Old 02-15-2014, 02:29 PM #1
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Default Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

First Let me preface this by saying I like the guy, I don't think he's is unintelligent just a bit scatterbrained and a bit ignorant of laser safety.
From the beginning I reinerated how safe one must be with high powered lasers.

For the past 3 weeks I've been going to the local planetarium to see a laser show played to an album like U2, the doors, etc. well I started talking the director Periodically about his lasers-spectra Physics ArKr, scanners and laser in general because he had a couple ebay pens(405 DPSS cheapys). I told him about the hand helds I had been making. He wanted one.
So for his purposes I made a PL520 in a s4 host with an Acrylic lens. It measured 68mW max.

I ASSUMED a middled aged adult at a university and the director/operator of a planetarium with high powered water cooled gas laser would have good safety practices...I was wrong.
While in the lobby there was a large detailed model of the moon. He laughs and says "watch my face!" He points the laser at the moon and before I could yell No no no! I saw an incoherent light cross his face. he's says "wow that's bright" obviously the reference was the to reflector left by Apollo 11, 14 & 15.
Ok, he's ok, that was close. I said you really can't do that!

The conversation continued in various directions till we walked over to the Van de Graaff generator. Because the dry air,the arcs were long and Erratic quite impressive. I mentioned "you might not want to have that laser in your pocket- static discharge is the death pill for dio..." POP POP POP. He was holding the wand. the laser lives but only because I recommend he put it out of reach.

In conclusion, I'm glad his eye sight wasn't damaged. Maybe I should have just allowed the Esd to kill the diode but I have faith that in the future this wont happen again because he seems to be the type of person to learn quickly. We see newcomers everyday to the hobby all we can do is try to educate and reinforce that they are not toys.

Cheers friends,
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:41 PM #2
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

Ignorance and stupidity (not the same thing) can always be counted on
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:53 PM #3
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

when i was a kid I had one of those little red bullet style <1mW pointers. I wouldn't even let that reflect in my face and I'm pretty sure it never did once. The label on it that says avoid exposure was enough, but also common sense.

Maybe it would have been a good idea when you built your laser to put such a label on it, if you didn't already.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:27 PM #4
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

You guys teach me so much! Thanks from the loonie bin!
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:53 PM #5
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

At least he wasn't waving a 1+ watt laser around. 68mW is definitely something to be respected but it isn't going to do near the same amount of damage as something 20 times as powerful. If the reflection was spread out or diffused (you said "incoherent light" crossed his face, which sounds like the reflection was scattered) then there should be little danger since at that point the power density has been reduced a few hundred times.

As to the Van de Graff, doesn't the host act as a Faraday cage of sorts and tend to shield whatever is inside of it from electric fields and whatnot? I've discharged static through my pointers before (by accident) and thrown the usual 1/4" sparks, and the units were fine. The electric field should emanate from the outer surface of the host and so the electrons should tend to collect there, and since they want to get to ground ASAP they jump off at the first opportunity.

Don't get me wrong, I don't screw around with this stuff any more than any of the members here who like pretty lights and who prefer to enjoy them responsibly. I wear my safety glasses and I avoid collateral/bystander exposure. I do, however, take issue with equating a 68mW laser with a 1.5W laser; the two are nothing alike. There is a reason I don't own any class IV 445's etc., and why I don't regularly operate my 1W 808nm. I'm in it for the colors not the power, a 100mW 450nm is just as pretty as a 1W 445 imho, and is a hell of a lot safer, so I'm happy with the 100mW 450. FWIW.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:38 PM #6
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

Ya for sure better 68mW then 1000. I don't know what type of reflector but it did look scattered. We had been talking about laser safety previous to this I think he under estimated this laser. A warning label would have been useful but it would only summarize what I just explained to him.
In a faraday cage it diverts the electricity around an object by means of giving it a path of least resistance. right? I'm not an expert. The host was anodized aluminum but the big fat copper module would probably conduct very well. However it would have to ground to his fingers too so I'm not sure, hm. He was holding the laser in the other hand at one point.
I haven't lost a diode to ESD..yet
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:09 PM #7
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

I don't even bother messing with anything in my sig. They all sit neatly in cases. 99% of the time cheapo ebay pens and 95% of that is 532nm that I shine at things in the house. Think I'm getting old.... Hardly anything is much fun anymore. Rather read lol.
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:14 PM #8
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

The pointer is fine with static. You could draw arcs off it all day and it wouldn't mind
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:29 AM #9
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by BubonicCronic View Post
Time to get a new hobby my friend.
Says who? Maybe he sees quality lasers as I see fine wines... something to be brought out on special occasions. Ebay pointers and whatnot are fine for the most part but sometimes you just need to get out the big guns and let it rip.

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Old 02-16-2014, 12:13 PM #10
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

A lot of it has to do with how I Physically feel. As some know, I have chronic kidney stone issues. I am very unusual in that I always have lots of kidney stones and they actually cause a great deal of pain while still in the kidney. Almost died a few months back in the hospital from an infection when they put in a stent from my bladder to the right kidney and I haven't really recovered from it. Think giving me 3 of the most powerful broad spectrum antibiotics messed with my system.
Just don't have the same motivation or energy to do much anymore. Force myself to go to work and then can't wait to get home and rest.
Far "cooler" than any pointer I own is my laser projector. Besides, count how many lasers you see in my sig and multiply by at least 10
Saying "nothing" seems fun is a bit of a stretch. I own a ridiculous amount of stereo and home theater equipment including somewhere around 2000 movies (maybe 600 are blu-ray), buy a watch now and then and LOVE to read while listening to classical music.
Would have to say reading is the "funnest" thing if I don't include hanging out with my wife doing anything or nothing (absolutely adore her). 25th anniversary this coming November.
This forum can be fun but I can't stand some of the drama that just brings everyone down.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:43 PM #11
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

@ pman That is a lot of lasers...do they all have batteries or do you just switch them out.
Sorry to hear about your stones. That sounds aweful. No one can say you don't play with lasers! Don't they use a holmium laser to break those up? I count that!

I feel like this forum (being a new member myself) is mostly for hobbyist. Just some members are more active then others and that's ok too. it's just a forum not a journal but none the less very educational. Aside from this we all have professorial lives in all kinds of different fields with different experiences.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:01 PM #12
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Smile Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

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Originally Posted by Pman View Post
I am very unusual in that I always have lots of kidney stones and they actually cause a great deal of pain while still in the kidney.
Hey Pman, I began to experience this myself since early last year. The sharp pain has attacked me in two episodes that almost made me black out. Here's something that gave me a chuckle :

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Old 02-16-2014, 06:52 PM #13
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

I have enough batteries to run every single one at the same time plus 50-100 more. If we chose 5 cycles for breaking the batteries in, I don't believe I have a single battery that would fit that description. So to answer your question, no I don't switch batteries between units.
If you looked through the few threads that I have links too you will get an idea of what I actually own I believe.

I highly recommend branching out some and get a laser projector to go along with the pointers before you spend huge $ to see where you want to go with this.

One day at a time with the health stuff....
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:43 PM #14
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Default Re: Ugh, <5 mins he almost blinded himself and toasted the laser

After I wrote that reply I thought: what am I thinking..he problem has amassed tons of batteries
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