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Old 03-27-2009, 01:47 AM #1
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Default Need some suggestions for my first gas laser...

Could anyone suggest a laser for a gas noob such as myself? I've been leaning towards an argon for a long time but the fact that the tube will die if you don't run them isn't very appealing. I've also considered a NeCd but the chances of getting a lemon(from ebay) seems pretty high.

Also, anyone here have any experience with Nitrogen lasers(Not the TEA types)? Excimer lasers look pretty interesting too...


Anyone have any suggestions?

FYI, I'm not too interested in CO2 lasers...


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Old 03-27-2009, 02:20 AM #2
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

What's wrong with having to run your argon every few weeks?

To me that'd be a bonus, forcing me to endure the beautiful blue light and reignite my laser passion while heating my room...
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:03 AM #3
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudolobster
What's wrong with having to run your argon every few weeks?

To me that'd be a bonus, forcing me to endure the beautiful blue light and reignite my laser passion while heating my room...
Unlike most people on the boards, I am a full time student with a fulltime job. If I get an argon, the run times will be very intermittent; the laser could very well end up sitting on my desk for months in between runs...
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:11 AM #4
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Try a HeNe, they are cheap and very easy to work with. I've never messed with gas lasers before but I hear HeNes are great to start with.
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:21 AM #5
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by digital_blue
[quote author=pseudolobster link=1238118428/0#1 date=1238120435]What's wrong with having to run your argon every few weeks?
To me that'd be a bonus, forcing me to endure the beautiful blue light and reignite my laser passion while heating my room...
Unlike most people on the boards, I am a full time student with a fulltime job. If I get an argon, the run times will be very intermittent; the laser could very well end up sitting on my desk for months in between runs... [/quote]


Thirty minutes a month. You don't even have to stand there to look at it. It will lase without you. You just start it and go read a chapter in your text.

Then when you actually do have time . . . . . 8-)

Peace,
dave
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:28 AM #6
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by daguin
Thirty minutes a month. *You don't even have to stand there to look at it. *It will lase without you. *You just start it and go read a chapter in your text.

Then when you actually do have time . . . . *. *8-)

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I probably spend less 3 hours at my place every day. Most of the studying and reading is done during my spares; I work the graveyard shift driving trucks... There may be the odd occasion that I get a few hours to fool around with my lasers.

How difficult would it be to start a tube that hasn't been run for 2 months? I should be able find some time within the span of 2 months to run the thing...

Quote:
Try a HeNe, they are cheap and very easy to work with. I've never messed with gas lasers before but I hear HeNes are great to start with.
I have 3 of them I was looking for something a bit more exotic though..
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:01 AM #7
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by digital_blue
How difficult would it be to start a tube that hasn't been run for 2 months? I should be able find some time within the span of 2 months to run the thing...
It would really depend on the tube. If the tube is healthy and you still run it regularly (maybe for a little longer each time) it should still be fine. MANY of the tubes I get have been sitting longer than two months without any problems.

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Old 03-27-2009, 04:09 AM #8
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

if you can't run an argon, definitely don't get a hecd laser. Melles griot recommends a minimum of 24 hours every TWO WEEKS on even a brand new laser. Really argons don't have to run that much. Tip top shape is an hour a month, but you could realistically let it sit for two or three months without any problems. The big 168 that I have sat for 5 years and started on the first try and made good power. It's not super critical, it's just a good guideline to follow.
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Old 03-27-2009, 02:01 PM #9
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

I've not been here long but know of some argon lasers that might not be doing anything much. I know that without models numbers or photos this will be a difficult question but...

... What sort of money am I looking at for an entry level argon?

Facts being facts, I could offer this bloke 10 and get lucky but when does reasonable become rip-off?

Thanks,

M
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:13 PM #10
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

It's not that hard running an argon. When you come home to take a shower or eat or w/e just leave it running for a while.
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:12 AM #11
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Excimer lasers are NOT a good place to start. They are huge, expensive, and require a gas change every few hours of operation. The gas mix usually consists of a noble gas with elemental fluorine gas, meaning you would need a constant supply of fluorine. And fluorine is extremely dangerous, a tiny leak will kill you not only by shutting down your respiratory system but also by setting your entire body on fire.

In short, don't even think about it.... yet.

Straight up low pressure nitrogen lasers are cool, but invisible and expensive and low power as well. So not very exciting, but at least nitrogen is inert.
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:31 AM #12
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

As said you really can't go wrong with a HeNe. They need very minimal care. I have an argon that went a few months w/o being run, but that was before I knew you had to run them every month or more. It started up fine and seemed to suffer no issues from sitting idle. Of course, pretty much any argon you get will be used, and you don't know (unless you get one from someone here who does know how to care for one) how the previous owner treated it and how often they ran it.

The other issue is size/space - you will of course need much more space for an argon than a HeNe. Personally I'd go for an argon if you can run it once a month or so and have the space for it.
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:58 PM #13
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Excimer mediums include F[sub]2[/sub], ArF, XeF, KrF, XeCl, KrCl, and HgBr.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:12 PM #14
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

You could try building a HeSe ? 8-) :P ;D
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:41 PM #15
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Event Horizon
Excimer lasers are NOT a good place to start. They are huge, expensive, and require a gas change every few hours of operation. The gas mix usually consists of a noble gas with elemental fluorine gas, meaning you would need a constant supply of fluorine. And fluorine is extremely dangerous, a tiny leak will kill you not only by shutting down your respiratory system but also by setting your entire body on fire.

In short, don't even think about it.... yet.

Straight up low pressure nitrogen lasers are cool, but invisible and expensive and low power as well. So not very exciting, but at least nitrogen is inert.
I was under the impression that excimers can be filled with whatever gas mixtures you want(Such as N[sub]2[/sub] or even CO[sub]2[/sub]) :-?
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:37 PM #16
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Default Re: Need some suggestions for my first gas laser..

Quote:
Originally Posted by digital_blue
I was under the impression that excimers can be filled with whatever gas mixtures you want(Such as N[sub]2[/sub] or even CO[sub]2[/sub]) :-?
That's true, most of them can, but it would be the most expensive N2 or CO2 laser ever in terms of power versus cost.

Also yeah a lot of excimers run non-fluorine mixtures but that's not very exciting at all and my other points still stand.
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