Old 07-12-2011, 06:23 PM #1
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Lightbulb Advice wanted: good burning laser parts

I'm designing a new product that requires a decent burning laser. I'd like your advice on parts, suppliers, design, etc.

If you give me a good start and good answers, I will be delighted to mail you a prototype of the finished completed product along with my sincere thanks.

Here's what I have so far:

1. Focusing distance should burn around 1/2 inch to 1 inch away from lens with a small, focused pinpoint of light.

2. I'll resell this device attached to a larger product, so price is quite important. The laser makes up the bulk of the final price. Many people will want one of these, but only if it's affordable.

3. It must burn at a "reasonable" rate. Doesn't have to be super-fast, but can't be absurdly slow, either.

4. Package is not important, since it will be incorporated into a larger product.

5. Must be able to buy parts into the future (no discontinued one-off's).

6. Duty cycle: should burn continuously for at least 5 minutes, longer if possible.

7. Bonus: If possible, upgradeable to more powerful laser. Not critical.

Basically, I'm soliciting Forum Members' knowledge, expertise and experience to build a reliable burning laser diode project that costs as little as (reasonably) possible.

I expect to buy a diode, regulator circuit, power supply, focusing lens, heatsink, and perhaps a mounting solution or case, and then solder, glue and assemble the parts. If a pre-assembled solution is superior, that's even better.

If you also have advice on "what color laser best burns what color targets" I'm listening very closely.

Thank you!
Charlie Gosh


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Old 07-12-2011, 06:31 PM #2
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Default Re: Advice wanted: good burning laser parts

Everything you're looking for is doable, depending on what you consider to be a "reasonable" burning rate?

Which in turn depends on what you want to burn?

Generally the best burning lasers being built/sold here are all 445nm - Blue, this is due to the fact that they are capable of higher output.

EDIT: I should say best visible burning lasers. IR lasers, are available in even higher powers.

The run time of 5 minutes will be difficult to achieve, but should be possible.

Of course it goes without saying, any laser that is capable of burning... you will need to provide safety goggles with your finished product.

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Old 07-12-2011, 08:20 PM #3
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Default Re: Advice wanted: good burning laser parts

Thank you. Absolutely on the safety goggles. Suggestions on low-priced sources for those appreciated, too.

Final product will be used as an inexpensive alternative to a laser printer (etching, engraving, burning designs and logos, etc.). So, pinpoint focus, close range, variety of materials and colors for targets, duty cycles of a few minutes or longer, option for more power with an upgrade.

I also recognize that most regulators would permit varying the output to adjust power. I can cover the switching to turn laser on/off as needed (I know there are strict rules on the regulator's switching sequence).
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:27 PM #4
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Default Re: Advice wanted: good burning laser parts

The laser you end up selecting will depend heavily on the type of material you want to cut/engrave/mark/whatever.

In the professional world, these are mostly Nd:YAG (1064nm) and CO2 (10,600nm) lasers. These will meet and exceed all of your requirements, but are not small or cheap.

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Old 07-13-2011, 01:22 AM #5
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Default Re: Advice wanted: good burning laser parts

However, a 12x blu-ray diode, which runs around $50 or so, when run at around 500mA, can pretty easily scorch/mark any material (besides metals) when focused to a pin-point.
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