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Old 05-27-2012, 12:21 AM #1
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Default Why Gas?

Ive been lurking gas lasers for awhile just learning and understanding. I have some questions about gas laz's.

Why choose gas?
Whats the advantage over diode lasers?
Why spend 300+ currency on a less than 40mw laser?
And lastly, why are they so expensive?

Thanks guys!


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Old 05-27-2012, 12:25 AM #2
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Default Re: Why Gas?

Gas lasers are old technology, slowly being phased out by diodes that can reach higher powers. They have great divergence, rare wavelengths and if you have a bare HeNe tube, they are a piece of art.

They are pricey because they are getting rarer and are now becoming historical. We are willing to pay as much for them as we do to own a piece of the history of our hobby.

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Old 05-27-2012, 12:38 AM #3
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Default Re: Why Gas?

I can only speak for myself, but when I first became interested in lasers, in the
mid-1980s, gas lasers were pretty much all there was for hobbyists. Visible diode lasers were something brand new and VERY expensive, and other types of lasers (ruby, YAG, etc.) were also too expensive and too dangerous for the average person.

I desperately wanted a HeNe laser at that time but never actually got one until just a couple of months ago.

Diode lasers are cheap and plentiful now and anyone can get them easily enough. Gas lasers are harder to come by, and something that most people won't have. And there's just something special about them.
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:57 AM #4
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Default Re: Why Gas?

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Originally Posted by lasergal View Post
...I desperately wanted a HeNe laser at that time but never actually got one until just a couple of months ago.

Diode lasers are cheap and plentiful now and anyone can get them easily enough. Gas lasers are harder to come by, and something that most people won't have. And there's just something special about them.
That's exactly what I was looking for thank you. I've wanted one for awhile, but being a youngin, I want the brightest and most powerful laser for cheap. After my bonus Ile get a bare tube HeNe and put it on the shelf as an aux light source and a heater for my dorm

Shutout to the Pacific Northwest lasergal, best place on the planet.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:03 AM #5
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Default Re: Why Gas?

To quote myself from a thread with a similar question about a green HeNe versus a standard 532nm DPSS:

"One thing you can't get from a diode based green laser or any diode laser for that matter is this:


2011-05-27_11-15-54pm by ltkernelpanic, on Flickr

The larger tube is a 543.5 green and the smaller is a 632.8 red HeNe. While I also have green and red tubes mounted in heads a big part of what drew me to HeNe lasers is the beauty of a bare tube in operation."

Or in the case of a multiline argon get


2011-08-06_10-09-08pm by ltkernelpanic, on Flickr

out of a beam that looks like


2011-08-07_09-50-16pm by ltkernelpanic, on Flickr

But to answer your question like lasergal said I've been interested in lasers since I saw one in either 6th or 7th grade around 19[redacted]. When I finally decided to start building my own lasers almost two years ago I knew I had to eventually get at least one HeNe for the coolness factor alone. That was a green in a head and after that I had to have a bare tube which lead to the smaller red, followed by a bare green (the tubes in the above pic) and finally a red tube in a head.

Be careful with gas lasers because once you buy one you'll want more and eventually you'll do something crazy and buy and buy a multiline argon like I did. Seriously if you're serious about lasers as a hobby a multiline argon is an awesome laser. The one I have produces 6 lines consistently and occasionally 7. You can see 4 or so of them in the pic above.


One serious piece of advice though if you're considering buying a gas laser, especially off ebay, ask about it here first. There are some really knowledgeable folks here. You can find some real treasures on there but most are just your average reds, and a lot are just over priced junk.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:25 AM #6
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Default Re: Why Gas?

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Originally Posted by Berc12321 View Post
After my bonus Ile get a bare tube HeNe and put it on the shelf as an aux light source and a heater for my dorm
HeNe lasers are too efficient and low powered to be heaters, get an argon laser for that instead.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:28 AM #7
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Default Re: Why Gas?

Gas makes everything more fun.

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Old 05-27-2012, 02:15 PM #8
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Default Re: Why Gas?

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Shutout to the Pacific Northwest lasergal, best place on the planet.
Unless you happen to be stuck on the Eastern side of it all....then not so much.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:20 PM #9
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Default Re: Why Gas?

I almost was ready to buy another gas laser, green HeNe... but I don't have any cash left.
Oh, and the only thing more disturbing than that video is the "crappy holidays" related video.
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:34 PM #10
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Default Re: Why Gas?

well, with he ne's it's the beautiful simplicity of the tube.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:08 PM #11
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Default Re: Why Gas?

I like the Steampunk look of it.

Diodes are boring. But you get that plasma glow in the tube, running on high voltage, outputting a tight beam of light, and its like magic.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:19 PM #12
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Default Re: Why Gas?

.......Because gas lasers are just cool!








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Old 05-27-2012, 06:21 PM #13
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Default Re: Why Gas?

Nice pix man.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:32 PM #14
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Default Re: Why Gas?

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.......Because gas lasers are just cool!


You.... You play dirty with your gas ****.

Wheres a good place to start looking to get a HeNe?
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:09 PM #15
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Default Re: Why Gas?

Check ebay for a cheap setup. They come up alot so it shouldn't be much trouble. It's nice if the seller shows it lasing but i'v only had a few HeNe's come that didn't work....they last for a long time and do not need to be maintained like an argon.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:25 PM #16
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Default Re: Why Gas?

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Check ebay for a cheap setup. They come up alot so it shouldn't be much trouble. It's nice if the seller shows it lasing but i'v only had a few HeNe's come that didn't work....they last for a long time and do not need to be maintained like an argon.
The more I look and research, the more I realize I dont know anything about anything about gas lasers. Id probably buy some part of a bomb for all I know. I have no idea what to purchase.

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