Old 06-05-2013, 03:05 PM #1
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Red face Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Wicked Lasers Beam Expander, retail $149.95 (www.wickedlasers.com...)
Manufactured by Wicked Lasers (www.wickedlasers.com)
Last updated 01-19-14







This is my Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic G2 445nm 1W Blue Diode Laser
with the Beam Expander affixed to it.

The Beam Expander is a nifty little gadget that screws onto the end of your S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser (any vintage), Krypton, or any other Spyder III series laser that expands the laser's beam by 10x.

This at first may appear to be counterproductive, but in this case, looks really ` ***ARE*** deceiving.

What the beam expander does is increase the laser's range by reducing the beam divergence (a value usually expressed in milliradians or mrad) by ten times; this allows the laser's beam to stay narrower, longer.


SIZE



To use your spiffy new (or corroded old) Beam Expander, unscrew & remove the current optic or lens from your Arctic, Krypton, or any other Spyder III series laser, and screw the Beam Expander on...yes, it's really that easy.

Adjust the focus by turning the knurled (texturised) ring near the base of the Beam Expander.




Photo of an uninhabited structure approx. 275 feet (~83.8M) away that I used as a target.
The albedo of this structure is ~15.



Photograph of the Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic 445nm 1W Blue Diode Laser (2)'s beam terminus spot without the beam expander in place.
I increased the camera's zoom to 24x to obtain a decent picture of the beam terminus.



Photograph of the Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic 445nm 1W Blue Diode Laser (2)'s beam terminus spot WITH the beam expander in place.
I increased the camera's zoom to 24x to obtain a decent picture of the beam terminus.


Photograph of the Wicked Lasers Spyder 3 Arctic 445nm 1W Blue Diode Laser (2)'s beam itself WITH the beam expander in place.
Photograph was taken on 10-21-13 at 6:49am PDT.
Note the moderately dense fog; this was the sole reason that this photo was taken.



Photograph of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™'s beam itself WITH the beam expander in place.
Photograph was taken on 12-22-13 at 6:13am PST.



Photograph of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™'s beam itself WITH the beam expander in place.
Some camera movement occurred; that's why there appears to be a bit of a 'double beam'.
Photograph was taken on 12-22-13 at 6:14am PST.


Beam terminus photograph of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™ WITHOUT the beam expander in place.
Some laser movement occurred; I'm attempting to obtain a tripod from Wicked Lasers in effort to mitigate this.
Photograph was taken on 12-22-13 at 8:45am PST.



Beam terminus photograph of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™ WITH the beam expander in place.
Some laser movement occurred; I'm attempting to obtain a tripod from Wicked Lasers in effort to mitigate this.
Photograph was taken on 12-22-13 at 8:43am PST.



Beam terminus photograph of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™ WITHOUT the beam expander in place.
Some laser movement occurred; I'm attempting to obtain a tripod from Wicked Lasers in effort to mitigate this.
Photograph was taken on 12-22-13 at 1:07pm PST.



Beam terminus photograph of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™ WITH the beam expander in place.
Some laser movement occurred; I'm attempting to obtain a tripod from Wicked Lasers in effort to mitigate this.
Photograph was taken on 12-22-13 at 1:08pm PST.



Photograph (in broad daylight) of the beam from my 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™ WITH the beam expander in place.
Photograph was taken on 12-26-13 at 8:37am PST.



Photograph of the Wicked Lasers "Krypton" Green DPSS Portable Laser's beam terminus spot without the beam expander in place.
I increased the camera's zoom to 24x to obtain a decent picture of the beam terminus.



Photograph of the Wicked Lasers "Krypton" Green DPSS Portable Laser's beam terminus spot WITH the beam expander in place.
I increased the camera's zoom to 24x to obtain a decent picture of the beam terminus.
You can see in the beam itself that it starts out significantly wider as it exits the laser.

The Beam Expander vignettes (cuts off) the Krypton's beam by ~55%, which is why the beam appears "flared out".
This is a fault of the Krypton laser itself, not the beam expander; the beam appears to emerge from the Krypton slightly off-center.



Photograph of the Wicked Lasers "Krypton" Green DPSS Portable Laser's beam terminus spot without the beam expander in place.
I decreased the camera's zoom to 16x.



Photograph of the Wicked Lasers "Krypton" Green DPSS Portable Laser's beam terminus spot WITH the beam expander in place.
I decreased the camera's zoom to 16x.
You can see in the beam itself that it starts out significantly wider as it exits the laser.



Video on YourTube showing the Beam Expander being stowed and then deployed again.
The laser beam was originating in the upper right during most of this video.
Taken on the evening of 01-16-14 in Federal Way WA. USA; conditions were light fog (I wanted to wait until we had light fog so that the laser's beam could be seen) with temperature in the upper 30s Fahrenheit.

This video is approximately 515.8997425212 megabytes (516,519,720 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than two thousand five hundred seventy nine minutes (!!!) to load at 48.0Kbps.
This video is definitely ***NOT*** dial-up friendly!!!

TEST NOTES:
Test unit was sent by Jeice of Wicked Lasers on 05-06-13 (or "2013 06 May" if you prefer), and was received on 05-16-13 (or "2013 16 May" if you prefer). However, it was defective so a replacement was sent at once -- the replacement was received at 11:12am PDT on 06-03-13.


UPDATE: 06-14-13
I measured the beam diameter at aperture both with and without the Beam Expander in place.
They are as follows:

(Arctic; no beam expander):
2.0mm fast axis
5.50mm slow axis)

(Arctic; beam expander in place):
4mm fast axis
30mm slow axis

(Krypton; no beam expander):
2.0mm
(Krypton; beam expander in place):
28mm*


* Beam is being truncated; beam diameter at aperture may be a bit innacurate as a result.
The following photograph shows this:




PROS:
Very cool accessory for your Spyder III laser
Increases the laser's visible range
Nice looking -- especially when affixed to your Spyder III laser


NEUTRAL:


CONS:
Beam must emerge from the laser perfectly centered




MANUFACTURER: Wicked Lasers
PRODUCT TYPE: Self-contained beam expander lens set
LAMP TYPE: N/A
No. OF LAMPS: N/A
BEAM TYPE: N/A
SWITCH TYPE: N/A
CASE MATERIAL: Hard-anodized aluminum
BEZEL: Metal
BATTERY: N/A
CURRENT CONSUMPTION: N/A
WATER- AND DIET MT. DEW-RESISTANT: Yes (when affixed to laser)
SUBMERSIBLE: ˇˇˇPARA LOS MOTIVOS NO DE CRISTO!!!
ACCESSORIES: Hard-sided storage box
SIZE: 103mm L (incl. threads) x 59mm Dia.
WEIGHT: 181.70g (6.410 oz.)
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: China
WARRANTY: 1 year (plus a 30-day money back guarantee)

PRODUCT RATING:
I'm uncertain just how I should rate this product, as I do not have access to a laser test facility with significantly longer range than what I currently have (~275 feet {~83.8M}}


Update 06-06-13: Added a pair of beam terminus photos.

Update 06-12-13: Measured beam dia. both with & without Beam Expander in place; added photo showing how the Krypton's beam is being truncated.

Update 12-23-13: Added two pics of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™'s beam itself WITH the beam expander in place.

Update 12-25-13: Added two pics of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™'s beam terminus spot both WITH and WITHOUT the beam expander in place.

Update 12-26-13: Added two more pics of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™'s beam terminus spot both WITH and WITHOUT the beam expander in place.


Update 12-27-13: Added a pic of the 2 Watt S3 Spyder Arctic G2 445nm Blue Laser w/SmartSwitch™'s actual beam as seen in broad daylight WITH the beam expander in place.

Update 01-19-14: Added a video on YourTube showing the Beam Expander being stowed and then deployed again.


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Last edited by The_LED_Museum; 01-19-2014 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Added a video on YourTube showing the Beam Expander being stowed and then deployed again.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:16 PM #2
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

I would have liked to get a measurement of the actual
Beam Profile sizes on the shed with and without the Expander.

I would assume that WL were probably spinning a bit of
hype on the 10X value. Numbers would help to determine
if that is true.

BTW the 532nm beam profile seems to have gotten a bit
larger rather than smaller by the photos...


Jerry
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:20 PM #3
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Interesting results on the Krypton. Also, what was wrong with the first Expander that was sent?
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:23 PM #4
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwang21 View Post
Interesting results on the Krypton. Also, what was wrong with the first Expander that was sent?
It was a WL product....


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Old 06-05-2013, 03:25 PM #5
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Haha point taken, although I'd still like to know exactly what was wrong with it
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:36 PM #6
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Thumbs down Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Quote:
Originally Posted by lasersbee View Post
I would have liked to get a measurement of the actual
Beam Profile sizes on the shed with and without the Expander.

I would assume that WL were probably spinning a bit of
hype on the 10X value. Numbers would help to determine
if that is true.

BTW the 532nm beam profile seems to have gotten a bit
larger rather than smaller by the photos...


Jerry
I am not able to access the target itself; it's across a small river and it's also private property -- ***VERY*** private property.

The 532nm photograph showing the beam is larger with the beam expander in place is because the beam is striking the inner side of the beam expander itself, causing unwanted reflections in there that distort the beam. The fault lies with the laser itself, not the beam expander; the beam emerging from the Krypton's aperture is off-center -- the beam entrance parameters of the Beam Expander appear to be somewhat critical in that regard.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:39 PM #7
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Quote:
Originally Posted by hwang21 View Post
Haha point taken, although I'd still like to know exactly what was wrong with it
The beam would not focus to infinity; beam waisting occurred at approx. 1.2 meters even when the focus was tightened all the way.

To put it in the simplest terms I can, the two lenses in this device would not get close enough together to bring the focus to a longer distance than ~1.2M from the face of the laser.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:09 PM #8
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_LED_Museum View Post
I am not able to access the target itself; it's across a small river and it's also private property -- ***VERY*** private property.

The 532nm photograph showing the beam is larger with the beam expander in place is because the beam is striking the inner side of the beam expander itself, causing unwanted reflections in there that distort the beam. The fault lies with the laser itself, not the beam expander; the beam emerging from the Krypton's aperture is off-center -- the beam entrance parameters of the Beam Expander appear to be somewhat critical in that regard.
Thanks for the explanation...

You'll need to come up here to do your tests. There are barns
we could aim at at between 100' to 1km distances that we could
easily get access to...


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Old 06-05-2013, 04:17 PM #9
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Would love to see some 10x beam profile pics at night next to some of your other lasers. What's your take on the overall divergence LED??

Nice review btw
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Old 06-05-2013, 05:23 PM #10
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Thanks for the review and insights on this. +REP deserved.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:10 PM #11
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Are you certain it was 24x zoom in all those where you said it was? That branch looks quite a bit larger in the first dot photo.
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:23 PM #12
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Yeah the first Arctic photo looks much more zoomed in than the rest of them...
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:17 PM #13
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Okay, i'm new to the whole beam expander thing, so I have 2 questions.

1) Can you use the beam expander in place of a convex lens for close range focus, or does it only go one way?

2) When using the beam expander, can the beam be seen from a greater distance before it's too wide to be seen?
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:48 AM #14
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

I really don't see the great use for a beam expander... If it focuses a beam at say 1km it shoud than quickly unfocuse it after the focus point or not?
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:55 PM #15
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Thumbs up Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyparagon View Post
Are you certain it was 24x zoom in all those where you said it was? That branch looks quite a bit larger in the first dot photo.
I took another pair of photographs just a little while ago this morning; I can assure you that BOTH OF THOSE were taken with 24x zoom.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:06 PM #16
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Default Re: Review of the Wicked Lasers Beam Expander

Even though I'm not currently in the market for a WL product after the things I've read about their hardware quality and customer support, this is a great review. It's clear that you took some time in putting the images together and writing it up and I really appreciate your effort. Thanks for sharing it!

Cheers,
Clayton
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