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Old 05-21-2010, 07:03 PM #1
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Default First Build - Welcoming comments

Greetings all,

New forum member here, though I've been lurking for a bit, reading and learning before I decided if this sounded like something I'd like to get into. I'm looking to build my first, and perhaps my first two DIY lasers soon, and wondered if some of the more experienced people here could look over my build and tell me if there is anything else I could/should consider. I'm hoping for stability and longevity over pure power, but the ability to do some burning would of course always be nice.

Host:
A lot of you seem to hold Jayrob's work in high regards, and his prices seem quite fair. I'm looking at his Pocket Mini first. The reason I chose it is due to the ease of finding CR123 batteries around where I live. I like having the option of using the readily accessible CR123s or the RCR123 rechargables. Should I be considering a different host with a different lithium battery and just purchase them online?

Heatsink:
For the very small fee, I feel going with the copper heatsink option would be wise--copper is going to conduct and disperse heat better than aluminum. Maybe I don't need this for my build? Perhaps its overkill.

Housing:
It seems the Aixis is the king of the hill for this. Curious though, has anyone buffed/polished the nickel plating off the brass to get better thermal conductivity with the heatsink? I saw some comments about using thermal paste/grease between the housing and heatsink--just how hot do these modules get? Are they within spec for your average computer paste?

Lenses:
I would like to make both a 650nm laser as well as a 405nm. Jayrob apparently also makes fitted glass lenses to go with the Aixis housings. Again, is this overkill? Is it worth the cost to gain a bit more power over the acrylic lens? I realize this is something I can always upgrade to later at no additional cost beyond the item itself, but I've got a bad habit of "do it right the first time" that I have a hard time shaking.

Driver:
The Micro FlexDrive seems to have been around for a while now, has been used in many builds, gone through many revisions and is trusted by others around here. I'm also noticing some mention of the newer Micro BoostDrive for the 405nm diodes which can provide quite a bit more voltage. At the same price for either, I'm tempted to pick up one of each, but leaning towards sticking with the proven FlexDrive. I'm not entirely certain I'll be driving my diodes high enough to make a difference.

Diodes:
For 650nm, I'm hoping to use a LPC815 out of a 20x DVD burner. For 405nm, a GGWH20L out of a 6x BlueRay. I noticed an abundance of both at a few of the sites mentioned around here (High Tech DealZ for instance). For the 405nm GGWH20L, my understanding is that running around 100mA will keep them healthy and possibly get me up to 100mW. The LPC815 can take around 380mA which will produce 180-300mW. (source: hightechdeals.com)

Batteries/charger (if suggesting something other than the CR123/RCR123s):
I haven't looked at many of the other more unique battery options, so if you suggest a different host than I've mentioned, do you have a favorite charger? I don't mind spending a little more to have a proper charger that I can trust to not burn down my home. I understand the Trustfire Protected batteries are another favorite around here across the various sizes.


Thanks for your time. Hopefully I put in an acceptable amount of effort into research before making you read that whole thing!


P.S.- Great... just what I need another highly addictive and expensive hobby.


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Old 05-21-2010, 09:04 PM #2
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Default Re: First Build - Welcoming comments

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feral View Post
Greetings all,

Host:
A lot of you seem to hold Jayrob's work in high regards, and his prices seem quite fair. I'm looking at his Pocket Mini first. The reason I chose it is due to the ease of finding CR123 batteries around where I live. I like having the option of using the readily accessible CR123s or the RCR123 rechargables. Should I be considering a different host with a different lithium battery and just purchase them online?

The Pocket Mini kit is an awesome first build, you can't go far wrong there.

Heatsink:
For the very small fee, I feel going with the copper heatsink option would be wise--copper is going to conduct and disperse heat better than aluminum. Maybe I don't need this for my build? Perhaps its overkill.

Personally, I don't see much benefit of Copper over Aluminium for lower-powered builds, plus the colour of Al is more consistent with the hosts. When the thermal properties get more important, with significantly higher-powered diodes, then you should consider Cu over Al. If you plan on upgrading the diode, then there's no real harm in having the copper one - the cost difference is pretty small.

Housing:
It seems the Aixis is the king of the hill for this. Curious though, has anyone buffed/polished the nickel plating off the brass to get better thermal conductivity with the heatsink? I saw some comments about using thermal paste/grease between the housing and heatsink--just how hot do these modules get? Are they within spec for your average computer paste?

Heat transfer is important - but for many builds you'll want this connection to be electrically conductive, as well as thermally - so be careful of this and plan before you build. There's no real point in taking off the coatings though - the effect that'd have is negligible for lower-powered diodes. NOTE: IT's Aixiz with a Z, not S.

Lenses:
I would like to make both a 650nm laser as well as a 405nm. Jayrob apparently also makes fitted glass lenses to go with the Aixis housings. Again, is this overkill? Is it worth the cost to gain a bit more power over the acrylic lens? I realize this is something I can always upgrade to later at no additional cost beyond the item itself, but I've got a bad habit of "do it right the first time" that I have a hard time shaking.

For a first build, there's no real harm in going with the cheap, default lens, and it keeps your budget lower, but if you have the money to spend and are sure you want to invest time and effort into the hobby, a glass lens or 2 is always useful to have around.

Driver:
The Micro FlexDrive seems to have been around for a while now, has been used in many builds, gone through many revisions and is trusted by others around here. I'm also noticing some mention of the newer Micro BoostDrive for the 405nm diodes which can provide quite a bit more voltage. At the same price for either, I'm tempted to pick up one of each, but leaning towards sticking with the proven FlexDrive. I'm not entirely certain I'll be driving my diodes high enough to make a difference.

Again, a personal choice - remember that for a red you will be (for most of the battery time) dropping the voltage, but for a violet one you will be boosting the voltage all the time - so as long as you take this into account when selecting the driver, you shouldn't have issues.

Diodes:
For 650nm, I'm hoping to use a LPC815 out of a 20x DVD burner. For 405nm, a GGWH20L out of a 6x BlueRay. I noticed an abundance of both at a few of the sites mentioned around here (High Tech DealZ for instance). For the 405nm GGWH20L, my understanding is that running around 100mA will keep them healthy and possibly get me up to 100mW. The LPC815 can take around 380mA which will produce 180-300mW. (source: hightechdeals.com)

Start cheap with your first builds - it's likely you'll kill your first one or two. The LPC is an OK way to start off (I run mine harder than you would - around 400-450mA for me), as is the PHR. When you're confident in what you're doing, I'd suggest you move on to the more expensive diodes.

You can run the GGWs comfortably beyond 100mA - I'd suggest somewhere around 160mA would still offer a long, healthy lifetime but offer you plenty more power - much more fun for burning things


Batteries/charger (if suggesting something other than the CR123/RCR123s):
I haven't looked at many of the other more unique battery options, so if you suggest a different host than I've mentioned, do you have a favorite charger? I don't mind spending a little more to have a proper charger that I can trust to not burn down my home. I understand the Trustfire Protected batteries are another favorite around here across the various sizes.

Use protected rechargable batteries from DealExtreme ($4.90 for 2) and any charger that you trust to be safe, and you should have no issues. Both should fit inside your build - the fit may be tighter on some than others, but should all work fine overall.
Looks like you put a lot of research into that, thanks for being a good new member
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Last edited by charliebruce; 05-21-2010 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:41 PM #3
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Default Re: First Build - Welcoming comments

One small thing to note regarding the Aixiz modules...
If the plating is removed from them, the brass beneath will oxidize over time. This will reduce the efficiency of the module as a heat-sink.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:21 PM #4
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Default Re: First Build - Welcoming comments

charliebruce:
Thanks for the quick response and the detailed comments. I'm glad to hear that I'm off to a good start, but as I suspected, I'm probably going a bit further than I need to on these first builds. I'll try to save those few dollars for the next build.

RA_pierce:
Aha! I hadn't even considered the long term effects of removing the plating. Thanks for that bit.

Now to start ordering parts... =D


Update:

Everything ordered! Looking forward to see parts start arriving. I went with the cheaper PHR option as suggested for my first build. Learn on the cheap ones, then I can upgrade later! I'll post pics once I start on the work--though I'm sure its nothing new that hasn't been done before.

As everyone's already mentioned, Jayrob was great in the details of the order and quick to respond. A pleasure to deal with.

Last edited by Feral; 05-24-2010 at 05:55 PM.
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