Old 11-25-2008, 01:12 AM #1
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Default my top ten tips for buying lasers

Here are my personal top ten tips for buying lasers. I hope you find them useful!

10. Wear and tear. If you are looking for durability, buy lasers that have an anodized aluminum coating instead of those that use paint. Anodized aluminum coatings are far more resilient.

9. "eBaysers." Be careful of pen-style lasers on eBay. These generally have no IR filters. While some eBay lasers are filtered and meet specifications, they are quite uncommon. However, low-powered lasers on eBay are usually reliable. As a rule of thumb, eBay lasers that claim to output more than 10 mW should be avoided.

8. Scam-proof your purchase. If you ever decide to buy from a company with a reputation of sending out underpowered lasers, be sure to mention that you have access to a power meter.

7. Deal or no deal? Before you buy any laser, check the Deals & Discounts forum for special deals. Alternatively, RetailMeNot is a good source of discount codes.

6. "Review" units. If you are buying from a very new company, say that you are doing a review. Not only are you more likely to get a better laser than everyone else, you may also get a discount, or if you are very lucky, you may even get the laser for free. Your chances of getting a good deal are even higher if you are an editor on a professional review site. However, most companies will only send out a few "review" units and usually do it on a "first come, first served" basis, so decide quickly.

5. Don't let the price fool you! If something is too good to be true, it usually is. Some companies, like DealExtreme, sell very cheap lasers. Usually, these lasers are not of the best quality. Their performance may meet specifications, but they generally have short lifespans. (DealExtreme's 200 mW red laser is considered to be an exception.)

4. More power! Can't get enough power? Some companies, such as Laserglow and Optotronics, have models that are more powerful than those listed on their websites. Be sure to ask and find out! Laserglow also makes some custom lasers.

3. Grandma's homemade pies... and lasers? Can't find cheap red and Blu-Ray lasers? Consider looking in this forum's Buy, Sell & Trade section. Some sellers of DIY lasers will also make custom lasers for you if you ask. Don't let the word "homemade" put you off.

2. Keep that bad stuff out! For DPSS lasers, only buy those that have an IR filter. Unfiltered IR light diverges very fast and can be harmful to your eyes. It is also invisible, so you won't know if you are exposing your eyes to it. Lasers that are designed specifically to emit IR light usually have far lower divergence. If you already have an unfiltered laser, some companies (such as NOVAlasers) will sell you an IR filter that you can add to your laser.

1. Beware of the Beast. Do not buy any lasers from Wicked Lasers or its affliates! (The LaserShades are OK, though.)


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Old 11-25-2008, 02:28 AM #2
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Wow! Nice tips[smiley=thumbsup.gif]. Also note that Optotronics sells IR filters for a fraction of the price of NOVAlasers.

Woot post 594
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:58 AM #3
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

You can buy a ten pack of IR filters from Snoctony on Ebay for 60$ buy it now (free shipping!). ;D Someone should stickify this.
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:00 AM #4
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Keep in mind that only green, DPSS yellow, and DPSS blue lasers require IR filters.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:49 AM #5
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Great tips! [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

In my opinion, this should be stickied so that people, especially those new to lasers, can see these tips. It would prevent the starting of many pointless threads.

In tip number 5, you could add that the &quot;dilda-laser&quot; from DX is an exception and that it has proven to be very good. A good burner at an awesome price.
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:21 AM #6
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Quote:
Originally Posted by LazerGuy
In tip number 5, you could add that the &quot;dilda-laser&quot; from DX is an exception and that it has proven to be very good. A good burner at an awesome price.
Done!
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:15 PM #7
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyderz20x6
Keep in mind that only green, DPSS yellow, and DPSS blue lasers require IR filters.
No.

ALL DPSS lasers within the visible spectrum require IR filters. Not just those 3 colors.

I realize that pretty much nobody has access to other types of DPSS lasers... but at least check your info beforehand...
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Old 11-26-2008, 12:28 AM #8
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad
[quote author=Spyderz20x6 link=1227575573/0#3 date=1227585600]Keep in mind that only green, DPSS yellow, and DPSS blue lasers require IR filters.
No.

ALL DPSS lasers within the visible spectrum require IR filters. Not just those 3 colors.

I realize that pretty much nobody has access to other types of DPSS lasers... but at least check your info beforehand...[/quote]
Yes, i know. But noobs would not know the difference between a diode laser and a DPSS laser, so i am talking about the main colors of DPSS that noobs would know about.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:47 AM #9
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Needz more sticky!

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Old 12-01-2008, 09:31 PM #10
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Excellent post! Very thorough.

One thing I'd like to point out: As previously stated, if you buy an inexpensive green/yellow/blue laser without IR filter, they are easily purchased and can be installed aftermarket.

Since IR filters cost $5-10, and manufacturers will charge SIGNIFICANTLY (sometimes $100s) more for a laser with one already installed, sometimes it is more cost effective to buy a module without one, and add your own later.

The IR filters sold by optotronics are NOT very good. Novalasers and Snoctony sell filters that are sufficient, but for maximum filtering efficiency you want Schott BG38 filters or equivalent. They pass &gt;90% of green and blue frequencies and &lt;5% IR. This means better than 90% of your output gets through, while better than 95% of IR gets blocked. All other IR filters cause greater losses than these, and allow more IR to pass. Here's a datasheet for BG38: http://www.optical-filters.com/bg38.html

These can be found through this seller on ebay: http://search.stores.ebay.com/OmegaF...036161QQsofpZ0

Also, I will be selling them in various sizes from time to time in the buy/sell section of the forum..


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Old 12-02-2008, 02:28 AM #11
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Default Re: my top ten tips for buying lasers

Thanks! this was very helpful!
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