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color, power, and visibility.

steamandlight

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Hi. I have a question, and this is my best guess of which sub-forum to post it in. I've spent the last 3 hours browsing threads and stickies and trying various searches trying to find an answer on my own, but to no (or limited) avail, so I joined up to ask myself.

I am looking for various colors of laser, with visible beams, hopefully non-burning/non-cutting. I found a guide here on green lasers, and it informed me that what I need is around 35-50 mw for a green laser.

The question is, for other colors - i.e. red, blue, purple, orange, yellow, etc., what strength will I need for each, to closely match the visibility/size/etc. of a 35 or a 50 mw green laser? I am guessing it won't be the same across the board.

Secondary concern, is if at all possible, I'd like to be able to plug them in, rather than use batteries. These are for a semi-permanent installation, not for portability. Is that a thing? Is it easily possible to convert a laser to use outlet power instead of batteries, or is there anyone who can do this kind of work? I'm not interested in trying it myself, if it is dangerous... I'd rather leave it to someone who knows what they are doing.

:thanks:
 



diachi

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For form factor you'll probably want something like this:



Generally takes either mains/12VDC from a wall adapter - Usually referred to as a "Lab Module"
 

Pi R Squared

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You need to add your location to your profile so it shows under your name, this is a very international forum, people need to at least know what country your in. Laws regarding lasers and where you should buy from vary depending on what country you're in.

You can buy lasers that only plug into the wall, they are called lab lasers or labby's. To get a visible beam requires lots of power except with a green. My 82mW 520nm green has a visible beam if the light isn't too bright. That's probably about the minimum you want in green. My 405nm at 590mW is less visible and will burn anything I point it at, it is very dangerous, 405nm violet is near the edge of the visible spectrum so much more power is required for a visible beam. Blue lasers with visible beams will also be very powerful. If you want ones less powerful that can't burn stuff then you won't have visible beams except in the dark or with some fog/smoke.

If you want a laser that can run on either batteries or plug in then you will probably have to build it or have someone build it for you. Lab lasers like the ones pictured above are easier to buy and have little or no restrictions on their sale or import.

Alan
 
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steamandlight

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Thanks - location added. I'm in the USA.

I really wanted visible beams, without fog, in at least low-light, that are relatively safe. I do not want to cut or burn anything... it's for (as I said) a permanent installation, and I want it idiot-proof... as in, I don't want idiots able to hurt themselves.

I'm going to have to think on this... at the very least, I wanted red/blue/green, and purple/yellow were hopefuls.

Here is another query - how high power can a laser be and still safely be used with glass and mirrors without cutting/burning/melting the glass? I may be able to use higher power, but it needs to be safe for SUSTAINED, long-term use with mirrors and through glass.
 

The Lightning Stalker

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To have a visible beam without haze or fog,
depending on air quality, will take around
30-50mW of green, 400-500mW of red, and
400-500mW of blue. Though the red depends
on weather it is 635nm or 660nm because
635nm is much brighter. Purple is about
the same as the red, except it will start
burning things by the time there is enough
to have a decent visible beam. Yellow and
orange are prettymuch out of the question
unless you have thousands of dollars to
spend.
 
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Pi R Squared

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Thanks - location added. I'm in the USA.

I really wanted visible beams, without fog, in at least low-light, that are relatively safe. I do not want to cut or burn anything... it's for (as I said) a permanent installation, and I want it idiot-proof... as in, I don't want idiots able to hurt themselves.

I'm going to have to think on this... at the very least, I wanted red/blue/green, and purple/yellow were hopefuls.

Here is another query - how high power can a laser be and still safely be used with glass and mirrors without cutting/burning/melting the glass? I may be able to use higher power, but it needs to be safe for SUSTAINED, long-term use with mirrors and through glass.
Visible beams without fog generally aren't very safe, and idiots can always find a way to hurt themselves. :crackup:

Forget about yellow unless you have plenty of money, it will cost an arm and a leg and still won't be very powerful.

You can buy special first surface/front surface mirrors for lasers and the power shouldn't be a problem. They cost a few dollars for some tiny mirror just for the mirror itself that may be a fraction of an inch or up to several inches. Here is an example: Meredith Instruments ? Product Categories ? Parts

Alan
 

steamandlight

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So then these power ranges ARE a problem for regular glass and mirrors? I need hundreds of not thousands of mirrors and a similar number of pieces of glass... if blue, purple, and red are too strong in visible ranges, I may be stuck with just green, and need to redesign everything :/

Yellow was nto a top priority, so is definitely not worth those prices. thanks for the tip :p
 

Pi R Squared

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So then these power ranges ARE a problem for regular glass and mirrors? I need hundreds of not thousands of mirrors and a similar number of pieces of glass... if blue, purple, and red are too strong in visible ranges, I may be stuck with just green, and need to redesign everything :/

Yellow was nto a top priority, so is definitely not worth those prices. thanks for the tip :p
Well they shouldn't be a problem but with regular glass and mirrors you will have some power loss and maybe some beam distortion.

Alan
 

The Lightning Stalker

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So then these power ranges ARE a problem for regular glass and mirrors? I need hundreds of not thousands of mirrors and a similar number of pieces of glass... if blue, purple, and red are too strong in visible ranges, I may be stuck with just green, and need to redesign everything :/

Yellow was nto a top priority, so is definitely not worth those prices. thanks for the tip :p
Wow, that is a lot of mirrors, and passing
through that many pieces of glass, the
losses are going to add up.

This isn't enough energy to do any damage
to the glass, but I am worried that with
that many mirrors and pieces of glass that
something could slip and you will have an
eye hazard.

This sounds like an art installation, no?
Is your idea for this to be viewed by the
general public?
 
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steamandlight

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Yes, an art installation. I'll probably (definitely actually) need multiple laser sources for each color involved, but if I can keep it to a few each, that would be best. And there will not be any chance of slippage, because there will be no moving parts - everything will be firmly attached in place, and the lasers will (especially) be solidly part of the overall piece.
 

Hap

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^These fellows have given you great tips & have much more knowledge in this hobby then I do.

Thing is, not sure if it's my eyes but I can see the beam on my 3mW 654 pointer at night pretty easily. My 405 is completely invisible unless I know where to look then I can catch glances of it.

Yellow's are pretty pricey but at night you should be able to see the beam on a 593.5 3-4mW just fine. If you get 589nm it should be a little easier to see and less power will be required. Keep a lookout on the B/S/T section of LPF and on company websites during the holiday seasons, they sometimes offer interesting deals :)

-Alex
 

hakzaw1

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If you are on a tight budget _ suggest the 12vdc mini labs at AixiZ Laser.com

of those... the better reds are the 638nm (650 655 660 are ALL dark red and HARD to see at all.- I have the 180mW 638 and its very nice and 230 mW too.

If you get thier 405 do not expect much 'brightness' its still VERY powerful but our eyes see it as being very dim- no fog no see.

that is not how it works- example- IR is VERY hard to see yet can blind you quicker than many other lasers- so you will need all the safety glasses for each wavelength or spend a lot and get ones that cover all visible wavelengths. Eye protection is a MUST if you are setting up any bounce mirrors. That is one of the times when many accident happen.

you will likely be happy with the lowest power AixiZ 12vdc green(532nm) as it takes 1000mW of 445 blue to 'look' as bright as just 50 mW of 532. (aixiz.com)-

Also twice as many mW of one wavelength is NOT twice as 'bright' ..so by eye- it takes 2000mW of any single laser visible wavelength to be twice as 'bright' as 500mW (the factor is 4 NOT 2)


Mirrors-
I hope youi already know about 'front or first surface mirrors' if not you need to do some searches and homework- you will find several inside most old cheap flat-bed scanners-& these scanners are VERY cheap at thrift shops - that would be for sure the cheapest source of FS mirrors.. there is a nice thin 'keystone' FSM inside those black plastic One-Step Poliroid cameras

also very cheap at thrifts-

( hard to get film now- so i never pay more than a dollar for one)- there is also a nice small 3-5vdc motor inside great for 'spiro' projectors.


That mirror is rather thin and for me easy to cut into small mirrors-- the scanner mirrors can be cut but are thicker- I 'paint' the sides of these mirrors with a black Sharpie- to eliminate light coming from the sides . To cut be sure to 'scratch' the glass side not the mirrored side.- To avoid chipping do NOT scratch all the way to the edge as you will likely go too far and cause a chip on the corner. Practice cutting glass on free glass- only takes light pressure to get best scratch-



Only in the dark will you clearly see beams in the reds, purple or some blues-and to match brightness of your green & you need a fogger to see them very well.

I like the AixiZ minis becasue they match ,all take 12vdc & look very pro. They are well made- can run without much worry on heat (unless you have a high ambient temp) some have (very quite)fans.
They have a small footprint- ship from Houston and from a company that has a very good rep-

They also sell elsewhere but 'we' all buy direct from AixiZ NOT greedbay or scamazon. mention the forum and me when you order- the phone number is at the site- and Chuck answers on weekdays 9 am til noonish Tx time.- you can order with CCard on the phone- ask questions etc- nice folks and have been there for us forever.


last bit of advice- no matter what you are using lasers for, there are FDA regulations that clearly define whats 'legal' and whats not- any public display of any lasers over 5 mW requires a FDA operators and makers variance-- Because of the way its done, rear projection of lasers is inherently safer (also the same somewhat true with a Lumia projector).- both are ways to be less 'illegal' - fog is not considered to be a way to lower power btw.

give us more deatails and perhaps some pics/drawings etc- we like to hear about such projects -- hak



.
 
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Alaskan

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Not sure what you mean by max visible spectrum, you mean how many nm wide? RHD's brightness calculator might be something to base an estimate off of, if you compare the middle to the far ends.
 
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