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Eye safety and "5 mW" green lasers

MajorLazor

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I just bought one of the cheap, Chinese, green lasers off Amazon. It looks like the Laser 301,but without any markings:

I didn't realize it when buying, but I've read a bit lately about how these are typically mislabeled, and the actual power is much higher (like 50 or 100 mW). I know better than to shine it directly into my (or someone else's) eyes, but how safe is it to look at the laser spot without glasses? When it's pointed at a wall indoors, it's bright, but not to the point of being uncomfortable. Also, say I'm trying to light a match or a piece of paper. Can just looking at the laser spot on the match head cause eye damage?
 



paul1598419

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These look to be the same as the $6.00 301 lasers that can be had on eBay. That said, they are perfectly safe to look at the beam profile against a nonreflective surface, such as a wall, without safety goggles. But, if you are inexperienced with laser use it is best to have goggles because you might hit a reflective surface and if that hit your eye it would cause damage.
 

MajorLazor

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These look to be the same as the $6.00 301 lasers that can be had on eBay. That said, they are perfectly safe to look at the beam profile against a nonreflective surface, such as a wall, without safety goggles. But, if you are inexperienced with laser use it is best to have goggles because you might hit a reflective surface and if that hit your eye it would cause damage.
Thanks! Yeah, I think it's the same as the 301. Didn't realize they were so cheap on eBay! Oh well, Amazon had free same-day shipping. Pretty neat laser for what it is.

I did go ahead an order some glasses just to have. Better to not take any chances. Plus, if I get something more powerful in the future, I'm covered :cool:
 

paul1598419

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I have goggles covering every wavelength I have. I don't use them all the time, though. Mostly, when doing work where there is a real possibility of a specular reflection.
 

MajorLazor

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I have goggles covering every wavelength I have. I don't use them all the time, though. Mostly, when doing work where there is a real possibility of a specular reflection.
Another quick thing....

This came with an "effects" lens that sprays the laser out all over the place and can make different patterns as it's twisted (pretty neat, actually). I'm assuming this is OK to look at on the walls, ceiling, etc since the energy is so spread out. I tried to take a picture to give you an idea...
 

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Alaskan

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Diffraction grating. I have laser protection for all wavelengths at over OD 7, my eye lids. If you look at a spot and an after image remains, I'd say don't look at it. I've seen others say 30 seconds of after image, but if it does that, I won't.
 

paul1598419

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Those "star caps" are actually two diffraction gratings the can be rotated against each other giving you a changing field of view. The power of the laser is divided up between the individual beams that make it up. So, yes,it is even less of a threat than just the beam alone.
 




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