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build or buy?

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hi, ive never built a laser or put one together, and ive only owned 1 5mw ebay laser.
im thinking of building one with lasery parts on ebay, ill have a list at the bottom of the parts. second option is to buy a laser host and install a high power laser into it(not much fun) or just buy a laser from wickedlasers (E3 Elite Lunar).

parts list:
Project box
Laser module will be upgraded with better diode
laser diode driver
Heatsink and holder (will add a fan to the box for better heat distribution)
bettery holder (using 3 batteries with jumper wire accross the 4th unless the driver needs power)
1 toggle switch for constant power and 1 push to make for quick on off power


could people please advise me how hard it would be to build and if i would need any parts.
ive got a reasonable knoledge of standard electronic components and experience soldering :)

thanks
matt
 

aryntha

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If you've got a reasonabel knowledge of components and soldering experience, it shouldn't be too tough for you at all, really. Did you have a driver in mind, and, on that, what wavelength/color were you looking at?
 

billg519

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Since you can solder, and have some electronic experience, you could probably build your own. It sounds like you would want to start with a labby, this is a good choice. There is more room in a labby build, so it is easier as a first project. To start out cheap, in case of problems, try an LPC-815 red build, or a PHR-803T violet build. Both of these will produce a visible beam that can burn, cut tape, and pop balloons. The easiest driver to build is the linear driver known here as the DDL or Daedal driver. This is based on the LM317 and is cheap to build, as at minimum, you only need the LM317 and one resistor to make it work. To power the red, two lithium cells will do, for the violet, 3 lithium cells are needed. When you have a successful build or two done, you could try a handheld from one of the kits available here on the forum. You could also move up to GGW's, 12x's, and the 445nm blue diodes. Before starting any project, read like mad on this forum. There is tons of build info in the old postings, you can spend weeks going over all the info here. Best of luck, and post pics of your build.
 
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Styropyro has a really good video guide on putting lasers together. You just have to decide the output current using a multimeter, and decide what diode you want.

 
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Well, if you wanna build, there plenty of build kits Jayrob does and he does the driver settings for you, 'Hot' option.

and he has plenty of other options that come with his kits.
 

Morgan

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Try this link to help you decide - http://laserpointerforums.com/f51/i-want-build-laser-thread-52972.html

If you find it any use, then it may help others too if you link it in your sig.

I would urge the self build route. It really isn't too difficultto get a nice reliable working laser, (especially if you can already solder!). It might not look too pretty but then you just need to get creative!

Enjoy, go build... Then post a thread showing your build... Then build something else... Then post that... Then go build again... Post that too.........


You get the picture... :tinfoil:;)

M
:)
 
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thanks all for the quick replies:)
the main problems im looking at is how to put it all together and ive not done it before

just so you all know the l;ist in my first post are hyperlinks to the components im looking at,

i am going to be making a labby first :) thanks for the suggestion billg, itll be a project box with the batteries at the back, module wherever itll go, the module mounted in a heatsink/holder to keep it in place, and ill probably have a fan put in at some point when i upgrade it to a better diode.

the laser is red btw

could anybody tell me if id need any more components and if there are better options for the same sort of price range :)

thanks again for the replies!
 

Ash

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quick question, is there a driver in this module or will i need the one in the hyperlinks in first post

5mW Focusing Red Laser Diode Module V2 (OFL59) on eBay (end time 02-Aug-10 07:14:54 BST)
In the description it says:
-Can be disassembled and the diode -driver assembly removed to give a low-cost housing for laser experiments and high power burning diodes.

So, it looks like the "module" comes with a driver in it. But if it's only a 5mW red, it may not be a current-adjustable driver. So, if you want to use it, it probably won't put out more than 5-20mA, and that is very low for a DIY laser (you want a driver at about ~100mW).
 

Morgan

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Ok matt,

The only suggestions I have for change are the module and batteries.

Odicforce also sells Aixiz modules. There is nothing wrong with the one you've chosen but Aixiz are more often used and you can also get different lenses that will fit them, (I completely expect they will fit in the module you have also though). It is perhaps sensible to have a look at a cheap working module like this but I would get an Aixiz as well for your final build with a better diode.

[EDIT: Ash is right. There is a driver in the module but you won't be able to use it on a higher power diode. For interest, have a look at the LPC-815 diode and OFL-158 driver. That's the most power red you could get out of the module and heatsink/clamp you quote there. It will burn well, have a visible beam, cut tape... etc.]

FYI - I don't think the driver will fit inside the module whichever one you buy but there are others available from members here. They are more expensive so you may want to save that for your next project as you are not limited for room inside your project box.

The heatsink/clamp should be fine for anything up to an LOC diode not being driven quite to maximum. I have one and they do fine.

I would look at getting some rechargeable batteries for your projects. You will probably be moving over to these fairly soon anyway if you get hooked on this stuff, which is all too easy, and getting them now will save you space, time and give the experience now. AA's can get expensive when you're burning through them powering lasers!

That's about it. Odicforce is run by a nice guy, Jon, and also has a webstore not on ebay so prices might be cheaper there too. Are you in the UK?

M
:)
 
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thanks for the replies :)

yeah im in the uk :)

ill have a look at the aixiz modules, and the diode and driver you suggested when im looking to upgrade the laser :)

thanks for all the suggestions:)

im not sure how to wire up a driver just yet but ill jhave a look into it when upgrading:)

will this project run ok on 4.5v? the laser is between 3.5 - 5 but when i upgrade would a different driver require any power?

thanks
 

Morgan

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Odicforce is about the only hobbyist supplier over here.

Yes, that 5mW module will be fine on 4.5V but, if you have a look at the requirements of the other drivers, (I've just had a look and I couldn't find the OFL-158 sold seperately. Only with a kit. Maybe the OFL-176?), on odicforce.com, they generally state 5V. This is another reason to look at the rechargeable option. 2 x rechargeable CR2 rated at 3.0V will provide plenty for a good run time and only take up about the same space as a single AA.

So, to get your project up and running, you only need to buy the 5mW module. You do not need a driver as it is supplied. When you come to upgrade, ask Jon if he has a driver to fit inside the module. This is just so much more convenient. There is one that is 9x18mm. If you upgrade then instructions for connection are supplied. If you get stuck then ask. Someone will help you out.

M
:)
 
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It depends on if it has a driver already or not. for example, a PHR diode needs 5 volts to run, but 7-9 volts is recommended with an rkcstr driver, because the driver steals some voltage. But if the module requirement is 3.5-5v that's a good idea.

Another thing, be careful with buying your CR2's. There's the "3v" batteries which are actually 3.6v, and the "3.7v" batteries, which are actually 4.2v...
 

Morgan

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hi morgan, if i buy 2 cr2 rechargeables for my 3.5-5v laser should i put a resistor in there to drop it to 4.5?
That's a good point. I hadn't thought of that. As randomlugia says, even though stated voltage is 3.0V, these lithium batteries always charge to higher, (I don't know why they are labelled this way either!). I guess for the short time that 5mW will satisfy you ;) then using 3 AA's or whatever won't hit your pocket too much. As the power is so low you'll get a useful run time too. When you upgrade is the time I think you will NEED to consider alternative power sources, IMO. At that point, and when you're bored with 5mW and want to exchange the diode anyway, you can test it with fully charged CR2s, (whichever you go for), as it won't matter if you kill either the diode or driver for the sake of experimental research! :D

It does say this in the specs however:

OFL59 - 5mW Focusing Laser Module 650nm, V2

  • A 3.5-5V focusing module rated at 5mW,
  • Similar to our OFL6 module but made by another manufacturer, this module has a smaller case (the front and rear parts are 1mm shorter) - good for modding with blu-ray diodes.
  • The actual measured output of this module is about 5mW from a 6V lantern battery (max voltage).
  • Can be disassembled and the diode -driver assembly removed to give a low-cost housing for laser experiments and high power burning diodes.
  • Good for modding with blu-ray diodes because it allows a closer focus needed for 405nm blu-ray light.
  • 12 x 32mm long

So I think it may survive but it would be risky. Linear drivers usually dissipate extra voltage as heat but who knows how much this driver can handle, right?

Dropping voltage can be done with a 1N40xx diode, (I think that's the number), in series with a power source. There's a few threads explaining this.

I hope that's a bit more helpful.

M
:)
 
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thanks all for the replys! i think ill be able to build my laser when the money im transfering into my paypal gets through, im going on holiday the day after its due to get in so ill order them when i get back and let you all know how it comes along:)

thanks again!
 




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