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How and where to start building lasers? Books? Internet?

Blueberryfucmuffin

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I recently looked into buying a 1W-2W laser online, all of them exceeded $200+. While I was looking around, I came across a random thread on a random forum where a guy was essentially saying that you can piece together a significantly powerful laser, piece by piece for under $50-$80 bucks. So I went looking around for laser parts and pieces and he was right. Of all the parts I looked at, not one piece exceeded $15-$20 bucks.

The problem is, I know jack about lasers with regard to putting them together and what components are needed etc. I tried looking around online for a "how to build a laser" tutorial, but ended up getting instructions and schematics intended for an Optics Engineer or a Optical Physicist.

If I wish to start learning how to build my own, so I don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars, or rely on others (their mood, their workmanship etc) to build one for me, how do I start? Are there any books on the subject that don't require an Optical and Electrical Engineering degree to comprehend? Any videos that can explain it to a layman?

I'm a newbie here, so in advance I appreciate any direction and advice you can give.
 



Nae K

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The forum helped me a lot, I just go back on a lot of old posts a lot of questions I had were already answered because other people asked.
 

hakzaw1

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WE LIKE it when 'newbies' intro themselves before asking for help..(in the WELCOME' SECTION.. Your intro title is better for all if it has your location in it. (the title) This is about the only way a member will agree to help you in person.. A very high percentage of first time builders FAIL.
Thus we often suggest starting very small. (less lost $$$$)

No offense but.. your searching skillz kinda suc. jk

EVERY possible question & answer is there..

BUT
this is not like building a kite.
there is no way to learn overnight-- I learn new stuff daily --see my 'join' date.

you failed to mention your eye protection that you OWN NOW.. if none --do not EVEN order parts until your eye are protected with the correct laser eyeware (not all the same)-- We do not help unless this is followed to the letter.. AND to some degree: no 'intro' no help.
TBH I am not a fan of your username--just putting that out there==its your choice--but with effort you could change it (see any MOD)
So slow your roll.
spend time searching and reading our stickies -- It took a lot of work to make them--please do not disrespect us.
Do you know SAM? if not you do not know 'squat' about lasers. He (& others) wrote our Laser Bible..

will be watching for your intro.

. hak (Len) in Texas. 77422
 

Lifetime17

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Hi Hak,
Slow my roll that is a great Kid Rock song just listened to it today. I guess your crystal ball is calibrated ..

Rich:)
 

paul1598419

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Interesting proposal. Considering your electronic skills and the special tools you need to build a handheld laser, your chances of building one successfully in a short period of time is very slim. There are many people here that could do it for you, but since you are not known here, that will not likely happen either. So, I guess your best bet is to take it upon yourself to learn the requisite skills and obtain the necessary tools to complete this task. It won't happen quickly. Good luck. :cool:
 

Immo1282

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So my perspective on building from scratch to save money over buying a powerful handheld as a first laser - Not going to happen. You'll likely kill parts, and need tools that are equal or greater in value to the difference in money.

If you want to build lasers - that's good and we'll likely help you achieve that. If you want a powerful handheld for $50-80 you won't get that by building it without prior experience and tools.

My 2c.
 
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If you're looking for something powerful and cheap, and fulling functioning with a power supply, check these babies out.

Beam divergence is pretty rough, but they are beasts for only $70. I've noticed people on here don't like Chinese products, but if you know what you're looking for, you can't beat the price.


I made this laser gun with this module:
 
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Immo1282

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I've noticed people on here don't like Chinese products, but if you know what you're looking for, you can't beat the price.
Well said. There aren't many on here that'll attack Chinese made products across the board - though most agree that there are some real s*1t peddlers there that will happily lie on listings and provide non-existent customer service. Then there are sellers like Sanwu and JetLasers that produce excellent products at a fair price and the service matches up.

If you know what you're buying and you have confidence that the QC of the manufacturer is up to par, then it's often a brilliant way to save some money over buying locally. Especially if all you do is cut out a middle-man importer who'd sell you the same products on anyways...
 

Alaskan

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You can find lasers on ebay which use the A140, or perhaps M140 450 nm blue laser diode at a watt or more output for under 100 dollars, I've seen them as low as 60-70 dollars but be careful to make sure the lens they use is glass, not plastic, as those often melt in a short amount of time. Edit: I just went and looked while writing this post, here's one which is likely built from one of those diodes for less than that, but does it have a glass lens?


Here is another one, but same question, glass?


As kecked answered too, if you don't want to build your own as a newbie, from what I've seen so far, the best bang for the buck for someone new to the hobby are the seven to ten dollar (some charge double or more for the same thing) 532 nm DPSS laser pointers you can find on ebay, their output might be 30 mw, maybe 100, but likely you will get 40-60 milliwatts and since the wavelength or color is green, it potentially could be about as bright to the eye as a 1 watt 450 nm blue, since our eyes are so much less sensitive to the shorter wavelengths of blue than green, these 532 nm green DPSS pointers can be fairly bright at far lower power levels compared to 450 nm blue.

The amount of output power from these inexpensive 532 nm green pointers varies from one to the other from the same manufacturer regardless of being identical models. At this price, I would consider buying three to raise the odds of getting a good one, sometimes you get broken crap from these sellers, but I'd buy three separately, perhaps from different sellers so they don't sneak in a bad one they know is weak, or has problems, some of these China sellers will do that as a matter of normal business for them. Since shipping is free, why not? Easer to deal with if you get something bad from them then too.

One rule of thumb buying lasers over seas (esp. China) from sites outside of ebay is don't believe anything they specify. From what I've seen, the majority of the sellers just add zero's to the power output specifications fishing for fools, or perhaps just to out lie their competitors on the same site, sometimes adding many zeros. I bought one which was listed as 10 watts (listed as 10,000 mw) of 532 nm green when I was new to the hobby, I figured it might be close to a watt, didn't believe it was ten watts, but as it turned out, it was 300 milliwatts, or about 1/3 of a watt. Although sometimes if you message the seller and ask what the real output level is, they might tell you, but also might flat out lie or over inflate the numbers too.

Also, most of these online sellers don't have laser power meters to verify what the output is themselves, duped by one of their suppliers into buying something different for their online store than they were promised, so even if sincere and they are telling you the truth as they know it, they can be far wrong. If communicating prior to the purchase, tell them you have a laser power meter and will return the unit if the output is different than they specify and leave appropriate feedback, if available. If they know it is different they might back out of selling to you and save both of you some grief. Or, they might back out just because they only want compliant buyers too, either way I wouldn't buy from them and count yourself fortunate if they do that.


Do these cheap pointers on ebay go 10 miles? No, in free space without dust they go on forever, you just can't see the beam after a distance due to spreading from divergence, so that "10 mile" figure is seller BS unless you are talking about how bright they can be to the eye at that distance if you are on the receiving end which they can, especially at night, and perhaps even daytime you could see a flash at that distance at these power output levels.

On ebay, they usually list them as "5 mw" (the above listing 5 megawatt due to using caps and not knowing the difference) because over that power level is illegal for them to sell in a pointer configuration in the US, although it isn't illegal to build them yourself. For these cheap pointers, if you want to measure the real output in the visible/green spectrum with a laser power meter, you would need to figure in the IR component for a real reading, these don't have IR filters so the output could be 15% or more infrared, I've measured more, I've measured less.
 
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