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He Ne i built in 7th grade. Still proud of it but diodes are just amazing.

Laserbran

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Aug 28, 2019
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Hiya everyone. Way back in the early 90s I built a .5mw He Ne red laser in 7th grade. I ordered the tube (which cost 500usd and took me forever to save up for while working on a farm). The plans I had ordered from edmund scientific (used to be one bad ass catalogue) and then all the transistors, diodes, transformers etc. The only thing my dad showed me was how to solder. I entered it in my high-school science fair and won overall for grades 7 thru 12. As you can see I'm still very proud of this. Now back then I had to use special tinted glass for the surround of the demonstration and the committee judging it doubted that I had built it. My father was there and became very angry with them, I truly did the whole construction myself. Anyway fast forward umpteen years I decide to get back into it(lasers) and found diodes have become incredibly powerful and affordable. Btw a 5W laser in the early 90s cost 5kusd to 10kusd! Love how technology gets better and cheaper as time passes. Ive built a 1.2watt blue, and a 5watt blue but my 5watt only reads 3.5watts or so on my meter(driver issue or power supply). I started with a 1W blue gatling style then have built my own from there. I made (turned) the housings myself, I was a machinist for 12 years. Anyway I've recently ordered a sanwu 7w 445 nm instead of building it since the 7watt diode is a good 150 to 200 anyway...patiently(trying my best) waiting for it to arrive. Anyway, awesome hobby and am happy to have found you guys!
 



skjult

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Jun 22, 2012
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Great story.

I have to find the .5mw HeNe unit I built ca. 1985. Got the tube at a ham radio "hamfest" and forgot where I found the power supply - probably from the back of Radio-Electronics magazine. I seem to recall I spent around $50 for each, which was around 5-10 lawn mowings back then.

Scary story: I brought it to school one day and my friend went over and picked up the running tube! Fortunately, the length of the tube was the cathode and only the tip of the rear was the anode. He thus missed the 1500vdc.

A couple years after this, I wanted to make a "laser gun" so I took a Laser Tag gun and gutted it, mounted a huge Radio Shack plastic box on top for the power supply, and mounted the HeNe tube in the barrel. It still worked a few years ago when I found it. I'll have to get it out and take some photos.
 

paul1598419

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Sep 20, 2013
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I only have one 0.5 mW HeNe in my collection. I bought it because it was an unused, new tube and bought the driver from Merideth, built a switching box with fuse and a SMPS to power the whole thing. In total it cost me $130. I got my first HeNe back in 1980 expressly for the purpose of making holograms. I gave it to my daughter years ago and it broke when it fell from her closet years later.
 




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