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Ralan

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Hey forums! I am to the point where time and money is going to allow me to start another project that involves pew pew lasers.

The aim of my first project was to build a burning laser inside of a toy gun case. I was ultimately successful, but the module ws underrated and I basically ended up with a fancy laser pointer. (Which my cats love.) I would like to take another crack at developing a burning laser with a visible beam, that I will put into another gun casing probably.

I have three basic questions before I spend any money:

1) What color laser would be best to produce a visible beam?
2) What kind of module should I buy in terms of power and output?
3) What would be an adequate power supply for the project?

My last one used a DX 200mw green laser module powered by 2 AAs in series. It works great, just not quite what I was aiming for.
 

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I would go for a 445nm diode. You said you wanted a visible beam so normally I would have suggested you go with a 532nm dpss laser (brighter, more visible wavelength to the human eye). However, you stated that you want a "burning laser". To get a good 532nm burning laser you would need to spend some serious money on the project. If you can afford it though, then go for it.

Still, I would go for a 445nm laser since it is a better burner and it is a fairly visible wavelength (plus, cheaper).
 
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You can get very powerful 445nm lasers and they're very visible. I just picked up a nice one from DTR over the weekend.

445nm has some pretty awful divergence though. 50' out and it's fairly large spot. if you're looking for a tight beam with good burning potential. >750mw 405nm will delivery without breaking the bank. The beam will be visible at night. I'm not sure how visible it will be during the day, all depends on environment like if there's lots of dust in the air, etc.
 

Ralan

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Thanks for the replies, I will probably look into the 445 as my money is a little tight right now, and I want to increase laser power as I get more experience. My other question is what kind of power supply would I need for a 445 module? Or will they have that information when I buy it?
 
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Thanks for the replies, I will probably look into the 445 as my money is a little tight right now, and I want to increase laser power as I get more experience. My other question is what kind of power supply would I need for a 445 module? Or will they have that information when I buy it?
The power supply will depend on what you end up getting and from where. Whoever you purchase from should have that info though. Which btw, I'd highly recommend going through someone on the forum. I live in Northeast WI and just had a laser seized at Milwaukee customs office. Not a pleasant experience. But I was able to order from a member here and had my stuff 3 days later!! :)
 

Ralan

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Oh yeah. I could see that becoming unpleasant. Is there a section of the forum where I can locate someone? I would feel a little weird and hesitant just messaging someone to build me a laser module. If there is like a thread about "hi I'm bob I will build you a laser and I take paypal" or something that would be great. Thanks for the advice too.
 

Gabe

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In DTR's shop, you can buy the diodes/modules with drivers already attached, and it will tell you what voltage is required just below the name of the product. Take here for example.
 

Ralan

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I took a look at the DTR shop, cool stuff for sure. A couple of dumb questions though: A lot of the 445-450 modules have outputs of 1W+. The only laser module I have worked with was a supposedly 200mw green laser that quite frankly isn't any stronger than a $5 Walmart pointer. I am intimidated by that increase in power because as lasers go, stronger = more dangerous.

I am also assuming that the diodes section is color coded to denote the color of the laser, because I think for my next build I would like to go with a blue one. But for example, the $51 module with leads on this page is 1.8 watts. That just seems like a lot of power. That unit in particular would be perfect as far as price, it is already assembled, hopefully strong enugh to burn things, and it is the color I want. I just want to make sure that a 1.8W laser isn't going to blast a hole in my safety goggles and blind me if it reflects or something, I am still very new to laser specs but I want to learn all about them.

So would that be a good module for a burning laser? This is really a project to make a gun to pop balloons, light matches, and to experiment with the technology most of all.
 

Ralan

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Gabe! These modules do appear to be what I am looking for (idiot proof ones) but the last 200mw I bought did not produce any of the effects that I was expecting, it was a DX 200mw 532nm module. With an adequate power supply, would the modules in the links you provided produce a visible beam and burning? If so, I may jump on a couple of them and let the creation come to me as how to implement them. Regardless I thank you all for the links,vast improvement from DX which take about a month to arrive and didn't hold up to snuff to the ones in the videos that inspired me, despite being of equal specs.
 
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Gabe

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Absolutely, the red may have a dimmer beam because of its position on the spectrum, but they will all be on spec. I suspect your DX module was very underspec, you know how Chinese modules can be. Just to make sure, what are the 'effects' in question?
 

Ralan

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Well my first build aimed to take a toy laser gun casing, put a module in it, and have a burning laser with a visible beam. The assembly worked perfectly, but I ended up with a laser pointer that didn't have a beam and didn't burn / pop balloons.

It was the DX module in my previous post, a green one. It has 2 AA batteries powering it, which should be adequate as it is a 3V laser and the batteries are each 1.5 volts in series.

The tutorial that I used is the Altoids tin burning laser from Styropyro on Youtube, he used a similar module and had a very visible beam and very good burning power so I am thinking that my module was just waaaay under tuned for the specs.
 

Gabe

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Ah I see. The 120mW 520nm module will have the brightest beam, and 520nm is more reliable than DPSS 532nm, but I think it's pricier. Your next best bet will be the 450nm module. Cheap I think, single mode so it's a nice beam, and it's a good colour. Red has some bad beam specs I believe, someone correct me if I'm wrong. That makes red the lesser burner.
 
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Ralan

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Yeah I looked up the beam visibility when I did my first build and it said that green and blue / violet have the best visibility and red has the worst. I am not a big fan of the red for whatever reason. I am really kind of drawn to the blue modules for this project. Of those I was looking at the 450nm Osram PL450B for $66. Would that module give me a good balance of beam visibility to burning power? As long as both are accomplished it doesn't have to be perfect, this is essentially a toy. (an adult toy to be handled responsibly)

I am definitely giving rep to you guys though, your info has been great.

Edit: Does that module include the driver? I was looking at the options farther down and if it does not, I would go for the $72 module that has the driver attached.
 
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Gabe

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Yeah it looks like the PL450B is your best bet :)
I would definitely also go for the driver attached as well, I doubt there's a more compact way to attach a driver, that's also simple and cheap. Worth the money IMO.
+rep to you too, and do post pics on here once you get the project going! Good luck.
 




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