Old 08-28-2013, 07:53 PM #1
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Default New user, intro and question re legality

Hi all,

So I'm just about to take my first steps into the world of lasers. I've been fascinated with them since I was a 10 year old kid (Geez, 15 years ago, doesn't time fly?) and I'm now getting so curious, that I've just got to jump in.


As much as I would love to build my own Obelisk of Light (a la Tiberian Sun), I don't think that's actually going to be possible at any point in my life time, but my own spiral bound notebook burning little baby... That just might be.

But one step at a time... I don't think I'm ready to jump into custom building high wattage, mains powered laser contraptions just yet. So I was looking at something handheld.

Despite my chosen username of Arctic Phoenix, the fact that I was recently looking at buying an S3 Arctic is totally unrelated (I've used this name in online games since about 2005). Reading around a bit (including here), I'm sure many will be glad that I ultimately decided against buying one. I guess the saying is "you get what you pay for" And not only do the S3 Arctics have a reputation for being dangerous in many cases, but we could also add another word on to the end of that saying... "Eventually"

So I decided to steer clear of them... After reading around here a bit I see that a few users do build them for other LPF members, but for me who's literally just turned up unannounced, it seems rather rude to jump in asking people to build lasers for me. So a bit more reading here about trusted laser companies, and I see Survival Lasers.

As was said in the "complete guide to owning lasers" sticky, us new members, we all love to start out with ridiculously, dangerously high milliwatts don't we? It didn't take long to fall in love with an SL3 bundle pack containing a heart warming (and eye destroying) 2,800 mW, 445 nm diode. All in a pack that even I should be able to put together.

But I'm a little concerned. Something that strong is definitely a class 4. Now I believe they are legal where I live (In the UK), but only if they have an additional safety device like a key switch (presumably to prevent accidental activation). I see no such switch on the device or in the description.

Does this make it illegal to own in the UK? Have any UK members tried to purchase from that site? Reading up about the customs bit in the sticky, I've decided that ordering the batteries probably isn't a good idea, but haven't actually purchased anything yet in case other UK members have had problem with these or (like me) are unsure of its legality, due to the lack of a safety switch.



Also, reading up about issues with the oxymoronical safety goggles supplied by Wicked Lasers with their S3 Arctics, I feel I should ask about people's experiences with the goggles from Survival Lasers. I assume they're trusted by people here, since the company is in the list of trusted companies, but because it's to do with eyes (and not ruining them), I'm sure it's better to be safe (and a possibly annoying newbie) and ask anyway...


Any input on these points is of course greatly appreciated...


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Old 08-28-2013, 09:47 PM #2
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

Hi and Welcome ..well on one point the UK as far as I'm aware is only 1mW same as Australia full Nanny state .that want to pack us in cotton wool to protect us from ourselves ..sad state ...i myself love my arctic S3 the true star wars light saber ...here's been issues especially at the start in delivery times but that has changed, still very expensive but its your choice, read, learn and stay safe..PS put your location in lots easier to work questions out
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:30 PM #3
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

I think most of Europe (including the UK) works on the idea of class 2 and class 3A lasers being readily available, but making class 3B and above difficult to get hold of. I thought there was a UK specific law that required class 3B and above to have an additional key switch in order to be legal.

Of course I'm not totally sure on this. I can't really find a reliable source, and haven't the classifications changed now? The law might equally be out of date... We too might be on 1 mW now, but I don't think we're that restrictive just yet. It can't take too many more divs shining bright green lasers at police helicopters to put us there though...
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:56 PM #4
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

UK definitely not on 1mw, Odicforce sells 1W 445's, as far as I'm aware, there is no classification or need a key switch, that would only apply for shop bought lasers anyway
Custom built lasers would be different
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:52 AM #5
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

A 5mW laser and up will be a Class 3B device. As such it cannot be legally advertised as a "laser pointer". The maximum power for legal laser pointers is 1mW (Class 2). As far as I know there is no UK law which says it is illegal for an individual to possess a class 3B laser. However Trading Standards Authorites have the power (under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005) to remove lasers above Class 2 ie 1mW from sale to the general public. It is illegal under UK Health and Safety legislation to use a class 3B laser in any situation where the general public can come in contact with the laser light. I would assume that includes a group of people using one at night with no special precautions. In some parts of the UK the police are actively targetting illegal use of lasers because of the idiots who shine them at aircraft, etc. If you get caught using one, if you are lucky it will just be confiscated. If you are no so lucky you will end up with a criminal record. It is quite easy to track down the location of a laser from a helicopter with suitable thermal imaging equipment, even after it has been switched off for a while, and in some places the police are using that sort of high tech kit to find them.A safety switch doesn't come into it in the UK unless your talking about laboratory equipment not battery powered lasers
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:06 AM #6
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

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A 5mW laser and up will be a Class 3B device.
That's only up until 500 mW isn't it? This solderless DIY Survival Lasers kit includes a 2,800 mW diode. It's way into class 4 although I believe the rules on ownership are the same as class 3B. Almost a third of the power of the lowest power industrial cutting laser.


As it happens, I hadn't appreciated the technical difference between a "pointer" (low power) and a non-pointer, but I can assure you, pointing was not the intended use for this thing. I mean who would seriously buy such a high power blue laser for pointing at a projector? It will be less visible than a class 2 green and before long there'll be nothing to point at...

I already have a class 2 (doesn't give its exact power other than "<1 mW") 630-680 nm pointer which several years on is still working well. So I don't really need another pointer.


As for class 3R and upwards not being available for "general sale" I think you might have nailed it with that. If I was to walk into a shop on the street, there is almost no way I'd be able to pick up a class 3R or anything more powerful. I guess some companies can sell them online (like Odicforce and MegaLaser UK) because that's not really general sale. They didn't just catch your eye (so to speak) whilst you were out shopping, you deliberately went to a dedicated laser seller and so knew what you were selling.

I also believe importing a laser is technically legal, but as was said on the "everything you need to know" sticky thread, probably not worth getting into an argument with customs if they confiscate it anyway.

Safety switches could well be talking about lab lasers, because they also have to have something like a door contact circuit breaker don't they? I think they call them interlocks. To make sure people can't just open the door and look at an operational laser in case their eyes are unprotected.

But I saw a blue laser on Mega Laser UK, where they described a hand held laser at 1000 mW continuous (1700 mW nominal) as being so powerful it "required" a safety switch. It's the very last laser on this link, and that sort of reinforced my existing belief that even handhelds had to have such safety switches. As you see, it's a handheld, but for some reason they called it a pointer... tut tut...

Last edited by Arctic Phoenix; 08-29-2013 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:25 AM #7
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

I've used my 532 lasers in a park in the vicinity of police, nothing came of it ???

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Old 08-29-2013, 10:58 AM #8
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

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I mean who would seriously buy such a high power blue laser for pointing at a projector? It will be less visible than a class 2 green and before long there'll be nothing to point at...
that statement is not correct by a long shot,

Dot: (445nm 2800mw) vs. (532nm 1mw)

in theory the dot of a 2800mw 445 laser will be 94.29 times more visible than a class 2 532 laser of 1mw

hope that you find something that satisfies your needs, it all depends on what purpose the laser will serve. i do not recommend that you should get a class IV laser as your first high powered laser. maybe try and build an LPC-826 red laser

as far as laser safety goggles are concerned survival lasers safety goggles are considered the norm for hobbyist laser safety goggles with an OD rating of 4+. they have been thoroughly tested by members here and they have proven themselves time and time again

http://laserpointerforums.com/f52/re...ers-60897.html
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:46 PM #9
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

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that statement is not correct by a long shot,

Dot: (445nm 2800mw) vs. (532nm 1mw)

in theory the dot of a 2800mw 445 laser will be 94.29 times more visible than a class 2 532 laser of 1mw

I'll admit I should have done my sums before writing that. Do they say that green beams are about 20 times more visible than equivalently powered blue ones? If yes Divide 2800 by 20, and I get 140... Little embarrassing, no way is 140 in the class 2 range. My excuse, uh it was last thing at night... Brain fart time.


I'm not opposed to the idea of building a lower power laser first, but how idiot proof would it be? Unfortunately I'm one of those people who learns by doing (rather than by reading). I can pick up basic facts like always wear your goggles from reading, but more complicated stuff will just confuse me at first. I couldn't build a chair without having first built a flat pack one.

And the SL3 to me is like the handheld laser equivalent of flat pack furniture. Everything's in the box.No having to track down rare components myself. No soldering - it's been over 10 years since I soldered anything, and wasn't too great back then. I definitely don't want to kill my first ever diode - that would be so depressing.

But just putting even one together should give me more of a basic feel for what's involved, so I can start to customise next time. There's no denying, proper homebuilt gives infinitely more satisfaction and sense of achievement than flat pack does... It might not burn stuff - but it's all mine...


It was sort of the same with my computer. I've never had a pre-made one from a shop, but my first ever one was built for me. When I wanted to upgrade something the guy who built it showed me how it all looked at the start, then let me swap out the component (hard drive), and showed me where the different connectors went. I never could have picked that up from a book. Before long, I could change almost anything in it. I just feel this is going to be the same thing. To build my own, I'll need one in front of me to start with. Doesn't have to be such high power, when I think about it, their 1000 mW stuff might not be as good a place to start as the 300 mW red would be (depending on complexity of building it), but still a lot safer than 2800 mW blue...

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Old 08-29-2013, 03:31 PM #10
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

My above post mentioning safety switches is correct for the UK ..on laboratory stuff and yes on really high power laboratories there are safety interlocks. In the US i know you have to have or are supposed to have safety switches in class 3b lasers and up but I'm 99% sure that was before the US dropped its legal limit to 5mW max right on border from class 3a in old school terms to class 3b .This explains why you often see lasers being sold at a rating of 4.8 or 4.9 mW so they will get into the US without customs hassles .And as far as customs goes don't get me started what they say basically is law when they take a laser the hassle,time,and money just isn't worth it to try and get it back even if you know your right ,but would you bother importing a 5mW laser unless it was a fancy color no of course you wouldn't. So if they grab your laser its because you know its way over 1mw or 5mW and they know it too. Best way around this is never import batteries or charger with the laser , get seller to call it a torch or stage lighting and remove the laser sticker and put another back on when you get it ,cross fingers first or send in two parts that also works....i got my 6th out of 7 lasers i ordered a month ago today and all are class 3b easy by a long long way
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95 mW 405nm custom 501b
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125 mW 405 nm focus-able 501b
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705 mW 405 nm focus-able 501b G2 lens

865 mW 445 nm Kryton Groove
1130 mW 450 nm focus-able custom
1175 mW 450 nm focus-able S4

1375 mW 445 nm WL ARCTIC S3
2.3 watt 445 nm G2 -Cree Q5
3.1 watt +Adj 445 nm Blitzbuck V3.1 9mm SS Survival host

95 mW 532nm custom focus-able
110 mW 532 nm S4 host
125 mW 532 nm SD 305A x 2
135 mW 532 nm SD 301 focus-able x2

135 mW 532 nm focusable laser SD 303 x2
175 mW 532 nm custom focus-able

494 mW 532 nm O like Crown*
100 mW 589 nm
PGL III C
115 mW 635 nm custom C6 host
800 mW 635 nm Hotlights host G1 lens

155 mW 645 nm custom 501b host
160 mW 650 nm focus-able C6 host
255 mW 650 nm SD301
280 mW 650 nm SD302
260 mW 660 nm custom C6 host
505 mW 660 nm custom C6 host
45 mW 650 red and 114 mW 532nm multi laser
350mW 830 nm IR custom C6 focus-able
Another
4 dozen plus 5 mW to 160 mW in all colors Way overspec ebay pens
LaserBee 3.7W USB Laser Power Meter

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Old 08-29-2013, 04:14 PM #11
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

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Best way around this is ... get seller to call it a torch or stage lighting
I can understand being able to ask someone like an ebay seller to do that, but would a proper company do that? I mean they must know that lasers get incorrectly confiscated at customs, but would a reputable company go so far as to lie about what is contained in the package?
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:20 PM #12
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

Well, first of all, an LPC or a PHR diode only costs $10. Trust me - I killed my first three laser diodes. It's sort of a rite everyone goes through! Hah.

But really, building your own really simple one is really easy. There are several host kits that you can use for it. One of the most popular is the Aurora C6 host, which just requires four wires soldered. There are several guides up all over the place. Just use the search bar.

In fact, a lot of what people do is do a build and document it step by step and then offer the parts for sale. So you can probably do one of those. It's half way between buying a flatpack and doing a custom build yourself!
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:25 PM #13
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

This is a good question my best lasers i have got local in country the lasers that still have similar measured output power have come from fleabay ,I guess companies can fudge what to call a laser by a certain amount ,but i have yet to get one in from a big company and see what they would do regards calling it something other than a laser and other conditions to give it the best possible chance that it will arrive in my hands and not customs
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:29 PM #14
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

I suppose the thing would be .... we know people in the UK have got hold of S3 Arctics. They're from a large company, so how did they get past customs?

Were they sent in discreet packaging, and sneaked through by not including any batteries?

Did Wicked lie about what was in the box and claim it was just a torch?

Or did they tell the truth? Maybe customs just don't like laser diodes when they don't really know where they've come from? Perhaps if the company lists their full address etc and customs write/phone and everything checks out, maybe they get allowed in?


But until we can find a UK owner who has an Arctic, we won't know, and even then, it's still not definite proof. Could just be a one off fluke.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:42 PM #15
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arctic Phoenix View Post
I suppose the thing would be .... we know people in the UK have got hold of S3 Arctics. They're from a large company, so how did they get past customs?

Were they sent in discreet packaging, and sneaked through by not including any batteries?

Did Wicked lie about what was in the box and claim it was just a torch?

Or did they tell the truth? Maybe customs just don't like laser diodes when they don't really know where they've come from? Perhaps if the company lists their full address etc and customs write/phone and everything checks out, maybe they get allowed in?


But until we can find a UK owner who has an Arctic, we won't know, and even then, it's still not definite proof. Could just be a one off fluke.
well there's bound to be one UK person who got a S3 in that will read and reply to this thread,
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95 mW 405nm custom 501b
102 mW 405 nm custom C6
125 mW 405 nm focus-able 501b
270 mW 405 nm 20MM Cannon shell focus-able
705 mW 405 nm focus-able 501b G2 lens

865 mW 445 nm Kryton Groove
1130 mW 450 nm focus-able custom
1175 mW 450 nm focus-able S4

1375 mW 445 nm WL ARCTIC S3
2.3 watt 445 nm G2 -Cree Q5
3.1 watt +Adj 445 nm Blitzbuck V3.1 9mm SS Survival host

95 mW 532nm custom focus-able
110 mW 532 nm S4 host
125 mW 532 nm SD 305A x 2
135 mW 532 nm SD 301 focus-able x2

135 mW 532 nm focusable laser SD 303 x2
175 mW 532 nm custom focus-able

494 mW 532 nm O like Crown*
100 mW 589 nm
PGL III C
115 mW 635 nm custom C6 host
800 mW 635 nm Hotlights host G1 lens

155 mW 645 nm custom 501b host
160 mW 650 nm focus-able C6 host
255 mW 650 nm SD301
280 mW 650 nm SD302
260 mW 660 nm custom C6 host
505 mW 660 nm custom C6 host
45 mW 650 red and 114 mW 532nm multi laser
350mW 830 nm IR custom C6 focus-able
Another
4 dozen plus 5 mW to 160 mW in all colors Way overspec ebay pens
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:22 PM #16
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Default Re: New user, intro and question re legality

That's the hope anyway. Of course the title of the thread means they're more like to come here completely by chance. Fingers Crossed...
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