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How did you all stumble upon lasers?

JBTexas

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Mid to late 70's, I got interested in holography. Mainly from articles in Scientific American, etc. Also - just always generally interested in lasers - I think I read a biography on Maiman once.

So a bought a HeNe from Edmund Scientific. I was stationed in Augsburg, Germany at the time.

Guess what it was like to build and run a homebrew holography lab on an army base, IN the barracks? My commanding officers have ALWAYS considered me a bit nutz... radio amateur, shortwave listener... Junk all over the place (but neat and clean, organized). I had comms equipment... for me, that was a bit of "taking my work home with me", I was a SIGINT'er.

I was among the first computer hobbiests (first computer was a Southwest Technical Products 6800 system... 8 bit... buss speed / computer speed = 2 Khz). Mass storage = audio cassette tape, 300 baud. This was late 70's.

Later...

1998 or so bought a cheap red laser pointer from radio shack. On impulse + Cat Toy. At some point I made the mistake of putting it in the top of a closet WITH the batteries inside. 3+ years or so... innards = green goo.

Recently - Laserglow Lyra B-5 5mw green pointer (4-5mw). It be very purty. :)

Just about an hour ago:
From OLike, ordered a 200mw green Gatlin laser, extra battery/charger, and a tripod. :drool:

Eventually I want to get into DIY'ing.

=====

@ T-J;

At one time, at Fort Hood (back in the early 70s) they were talking / experimenting(?) with the concept of portable / practicle personal ruby laser weapons.

I am not sure how far they got... (it was kind of classified, but I was a JROTC at the time and overheard things on a field trip).

But instead of a Big 'Ole Battery in a backback, huge power cable, and xenon lamps, this thing would have used "flare cartridges". I imagine some kind of magnesium chemistry... cartridges that would be loaded into a mirrored "flash chamber" next to the ruby rod.
 
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Noctox

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Since I was a wee little one, I was always fascinated with little 5mw pointer keychains you find everywhere. I wanted something stronger, so after a little research- coming across this site too- I bought a 50mw green which died 2 years ago. A recent YouTube session made me reminisce on my old laser, so I signed up here and now own the >400mw O-Like 532. I'm sure I'll be buying a blue soon. :D
 

bhwollen

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I'm selling a really nice 2W blue... :whistle:
Since I was a wee little one, I was always fascinated with little 5mw pointer keychains you find everywhere. I wanted something stronger, so after a little research- coming across this site too- I bought a 50mw green which died 2 years ago. A recent YouTube session made me reminisce on my old laser, so I signed up here and now own the >400mw O-Like 532. I'm sure I'll be buying a blue soon. :D
 

RayBurne

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I was 13 and read this article:
Build your own LASER!

I got $0.50 a week allowance and $0.50 for cutting 1/2 acre of fescue when school was out for the summer... buying a CK722 transistor was a really big step and I saved like forever ... saving for that ruby rod was an impossibility... by the time I had a part time job, there were girls and the personal laser had to wait for a very long time. I do not remember the date I put down $49 for a 5mw laser pen, but I was hooked.

- Ray
 

ShortyInCanada

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Back in the early 80's I happened across a Popular Electronics (I think) issue with the plans for making a power supply for a HeNe that was battery powered from a 6V latern type battery.
I ordered a tube from a company down in Florida (and they shipped it even though the shipping charges were calculated incorrectly shorting them a couple of bucks.) and made up a PC board for the schematic given.
Perhaps I might add that the board was shaped and designed to fit on the top of a 6V Volkswagen ignition coil and that the measured output was up to 70,000 volts. (for a really good fresh battery once.)
A simple coil wire out of the top of the coil to the tube was a good choice but the end of the tube actually fit snugly into the top connection point of the coil. The grounding was though a coil wire. It worked great for a few months but I didn't know what to do with it. The fragility of it was a big deterrence to taking it anywhere BUT the high voltage power supply was almost indestructable and I had many fun times with it.
Just 2 weeks ago I was cleaning up some of my old boxes of "Hobby" things that I have been packing around with me for the last 30 years and I came across the ol' project. Alas, the tube had been cracked and lost its precious gas. I reluctantly threw it away.
I'm planning on taking the PSU to work and having a bit of fun with it ! (Did I mention I work in a lighting and plumbing store ?)
 

JimBolder

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I came across an article detailing how to make a DVD burner red (not the KipKay one), forgot about it for a couple years, came across ANOTHER article (again, not the KipKay one), and decided to do it because I was bored at the time.
 

Olly

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Disassembled an old laser scanner and found it intriguing !
 

Blaster

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Had fasniation at school 35 years ago saw my first 1mw red laser the
size of a tissue box cost the school 10k, since then i thought after a long break it would be cool to to have a much higher power lazer at a tiny fraction of the price
 




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