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Old 11-05-2015, 05:08 AM #1
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Default Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

So I've been collecting lasers for a short while now. So far I've got a 445, 532, 405, and a 650. However, these are all very common wavelengths. The 445 is a 1W, but all the rest are just Laser 301s and 303s since they were cheap and they do the job for me just fine even though I know they aren't of great quality and the green emits a good chunk of IR.

So that being said, I'd like to expand my collection into some other more rare wavelengths without spending a whole lot of money? What's the best/cheap way to get into some of the more rare wavelengths? I'd like a cheap 589nm laser 303, but alas they do not exist....

I should have noted that I'm open to purchasing the raw diodes and building them myself if I must. Where would someone find rare wavelength laser diodes for sale? The only good place I'm aware of is DTR, but perhaps you guys have some better places.


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Old 11-05-2015, 05:59 AM #2
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Unfortunately rare wavelengths are going to cost you a pretty penny! Depending on which wavelength's we are talking about will help set a price on what you're looking at.

For example, 510nm's(a greenish-blue color) can be had for $600 for <5mW whereas some 488nm diodes, even low powered will range you into the $X,XXX's. Fortunately, yellow isn't as expensive as it used to be. 589 tends to be more stable then the "older" yellow(593.5) and can be had for as cheap as <$300 if you know where to look. Duty cycles will be short, but it is worth it to see the few seconds of such a beautiful beam.

CNI used to sell <5mW pointers to the US but has recently stopped so you're stuck with having to buy a 589nm module from them, which can actually be a good thing since you'll be able to put a better heatsink around it then what CNI gives on it's pointers/handhelds. If you need help, I can contact a CNI rep to get you a quote on what you'd be looking at for a GLP <5mW 589nm module

Goodluck friend, tons of different wavelength's out there!

-Alex
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Old 11-05-2015, 07:56 AM #3
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Rare and cheap dont really go hand in hand, your best bet is too look out for Group buys for these sorts of items as you'll then be able to get the rarer stuff at a better price.
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Old 11-05-2015, 08:16 AM #4
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

try looking at toptica website. they sell a wide range of diodes and you don't even to buy in bulk. they even have 490nm-503nm range diodes.
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Old 11-05-2015, 01:12 PM #5
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

thestug, I'd say that the cheapest "rare" wavelengths would be 515nm and 685nm, they're not to expensive and they are semi-rare because fewer people have them. I looks like you don't have 635nm either, so you could get that easily too.
After that the price goes up substantially. Unless you want to get into gas lasers.
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Old 11-05-2015, 02:23 PM #6
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

What about one of the more cyan blues. Those tend not to be too unreasonable price-wise. A 462 nm might cost you under $200 to build if you get the right source of parts. That wavelength does seem to be catching on, though.

Other than 462 nm diode, 473 nm DPSS, 515/520 nm diodes, and a couple different reds, there's not much out there that's super affordable. The rarer the wavelength, typically, the higher the price, since diodes are very expensive to make one at a time, and very cheap to mass produce.

EDIT: If you are interested in the "unique factor," what about obtaining a gas laser tube? Argon lasers are pretty rare, but every once in a while one turns up on ebay at a super reasonable price, or, if you aren't picky, HeNe takeouts and obsoletes are still around for sale, sometimes much cheaper than you'd expect; however, these seem to be becoming more rare as time goes on, as few are still being produced and the old ones are being lost to attrition. I've always wanted a ruby laser myself, but I've never seen one of those pop up on any lab surplus sites or auctions without costing an absolute fortune.

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Old 11-05-2015, 02:43 PM #7
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bostjan View Post
What about one of the more cyan blues. Those tend not to be too unreasonable price-wise. A 462 nm might cost you under $200 to build if you get the right source of parts. That wavelength does seem to be catching on, though.

Other than 462 nm diode, 473 nm DPSS, 515/520 nm diodes, and a couple different reds, there's not much out there that's super affordable. The rarer the wavelength, typically, the higher the price, since diodes are very expensive to make one at a time, and very cheap to mass produce.

EDIT: If you are interested in the "unique factor," what about obtaining a gas laser tube? Argon lasers are pretty rare, but every once in a while one turns up on ebay at a super reasonable price, or, if you aren't picky, HeNe takeouts and obsoletes are still around for sale, sometimes much cheaper than you'd expect; however, these seem to be becoming more rare as time goes on, as few are still being produced and the old ones are being lost to attrition. I've always wanted a ruby laser myself, but I've never seen one of those pop up on any lab surplus sites or auctions without costing an absolute fortune.

Argon would be my suggestion too, especially if you can get a multiline. A good multiline will do 514nm, 502nm, 497nm, 488nm, 476nm, 472nm, 465nm, 457nm and 454nm. Even better - keep an eye out for a deal on an air cooled Ar/Kr mixedgas and you'll get 482nm, 520nm, maybe 568nm, 647nm and some others on top of the Argon lines I mentioned.

So you've got a nice red, possibly yellow, several greens, and a whole whack of blues.

473nm DPSS, 462 Diode and 515 Diode are also good suggestions from bostjan. I just picked up a 10mW 473nm for $100CAD. 515 diodes can be had for <$30USD.
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Last edited by diachi; 11-05-2015 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:37 PM #8
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

An Argon laser has always interested me, but I'm not sure what the heck I'm even looking for. Aren't argon lasers typically very, very large? How much weight and total cost are we talking about?
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:43 PM #9
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestug View Post
An Argon laser has always interested me, but I'm not sure what the heck I'm even looking for. Aren't argon lasers typically very, very large? How much weight and total cost are we talking about?
Just have to keep an eye out for good deals. Weight varies depending on the model etc. Typically about 30 lbs or more all pieces combined. I got my omnichrome that puts out 9 lines for just $207. I know the uniphase multi lines pop up pretty cheap.
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Old 11-05-2015, 05:51 PM #10
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestug View Post
An Argon laser has always interested me, but I'm not sure what the heck I'm even looking for. Aren't argon lasers typically very, very large? How much weight and total cost are we talking about?
As GR3EN said, weight varies depending on the model. The big water cooled units that put out a few watts can easily be several hundred pounds including the head/PSU/transformer/rotary phase converter. Not to mention needing 60A 3 Phase 208VAC service for the bigger models or 32A 208-240VAC single phase for the smaller models.

The smaller air cooled units, and what you'd probably be looking for weigh in at around 40-50lbs, can fit on a shelf and at best will do 200-300mW (Depends again on the model, mine does 30mW of 488nm). Power consumption is much lower with these too, the sticker on the JDSU units usually says 17A @ 110VAC (Any that I've seen anyway!), but you'll never use all 17A unless you're really hammering the tube. For a first argon laser I'd look at one of the sealed units like a JDSU 2214 or a Spectra Physics 163. If they have lowish hours on them then they don't need much (if any) maintenance. You should have a look at Sam's Laser FAQ (Google it! ) for more information on what's out there and the requirements etc.

I haven't tripped my 15A circuit breakers with my unit, although it has tripped my arc fault breaker numerous times - I think my breaker is overly sensitive though - Seeing as it'll trip when I have the tube on medium current sometimes but work fine on high current other times. The A/C and Vacuum cleaner like to trip it too.
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Last edited by diachi; 11-05-2015 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 11-06-2015, 05:21 AM #11
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

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Originally Posted by diachi View Post
As GR3EN said, weight varies depending on the model. The big water cooled units that put out a few watts can easily be several hundred pounds including the head/PSU/transformer/rotary phase converter. Not to mention needing 60A 3 Phase 208VAC service for the bigger models or 32A 208-240VAC single phase for the smaller models.

The smaller air cooled units, and what you'd probably be looking for weigh in at around 40-50lbs, can fit on a shelf and at best will do 200-300mW (Depends again on the model, mine does 30mW of 488nm). Power consumption is much lower with these too, the sticker on the JDSU units usually says 17A @ 110VAC (Any that I've seen anyway!), but you'll never use all 17A unless you're really hammering the tube. For a first argon laser I'd look at one of the sealed units like a JDSU 2214 or a Spectra Physics 163. If they have lowish hours on them then they don't need much (if any) maintenance. You should have a look at Sam's Laser FAQ (Google it! ) for more information on what's out there and the requirements etc.

I haven't tripped my 15A circuit breakers with my unit, although it has tripped my arc fault breaker numerous times - I think my breaker is overly sensitive though - Seeing as it'll trip when I have the tube on medium current sometimes but work fine on high current other times. The A/C and Vacuum cleaner like to trip it too.
I don't have access to anything larger than 110V outlets. However, it sounds like the smaller air cooled 110VAC units might be what I want. Basically I just want to be able to see the beams of all the different wavelengths. Just going for enough power to be able to see the individual beams with some fog in the air.

I'll have to read up on some of these argon lasers. Is eBay a good place to look for these lasers?

I see a few on eBay, right not but they all require more than 110V AC.

Last edited by thestug; 11-06-2015 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:56 AM #12
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

If you push one of the new 465nm diodes you can bump the wavelength to 470+. The braver you are (the closer you get to overdriving the poor diode to death) the longer the wavelength but at the cost of reducing the lifetime of the diode.
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:08 PM #13
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestug View Post
I don't have access to anything larger than 110V outlets. However, it sounds like the smaller air cooled 110VAC units might be what I want. Basically I just want to be able to see the beams of all the different wavelengths. Just going for enough power to be able to see the individual beams with some fog in the air.

I'll have to read up on some of these argon lasers. Is eBay a good place to look for these lasers?

I see a few on eBay, right not but they all require more than 110V AC.

If you're getting a multiline, get a prism or a diffraction grating with it to split up the different wavelengths. A CD/DVD works in a pinch as a diffraction grating, beams spread all over the place with those (Watch your eyes in all cases!).

eBay can be good if you go for the cheaper deals. I wouldn't jump on any of those $500 systems unless it's making good power, has low hours and has been shown to work, and even then I'd be cautious - many systems are fragile. eBay can be hit or miss, up to you if you want to take the risk.

Someone on the forum may be willing to part with one - take a look in the Buy/Sell/Trade section, maybe make a post if you don't see anything. Daguin used to sell them a lot but he doesn't seem to be so active anymore.

Yes, you'll need to keep an eye on the voltage when you're buying. That said, two models of PSU are available for a lot of heads - one 110VAC and another 230VAC model. Same connectors for the head, so you can swap them over easily. May be worth buying just a head and then finding someone with a matching 110VAC PSU later. Or see if someone wants to swap a 230V supply for a 110V supply. There are many options.
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Last edited by diachi; 11-06-2015 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:36 AM #14
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by diachi View Post
If you're getting a multiline, get a prism or a diffraction grating with it to split up the different wavelengths. A CD/DVD works in a pinch as a diffraction grating, beams spread all over the place with those (Watch your eyes in all cases!).

eBay can be good if you go for the cheaper deals. I wouldn't jump on any of those $500 systems unless it's making good power, has low hours and has been shown to work, and even then I'd be cautious - many systems are fragile. eBay can be hit or miss, up to you if you want to take the risk.

Someone on the forum may be willing to part with one - take a look in the Buy/Sell/Trade section, maybe make a post if you don't see anything. Daguin used to sell them a lot but he doesn't seem to be so active anymore.

Yes, you'll need to keep an eye on the voltage when you're buying. That said, two models of PSU are available for a lot of heads - one 110VAC and another 230VAC model. Same connectors for the head, so you can swap them over easily. May be worth buying just a head and then finding someone with a matching 110VAC PSU later. Or see if someone wants to swap a 230V supply for a 110V supply. There are many options.
So you can buy any head and then buy the 110V PSU for it? What requirements do these PSUs have. Could one build a PSU if they had some background in electronic tinkering and a schematic?
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:37 PM #15
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestug View Post
So you can buy any head and then buy the 110V PSU for it? What requirements do these PSUs have. Could one build a PSU if they had some background in electronic tinkering and a schematic?
The newer power supplies, and most of what you'll find on eBay are switch mode, so relatively efficient and lightweight compared to a linear equivalent.

Sam's laser FAQ has a bunch of schematics for a linear Argon laser power supply. Haven't tried any of them so I don't know how good they are. It's linear though, so expect it to be heavy and not very efficient. So yes, you certainly could build one with a bit of experience.
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532nm | Gearbest 303 Pointer | 50mW Metered
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Old 11-09-2015, 05:06 PM #16
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Default Re: Cheapest way to get some rare wavelengths?

Quote:
Originally Posted by diachi View Post
Yes, you'll need to keep an eye on the voltage when you're buying. That said, two models of PSU are available for a lot of heads - one 110VAC and another 230VAC model. Same connectors for the head, so you can swap them over easily. May be worth buying just a head and then finding someone with a matching 110VAC PSU later. Or see if someone wants to swap a 230V supply for a 110V supply. There are many options.
Gonna jack this thread for a sec, sorry.

So will a JDSU 2214 head work with a 2211 PSU? Because there are tons of 2214 heads on eBay but all the 2214 PSUs I can find require 230VAC, where the 2211s only require 110VAC, but it's difficult to find 2211 ML heads.

I have been reluctant to buy 2214 heads because I, like thestug, only have access to 110VAC.
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