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Old 09-26-2012, 03:35 AM #1
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Default Reconsidering 1W blue...

Hey everyone,
So after waiting for several months to be able to get my hands on a driver I like for my M140 build, I'm suddenly wondering how "safe" +1W is.
I have proper safety goggles, and realize that the beam should only be viewed when pointing it off into the sky (away from planes!), or any other similar long distance.
What I'm wondering now is this: is it dangerous to be playing with 1.2W in a small room without goggles? If so, I'd like to severely lower the output power of my M140, but I've been told that at below 830mA, not all the "lasing lines" are lit. I don't know what that means, but I'm just looking for an output power high enough to easily appreciate the beam and burn things, but low enough that it won't damage my eyes if I play with it indoors without goggles or show it off to some friends.

Thank you!

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Old 09-26-2012, 04:18 AM #2
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Ahhh .... If you have a proper pair of goggles and your not an idiot that has the need to point your laser at any people/animals in any way or form you will be fine. As for your question "is it dangerous to play with a 1.2W laser in a small room without goggles" HELL YEAH! Even looking at the dot off a white wall can mess your vision up. Your friends will need goggles too.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:37 AM #3
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Unless you have a beam dump, I wouldn't look at the dot without goggles on, atleast in close range.... If you want to be able to see the beam and burn things, buy a 405nm rated for roughly 200-300mW and invest in a fog machine...Walmart should have cheap 20 dollar ones right now since Halloween is so close. But ALWAYS be careful, and make sure that your laser is in a very stable and unmoving position before you remove your goggles! 300mW is enough to cause PERMANENT eye damage.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:42 AM #4
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

I had a 445nm laser that I was testing and it was accidentally hitting a computer power cord and melting it. With the goggles I wasn't sure where the beam was even though I thought I had it positioned towards a target. So make sure you know where that laser beam is going especially in a closed environment. Remember that Class IV lasers are Class IV because they are environment hazards, not just direct eye hazards.

I also wouldn't take off the goggles unless you have the laser fixed towards a target so it doesn't roll off and hit your eye like one did with Xoul.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:02 AM #5
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Badger same thing happened to me just a week ago or so. Darn glad I had some decent goggles on. Direct hit in eye with 2.3W

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I also wouldn't take off the goggles unless you have the laser fixed towards a target so it doesn't roll off and hit your eye like one did with Xoul.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:10 AM #6
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

That thread has made me über cautious with my lasers. If safety talks don't stress it enough, seeing someone who actually had an injury is enough to really drive the point home. Thats part of why my new avatar has Laser Glasses on....I aint messin around with my photon receptacles, and I'm not keen on wearin' spectacles!
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:45 AM #7
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

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Badger same thing happened to me just a week ago or so. Darn glad I had some decent goggles on. Direct hit in eye with 2.3W
Yup, it really hits home when you get hit in the eye with goggles on. It is still quite bright despite the protection and it really makes you think about what the consequences would've been had you not worn the goggles.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:37 AM #8
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Thanks for the replies, everyone! I've read Xoul's thread before, that's one thing that made me reconsider the power of my build.
I'm just concerned because I know that sooner or later, I will a) want to see the dot closer up or b) want to show it to some friends.
So burning doesn't matter too much, I just want some good visibility. I'll use the brightness calculator and see what number I come up with.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:50 PM #9
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

If burning doesn't matter too much then I highly recommend a 532 laser! A 100mW will have a fairly visible beam at night(I assume, because I can see the beam of my 50mW Rayfoss at night but it isn't too strong).
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:00 PM #10
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Keep in mind that blue 'slightly' is more visible in the dark. But 445nm is a deep blue, so I would say green still wins in the daytime, but in the dark 445 and 532 are pretty evenly matched.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:01 PM #11
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Seems quite a few of us learned something from Xoul's incident. Of course that could never happen to me. I mean I am … well me ... too cool for school...right?! ZAP … OMG that did not happen!

Mr. Coolio gets on the LPF a shaken mess and spill his guts. Exactly what Badger said is how I felt. The next morning when I woke up and started thinking about what the consequences or what it REALLY meant if I did not have those goggles on. I became a bona-fide goggle Nazi.

In fact if I had not read about Xoul getting nailed in the eye like that I prolly would not have bought a decent pair of goggles. I don't want to “thank” Xoul since that would be werid but I am glade he shared his experience with us. It could have been me.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:19 AM #12
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

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Originally Posted by wannaburnstuff View Post
Unless you have a beam dump, I wouldn't look at the dot without goggles on, atleast in close range.... If you want to be able to see the beam and burn things, buy a 405nm rated for roughly 200-300mW and invest in a fog machine...Walmart should have cheap 20 dollar ones right now since Halloween is so close. But ALWAYS be careful, and make sure that your laser is in a very stable and unmoving position before you remove your goggles! 300mW is enough to cause PERMANENT eye damage.
Awesome. I never thought about Walmart selling the Fog Machines. Great idea. Thanks.

Handling lasers without goggles is asking for blindness.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:20 AM #13
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Thanks again, everyone. I'll have to decide if I indeed want to lower the power of my laser, or just build a low-power blue in the future for showing off.
I am of course planning to wear goggles at all times.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:54 AM #14
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

Remember that Xoul's incident occurred because he hadn't properly secured his laser when he was using it. It rolled off and hit him in the eye. So make sure that you have your laser properly secured before you lower your goggles to take a look at the beam and you should be okay. I like to bring a digital camera with me to check whether the conditions are safe before I lower my goggles.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:13 PM #15
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

You really can't have a laser that is safe without goggles, and able to burn things. It is one or the other. No matter what, if you don't have goggles, and the power is over 5mw, there is some risk. The risk may be smaller if it is a lower power, but there is some risk, so keep that in mind.
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Old 09-28-2012, 05:03 PM #16
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Default Re: Reconsidering 1W blue...

I like high power lasers. I like bright lasers.
I used to have a very power 532nm 700mW+. That was my favorite.
When the 445nm diodes arrived I built one at >900mW then another around 1.5W. Before that I had a couple 2W 808nm diodes. One I built into a laser. After a short while I disassembled it after deciding it was not a good idea.

After some time playing with the 445s I remembered why I did not keep the 2W 808nm laser assembled.
For one, the 445s would burn everything the beam touched.
I could not use them indoors without eyewear because they were too damned bright. Outside, the beam looked great in the sky but not quite as bright or as narrow as the 532nm.
I hardly ever used the 445s and they just collected dust. It was cool, sure, but as far as practicality goes it was a disappointment.

If you want a ridiculously powerful laser, make it a desktop laser. There is no reason someone should be swinging a Watt of laser light around in the air. It's just not safe. If it must be handheld, 500mW or so is still very bright and capable of burning a lot of stuff but not quite as dangerous as 1W or more. Also, lower power means you can run your laser with longer duty cycles and use more compact hosts.
If you want more than a few hundred mW of laser light, put it in a desktop housing and it will probably be more fun that way.

In my opinion, anyway.

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