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Old 09-15-2007, 12:32 AM #1
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Default your hobby: how did your journey begin?

I'm just wondering how y'all became interested into lasers. Also, feel free to describe your first laser!

For me, I first became interested in lasers some time in 1998. I was in an after-school program, and one of the people who worked there had a laser pointer. His name was Ben, I think. Back then, those were rare and you were considered "cool" if you had one. He told me that the shorter the wavelength, the more energy is carried. I remember asking him what wavelength was needed to cut metal, and he told me that the burning power also depended on the wattage. ;D He let me use his laser pointer for a while and I instantly became interested. Not long after, I got my own laser pointer from Costco. I don't think it was very cheap! A few months later, I went to a museum, where we could burn tiny holes in a piece of paper with an eye-surgery laser. (It was probably some sort of excimer laser.)

Anyways, my first laser is a <5mw 670 nm red pointer. It's divergence isn't as good as my other newer red pointers (~1.8" vs. ~0.8" at around *15m), and it's not as bright, either. However, it's much more stable, and will not dim unlike my other red lasers unless you let them rest.

However, not long after, I totally forgot about lasers.

Fast forward to summer 2006. I had seen ads for Wicked Lasers on a few sites, but didn't think much of it until someone mentioned WL on Pyro Universe, a forum for fireworks hobbyists. That's when I became a laserholic again, more addicted than ever!

Recently, Wicked was giving away free "Core" lasers to established forum members, and on June 1, 2007, I got my first green laser! On August 23rd, I got my first class IIIb laser (Wicked Lasers "Advanced&quot from winning a contest at another forum!


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Old 09-15-2007, 12:50 AM #2
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

As a kid I loved the small gold red laser pointers and wouldn't just shine them around in a dark room, especially on the chandelier because of the cool reflections. I wasn't aware of green laser pointers existing until a friend told me about them probably just over a year ago, and now I have a nice little collection including the Blu-ray Sonar.
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Old 09-15-2007, 12:50 AM #3
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

my friend bought a 5mw green pointer and showed me, and I thought they were really cool. I saved up some money, went on amazon.com and bought a DX20 for $75 plus shipping in June 2007. I didn't realize I got ripped off until I learned more about lasers. Then I got a DL95 just last month, August 2007. Lasers rock!
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Old 09-15-2007, 12:55 AM #4
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

My first laser was one of the cheap red lasers. It was from the dollar store and came with a bunch of lenses with etchings in them so there were all kinds of designs. I actually still have them and that was like five years ago. After that I ended up spending about $30 on an apollo red laser pointer that was <5mW (big deal to me then). Then about a month and a half ago I found out about CPF. I really liked it there, well kinda, some people were dicks. The main reason I came here though was because we can post pictures from outside (plus it's all about lasers). Then after about a week here, I placed an order for my x-85. And just in case anyone wanted to know, Nova just emailed me back telling me they are replacing my laser for free because it was out of spec so I should have it by the end of next week. Oh crap! Just remembered I should order the lense set and goggles too! Time to "invest" more money! Later
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Old 09-15-2007, 01:03 AM #5
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

It started off when I was a younger, in probly 97 or so I got my mom to buy me several red lasers. At the time they were considered great. I had always had a facination with them after that. Years later i bought my first green, it was when 5mW leadlights were like 80$. I bought that one on ebay. Years later I bought my first high powered laser, the origional silver pulsar 150mW. Then a 55mw ebay laser which ended up putting out 70mW average when tested. Then later bought the Dragon Lasers 125mW ( currently on sale in the buy/sell Section). Recently I purchased a 150mW pen style from Shawn Wang and its awesome! So here I am a yellow/orange, and a blue laser away from being happy.
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Old 09-15-2007, 03:30 AM #6
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

It all started when I was looking for a green laser on eBay. I never had heared of one but in science we were talking about different wavelengths in lasers so I wanted to see if there was such thing. I was amazed that you could see the beam in mid air so I started saving up for it. $50 was a lot for me back then but after I found out about modifying it for even more power I finally bought one. I loved my laser ever since, and back then I was wanting a Wicked laser too. Then for about a year I kkinda quit the laser hobby, but then I started it again this summer when I had nothing to do and I saw things about building a red laser from a DVD burner. Now I have learned so much about lasers and I love it!
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:59 AM #7
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

holy crap, I fell like an absolute nerd now! my interest in alser started probably when I was 1 or 2 years old and saw them on TV shows! ben interested ever since. When I was around 9 I wanted to save up and get a laser pointer, which was, I think $200 back then, from Edmon scientific. Was never allowed to, though, and never did get one untill some years later, I found a $20 pointer at walmart or someplace equivilent (yes, I live a phesant's life, I cant afford to go to fancy stors like sears...) I got it and played with it untill the batteries died. being a keychain pointer, I couldn't find replaceable batteries, and decided to hook it up to a 9v pwoer supply... it was awesome for a second or less, then it became a 0.1mw LED. It was confiscated b y my mother, who belives "laser" means "big scary death-beam" and if you turn on a laser you're going to blind atleasy 5 people...

a few years after that, my father completed some training at work and was given a personalized laser pointer. He didn't use it so I stole it (and to this day he's not forgiven me --- not because he minded, but because he wants me to buy him a new one since I ran it down) it also used special batteries and died eventually, I still ahve it's remains, but I canibalized it for a DVD-RW enclosure. Worked suprisingly well, I might add.

But my interest wasn't that much, since the beam wasn't visible and the spot dim. I had most of my fun using it to play with my cats and watching their antics more than the laser. But it was still cool because it was a laser, dont get me wrong, every laser is cool because it's a laser... lol

Early this year (or rather, really late last year) I was reading a post on HardForum (hwardware forums, no dirty thoughts!) and somone posted about a "lucky duck" laser that was cheep, and somone countered with a link to a step-by-step guide to building a DVD-rw diode laser. That guide lead me to Wicked, and when I made my DVD-RW into an LED, I decided just to buy a prebuilt one. That was my pulsar, which really ignighted my thill in lasers again, because this really could BURN! this was a REAL laser, not a pointer! It was like what I saw on TV and in movies (well not really, but that was the feeling) I since have moved on to a 200my Atek and just purchased a NOVA X-85, my pulsar, sadly, got stolen, and I hope soon to be getting one of Pseudo's 400mw 808nm monster burners!

My father, aumsingly enough, likes my lasers and was impressed seeing my pulsar light a match, but he said all he wants is for me to replace his 5mw pointer... yep, he STILL wants it replaced... lol
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Old 09-15-2007, 10:18 AM #8
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

I started with lasers around 4 years ago, everyone I shot with was fitting a red laser sight tothe scope of their rifle, the dot was all but invisable, after a couple of shots the calibration was lost....Me, being me, thought "we can do better than this" so I armed myself with a Z-bolt 5mw green and did this with it......
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:31 PM #9
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

When I first saw the "ancient" laser article in National Geographic when I was a kid. It showed a diagram of a ruby laser and I was hooked! Never got to build that ruby though. . Maybe some day.
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Old 09-16-2007, 01:44 AM #10
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

hehehe i started with a 1mw red (or a couple actually. blew em all up ;D) then heard of green lasers and bought one on ebay. it was only a 8mw thing, but i thought it was really awesome nad spent lots of time playing with it(untill the crystals got knocked outta place somehow) then i got 2 DX lasers, and now i have my RGY scanner. so i don't have very much lasers, although they still are fun to play with even if they can't light a match ;D
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Old 09-16-2007, 05:08 AM #11
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

Rog that looks amazing for 5 mW. Is that a 22? What kind?
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:34 AM #12
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

@ Angdvl089 It is an air arms .22, and yes 5mw greenie. The laser is perfect for range finding as it is a long way from the scope....It centers in the scope at 40metres, one mil dot up =35metres and 1 mil dot down =45metres. Shooting from the hip is no problem .

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Old 09-20-2007, 02:31 AM #13
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Default Re: your hobby: how did your journey begin?

Revealing my age here, I first got interested back in 1965 or so, when in 3rd grade I went to a PTO meeting with my mom because a guy from Bell Labs was there showing off one of their new-fangled helium-neon lasers. Way cool when I was 8 yrs old and this was stuff right outa sci-fi.

When LaserDisc players came out I got into experimenting with helium-neon, but of course those needed high voltage supplies (like 4KV), which was interesting in itself.
My smallest one of those I built into an auto timing light housing, and I can plug it into the car cigarette lighter jack. I've probably still got half a dozen HeNe tubes lying around.
Started building a laser show device with galvanometers salvaged from old LD players once, but never finished it. Now it looks like it would have been really slow anyway.
I hadn't really done anything more than take apart a couple of cheap laser pointers until the DVD burner projects started showing up. But now I'm back playing with this stuff full time again.
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