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Old 05-06-2010, 05:45 AM #17
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Default Re: Need help

You might not want to have it in such a portable device. People are going to want to pick up your maglite, and shine it, and that's going to be problematic. It's also a pain to hold if you're burning things.

And which goggles did you buy? If you got a couple of real laser goggles, they're usually going to cost you at least $50 each. We're talking about goggles made for lasers here, and for the specified wavelength of your laser--not safety goggles, and certainly not sunglasses. You're also going to need some that fit the faces of children, not just adults, because they need to wrap around.

I would have your science project inside a booth, with a sheet of laser safety glass for viewing inside a sealed enclosure. Get a fogger machine or clap some erasers so people can see the beam, and get some matches and paper so people can watch you burn stuff, which is always a crowd pleaser.

You could also just buy a premade laser from someone like Daguin for $35 (make sure it is well heatsinked, or it will burn out), take some nice photos of the circuit, and explain how the circuit, diodes, and lasers work. Most of DIY laser building is about just getting the circuit and heatsinking done right, not laser science unless you're making your own gas laser or a green laser with crystals and such.

Therefore, you don't need to build everything from scratch to make an effective science project, especially on lasers, not electrical circuit building. You also don't want the project to burn out from being made wrong (lack of heatsink, etc.). This is an expensive hobby and you can expect to have your stuff burn out the first few times.


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Old 05-21-2010, 03:22 PM #18
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Default Re: Need help

Thanks for the advice everybody! I ended up abandoning my original case idea altogether and scotch taping it to the inside of a shoebox with holes for air and heatsink pads under the aixiz module and the pcb. I must say, my soldering skills need some work, but we got it to work... sortof...
Unfortunately I made two mistakes. The first is my using a pot that was way too large. Unforunately, time was running out, so I had to make do, as it was the smallest pot they had at my local Radioshack. The second it that I damaged the diode critically. When fitting it into the housing, I cracked its lens. So, in all honesty, I'm not sure which was the major contributor of us making a glorified blue laser pointer, but after building this thing, me and my bro think it could be a serious hobby that we could get into. If anyone has any suggestions on the best way to fit the diode into the housing, I would love to hear about it.
Also, for those of you wondering, he got second place in the science fair on effort and design alone. Thanks for all the help!
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