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DaGuin matched Dorcy Jrs Review

Traveller

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Background
I've only been a member of LPF since last December but it hasn't taken long for me to catch the same bug most of you caught a long time ago; this incredible interest, appreciation, respect and admiration for the power of light. Particularly coherent light!

In this short time, I've managed to learn quite a bit, thanks to the LPF community and particularly the community's veterans, like our revered Professor, DaGuin :cool:

Along with a handful of other confirmed LPF "mentors", I've been following Daguin's contributions in both knowledge and hardware and I was determined to someday own something made by him. Thus, imagine my shock when I read that he was thinking of taking a break from building lasers... :eek: This, following JayRob's decision to stop building [complete] lasers... :(

Luckily for me, I somehow managed to convince Daguin to build me a pair of lasers in matching Dorcy Jr. hosts and here is my review of the experience :D



The Experience
I purposely chose the word "experience" because I'm not just reviewing a 250mW red or a 200mW 6X nor a good-looking host, but the whole process of dealing with a DIYer from discussing the order to using the end-product.

Dealing with Daguin has been a great experience from start to finish. I gave him some rough ideas of what I was looking for and he made some recommendations. just like him, i'm a sucker for matching sets :p and since he was in the process of selling some Dorcy Jr. hosts, we decided on matched Dorcy Jrs., one 250mW red and one 200mW 6x BluRay. These power ratings were his suggestion and I was certain he had carefully selected these values based on his own vast experience with said diodes.

Once we decided on the "what", Daguin sent me a descriptive PayPal request. I realize things are generally laid-back in a DIY-community like LPF, but I can't stand it when I am asked to send money to someone's PayPal account. DIY+PayPal or not, it still feels more professional getting an invoice from the seller ;)

After Daguin received the payment, he PMed me, "mumbling" something about he wouldn't be able to ship it 'till Friday. Well, seeing it was Wednesday night, I thought he was just throwing some date at me. After all, this is not my first dealing with the DIY group and, as to be expected, patience here is a necessary virtue. But, contrary to [my] preconceived notion, Daguin had indeed built both lasers the very next day and one day after that, they were already in the hands of the USPS... :confused: ... :eek: ... :D

Seeing as I live across the pond (read: other side of the Atlantic), neither one of us expected the package to arrive too quickly, but only six business days later, the package was already in my hands :cool: Did you all get that? We're talking about eight days from planning the lasers to having them in my hands, a whole Continent away...! I don't think that I have to emphasize how invaluable this kind of "service", for lack of a better word, contributes to the whole experience of buying a laser from the DIY community...

Thank you, Daguin :cool:



The Lasers
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dorcy Jr., it's an LED flashlight that's approx. 95x25mm, it has a chrome-like finish and uses a C123A battery. The rechargables are available in both 3.0 and 3.6V versions.

I like the host as it reminds me of something out of a Star Wars film set and the polished finish looks very nice (and not like some cheesy chromed-plastic toy). Those that are attracted to the streamlined Romisen-type hosts may find the Dorcy Jr. too "bulky" for their tastes, but I like them both :)

So much for the Dorcy Jr., onto the modded Dorcy Jrs., thanks to Daguin ;) Daguin used the contents of one 6x sled to build these two lasers, the main 6x BluRay diode as well as a Long Closed Can 660nm 20x diode. For both, Daguin has turned to Drlava's latest & greatest Micro FlexDrive, V4. For cooling, both lasers are fitted with a DarkHorse DJR full body heatsinks. Next up are the AixiZ modules and lenses. Daguin was generous enough to implement an AR-coated glass for the 660nm laser. Since this AR-coating is specific for the ~640-660nm wavelengths, Daguin used the standard acrylic lens for the ~395-415nm BR.

As for their output... if Daguin says it's 250mW, it's 250mW. Or close enough. But for those who need proof, I'm going to have to let you down as I [currently] have no LPM. what I can tell you is that the beams are visible as long as there are particles in the air (be it fog,smoke, dew, etc.), they pop dark-colored balloons placed 5m away instantly, and burn any colored match (even white ones... :eek:) The red DJR is much brighter than my Dilda when compared by pointing them both at a wall at a great distance (e.g., 1000m) and so on. Their output is certainly more than satisfactory ;)



The Quality
The builds are first-rate. I'm not an engineer, but I know quality work when I see it. Suffice it to say, once you've reviewed a typical Dilda, the sloppy mounting of the driver to the diode, the fact that the driver is at such a bad angle that the spring's almost touching the host, etc. you can easily see the difference between a Dilda and a Daguin ;)

The hosts themselves were almost mint, indicating that Daguin was very careful while building the lasers. although the mechanics (function) behind the laser is where the true beauty lies, it is indeed a shame when the host doesn't compliment it's beauty (form). This is especially true when dealing with matched sets... :cool:

speaking of quality, the set was packaged as if they were eggs!!! ESD-sensitive eggs, even :p The images tell the whole story. In case there are DIYers out there that are wondering, the little extras do make a difference and Daguin's decision to throw in a nice carrying case, as well as charger and two rechargeable batteries made the package deal all the more sweeter!



Summary
From planning to paying to shipping to packaging to build quality to those little extras; Daguin's elevated the DIY-product and DIY-experience to a level that rivals professional products and market. When I first made the decision to trust the DIY community, I knew that there was some risk involved, but that the rewards could very well be worth it. Daguin has surpassed my expectations by a huge margin and has raised the bar for all others in the DIY community.

Not only am I now the proud owner of a quality product, I am the owner of a unique product, *one that's worth it's asking price many times over and worthy of anyone's collection. I can readily recommend Daguin's builds, his service and most importantly, the experience of dealing with him - without reservation!


*EDIT - Addendum*


Shipping Methodology
As I live in one of the EU'S 25 Countries, it is important to know that the EU will charge both import duties as well as Value-added Taxes (VAT). The import duties, which range from 10-16% of the item's value, can be avoided entirely when the shipper states "GIFT" on the declaration.

Furthermore, if you are planning on shipping an item via registered mail, you will be asked to delcare the value of the item. Thus, I recommend that both parties discuss the insured value beforehand. It may be more cost-effective to risk some of the item's value and in turn save on VAT.

Luckily for me, Daguin used his own common sense and experience and manged to spare me around $80 in import duties and VAT, while still insuring the package for a reasonable amount! :cool:



Review Images
Last but not least, the originals (1280x533) used for the following "composite" image can be viewed over at my Flickr page (see my sig. for the link).
 

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well, looks like daguin did another top rate job. and the writer of this review was incredibly thorough, and has an awesome camera.
 

Traveller

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Swordofsalvation said:
well, looks like daguin did another top rate job...
Yes, he did  :D

And thx for the compliments; I did put some effort into the review because I felt that Daguin's put [a lot of] effort into this community  :cool:

As for the images, I neglected to mention that the originals (larger sizes) are availalbe for everyone's viewing pleasure over at Flickr (see my sig. for the hyperlink).
 

Raybo

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I'm the proud owner of a similar set myself. :)

Dave is a class act in my book!
 

Traveller

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Got my Kenometer today and as predicted, the Professor's settings are pretty much dead on :cool:
Please take note of the last image, which is the 6X plus Jay's 405-G1 lens... :eek:
 

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