to need to get broad band safety glasses that block green and red. to combine them you have a couple choices: you could use a pbs cube which comes from an optics sled(phr/ps3 etc) but depending on the polarization of the lasers you may need a wave plate. you could use a turning mirror but you would get more loss. lastly you could use a dichroic filter that passes red and reflects green for the best results. I can help with drivers diodes etc. just tell me if you need anything.

As as cutting steel etc you would need A CO2 laser or a Cu vapor laser capable of outputting hundreds of watts.
pulsed sold state lasers usually work on the principle that a large capacitor bank discharges in to a Xenon flashlamp which causes a rod of gain material which is usually Nd:YAG(1064nm IR) or Ruby(693.5nm red) then the light passes through the gain material which amplifies it and bounces off the mirrors on both ends of the rod sending the light traveling back the other way increasing in power. one of the mirrors lets a small portion of the light past, and that is the laser beam. pulsed laser like this are extremely powerful and can put holes in metal but you are not looking for red or IR. Also the only way you'll see the beam is through photography.
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For batteries, alkaline wont cut it. for high current drain applications like lasers Li-on batteries are used. You at the least could use a couple of 18650 batteries to power this but there are bigger ones with far larger capacities.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:19 PM #7
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jander6442 View Post
I made mine out of parts laying around over 100mW. [The Yellow Lantern] Mag-Lite 638/520nm combo
This looks pretty perfect for my setup. Two questions - where did you source all your stuff (specifically the diodes and mirrors, and I believe there are driver circuits involved?), and does that green laser have to be separate to the main part (or is that the reflection from the diode on top)?

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

EDIT: Yeah, I guess lighting a match and especially burning steel will have to wait. Oh well. I'd be happy with just a visible yellow laser.

Last edited by ElementsnStuff; 02-12-2014 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:42 PM #8
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElementsnStuff View Post
This looks pretty perfect for my setup. Two questions - where did you source all your stuff (specifically the diodes and mirrors, and I believe there are driver circuits involved?), and does that green laser have to be separate to the main part (or is that the reflection from the diode on top)?

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

EDIT: Yeah, I guess lighting a match and especially burning steel will have to wait. Oh well. I'd be happy with just a visible yellow laser.

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Old 02-12-2014, 08:05 PM #9
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Well, that did answer some of my questions.
Is this a microboost? http://www.diy-lasers.com/product.php?id_product=76
And I am assuming this is a micro flex: Lava Micro FlexDrive Driver (lavadrive2) fits pens

Also, I found a DIY for a FS mirror: DIY Front Surface Mirror Doesn't look as thick as the one you used, although I suppose it would depend on the original acrylic used.

So, in short, the build for this would be:

-Green laser diode, 520 nm, connected to a micro boost, with a 45-degree turning mirror.
-Red laser diode, 300mW/638 nm, with what appears to be a transparent mirror prism.
-32600 battery
-Heat sink (where was this?)

So, I would assume that to make a yellow-orange laser, the green would be turned down and the red would be turned up.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:17 AM #10
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

^^^ Did you read my post? The divergence on the 300mw 635nm is garbage and the divergence on the 520's is great. in order to get the best possible alignment over what ever distance you choose you need diodes with similar divergence i.e. the single mode 120mW 635nm diode. A dichro would be way better than a turning mirror and you have enough room to use one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46fhmA52HVQ

if you have to much green the color will shift this way CNI PGL-III-C 561nm 20mW Review - A New Wavelength - PICS
if you have too much red it will shift to an orange color
if you TTL modulate the drivers you can get any color between green and red.

since you are building a tau cannon you could use somewhat large rectangular heatsinks for large run times. Most of the forum machinist could build them for you.

The Gluon Gun would be much cooler. the backpack is filled wth a 445nm knife edge array and then it is PBSed in to one beam then it travels down the fiber optic cable and is collimated and possibly expanded. if you use the new 4-5W 445's when they come out you could get like 50-80W
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:12 AM #11
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Default Re: Cheapest Possible Yellow-Orange Laser?

Alternatively get yourself one of these: RGB 400mW Laser Module Combined Laser Beam OF 532nm 660nm 445nm White Laser Beam | eBay

You'd need 8 AA's or 3 lithium batteries in series to power it, but you can set it to any colour you want, and 400mW is enough to light matches easily. Also judging by the size of the "weapon" in your pic, this would easily fit in a similar sized prop. 400mW is very dangerous though, and you won't be able to get goggles to protect you from RGB combined light, so you need to be extremely careful!
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