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Old 07-01-2010, 05:16 AM #1
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Default Features required for WL-like functionality?

I know that Wicked Lasers doesn't have the best reputation, but they claim to include several features in their lasers that set them apart from other dealers - heat dissipation for unlimited duty cycles, IR filters, etc.

So I was wondering - when purchasing a kit from Jayrob or elsewhere, and purchasing diodes and modules and such, what features should I look for in a kit in order to bring a laser in line with the long lifespan and the unlimited duty cycle and excellent battery life and "the laser not dropping in power after being on for 10 seconds" of WL's lasers?

Can I purchase a kit that can match the quality of their heatsink, and a diode that will last ">5,000 hours" like theirs? Can I buy IR filters (do IR filters really matter - seems like they'd lower the total output, which most enthusiasts would find undesirable)? Can you build a laser that uses the 18650's and has the battery life that WL claims on their products?

I'd really like to spend some time learning how to build one, then find a kit and diode and such, but it almost feels like it won't be worth it if I can spend $100 at WL for something that isn't going to detrimentally heat up and that lasts forever if I can't get the same features out of a home build for just $10-20 less.

Basically, I'm just wondering how feasible it is in a homemade handheld laser to get the same bells and whistles that increase the laser's stability/reliability, that you get if you buy from WL.


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Old 07-01-2010, 10:30 AM #2
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Default Re: Features required for WL-like functionality?

Hey agravlin,

Putting any kind of meaningful figures on diode lifetime for a homemade laser is really difficult as they are always being driven above, (sometimes way above), the manufacturer's recommended limits. The same is true for most lasers using harvested diodes offered by more commercial companies such as WL. The truth is that there hasn't been a commercially available handheld 445nm laser in existence for 5,000 hours yet to be able to know for sure it will last that long!

All that can be done at the moment is make educated guesses as to probable lifetime. Adequate heatsinking is again mostly an art rather than a science. Calculations can be made but the compromise is still made to fit the handheld profile. Past experience will help WL make a good stab at the sizes needed and this is also true of any kit built here. That's why the reputable kits have their reputable name; because they work. Diodes differ from each other too so any build, (commercial or not), may vary from another of identical construction.

What I would say is that the same principles apply to both the commercially available lasers and the kits on offer here. The 445 diode price just happens to bring the cost of both these options very much closer. Remember too that the temptation for a commercial manufacturer to, shall we say, '*** up', their figures is obvious when selling to the uninitiated. If it were me? I always enjoy the building process anyway so that's the way I choose to go. Battery life doesn't really worry me either way. It is what it is.

IR filters are only necessary for DPSS systems as they use an 808nm pump diode that doesn't contribute to the desired optical output. Yes, a filter will reduce overall power output but not of the visible beam ultimately required. 445nm are direct output diodes so no filter is required.

The, "features", you should look for when buying a kit to build your own is feedback from other customers and a helpful approach from the supplier. Something I think you will find with all the kit suppliers and builders here. Oh, and that you like the look of the kit!

M
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Another good guide can be found here from goninanbl00d - "First Build Guide"
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Last edited by Morgan; 07-01-2010 at 10:32 AM.
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