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Old 03-05-2008, 02:35 AM #1
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Default New to forums, Starting a project

Hello all,

First and foremost I must say that this forum is great. I have been reading it for some time now and finally decided to register and take a stab at this stuff myself. Second I do not take any claim to good grammar skills, thus let me apologize in advance for my atrocious grammar skills.

I have a decent technical background, I am a ham radio operator, I am a MECP certified car audio installer and work for a major online electronics retailer as an install/troubleshooting and sometimes repair technician. I can do a few basic things with electrical schematics, but when it comes to reading something other than a vehicle's wiring schematic for info req'd to install an alarm system I can be a bit slow, so bear with me.

This being said, I will most likely require assistance but for the most part should be competent enough to do a project of my own. I am looking to build a low powered laser as my first project and then move on to higher powered units that would be capable of burning and/or very visible in the night sky. I have considered purchasing one from Nova or Laserglow, but it would be more enjoyable for me to build one to share with my family.

I do have a series of questions that will most likely point me in the right direction which are as follows:

1) Type of laser - I would like to construct a green laser as I do some novice astronomy and would like to be able to use it for that type of purpose, where would I obtain a green diode (and by obtain I mean where would I scavenge one from) and would this be a good choice?

2) Capabilities - Would this type of laser be capable of actually burning through thin plastic, balloons, light matches etc. by building one vs. buying from nova and/or laserglow. Not that this is important but I would like to impress/entertain the young ones.

3) Visibility - I do not fully understand the whole "visible beam" thing. I have had the el cheapo pointers from radio shack in the past that only produce a red dot on the wall (or show a faint beam in smoke/steam. Will most of the "high grade" bought and/or built lasers actually produce a beam that will be visible in the night sky and/or inside a dark room? This will be ideal for the ole' telescope if I am able to build one.

4) Pros/Cons - Which would be a better overall design for my purpose, I do understand the blue-ray diodes can be higher powered for cutting/burning to the best of my knowledge, but I feel that they may not be as visible as far as the beam is concerned. Would a green laser be advisable over a blue laser? Should I consider something entirely different?

5) Experience based question - I am 110% sure that my first attempt will not go without flaws and/or complete failure. On average how many lasers would a first time builder expect to construct and/or tweek before getting moderately decent results?

6) Technical know-how - as mentioned previously, I can usually do a decent job with electronics but have never really built my own devices, usually just repaired or scrapped units for viable components. How would the community rate the overall difficulty per-say of building a simple unit from the ground up (setting aside physical difficulty for tearing drives apart, knowing how to solder, use a DMM etc.) ? I can do a damn good job at soldering as I do it every day and with a bit of guidance should be able to build a complete controller circuit without much difficulty, but seeing as how I have never done it I would just like to know what I am getting into.

7) Materials - I could care less what the actual unit will end up looking like, that being said I will not be using Duct tape and toothpics to make a MacGyver death ray. I guess my real question is have any of you had any bad results by simple constructing the controller board and just simply mounting everything in a radio shack project box vs. the fancy looking Maglite housings? The cheaper I can get by the better because I will most likely end up with several attempts before getting a working laser which can be expected.

8) Motorized mounts - I have also considered building a motorized mount to interface with my laptop via RS232 or USB, but that is neither here nor there. Just as a side question, has anybody ever done this in order to control where the laser points without physically touching the unit? I should have a friend or two that can write up software to do this, but the biggest worry I can think of would be is it even worth this much work to make it look "cool"? I will most likely just end up machining an aluminum mount to attach to my telescope or just get lazy and zip tie it, so no worries.


Lastly, I would like to so say thanks in advance for any and all replies to this matter. Even if I get no replies I would like to say thanks for such a wonderful forum, the knowledge is endless on here if you are willing to do the reading. I am sorry for such a long post and hope to get to know you guys with the countless other questions I will most likely have.

Lets hope this goes for the best so I can share my creation with others.

Regards,
-Jon


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Old 03-05-2008, 02:51 AM #2
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Default Re: New to forums, Starting a project

u cant scavenge green diodes, but u can buy them from dx, i think for like $16... heres the link,
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.d...094~r.53245540
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:57 AM #3
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Default Re: New to forums, Starting a project

Thanks so much for the first post ; ] I will be looking into this as a start, will be making a trip to rad shack soon for other starter components.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:57 AM #4
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Default Re: New to forums, Starting a project

There's no such thing as a green diode. Green lasers are made with a high powered IR diode, the IR light passes through a set of crystals which convert it into 532nm green light. It costs too much to DIY green lasers and it's also a pain to align the crystals. That's why no body does it. Although I did see a thread some time ago about one guy who made a green lab laser, but I don't remember where it is.

EDIT: NVM, I found it: ;D http://www.laserpointerforums.com/fo...num=1202524534
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:33 AM #5
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Default Re: New to forums, Starting a project

If you're looking for beam visibility the DX True 30mw green is the place to start.
That will give a very visible beam at night and slightly visible in a darkened room.

If you're looking for a powerful DIY to burn with, a red would be the way to go.

If you're looking for something cool that doesn't burn anything at all, BluRay can be pretty nice.

As for experience if you are careful you can get it first try. Most don't.


Re colour. Violet is the only cheap thing thats anything like blue. Truely blue lasers cost hundreds of dollars for equivalent power to a cheap keychain red.
Green is great for visibility, and can burn if you pay more.
Red is best for cheap burning.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:41 PM #6
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Default Re: New to forums, Starting a project

see, thats why i wanted to create a tutorials section

as for Q n3, visibility...
YES, u can SEE the beam with some high-powered lasers, especially on the green ones

i got mine from dealextreme.com (a 30mW unit) and i can assure u i see the beam clearly.
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