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!