- Oct 2, 2019
My name is Snecho and I'm from Earth, Milky Way Galaxy. I am 19 years old going on 20. I've been reading through all the Rules and Stickies for the past couple of days and decided to try write a bit about myself.
A little backstory here, I've been part of a local engineering club called a "Hackerspace" since 2012. It's a really cool place where some of the smartest, most incredible people met and worked on Engineering, Coding, Programming, Computer Science, Building, Woodworking, Metalworking, Welding, Hacking, DIYing, and any cool project you could ever think of. AND it's free and open to the public. It has been a HUGE part of my life and a part of who I am. It was a ridiculously tight community unlike one I've ever seen. I don't know how familiar people of this forum are with this world, but it is magical. Know Make Magazine? Kipkay? CrazyRussainHacker or any other similar personality on Youtube? That's what I'm talking about. Naturally, lasers are the perfect fit for something like that. We have a giant laser cutter at our new space personally.
I've loved lasers ever since I was a child with those everyday red keychain "pet" pointers. I had no idea other lasers even existed at the time and that was far above my realm of knowledge.
Then, when I was maybe 11 or 12, I was on Vacation with my family in South/North Carolina or something like that. I noticed sometimes one of the various surf shops scattered everywhere sold these cool looking lasers that looked like black pens (What we know today as "eBay Pens"). I eventually convinced my mother to let me buy one for probably $15 and we went to the shop I had seen them at and they had them in Red, Green, and Blue (Which knowing what I know now, was most likely Violet). I picked the green one because it looked the best/brightest and I had seen other green laser dots on the beach at night so I wanted to "fit in" I guess. It was one of those 5mW marked ones and even back then I knew that. I had tons of fun with it pointing it at the beach at night from our balcony and also into the sea and horizon to see that wonderful beam. It was also fun to engage with some other people that also apparently had green lasers, wherever they were and I'd click on mine and show them I had one too. While I was there, I talked to a guy who mentioned some people had different, nicer lasers and I had noticed that too because some of other people's dots looked slightly bigger or brighter than mine (Green was the only color I saw people using on that trip). That is what planted that first tiny seed in my mind of "what else could there be?"
Anyways, when I got back to my home state, it was pure awesomeness because like I said, all I ever knew of where those cheap red pointers you can get at the dollar store. Therefore, a powerful green laser was unheard of and I gladly took advantage of that by pointing at people's feet on sidewalks, at the park, showing my friends, and so on for the next year or two to come.
Hence, it became permanently burned in my mind that all those eBay Pen looking ones were "those 5mW lasers" and that's how I think of them and refer to them to this day. In my mind they were the ultimate big brother of those $1 cheapo red pet lasers. And (dammit I started a sentence with "And" oh well) looking back I'm almost positive that laser was a True 5mW green pointer because of what I know now.
So anyway that was my first "laser experience" give or take.
Now, somewhere around this time is when I was in middle school. I was homeschooled for 80% of my life but for 7th Grade, I went to a public school. It was around 2013 and there, a classmate saw my laser and got really interested. He asked me If I knew what "Wicked Lasers" was. I didn't. He went on to tell me a bit more about it. When I got home, I searched up Wicked Lasers and my mind was blown. It was my first look at what a "real" laser could be. Again, since I didn't know anything about that kind of stuff, I really did think the Spyder III's were some kind of revolutionary tech and was the most powerful thing in the world. Reinforced by the nearly $1000 price tag at the time. It was the stuff of dreams. And being the stuff of dreams, I couldn't think into it and just put it on the backburner for the new few years.
Fast Forward a couple years later. By this time my green laser pen had either broke and/or lost I don't remember. However, now I'm on vacation again with my family at my favorite spot, Dunes Village Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We decide to stop by my favorite "kite shop" called Klig's Kites. You know, one of those shops at vacation destinations that sell lots of random gadgets and gizmos, prank items, novelty items..etc...and of course, kites. Behind the display case at the counter, I see this really cool looking little box with a green laser on it. The sales guys talked to me about it and shows how one can point all the way at a tall building miles away and that It also comes with 4 or 5 star caps to make really cool effects. All for around $40 or $50, I can't remember which. I had just gotten a $50 bill for helping my mother's relative while we were just on a trip to New York, so I was pretty stacked at the time lol. After some debating, I convinced myself that I was on vacation and that I was here to have fun so why not blow some cash? I go back the next day or so and buy the laser, and let me too you, I loved that thing. It came in a very nice presentation box that had a whitish-gray fleece-like material on the outside and a velvet looking white inside with "𝓛𝓪𝓼𝓮𝓻 𝓟𝓸𝓲𝓷𝓽𝓮𝓻" embroidered in it with a nice foam insert. All covered by a slide-on thin cardboard shell that had some cool graphics on it. The laser was "those 5mW lasers" and that's what it seemed to be rated as. It had the same similarities to the eBay pointers like the one I had previously but looked like higher quality. The shell was silver with an a hollow end with internal threads for the star caps (they were the common metal star caps that come with almost all cheap lasers these days). Overall it felt really nice and looked cool, and I still haven't to this day see another one like it. It used 2 AAA batteries like the previous one. The star cap effects were awesome and the laser was really bright! It was a good bit brighter than my previous one and I obviously did the same things, Point it at the beach, the sea, confuse people in public..etc. All that ramped up quite a bit when I got back home again as you can imagine, considering it was 2 or 3 times brighter than the old one. I enjoyed a good few years with it impressing people with the star caps and shining it around town. And it was off and on like that up until the recent year or two. Why do I say off and on? Ever have that thing that you seem to own and then It disappears for some months or maybe even a year, and then you find it again, use it, and you lose track of it again? That's what I mean and that's how I used it for the years that I "had it". It technically never broke and I never lost it for sure, but I haven't seen it for the life of me for the past year or two. I still have one of the random star caps sitting here on my desk LOL. ***OCD EMPTY SPACE ALERT***
That leads me into this: from the knowledge I gained from the last week or so, I do believe that laser was actually probably 30mW give or take. Back then I knew nothing of this and was just amazed I got such a good "5mW" laser. lol. Kind of dangerous to think that I had no idea of any of that back then, and I didn't even know laser goggles existed or what they were. Good thing I was fairly careful with it and didn't point at people's faces. And that I also didn't point it in my eyes...𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩.
I was young and stupid...er and didn't know any of this stuff ok? As a side note, I'm sure both of those green pointer leaked IR light, but, again It didn't hurt anything much and I was pretty careful with it overall.
So now onto recent times. My interest in lasers has strongly developed in the last few years (yes I know I use "a few years a lot" just bear with me) when I saw videos on Youtube of burning lasers built from DVD burners and the such. One of which, being the one and only Styropyro. His early videos on DIYing burning lasers from extracted diodes, while seeming like witchcraft to me (and still is), is really what inspired me to try and do that myself. Even though I failed, it still motivated me into getting my first glimpse into the actual "hobby." That, and Wicked Lasers, has pretty much been on the backburner ever since, working in the background.
What I Think Of Wicked Lasers:
Ever since I first learned about them in 2013, Wicked Lasers has been the stuff of dreams for me, and an inspiration. The style of the company is exactly what I, by default, love. One hub claiming to be the center of the laser world. A very sleek, simple, beautiful website. Awesome, well designed looking lasers that seem to have all the bells and whistles. Just perfection. Now I know everyone doesn't like WL and say that they are overpriced and overrated. Researching this stuff for two weeks has shown me that as well. Personally, so far Sanwu is looking to be my default site to buy a powerful, high quality laser. However, I can not ignore Wicked Lasers, or at least what I thought was Wicked Lasers. I will always keep the memory of being mind blown when I first saw them.
Where Am I Now?
So like I kind of said, all of this has been in the background for the past few years. Now about a month or two ago, I started really missing my laser. The green one from Myrtle Beach. Around two weeks ago, I decided to check back with WL after these years. The interest started to flow again and pretty much just went crazy from there. I starting reading, watching videos, and researching the crap out of lasers. I started watching Styropyro again and seeing his more recent insane builds, 40W Laser Shotgun, 200W Laser Bazooka, and everything in between, has me really, really excited for the future. If I didn't say it already, Styro is pretty much my inspiration. Not only his lasers, but his understanding and control of Chemistry, Physics, and Electricity (and explosions leaves me speechless. I hope to be like him someday as one of the pinnacles of DIYing.
So here I am, eager to learn. What do I want to learn? So basically there are three main paths for me:
- Lasers For Show:
That was pretty hard to find out that lasers are that finicky and much less precise than I thought. So I'm guessing in this path I will learn about diode types, wavelengths, Power, optics, and a slew of other things to make/find the best, brightest, most accurate laser...essentially.
I might also make myself a sub-category on finding the best Low Powered laser for show, just like my original laser pens I so loved.
- Lasers For Burning
- Building Lasers
So that's pretty much it. Those are my main goals/paths that I want to learn about but that's just the start
Right now I am set on ordering a cheap ol' 532nm Laser 303 off eBay to "re-calibrate" my experience and start again just like I did with my original green pointers long ago. Eagle Pair OD5's coming in soon after
A little bit more about me, I used to play A LOT of Ice Hockey when I was in Grade School and enjoyed it very much.
My biggest hobby is actually R/C Models. I have about 10 airplanes at home of varying degrees of quality. I've been flying for many years now and first started interest in the sport when I was under 10 years old.
My absolute biggest passion is Gaming, and I've been playing on Xbox for nearly ten years. I what's I love and where I feel most at home.
OH. I forgot to add, I speak Russian.
I don't usually reveal this, but this forum seems like a global area so I though I'd include it
So now I hope you know just a little bit about me. Sorry for the long essay but I figured some people might find it enjoyable. It's hard for me to put my thoughts into words so I hope I put this glob of information into at least slightly coherent and understandable formation.
Last Thing I Wanted To Say...
After reading the rules and stickies and whatnot I could help but feel a sense of aggressiveness? They seem to be filled with things stating how to behave here, here, and here, do this, DON'T do that...etc..etc. Things like "Set your location or we can hack your IP address"? Just things like that stating about how people won't help you if you ask known questions, search as much as you can before asking us questions. That in particular just makes me paranoid about posting anything at all.
I think it's meant for the people that join the forum and start spamming the place or whatnot and I get it. I just really wish it was a little less...unwelcoming.
That aside, I hope to learn and make some friends along the way.