Old 01-11-2011, 03:52 PM #1
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Default Buying Laser in General

Hi Everyone,

I've been looking at buying a laser, but I am not sure where to go for quality.

Looking up any specific type of laser by frequency and power, I end up with prices from $90 to $600 to $1200, all for the same frequency and power.

How can I be sure I'm getting rated power before I buy a laser?

Also, how do I know if the going rate is $90, $600 or $1200?

Thanks!


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Old 01-11-2011, 04:22 PM #2
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Well..
How powerful of a laser do you want?
What do you want to do with it?
What color laser do you want?
How long do you want to wait (from time of order) to get it?
Do you know about laser safety, and how to use lasers safely?
How much/little money do you want to spend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanwanderer View Post

How can I be sure I'm getting rated power before I buy a laser?
Buy from a reputable company.
Also, how do I know if the going rate is $90, $600 or $1200?
We will tell you.
Thanks!
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:59 PM #3
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

As you can understand, your question is too general and you should focus it. I suggest you read some stickies here to get some information which will help you decide what kind of laser you want.

After that, feel free to ask again.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:12 PM #4
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Check the reviews section of the forum.
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:38 AM #5
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash View Post
Well..
How powerful of a laser do you want?
What do you want to do with it?
What color laser do you want?
How long do you want to wait (from time of order) to get it?
Do you know about laser safety, and how to use lasers safely?
How much/little money do you want to spend?

Thanks for the help, everyone.

I may not have asked the question correctly. I am looking for a 500mW, 532nm laser. The wattage might increase after I do a few more calculations, but for now, I was pricing out 500mW.

When I Google up a 532nm, 500mW laser, I end up seeing ads to by them for $90, $600 and $1200. What I don't understand is how the same frequency and size laser can possibly go for that many different prices unless one is way overpriced or one is not real.

Ash: To answer your questions... I'm a trained physicist who used to work at NASA (and ESA) but I changed careers. I understand laser safety pretty well. The amount of money I'm looking to spend is enough to get the real, rated laser. I actually don't understand the huge price differences. That was basically my question. It doesn't matter how long I have to wait for the laser as long as it's high quality.

I guess I'll go and look at the reviews section too, but any tips on how to buy lasers in general (what to look out for) would be great. Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:50 AM #6
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Quote:
...or one is not real.

Just a little common sense should be enough to figure out that a 500mw green laser
cannot possibly cost only 60$...
Most chinese companies lie about their products all the time.

For a good quality laser pointer, look into these companies:
o-like (affordable, but quite OK quality)
optotronics
jetlasers
CNI (hard to top quality-wise, but $$$)
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:27 PM #7
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

So the difference in quality between a $600 laser and a $1200 laser is what?

The heat sink? Better quality power supply?

BTW: Can anyone here point me to an area on the forum where people have discussed laser intensity at various distances when taking beam width and focus into consideration? I need to do some math, but I'm rusty... I am no longer in Physics.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:01 PM #8
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

To address the 600$ to 1200$ issue:

Generally speaking the overall quality of the KTP/YAG crystals is going to be a large consideration. Larger and more efficient crystals are usually more expensive. Additionally, things like Quality Control might have a higher standard, so CNI could sell the less amazing lasers to other companies who then sell them for cheaper.

Then you could talk about the power capabilities and longevity of the diode itself. A 3W diode is going to work in a lower operating standard than a 2W diode. (A 2W will be closer to it's maximum capabilities where a 3W diode wouldn't be as much and is going to last longer, etc.)

Then you have to consider a lot of it has to do with the laser's ability to be precise. If a laser is described as having a 1.mRad divergence, higher quality lasers need higher quality optics, crystals, diodes, etc. to meet this. That drives the price up as well.

Then you can discuss things like power supplies depending on the type - handhelds have drivers that need to be able to handle some bizarre power spikes and dips and those circuits all cost money too.

Then there's the amount of testing, re-testing, quality control, and all of the additional attention paid that lower costs wouldn't have associated.

About the intensity/distances conversations, I can't look right now but I'm sure someone will come up with something
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:38 PM #9
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Thank you, Enigmahack. That was one good post. Makes perfect sense. I'll keep everything you said in mind when shopping around.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:34 PM #10
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Check this out.
And this as well.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:40 PM #11
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Smile Re: Buying Laser in General

Check out Optotronics Laser Products , they have nice units with guaranteed output/quality and good beam specs. Can't go wrong. Pick up some goggles while your at it Also, don't have to worry about long shipping times or customs, as they are in the US.

Reagrds,

Sal
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:51 PM #12
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Default Re: Buying Laser in General

Someone has already mentioned Jet Lasers and I can vouch for that company. I bought one of their 532 nm handhelds that was rated at 250-300 mW and it checked out on a meter at 331 mW. Theirs always seem to be under rated. I got mine in a group buy and there may be another group buy in the future if you can wait. That can lower their listed price. See their lineup here Jetlasers Green Laser Pointer,650nm,Jetlasers-C Series, Jetlasers.org.
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