Old 10-01-2010, 02:17 AM #33
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Default Re: What's the deal with burning?

For me, its just the fact that its only light and the presence of o2 that does the burning. I don't know of any ordinary flashlight or pointer that can burn things with it's LIGHT output. Without touching something, I can direct a lot of energy into one tiny spot and 'do work' or transfer energy from a distance. That's just not something you see some little kid's pointer do. Its just a flaming display of power!


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Old 10-01-2010, 02:18 AM #34
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Default Re: What's the deal with burning?

Although there have already been many responses to this query, and many of them were very informative and eloquent, I still feel compelled to give my own two cents. For me, I think the whole issue is very simple, very plain:



YEAH YEAH FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

Actually, lol, ok I do have an honest answer:

There's a big difference between a cig lighter and a laser. A lighter to the scale of a tightly focused laser is like napalming an entire landscape. The laser on the other hand takes a great deal of energy and packs it into a very tiny space. I think half the fascination is the simple concept of extreme energy concentration, and the possibly very interesting and unsual results of that concentration. Some things, you just won't experience with more crude methods of burning. Try, for instance, a high power laser on a fridge magnet business card, focused very finely and only pulsed at the surface. Mine makes a nice little pop. It fascinates me to wonder at what processes are going on there that produce that pop sound, where it simply doesn't occur on other materials. Another fascinating thing is to fire such a laser in close focus at the exposed material of a neodymium supermagnet. Where any other metal I know of would simply absorb or reflect the beam (not counting steel wool or such as that), the exotic material gives off a pretty impressive show of orange colored sparks. It's not about burning something, it's about exploring the physics of high energy thermal effects. Think of it as similar to very high end experiments in science, focusing trillions of watts of laser power at a target, just of course on a much weaker scale and much lower budget.

Last comment - I've seen it said before that these lasers serve no useful purpose. To that I say this: Anyone who feels that this is true, doesn't know what they have there, doesn't understand what lasers can do. For me, I see little difference between my own laser projects and well established industrial and scientific applications for lasers. All it takes is a little creativity to make something trully interesting happen with even a 200mW red diode laser. A little funding doesn't hurt either.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:53 AM #35
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Default Re: What's the deal with burning?

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Originally Posted by NightRunner417 View Post
Another fascinating thing is to fire such a laser in close focus at the exposed material of a neodymium supermagnet. Where any other metal I know of would simply absorb or reflect the beam (not counting steel wool or such as that), the exotic material gives off a pretty impressive show of orange colored sparks.
Learn something new everyday. Who would of thought in a thread started by someone who thinks burning with lasers is stupid I would learn a fascinating fact like this.

Thanks NightRunner, Oh, and thanks Folder for starting this thread. If you hadn't, I would never had learned this.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:01 AM #36
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Default Re: What's the deal with burning?

I'm actually in agreement with Folder on this one single point. 'burning stuff', in the meaning used by 99% of the visitors to this forum.. which is lighting matches, cutting electrical tape/trash bags, popping balloons, etc, is fun... for all of about 15 seconds.. at least for me. HIMNL9's example isn't 'burning stuff', and neither is building CNC laser cutters etc. There's a difference between creating art or cutting material and popping balloons.

'How well it burns' as a measure of power is meaningless as well, since unless your dealing with a CO2 laser, the material and wavelength matter as much as the power does.

It probably is fun for some people. But it's entertainment value for me is fairly short lived. I'd personally rather have a few dozen front surface mirrors and mounts, an empty room, and a fogger myself heh.

But I will say that this is my opinion. And you certainly won't find me talking down to anyone who does enjoy it. Though to be honest, getting asked 'does it burn?' ranks just as high on the annoying list as 'where's the flux capacitor?' does when people find out I own a delorean.
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:56 AM #37
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Default Re: What's the deal with burning?

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Originally Posted by qumefox View Post
. Though to be honest, getting asked 'does it burn?' ranks just as high on the annoying list as 'where's the flux capacitor?' does when people find out I own a delorean.
How do you like your delorean? I almost bought one and was afraid i would have trouble getting parts for it, so I didn't buy it! Now I found a place that has parts for them, go figure!
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