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Snecho

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WARNING: LONG A** LASER AUTOBIOGRAPHY ๐Ÿ˜œ


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.๐Ÿ˜› 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. ๐Ÿ˜„ 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.๐Ÿ˜Ž 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 "๐“›๐“ช๐“ผ๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐“Ÿ๐“ธ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป" 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...๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ.
I was young and stupid...er and didn't know any of this stuff ok?๐Ÿ˜œ 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.

The Future

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:
This will probably involve a lot of green lasers and will probably be my main general research path as I can apply it to any laser. It will basically be to reconnect to that basic side, when I had those lasers at the beach pointing them around and having fun. Essentially, the point would be to learn about how to buy and/or make the Best Overall Preforming Laser That Isn't Specifically Made For Burning. This is mostly because I found out how bad lasers really are. Let me explain. Back when I just had the green laser pointers, life was simple. I thought a laser kept it's perfectly straight beam for miles. Sure it would get bigger over distance, but I laser was just that, a laser. However after researching the past couple of weeks, I've seen videos testing literally dozens of lasers. And all of their dots get ridiculously big at just 200 feet, with most blue lasers having an ugly rectangle two feel long! -_-
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
This is pretty simple I guess: Learn about burning lasers, what makes a good burning laser, and maybe find/make the best burning laser I can. Probably gonna be a lot of blues.

  • Building Lasers
Right now I mainly just want to learn about what makes a good laser in general. Then I'd probably buy some, get some experience under my belt. After that I would LOVE to learn about the intricacies of building a laser from scratch. How to pair a diode to a driver, terminology,...etc. This would be a great way to tackle the above goals to then custom tailor them further. All-in-all, pretty damn exciting!



So that's pretty much it. Those are my main goals/paths that I want to learn about but that's just the start ๐Ÿ˜‰
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

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"? ๐Ÿ˜จ 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.
Cheers!
 



Snecho

New member
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
19
Points
3
Ok so, I didn't realize I couldn't edit the Thread after It was posted so grammar mistakes galore. I also sound like a shmuck lol.
 

CurtisOliver

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Messages
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Welcome to the forum. :)
I think you take the prize for the longest intro post Iโ€™ve ever seen on this forum. I understand your last points. We are a friendly bunch however weโ€™ve seen a lot of troll and spam activity. So we are immediately on guard. Just bare that in mind. Enjoy your stay
 

GSS

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Apr 28, 2015
Messages
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Welcome :)
;):(Yes some members tend to be aggressive and come across on the strong side unfortunately..
The issue with wanting a location is not a moderator wanting your IP for hacking reasons, "they are chosen because of great years of service here" and yes they maby do a IP check once in a while to see if a new member is a previously banned member which I think has already posted on your intro??:unsure:. but your location helps to steer you the right way if you have any questions...
Different country's have different laser laws... All you have to say is that your in the US and that's plenty..
 
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BowtieGuy

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Welcome to LPF, Snecho! :)

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your stay.

Glad to see that you have some "Eagle Pair" safety glasses on the way.
May I also recommend "Jetlasers" as an extremely high quality company to keep in mind when searching for your next laser.
 

Encap

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Messages
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Ok so, I didn't realize I couldn't edit the Thread after It was posted so grammar mistakes galore. I also sound like a shmuck lol.
Welcome and enjoy the forum.

PS: You can edit or delete a post or portion of a post ( hint hint) anytime after you have posted it to correct typos of delete parts of the post that don't sound/read right or for whatever reasons you don't want in your post.
Just use the edit or delete buttons on the left side under your post.
 
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paul1598419

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Welcome to the LPF. That is the longest intro post I remember seeing. Good luck to you.
 

hwang21

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Mar 27, 2013
Messages
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Points
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Welcome Snecho! Since I started in the laser hobby in a pretty similar fashion to you, I shall contribute a bit of my own story, including some historical info on WL, and a few suggestions. Long post incoming:

My name is Hanway and I am also from Earth, Milky Way Galaxy (USA). I am 23 years old. I am also an Engineer ๐Ÿบ

My first laser was a 1mW 650nm keychain pointer with four interchangable caps for crosshair, line, cross, etc. patterns for presentations. It was from Taiwan, and although it probably cost $5 when new, it was quite reliable. My parents just had it lying around, so 6th grade me would borrow it and shine it around, as any kid does. Of course, it really was quite a boring laser. It ran on 3x LR44 batteries, which as you can imagine, was not the easiest battery type for a 6th grader to come across. What I really desired was a green laser that used AAA or AA batteries, something way more flashy and more accessible, that all around badass cool factor that every middle schooler wants.

Come 7th grade, I was fascinated with science. Electricity, magnetism, optics, they blew my mind. I quickly became obsessed with a website called ThinkGeek. I could get BuckyBalls (small spherical neodymium magnets that you can make some interesting 3D shapes with), basic electronics/breadboard kits, cool music activated shirts, and a "Wicked Lasers Evolution Pro 532nm 20mW". A green laser, class IIIb 20mW output power, surely brighter than any other laser around? Man it was my dream. I read the entire product page over and over, just fantasizing about how awesome that laser was. I window shopped that laser to the max. Even the yellow laser radiation warning label was cool. Unfortunately, at the time, that Evo Pro cost $130 + tax & shipping, way out of reach for a 7th grader (and actually, I would come to learn that that was a pretty fair price at the time!). Eventually, with enough pestering, my parents bought it for me, and I was the happiest kid in the world.

Guess what? What I got was a perfectly anodized black laser with a white etched "Wicked Lasers" logo on it. Square cut threads with just a hint of grease on them, both endcap and lenscap, for completely smooth, silent threading. A red hue on that lenscap, AR coated. An inner IR filter lens. A well-constructed black cardboard box with a magnetic hinge. A full-color glossy user manual. Even a LPM graph, which showed a peak output power of 64mW and an average output power of 53mW over 60 seconds. I was just blown away by the quality. This was surely $130 well spent! (I would later learn that the beam specs were quite tight too, I could pop black balloons and melt through black trash bags. I would guess it had a 1.2-1.5mm beam diameter @ aperature, <1.2mRad divergence. Really quite impressive). The Evo Pro instantly became my companion. I brought this laser everywhere with me. I was also a Boy Scout, so I brought it on all of my camping trips and it prompted night hikes for some astronomy. It was amazing how bright the beam was at night! A crisp, thin line, a UFO green stretching across the sky, penetrating deep into space. Man I loved that laser.

Alas, over the next few years, I eventually dropped the laser once. It chipped the anodizing, roughened up the metal with a good nick. I accidentally scratched the AR-coated outer lens at some point, probably from some sand after a beach trip. The inner lens eventually got condensation/moisture in it, and I was too afraid to try to clean it out of fear of scratching the inner lens. The perfectly spherical dot on the wall became something more like a diffuse blob with a nice big slash through it and fuzz all around it. And, it simply stopped being as impressive once I had owned it for awhile. Still a pretty green light though! During this time, I was aggressively learning as much as I could about lasers, and I learned all about laser safety, including the fact that 50mW entering my eye could do permanent damage. I picked up WL LaserShades for $20, and started asking all sorts of questions about lasers to the team at WL, at the time a huge company of 7 people. I learned about DPSS lasers vs. diode lasers. I understood the difference between LED's and laser diodes, and how they are current-hungry and how heat kills them. How stimulated emission works, and why population inversion is important. All sorts of semiconductor/laser physics, dumbed down but also not. Just enough to stimulate a budding engineer's mind :p

At this point, getting all situated into high school, I wanted something more impressive, more unique. I wanted a color besides red or green. But, Blu-ray was still a fairly new thing at the time. WL had the Sonar, a hand-polished gunmetal host holding a Sony Blu-ray 12X laser diode at 100mW (I remember it used to cost $2,000 for 20mW in 06-07, but had come down in price when I was seriously considering buying it. I forget how much it cost then). I was saving up all my cash for it, even ended up sending my beloved Evo Pro back to WL on a sort of upgrade type of deal, since I knew everyone at WL (as much as "knowing" Internet people can get) at this point, even talking to Steve Liu, the CEO at Wicked Lasers, on a regular basis. I even helped them revamp and really market an affiliate program, and helped WL get new customers through my affiliate link. I basically became a dealer for WL, and although I really wanted a flagship WL laser, I felt that I was in good company knowing all of the WL team. Then, the Wicked Lasers Arctic became a thing.

I still remember the day WL announced it, seeing it on their website. They had hinted to me that something big was about to be released, but refused to give me any details. Then I saw it on my own screen: $197.97 for a 1W 445nm laser in the wickedly cool Spyder III host. No way. That was incredible pricing! There was nothing even close to that power level for any price in any color (at least in handheld form that wasn't an Opto RPL). Think about that for a second. It was unbelievable. 15-30mW of 473nm in WL's Spyder II was $2000 (TEM03!), but 1000mW of 445nm was $200?? Black magic, but shut up and take my money! I changed my order to the Arctic that day. The WL team said OK, but since it was this strange upgrade/we're friends type of deal, they would de-prioritize my order just in case. I easily agreed. Looking back, maybe I shouldn't have, because my Arctic showed up at my door a good 2 years later lmao.

I watched WL get flooded with orders. I don't think I can publish their sales numbers, but I did see them, and I tried to help them, but I knew they screwed up big time by keeping their website up and online through it all. They got more orders in the first two weeks of the Arctic's release than they normally got in a year. WL realized their mistake, and quickly made the Arctic $299.95 to try and slow down sales, later bringing it "Out of Stock" for stretches at a time, sometimes weeks at a time. But by that point, it was too late to catch up. I'll just say that they went from a build-to-order company living in a small office space in some building in Hong Kong to a mass-production warehouse type of company headquartered in that same office space. I remember watching them convert their desks where they used to order each part individually for each laser order they received into makeshift stands to help burn-in testing of their Arctics 20 at a time, straight up shining them full power at the walls and then swapping them out for the next batch every hour. I watched them learn the hard way how an assembly line works, from the guy who installs the laser module to the guy who attaches the host parts to the guy who installs the SmartSwitch to finally the guy that screwed on the 100% full power lenscap on the end. I watched them switch supplier after supplier, sacrificing their once excellent build quality to try and meet pent up demand - no supplier wanted to fill their intense demand for custom cut 6061-T6 hosts from blocks of Aluminum, mil-spec type III hard anodized black. As people started getting angry and eventually cancelling their Arctic orders, WL suddenly had to deal with the new administrative burden on top of their already crazily overworked staff. They tried to explain to their customers what was happening to them, but it just pushed even more of their customers to fear that they were being scammed and cancel their orders. WL realized that it was actually better to remain silent and get busy fulfilling orders than have someone sit at a desk typing the same response to a hundred angry customers every day. At least when there was no response, the customers would wait a few weeks before cancelling.

Eventually, over 2 years, WL bought a warehouse, streamlined their production process, more than tripled the number of employees in the company, I think quintupled their customer support team, and more or less caught up to demand. No easy feat for any company. Except, not only did the Arctic accidentally make them the most well-known laser company in the world (ever heard of any new ridiculous world-record claims since the Arctic? Like, the world's most powerful flashlight (the Torch), the world's most powerful laser that can be seen from space (the Arctic), the world's most powerful handheld laser according to Guinness World Records (the Spyder II GX)? I think not), there were now numerous reports of WL's, well, crappy quality control on their Arctic. Huge globs of thermal paste in the host, hastily assembled/loose parts, lenses, and hosts, anodizing that didn't cover all of the metal, you name it. When I had my Evo Pro, WL was a recommended company on this forum. Maybe not like JetLasers or Swanu, but certainly not a company to avoid. Now look at the forum's opinion. Personally, I gave up on this WL debate awhile ago, because honestly, their quality control has never gotten back to their pre-Arctic days, and their quality control nowadays is simply nothing worth noting. Sorry WL. All you need to do is take a look at the WL Dragon Case for proof.

Anyways, enough about WL. During this 2 year wait, I lost a bit of faith in laser companies. The WL team got too busy to really keep in touch with me, and I knew that referring other people to WL was only going to hurt them, not help them. In short, all the effort I spent on WL got lost in a tidal wave of orders. I simply stopped being important to them, so the same happened for them to me. I never cancelled my Arctic order, but I left WL to manage their Arctic fiasco on their own. Instead, I really diversified my laser interests and became a lot more interested in DIY. I became friends with lots of people on here, styropyro, DTR, daguin, cyparagon, bloompyle, crazyspaz, plenty of DIY'ers and many older folks who are more interested in gas lasers (it's rewarding to see that a good number of my old friends are still on here!) But I learned how to assemble my own lasers, how to press laser diodes into modules, how to choose appropriate drivers, and how to pick collimating lenses best suited to what I want, especially for diodes that have rectangular beams (fast axis and slow axis correction, anyone?). But really, the meat and bones I think of my laser hobby was getting to know how older laser systems work and how to maintain them. I delved into HeNe's, Argon ion lasers, Krypton ion lasers, even the fabled SSY1 Nd:YAG. As I grew close to graduating high school, messing around with these older and more complicated laser systems really opened my eyes to the engineering that goes into making lasers. They really are much, much cooler than handheld lasers :p building external resonator cavities, tuning HeNe gain lines, re-aligning coupler mirrors, even just trying to revive an Argon ion laser by blasting chunks off the starter all night long hoping it would finally strike and hang on to its pretty 488nm line the next morning with some help from an Oudin/Tesla coil - this is really where lasers get fascinating. How about building your own spectrophotometer once you have all those precisely known gas laser wavelengths? A CD/prism, a CCD, and some math (ok, a lot of math) is all you need. The sky is really the limit once you get this "deep" into lasers. Laser diodes have simplified laser systems by so much, it is really neat how technology has made these once complex systems into a simple diode+driver circuit, nice and portable. But some of the novelty is gone, and as an engineer, the more complexity, the more fun it is to dive into, right?

As I graduated high school and went off to college, I sold most of my lasers and equipment in order to buy a car. This started my next wallet-draining hobby, and I ended up taking a break from lasers for awhile. But now, I'm thinking about easing back into this hobby a bit. You wouldn't believe how much prices have changed, and when I left, laser diodes existed in 405nm, 445nm, 635nm, 650nm, 780nm, and 808nm. 635nm was the new thing in town! When I first got into lasers, $130 for 20mW of 532nm was fair. When I took a break from lasers, $100 for 100mW of 532nm was fair. Now, wtf lmao

Side note: when WL finally did ship my Arctic, it actually wasn't bad at all, unless you're looking at power output. It did ~650mW. Pathetic for an A140/M140. I'm not sure if they were going for longevity of the diode? Truly continuous duty cycle? Either way, the rest of the laser was fine. I didn't notice anything awful with the build. The external packaging seemed a bit hasty, and they had switched the lubricant on the threads to this graphite-looking gritty paste. I also noticed that they had anodized the regular-cut threads, so it was a bit less smooth threading in and out. But, the Arctic came with free Expanded Lens Kit I (discontinued by that time) and II and a note of apology for taking so long (heh). So, a lukewarm order received, 2 years later. I could immediately tell the drop in build quality, it felt like a mass-produced laser. Honestly, I was more impressed that they actually remembered my order, given my unusual circumstances on my order itself. So imagine my surprise when, a couple days later, I received another package from WL. Curious, I opened it to find a handwritten note from Steve apologizing for all that had happened, and for sticking with WL and not cancelling my order for a refund. For supporting them and helping them grow all those years ago, I found in my possession an original WL Evolution Pro host, modified to house a 5mW 593.5nm module. TEM00, 1.6mm beam diameter, 0.8mRad divergence. It was a prototype Evo Pro, never released to the public.

Now, to address a few of your questions in your post, since it seems no one else has:

My recommendation for a "Laser for Show" is a DPSS laser. Since DPSS relies on crystal properties rather than a diode for the final wavelength, the beam spec of a DPSS laser is easy to get practically perfect. TEM00, tiny beam diameter, tight beam divergence. Only a DPSS laser will get you that, good luck with a diode laser. If you want to get flashy, go for 473nm or 593.5nm. However, Optotronics makes the most impressive pen-styled green laser I have ever owned, with some of the tightest beam specs and a rather affordable price. See this link: https://optotronics.com/green-laser-pointers.php If you're interested in purchasing one, have a chat with Jack, the owner over at Opto about what you want. He will do his best to get you what you are looking for! I believe he has an account on here too

As far as lasers for burning goes, I would build one. Get in touch with DTR, he's on here all the time. Check out his store page here: https://sites.google.com/site/dtrlpf/home The current all out burner diode is the 7W NUBM44-V2, but please, do yourself a favor and know what you're getting into with high power. Looking at the *dot* on the wall will give you permanent eye damage! Eagle Pair is a necessity at this power level. At a bare minimum OD 3, preferably OD 4+. Also, keep in mind that laser goggles are meant to protect you from *accidental* exposure, A.K.A. you would blink to protect your eyes too. That happens in about 0.25 seconds, and where do you think 7W of laser energy is being dissipated? You WILL melt a hole straight through your goggles (and vaporize your retina) if you "stare into the beam". With that aside, it is really exciting to build your first laser! I am sure if you post about your build plans, people will chime in to give you ideas and help you out ๐Ÿบ

Did I one-up the long post yet? :ROFLMAO:
 

Snecho

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Messages
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3
Welcome to the forum. :)
I think you take the prize for the longest intro post Iโ€™ve ever seen on this forum. I understand your last points. We are a friendly bunch however weโ€™ve seen a lot of troll and spam activity. So we are immediately on guard. Just bare that in mind. Enjoy your stay
Thank you! Yeah, I realize it may seem absurd and over the top but after reading the stickies, it looked like members really appreciated welcome intros so I just layed it all out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I completely understand people tend to be on guard unfortunately because of idiots that join to troll and be rude and that just ruins it for everyone else. ๐Ÿ™
Welcome :)
;):(Yes some members tend to be aggressive and come across on the strong side unfortunately..
The issue with wanting a location is not a moderator wanting your IP for hacking reasons, "they are chosen because of great years of service here" and yes they maby do a IP check once in a while to see if a new member is a previously banned member which I think has already posted on your intro??:unsure:. but your location helps to steer you the right way if you have any questions...
Different country's have different laser laws... All you have to say is that your in the US and that's plenty..
Thanks!

Hey, I did put in my location. Earth, Milky Way Galaxy (wink, wink)๐Ÿ˜‰ I'm sure if I ever end up needing it, I can search for galactic trade laws for imports to this planet. ๐Ÿ™‚
Welcome to LPF, Snecho! :)

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your stay.

Glad to see that you have some "Eagle Pair" safety glasses on the way.
May I also recommend "Jetlasers" as an extremely high quality company to keep in mind when searching for your next laser.
Hey Bowtie! Yes, after much reading on the seriousness of the danger higher powered lasers bring, I'm definately going to need one of those.

Yes I know Jetlasers too. ๐Ÿ™‚Them and Sanwu look like the top choices when going with something high quality and they are probably my favorites.
Welcome to the LPF. That is the longest intro post I remember seeing. Good luck to you.
Thank you Paul! Yeah, like I said, I figured I'd lay it all out there to those who wanted to know a little bit about me.


Sorry guys, I meant to post this earlier, but my computer has been having an absolute fit the past few days.
 
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Snecho

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Oct 2, 2019
Messages
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Points
3
Welcome Snecho! Since I started in the laser hobby in a pretty similar fashion to you, I shall contribute a bit of my own story, including some historical info on WL, and a few suggestions. Long post incoming...
Sorry for the double post but I felt like I should address this separately.


Thank you for sharing your story Hanway! Your experience with WL made me speechless. I can't believe you actually knew their entire team personally. Amazing. I really am quite envious of it. Can I ask? I don't know all the release dates and the timelines, but back then when you were looking at their Sonar because that was your next big dream, did you forget about the Spyder II BX? Or was it not out yet or something? Also, you say you "watched" various things happen to them like growing their business and getting overwhelmed with orders. You mean you actually worked for them at some point? ๐Ÿ˜ฒ Again, it's incredible you actually knew them and they knew you and you actually became part of the company basically. I'd love to chat up your ear sometime about Wicked Lasers.
 
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hwang21

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Joined
Mar 27, 2013
Messages
2,357
Points
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Haha no, I drooled all over the Spyder II series, GX, BX, and RX. But the Spyder II's were way outside my wallet range, and the Spyder III's had just come out too, even farther out of budget. I think the Spyder III series started at $3499. Honestly, I just wanted something besides red or green haha. The Sonar was the way to go, since Blu-ray really got popular in mainstream media in 2009, which made it relatively easy to harvest the 405nm diodes from Blu-ray drives. That drove down the price of 405nm lasers drastically. I don't even remember how much the Sonar was then, sometime in 2010, but it was definitely $$$ not $$$$. For reference, the Arctic was released on June 10th, 2010. I believe the Spyder III series first came out around a year before that, sometime in 2009. The Spyder II was 2007, and the Spyder I, 2006. The Sonar was first released in 2006 as a pulsed multimode 20mW laser, well before Blu-ray hit the market. By 2010, it was CW, TEM00, and 100mW in a pen-styled host.

And more or less, that is correct. I never formally received compensation from WL, besides discounts on their stuff I guess lol. But I had access to "the other side", I helped them fulfill orders, I responded to customer service emails, etc. I never had hours or anything like that, but hey, if I'm chatting with the WL team for hours anyways, I might as well help them clear their workload. It was all in the name of Internet Friendship! Haha

And yea, I think my position with WL is pretty rare, if not unique. I don't think anyone else on this forum knows about my story, either. Anyone who said anything good about WL in those days would've either been seen as a troll or a raving madman. So I just let it be, but some forum members did notice my extensive knowledge about WL when the topic came up that didn't start with "WL SUCKS". My sig is the way it is for a reason :cool:
 

BowtieGuy

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The Sonar was the way to go, since Blu-ray really got popular in mainstream media in 2009, which made it relatively easy to harvest the 405nm diodes from Blu-ray drives. That drove down the price of 405nm lasers drastically.
I agree, hwang21, I've got one of those Sonar 405's in white, and it's still one of my nicer looking lasers. :)
 

Snecho

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Oct 2, 2019
Messages
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Haha no, I drooled all over the Spyder II series, GX, BX, and RX. But the Spyder II's were way outside my wallet range, and the Spyder III's had just come out too, even farther out of budget. I think the Spyder III series started at $3499. Honestly, I just wanted something besides red or green haha. The Sonar was the way to go, since Blu-ray really got popular in mainstream media in 2009, which made it relatively easy to harvest the 405nm diodes from Blu-ray drives. That drove down the price of 405nm lasers drastically. I don't even remember how much the Sonar was then, sometime in 2010, but it was definitely $$$ not $$$$. For reference, the Arctic was released on June 10th, 2010. I believe the Spyder III series first came out around a year before that, sometime in 2009. The Spyder II was 2007, and the Spyder I, 2006. The Sonar was first released in 2006 as a pulsed multimode 20mW laser, well before Blu-ray hit the market. By 2010, it was CW, TEM00, and 100mW in a pen-styled host.

And more or less, that is correct. I never formally received compensation from WL, besides discounts on their stuff I guess lol. But I had access to "the other side", I helped them fulfill orders, I responded to customer service emails, etc. I never had hours or anything like that, but hey, if I'm chatting with the WL team for hours anyways, I might as well help them clear their workload. It was all in the name of Internet Friendship! Haha

And yea, I think my position with WL is pretty rare, if not unique. I don't think anyone else on this forum knows about my story, either. Anyone who said anything good about WL in those days would've either been seen as a troll or a raving madman. So I just let it be, but some forum members did notice my extensive knowledge about WL when the topic came up that didn't start with "WL SUCKS". My sig is the way it is for a reason :cool:
You are a god among men. Your relationship with them is flippin incredible.
Are any of them still there since they changed management?
What did you mean by your signature?
I must ask, why would you sell your custom ultra rare Yellow Evolution Pro?? The story of getting it in the mail all those years later with a thank you for sticking with them and being there to help was legendary! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
 

hwang21

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Messages
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Points
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They didn't change management as much as they just tried to hire people like crazy. As far as I know, most of them are still there

With regards to my sig, perhaps I'm a bit outdated now. Does anyone even know/remember who Trevor is? Haha

I didn't want to sell any of my lasers really, but money is money. As unique as the 593.5nm Evo Pro was, it was still a 5mW 593.5nm pointer. Had I not sold it, I would have gotten maybe 1/3 of what I did now, and as you may have noticed, not a lot of people remember/are aware of WL back when they made some quality stuff, and so demand for WL products is nonexistent on here. In addition, I feel a bit guilty (and a bit irresponsible for higher powered lasers) selling WL products on eBay for stupidly high prices. Not to mention, the guy I sold it to (Dennis, goes by smeerworst on here) is a bit of a WL fanatic and collector, and took much better care of my WL products than I ever did :p https://laserpointerforums.com/threads/just-got-my-wicked-laser-krypton-520nm.94563/#post-1372674
 




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