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CNI no longer exporting >5mW?

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Pro-tip: The FDA monitors this forum.

So perhaps we should limit the talk of using international members to supersede the FDA efforts to ban ILLEGAL lasers from making it into the states.

However, that said, this is a big bump in the road. As mentioned, it will make it very hard to get 589, 594, 561, and 671. Even 473 will be less available from reliable sources.
 



IsaacT

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I have always been more of a build it guy than a buy it guy, so while it will be difficult to get my hands on rare wavelengths now I will still do what I have been doing. I will miss transplanting DPSS modules into custom hosts though. That is honestly one of my favorite types of projects.

I have been looking recently at the Dragonlasers 589nm lasers. A 50mW would be nice, and hopefully less prone to degradation. Still hella expensive though.
 

xirrious

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Best advice I've heard in a while +rep for that man seriously that single short post contributed more the. All the other combined.
 
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Jmillerdoc

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Pro-tip: The FDA monitors this forum.......
Do we have evidence of this or is this just an educated guess? The FDA has much bigger fish they need to fry than to monitor this forum. Makes me resent paying taxes all the more. They should put all their resources into something that would actually make a difference. You know, like protecting the public from bad food and drugs like their name implies. Although there are many more ridiculous efforts Uncle Sam wastes our money on "protecting us", this would be one of the top 1,000,000. That puts it really high on their list. I really doubt they would learn something useful here "monitoring" us. It's not like we're coming up with really new and innovative ways to circumvent their efforts.

Has anyone ever done any real research into what the law actually says about importing, owning, building, or otherwise having control of a regulated beam of photons? Is there a prescribed fine or an actual penal code outlining what is against any law? I have lawyers that I consult with in the medical technology R&D industry. Some of the designs we have come up with require FDA approval. Depending on the extent a person's life or well being will be affected by the device determines the class of device, much like the IIIb class of lasers are considered super dangerous a pacemaker's design is super critical to your health. A new external ankle brace design, however, falls much lower on the scale. We have to work within their regulations and approval processes and although I am not clear on how this applies exactly to civil and criminal legal codes I'm aware that not getting approval for a device and manufacturing and selling it can end you up behind bars and under heavy fines. I wonder if there are similar laws that apply to breaking the FDA's rules on lasers and if the degree of seriousness of the infraction relates to the class of laser. It would be good to know if or what law your actually being held accountable to.

I understand why the FDA is involved with the regulation of lasers, particularly in light of their various medical uses. Beyond regulating the use lasers for medical and other commercial uses where the public could be exposed to a manufacturers negligence I think the FDA's jurisdiction should not extend further. There comes a point where governmental regulation is no longer acting on the behalf of the public good and it becomes outright oppression of freedom. The argument does have some slippery slopes and pitfalls but in the end I think it's like owning a firearm. Rather than ban the firearm you ban and outlaw the dangerous use of the firearm. The same should be with lasers IMHO.
 

IsaacT

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you will want to check up on the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, a department within the FDA.

Laws we should read:
U.S. FDA/CDRH: 21 CFR 1040.10/11
  • .10 covers Standards, .11 covers types of Lasers
U.S.C. TITLE 18, CHAPTER 2
  • Sec 39A addresses pointing at airplanes

Thats about it for Federal Laws. Different states have different state laws. Mostly the state laws merely criminalize pointing lasers at Peace officers or police or emergency vehicles.

Illinois, on the other hand, has a lot of Laser related laws, one of which is the requirement that all Class IIIb and IV Lasers be registered.
The town of Ocean city in New Jersey bans the possession of Laser Pointers over 1mW.
Virginia Beach, VA has it a misdemeanor to aim a laser at a persons eyes.




Most of us will only need to really check out the Federal Laws however, as we wouldn't do any of those things anyway.


EDIT: Note, 21 CFR 1040.11/11 only cover completed laser products, not components designated for implementation into a product of your own design.

EDIT#2: Government definition of Laser Pointer:

(b) LASER POINTER DEFINED -- As used in this section, the term `laser pointer' means any device designed or used to amplify electromagnetic radiation by stimulated emission that emits a beam designed to be used by the operator as a pointer or highlighter to indicate, mark, or identify a specific position, place, item, or object.

EDIT#3: Good to know. Under U.S.C. Title 18, Section 2, 39A.

(c) EXCEPTIONS -- This section does not prohibit aiming a beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft, or the flight path of such an aircraft, by--
(3) by an individual using a laser emergency signaling device to send an emergency distress signal.

So if you get stranded you can use a laser to signal for help without fear of prosecution.
 
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IsaacT

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Sorry to double post but this needs its own post I think....

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 8]
[Revised as of April 1, 2013]
[CITE: 21CFR1040.11]
See Related Information on Specific purpose laser products. in CDRH databases



TITLE 21--FOOD AND DRUGS
CHAPTER I--FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SUBCHAPTER J--RADIOLOGICAL HEALTH
PART 1040 -- PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR LIGHT-EMITTING PRODUCTS

Sec. 1040.11 Specific purpose laser products.
(a)Medical laser products. Each medical laser product shall comply with all of the applicable requirements of 1040.10 for laser products of its class. In addition, the manufacturer shall:

(1) Incorporate in each Class III or IV medical laser product a means for the measurement of the level of that laser radiation intended for irradiation of the human body. Such means may have an error in measurement of no more than 20 percent when calibrated in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of this section. Indication of the measurement shall be in International System Units. The requirements of this paragraph do not apply to any laser radiation that is all of the following:

(i) Of a level less than the accessible limits of Class IIIa; and

(ii) Used for relative positioning of the human body; and

(iii) Not used for irradiation of the human eye for ophthalmic purposes.

(2) Supply with each Class III or IV medical laser product instructions specifying a procedure and schedule for calibration of the measurement system required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(3) Affix to each medical laser product, in close proximity to each aperture through which is emitted accessible laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits of Class I, a label bearing the wording: "Laser aperture."

(b)Surveying, leveling, and alignment laser products. Each surveying, leveling. or alignment laser product shall comply with all of the applicable requirements of 1040.10 for a Class I, IIa, II or IIIa laser product and shall not permit human access to laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits of Class IIIa.

(c)Demonstration laser products. Each demonstration laser product shall comply with all of the applicable requirements of 1040.10 for a Class I, IIa, II, or IIIa laser product and shall not permit human access to laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits of Class I and, if applicable, Class IIa, Class II, or Class IIIa.

[50 FR 33702, Aug. 20, 1985]
Considering our lasers are NOT medical lasers, we will fall under the regulations of either:
(b)Surveying, leveling, and alignment laser products, (or)
(c)Demonstration laser products.

The regulations for both clearly state that emissions are not to exceed the limits of Class I, IIa, II, or IIIa. For those unaware, IIIa is the highest class out of those and is limited to less than 5mW output. So as far as possession of laser products go, I think it is a very clear overstepping of bounds that we partake in. That being said, this is about "products", and it is not clear to me whether this covers any device made, purchased or otherwise obtained, or if it only covers devices being sold or purchased.

Official Class Ratings:

(5)Class I laser product means any laser product that does not permit access during the operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table I of paragraph (d) of this section.1

(6)Class IIa laser product means any laser product that permits human access during operation to levels of visible laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table I, but does not permit human access during operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table II-A of paragraph (d) of this section.2

(7)Class II laser product means any laser product that permits human access during operation to levels of visible laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table II-A, but does not permit human access during operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table II of paragraph (d) of this section.3

(8)Class IIIa laser product means any laser product that permits human access during operation to levels of visible laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table II, but does not permit human access during operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table III-A of paragraph (d) of this section.4

(9)Class IIIb laser product means any laser product that permits human access during operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits of table III-A, but does not permit human access during operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table III-B of paragraph (d) of this section.5

(10)Class III laser product means any Class IIIa or Class IIIb laser product.

(11)Class IV laser product means any laser that permits human access during operation to levels of laser radiation in excess of the accessible emission limits contained in table III-B of paragraph (d) of this section.6
EDIT: View the full CFR to see the tables the above quote mentions. 21 CFR 1040.10
 
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ixfd64

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Pro-tip: The FDA monitors this forum.

So perhaps we should limit the talk of using international members to supersede the FDA efforts to ban ILLEGAL lasers from making it into the states.
If that's the case, then does it mean group buys will also become a thing of the past?
 

Jmillerdoc

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I am aware of the regulation you posted. While they are codified they are not connected to any prescribed penalty that I have heard of. Not to say it doesn't exist. Its one thing to have a list of things an agency considers itself appointed to regulate (we could talk hours about this and how an executive can create a regulatory agency outside of the act of congress and use it to impose restrictions and sanctions without implementation through the means constitutionally prescribed) and quite another to have a set of legal sanctions connected to the regulations set forth. Again, it's one thing to say "I've been appointed by your king and thou shalt not own a laser or any device I declare regulated" and quite another thing to say " you shall not own a laser and if convicted of owning a laser you may be punished a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or incarceration for 2-10 years".

So I get that the FDA has taken great pains to describe what a laser is and the various arbitrary ratings by power output and they deem the under their regulation. But who's place is it to enforce these regulations, what jurisdiction has the authority to impose penalty, and what are the penalties?

I know some of you didn't like my drug analogy earlier, I'm certainly not endorsing them or glorifying them in any way. It's just something I tend to come face to face with everyday in my practice, and feeling a bit off color and having earlier taken care of a guy who tested positive for all three agents I referred to, I used them as examples. So please forgive me. You'll also have to forgive my use of another analogy here too. Colorado. In Colorado it's now legal to possess pot. It's a federal crime to possess it still, but not a state one. Who inside Colorado has the ability to arrest and persecute you for the federal law that's still on the books? I would say no state agent has the jurisdiction, only a federal agent could arrest you and a federal judge could prosecute you. So, unless a state has it's own prohibitions on the law books the only agent who could enforce an FDA regulation would be a federal one. I suppose a state agent may have sworn to uphold all the laws of the land and arrest you on federal charges but I don't know of any of my police friends running around arresting people for federal laws broken that are not duplicated somehow by the state law. What would be really interesting is if a state was fed up with the federal laws and felt like they were over stepping their boundaries, they created a state law directly in opposition to the federal law legalizing the owning, importing, and use of lasers of any kind. Like Colorado did with a drug Oklahoma could say "to hell with the Federal laws around lasers, were gonna legalize them and make laws saying they are legal". Maybe this is our only hope? Anyone living in a state that is particularly bristly against the Feds right now might rally support of state lawmakers and get some laws on the books sympathetic to our cause. Then you could email CNI and say "but I live in Arizona and it's legal here" and they would gladly sell you a laser. Sorry if I offended anyone from Arizona, it's just one of many states that came to mind when I think of a rebellious attitude towards the Feds. Maybe I should have used my own home state of Texas which will hopefully become it's own country some day.

I've rambled on too long now, time for bed....
 

IsaacT

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I called the FDA once to ask for clarification, but they were closed. I never called again. Might be worth recalling them just to get some hard facts.
 

Shakenawake

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my reading of the tenth amendment tells me that originally the feds had a limited job, pretty much just raising an army, and coining money. the rest of the laws I think it was intended that the states could decide for themselves, individually. If every state is responsible for every edict issued by the feds, then why the F*** have states any way? why not just say we are all one country, all responsible to policies formulated at the federal level?

If you ask me, virtually everything the feds do is overstepping their bounds as laid out in the 10th amendment. My impression is that what was intended for this nation was for every state to basically be it's own country, we just share a common army and money, but hey, WTF do I know

I don't see this stopping GBs. if the host lives outside the U.S. and all U.S. participants aknowledge the risk of siezure. It will be easy to flag packages from known complete-laser-vendors, but from a private citizen in another country?

IDK, just talking out loud
 
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steve001

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I am aware of the regulation you posted. While they are codified they are not connected to any prescribed penalty that I have heard of. Not to say it doesn't exist. Its one thing to have a list of things an agency considers itself appointed to regulate (we could talk hours about this and how an executive can create a regulatory agency outside of the act of congress and use it to impose restrictions and sanctions without implementation through the means constitutionally prescribed) and quite another to have a set of legal sanctions connected to the regulations set forth. Again, it's one thing to say "I've been appointed by your king and thou shalt not own a laser or any device I declare regulated" and quite another thing to say " you shall not own a laser and if convicted of owning a laser you may be punished a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or incarceration for 2-10 years".

So I get that the FDA has taken great pains to describe what a laser is and the various arbitrary ratings by power output and they deem the under their regulation. But who's place is it to enforce these regulations, what jurisdiction has the authority to impose penalty, and what are the penalties?

I know some of you didn't like my drug analogy earlier, I'm certainly not endorsing them or glorifying them in any way. It's just something I tend to come face to face with everyday in my practice, and feeling a bit off color and having earlier taken care of a guy who tested positive for all three agents I referred to, I used them as examples. So please forgive me. You'll also have to forgive my use of another analogy here too. Colorado. In Colorado it's now legal to possess pot. It's a federal crime to possess it still, but not a state one. Who inside Colorado has the ability to arrest and persecute you for the federal law that's still on the books? I would say no state agent has the jurisdiction, only a federal agent could arrest you and a federal judge could prosecute you. So, unless a state has it's own prohibitions on the law books the only agent who could enforce an FDA regulation would be a federal one. I suppose a state agent may have sworn to uphold all the laws of the land and arrest you on federal charges but I don't know of any of my police friends running around arresting people for federal laws broken that are not duplicated somehow by the state law. What would be really interesting is if a state was fed up with the federal laws and felt like they were over stepping their boundaries, they created a state law directly in opposition to the federal law legalizing the owning, importing, and use of lasers of any kind. Like Colorado did with a drug Oklahoma could say "to hell with the Federal laws around lasers, were gonna legalize them and make laws saying they are legal". Maybe this is our only hope? Anyone living in a state that is particularly bristly against the Feds right now might rally support of state lawmakers and get some laws on the books sympathetic to our cause. Then you could email CNI and say "but I live in Arizona and it's legal here" and they would gladly sell you a laser. Sorry if I offended anyone from Arizona, it's just one of many states that came to mind when I think of a rebellious attitude towards the Feds. Maybe I should have used my own home state of Texas which will hopefully become it's own country some day.

I've rambled on too long now, time for bed....
Putting your personal politics aside,the FDA does not have legal jurisdiction to prosecute anyone that imports a laser pointer exceeding 5mw. However there is a federal law that does make it illegal to import such a device. It is not illegal to own such a device though. Even if a state made it legal too do so, it still would not be legal to import and then there's the practical matter of getting it passed custom inspection
 
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steve001

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my reading of the tenth amendment tells me that originally the feds had a limited job, pretty much just raising an army, and coining money. the rest of the laws I think it was intended that the states could decide for themselves, individually. If every state is responsible for every edict issued by the feds, then why the F*** have states any way? why not just say we are all one country, all responsible to policies formulated at the federal level?

If you ask me, virtually everything the feds do is overstepping their bounds as laid out in the 10th amendment. My impression is that what was intended for this nation was for every state to basically be it's own country, we just share a common army and money, but hey, WTF do I know

I don't see this stopping GBs. if the host lives outside the U.S. and all U.S. participants aknowledge the risk of siezure. It will be easy to flag packages from known complete-laser-vendors, but from a private citizen in another country?

IDK, just talking out loud
Do you know what the risk of seizure is?
 

steve001

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Sorry to double post but this needs its own post I think....



Considering our lasers are NOT medical lasers, we will fall under the regulations of either:
(b)Surveying, leveling, and alignment laser products, (or)
(c)Demonstration laser products.

The regulations for both clearly state that emissions are not to exceed the limits of Class I, IIa, II, or IIIa. For those unaware, IIIa is the highest class out of those and is limited to less than 5mW output. So as far as possession of laser products go, I think it is a very clear overstepping of bounds that we partake in. That being said, this is about "products", and it is not clear to me whether this covers any device made, purchased or otherwise obtained, or if it only covers devices being sold or purchased.

Official Class Ratings:



EDIT: View the full CFR to see the tables the above quote mentions. 21 CFR 1040.10
It's actually easy to understand once the regulations are read a few times.
Handheld lasers over 5mw are legal to import if they meet all FDA requirements even if those devices can be used for pointing, amusement, but not promoted for such activity. Plug and play modules of the kind that fit into laser pointers over 5mw cannot be imported.
Laser Pointers over 5mw cannot be imported.
Building your own laser is legal.
 

steve001

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Do we have evidence of this or is this just an educated guess? The FDA has much bigger fish they need to fry than to monitor this forum. Makes me resent paying taxes all the more. They should put all their resources into something that would actually make a difference. You know, like protecting the public from bad food and drugs like their name implies. Although there are many more ridiculous efforts Uncle Sam wastes our money on "protecting us", this would be one of the top 1,000,000. That puts it really high on their list. I really doubt they would learn something useful here "monitoring" us. It's not like we're coming up with really new and innovative ways to circumvent their efforts.

Has anyone ever done any real research into what the law actually says about importing, owning, building, or otherwise having control of a regulated beam of photons? Is there a prescribed fine or an actual penal code outlining what is against any law? I have lawyers that I consult with in the medical technology R&D industry. Some of the designs we have come up with require FDA approval. Depending on the extent a person's life or well being will be affected by the device determines the class of device, much like the IIIb class of lasers are considered super dangerous a pacemaker's design is super critical to your health. A new external ankle brace design, however, falls much lower on the scale. We have to work within their regulations and approval processes and although I am not clear on how this applies exactly to civil and criminal legal codes I'm aware that not getting approval for a device and manufacturing and selling it can end you up behind bars and under heavy fines. I wonder if there are similar laws that apply to breaking the FDA's rules on lasers and if the degree of seriousness of the infraction relates to the class of laser. It would be good to know if or what law your actually being held accountable to.

I understand why the FDA is involved with the regulation of lasers, particularly in light of their various medical uses. Beyond regulating the use lasers for medical and other commercial uses where the public could be exposed to a manufacturers negligence I think the FDA's jurisdiction should not extend further. There comes a point where governmental regulation is no longer acting on the behalf of the public good and it becomes outright oppression of freedom. The argument does have some slippery slopes and pitfalls but in the end I think it's like owning a firearm. Rather than ban the firearm you ban and outlaw the dangerous use of the firearm. The same should be with lasers IMHO.
I posted this a year ago.
http://laserpointerforums.com/f53/you-never-know-who-s-watching-forum-81333.html
 
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I have always been more of a build it guy than a buy it guy, so while it will be difficult to get my hands on rare wavelengths now I will still do what I have been doing. I will miss transplanting DPSS modules into custom hosts though. That is honestly one of my favorite types of projects.

I have been looking recently at the Dragonlasers 589nm lasers. A 50mW would be nice, and hopefully less prone to degradation. Still hella expensive though.
I mostly agree with this.

With things like 405, 445, 638, etc. You can DIY something more powerful, and in a host that you want, for cheaper than buying direct from CNI or similar.

CNI has some other things that are better to just buy. I.E. 589, 594, 561, 671, and even 473 to an extent.

With Lasever falling off the deep end in quality, 473 will be harder to come by for a decent price.

Dragon Laser has also received a lot of flack. I've read of people getting greatly underspeced yellows from them.
 

LSRFAQ

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Pro Tip:

The CDRH sent a representative to China in the past few months to speak to and inspect certain manufacturers. One Chinese company proudly announced their successful inspection, which is how I know of this. Governments send low level representatives all around the world, all the time.

I'm willing to bet a diplomat was sent along to speak to the Chinese government about misuse of pointers. I'm sure its just as much a problem in China as it is in the western world. So connect the dots. I'm sure it is a much easier process to change the export rules in a Authoritarian state then in a Representative Republic.

Sales of Lab and Industrial lasers outweigh the sales of handhelds. Many Chinese laser companies were glad to take your Dollars and start their corporations and build their plants. The Chinese economy is starting to come up to par for their middle class. Domestic sales of pointers will thus be more profitable then international sales as the Renmimbi will be closer to the Dollar in value.

Anyways, now they no longer need the pointer sales. They would rather deal with industrial and domestic customers who will negotiate in person. Those persons will buy bulk.

I'm sure the negotiated tradeoff was simple.

I'm sure they will gladly thank pointer users for the easy, high yield, startup funds.

-------------------------

Pro Tip Two:

Products do get held at the US border. The Bigger the Box, or the more expensive the declaration, the more chance of inspection. While small products might slip through, a large box containing a scientific or industrial laser can easily get held in customs bond. The list of held products eventually gets on line, and most of you would be shocked at the number of expensive lasers that are placed on delivery hold. A corporate customer will not stand to have their product declared as a "Power Supply" or "Light Source". No US Corporation or University is going to allow a shipment to come in without a Harmonized Code Tariff. Corporate officers go to jail, fire staff, or loose their jobs over things like this. Stockholders insisted on compliance audits.

So they file the forms.

Two employers ago, I was the guy who guided purchasing in filling out the import forms.
I know very well what happens when you have six months of funding for students, staff, and professor, and you get the new laser three months late. You won't have time to get phase II of the funding in most cases, simply because the paperwork takes two more months. Again, careers are possibly ruined for not filing the form.

That means the standard for all importers (including hobbyists) becomes filing the form.

Again, that sort of big customer is far more important then the sales of a few handhelds. Which will end the desire to ship "samples" and "gifts". Customs agencies share data on imports/exports at the whim of their political leadership, by treaty. You can't outrun a Bar Code Gun.


-----------------------

Pro Tip Three:

There is import paperwork you can do if you want a device to come in. You get a few different choices, ranging from temporary, destroy when done, or pending certification etc.

If I'm buying a 561 or a 589 or a Pluto, if the unit cost is over a hundred or so Dollars, I'm filing the form. Why risk device loss?

I'm amazed how many people on forums view doing a free form which takes 20 minutes to fill out and email as a violation of their civil rights. In fact, I use the word "Lazy" when describing this situation. Is it not a prime rule of being a good citizen to follow simple rules? Filed forms easily negate the aforementioned "Bar Code Guns".

-----------------------

Pro Tip Four, if it emits coherent light when energized, its probably considered a laser, OEM module or not. Most laser diode manufacturers have a statement on their data sheets acknowledging this. CDRH used to, and still can, require OEM parts to be sold only to OEMs who then have a duty to file reports. I have more then one HENE tube with a OEM use only statement on it. That statement requires that it goes into a certified final product. It was a requirement to track every part in the past, keeping records of OEM shipments for seven years. When diodes bloomed into the huge market they have became, tracking every OEM became overwhelming. Thus the required tracking was waived.

Three employers ago, I had to install a compliance retrofit kit on a OEM Laser or lose it to mandatory recall. So don't tell me ALL OEM is exempt.


Tip four, Part Deux... There are other international rules enforced by the US....

My former employer learned the hard way not to declare unmounted laser rods as mere optics, when importing. Other rules such as the "International Trade In Arms Treaty" (ITAR) apply to optics and lasing devices, not just 21 CFR 1040.

Is a pointer subject to ITAR, probably not, but a Q-Switched labbie might just be.

The Last Boss feared ITAR above all else.

----------------------------------------------

Steve
 
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