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Old 01-07-2013, 01:55 AM #1
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Default Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

Hi everyone.

So in a couple weeks, I'm going to send a laser to US, and I'm a bit worried about customs seizing it. If I took the laser apart prior for shipping it, and sent it out in two packages, would that work? One package would include the host, and the second would include the pill, heatsink, and diode. I know people here order things from china all the time, have they ever been seized?

Please let me know what you think

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:02 AM #2
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

I never heard of the U.S. customs seizing a laser. However, that's just to my knowledge.

I also don't see how they can seize a package that just includes the pill, heatsink and diode. The reason I think this, is because you can order a diode any day without getting stopped by customs, and the rest is just machinery.

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:15 AM #3
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

I have recently bought 2 lasers from a member here and they are about to send to in two packages, I'm in Australia by the way, so if it gets through (which I think it will) Australian Customs you can bet it will get through US Customs, should know in a week or two, or maybe a bit longer seeing its coming from Europe

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:46 AM #4
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

Yes true^ customs gets a lot of packages, they xray each one, and they mostly look for drugs and such. So a couple bits of metal and wire should get through fine right?
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:35 AM #5
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

this will do the trick everytime:

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:36 AM #6
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddy View Post
this will do the trick everytime:


ROFL, haha, seriously?
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:27 AM #7
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

yeah seriously, got my 400mW 532nm through no worries
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:10 AM #8
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

If there is no battery in the box, they cant even see if it works...
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:57 PM #9
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

I really can't see any problem shipping in one package, just so long as you don't include batteries, and take the laser apart somewhat.

Even fully assembled, with a battery would probably be fine (received many, many lasers like that) but personally I wouldn't risk that.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:13 PM #10
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

Two years ago I had a shipment of 10 "true 5mw" greenies from DX get confiscated by San Francisco customs. No explanation why and they were never sent on to me.

On my recent return from China last month I brought back a couple of dismantled handhelds, a 1W 445nm and a 500mW 405nm. I was concerned about bringing them through customs intact. I also wanted to turn the power down on them for longevity. I posted a request for help here on LPF about removing the heatsinks from the hosts and was given advice that allowed me to do that.

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I put the heatsinks with diodes installed and drivers attached in an antistatic bag and placed them in a compartment of my carry-on laptop bag, along with the laser safety glasses. I put the batteries and battery chargers in another compartment in the same laptop bag that had my cables and other computer accessories. I put the empty hosts in my checked bag along with the aluminum case that came with one of the lasers. My logic in splitting them up like that was that laser parts are legal to import.

Customs x-rayed my luggage and carry-on bags, but that was it, they did not even open them. I had no problem whatsoever, nor did I expect to. Had they tried to give me a hard time, I would have simply pointed out the regulations to them.

As others have mentioned, there are a myriad of companies, especially in China and Hong Kong, that are on the laser watch list. Customs will hold packages from those companies for opening and inspection.

If you intend to mail it home your best option would be to dismantle what you intend to send home. Ship the portion containing the laser diode seperately from the rest of the host, batteries, charger, ect. You could use two different shippers so they don't arrive at customs together. Good luck.

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Old 01-09-2013, 03:56 AM #11
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

It's easier then you think to get through customs, just split it up and do as one of the above users stated. I've received items through customs that were split up into 3 or 4 packages before, as long as their not assembled you are good.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:55 AM #12
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

I see, thanks for the help guys. I will ship the host in one package, and the heatsink/module/driver etc in another. Should be fine.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:21 AM #13
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

So can we safely say that splitting the laser (electronics in one package, host in the other) will guarantee it getting through customs?
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:32 PM #14
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

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So can we safely say that splitting the laser (electronics in one package, host in the other) will guarantee it getting through customs?
Nothing is guaranteed to get through customs but I think it is unlikely that you will encounter any problems. Under no circumstances should you use the word "laser" when describing the contents of the package on the customs form unless you want the package seized.

(This obviously violates some kind of law but that is a conversation for a different day)

They do not even need to open your package. If it says laser, the FDA has the right to detain the package and require the importer to fill out a 2877 form.

They really only keep an eye on inbound packages from China using express shipping couriers like DHL, FedEx, etc... so I wouldn't expect any issues if you're shipping from UK -> USA
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:07 PM #15
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

Taken apart, no batteries, and requiring more than minimal assembly... there is no risk of seizure, you aren't actually sending anything illegal... just parts.

Usually I put "flashlight, for parts" never had any problems.

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:02 PM #16
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Default Re: Would a laser split into 2 packages get through customs?

I sent my 3W 22650 ehgemus from my sig with batteries and a beginner burning set with matches charger etc. To US no problem..

I just marked it as custom flashlight

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