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Classes of Lasers

Hap

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Hello,

I asked a few members before writing this thread and they agreed making a thread explaining the different Classes of Lasers would be good for new members who join LPF or just for anyone who needs a refresh :) Maybe even make this a sticky?

Hint: If you would like anything fixed/adjusted just tell me and I will gladly fix it. I created this to familiarize others and to make lasers safer to use! I also did not include the rule "Do not point at aircraft since everybody should know that :beer:

Anyway, here goes.

Class 1
Class 1: "A class 1 laser is safe under all conditions of normal use".
Skin Damage: None
Eye Damage: None
Blink Reflex: N/A
Outputs: Not Specified
These lasers are the safest out of the multiple classes, what makes these the safest is the fact that these lasers are in an enclosed area with no possible way to view the laser under normal operation, such as a DVD drive.


Class 1M
Class 1M: "A Class 1M laser is safe for all conditions of use except when passed through magnifying optics such as microscopes and telescopes"
Skin Damage: None
Eye Damage: Low
Blink Reflex: Safe
Outputs: <1mW
These lasers pose little/no risk to either the skin/eye, the only know hazard to the eye is caused if stared at deliberately for a period of time(A couple minutes). basically a "class 2" version of a class 1.

Class 2
Class 2: "A Class 2 laser is safe because the blink reflex will limit the exposure to no more than 0.25 seconds"
Skin Damage: None
Eye Damage: Low (1000 seconds or more direct viewing)
Blink Reflex: Safe
Outputs: <1mW by emission
This class of lasers is basically the same as 1M but exposed. This class limits the maximum output to under 1mW of continuous wave, which again will only cause eye damage if stared at for a continuous period of time. Some presentation Pointers/School slideshow viewers are in this class, as well as most workplace lasers, such as bar-code scanners.

Class 2M
Class 2M: "A Class 2M laser is safe because of the blink reflex if not viewed through optical instruments"
Skin Damage: None
Eye Damage: Low
Blink Reflex: Safe(If not viewed with optical instruments)
Outputs: <5mW by emission
These lasers(even though still at low power outputs <5mW) must be handled with care if viewed with optical instruments, if hit directly in the eye the blink reflex will not save you, and although minimal and unnoticible damage is seen, damage will have occured.

Class 3R
Class 3R: "A Class 3R laser is considered safe if handled carefully, with restricted beam viewing:
Skin Damage: None
Eye Damage: Medium
Blink Reflex: Safe(If not viewed for continuous period of time)
Outputs: 1mW-4.9mW by emission
Class 3R lasers are lasers with output of no more then 5mW, these lasers are most commonly seen in Laser Pointers(Not the Ebay ones since those are over-spec :shhh:). These lasers if taken a direct hit the blink reflex will still save you, so these will not cause any damage. But if stared at for longer then 0.25 seconds damage (Even though not noticeable) will have occured!
Starting from this class! Lasers should be treated with care and maturity, please use safety glasses and do not point these into anyones eyes!

Class 3B
Class 3B: " A Class 3B laser is hazardous if the eye is exposed directly, but diffuse reflections such as from paper or other matte surfaces are not harmful"
Skin Damage: Low-Medium if prolonged exposure
Eye Damage: High
Blink Reflex: Nope, not going to help
Outputs: 5mW-499mW by emission
These Class 3B lasers are DANGEROUS, these are medium powered lasers that will instantly cause eye damage from direct viewing and will cause stinging on the skin if left on for a few seconds. These Lasers are generally considered SLA lasers (surveying/leveling/alignment). These lasers must be treated with care and never pointed at a person or occupied vehicle. they come in a variety of formats, from handheld to lab lasers and generally should be used by professionals only. Safety glasses are a must.

Class 4
Class 4: "Class 4 lasers include all lasers with beam power greater than class 3B. In addition to posing significant eye hazards, potentially devastating and permanent eye damage as a result of direct beam viewing will occur"
Skin Damage: High
Eye Damage: Eye Damage: Extreme/Instant
Blink Reflex: Nope, forget about that
Outputs:>500mW by emission
Class 4 lasers are the most dangerous type of lasers, these will instantly cause permanent eye damage and will cause skin damage in seconds. These lasers are available in Pointers/Medical/Military forms. SAFETY GLASSES are a must when using these and must only be used in enclosed areas where accidental beam viewing will not occur.

Extra: There might be some flaws here and there, but I thought a thread like this could be good. I looked around and did not see any thread like this.

Thank you for reading!

Extra:

Sources:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_safety
- http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Phys_Laser_Safety.shtml
 
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Tmack

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Lol mediocre eye damage. Cool idea. I'm sure the guys will tell you what to correct very fast........anddd Here they come..............lol jk guys
 
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Hap

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Haha, got it.

I accept the criticism :)
 

NO4H99

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Nice. Might want to mention how if a higher class laser is completely enclosed in a device (not removeable or able to hit the user, etc.) it will be rated as a lower class than otherwise.
 
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Great tool! +1 for helpful and the funny little remarks. Edit: the forum, she tells me to spread rep. Maybe later :)
 
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You should list sources used and and have more than just wiki. Good rule of thumb, always back a source with another. This goes with research as well.
 

NO4H99

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^^^Then just list that as your source. :D

Also, if credit is not given (or exact quotes set off with quotation marks) it can be construed as plagiarism - So just add the references please.

If all the info is directly from the FDA website (not wiki), no other sources are needed.
 
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Don't tell me! List your sources! Wiki and FDA? I guess they back each other but might as well find a couple others.
 




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