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JayGuin 445nm "Razor Lazor" Review

Traveller

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Preface
When I first joined LPF 18mths ago, I would never have imagined reaching 1,000 posts, but here I am, posting it... :eek: How fitting it should coincide with the latest of several major milestones in the field of hobby lasing, the 445nm diode! Not only do such technical milestones attribute to the excitement that has me browsing LPF on a daily basis, but also its diverse group of knowledgeable members that have come to be synonymous with LPF. Without them, I don’t think I would have managed to make it to 1000, regardless of the technology that brings us all together in this very global, yet somehow distinctly local meeting place that is LPF :beer:
*Warning* I’m rather (in)famous for my well, let’s just say, detailed reviews; so no, I won’t hold it against you if you only look at the pretty pictures… (speaking of which, click on any image to view the full-res, 1280x963 version).

Ain't that a fine-lookin' host...



Intro
A 445nm diode, who would have imagined that, just six months ago, when the 8X BluRay diode was the hottest thing on the DIY block! While everyone had to give carefully consideration to their budgets before plunking down over $200 for a 12x BR optical drive, here comes a $45 diode our way, in a new and exciting wavelength rated at 1W no less… ! who here hasn’t dreamed of owning a 473nm blue DPSS laser? Who here isn’t familiar with Glenn’s enticing CNI group buys? Who here has, oh, $1000 to donate to the hobby? Clearly my point is to impress upon the fact that this 445nm 1W diode, harvested from Casio XJ-A1_0 projectors, is truly a milestone in our humble but exciting hobby :bowdown:

Hello, Mr. diode.



JayGuin and the beauty of the DIY Community
With everyone going mad over Wicked Laser’s 445nm laser, I had no second thoughts about going DIY. In the past, cost savings played a major role but not this time around. So why go local? I can answer that one in exactly two words: JayRob and Daguin… ! The following is a reenactment of what took place during the production of the JayGuin 445nm Razor Lazor:

Trav: “Hi Professor, what’s your take on this new fangled 445nm diode?”
DG: “It’s the new dawning of our hobby. We have been blessed by the Gods of DIY-lasing.”
Trav: “OMG – ah, let’s put my 12x project on hold – what kind of host do I need, Professor?”
DG:18650. Talk to any one of LPFs Host/Kit providers*…”
Trav: “Jay, gotta love that 18650 kit of yours, but tbh, it doesn’t match my new grey Audi R8 spyder (j/k)… I did find a host that does, though…”
JR: “If the thing uses batteries, I can turn it into a host. Lemmie order one up for ya.”
…2 weeks go by…
JR: “I got your host today, nice!"
...a few hours go by...
JR: "I shipped your host today to the professor.”
Trav: “…how the f… does he do that…!”
…2 days go by…
DG: “I got the the host from Jay, but I’m a bit under the weather, I may need an extra day or two…”
Trav: *thinking of his recent IgorT project…* “But of course, Professor, take all the time you need!”
…3 days go by…
DG: “I shipped it at the values your specified, should be with you in a few days…”.
Trav: “…how the f… does he do that…!”
…9 days go by… (well, heck, I live in Austria)
*door-bell rings*
Trav: :drool:
*Such as Ehgemus, Flaminpyro, JayRob, Kenom, Likeitbright, Mohrenberg among other talented locals, all great and reliable designers of hosts and kits here at LPF!


I think you get the point. The real advantage of going with the DIY community is not to save money (not that I’m bitching about it ;)) but to have the opportunity to own something very unique, not to mention hand-made to very high quality standards. Of the dozen or so lasers I own, most are DIY models, all which still work to this day, all of which are truly amazing examples of what our members are capable of! :bowdown:

Pictured, 7 of my 11 DIY lasers (see my sig for detailed reviews and photos).



445 @ 666…
Let’s go over the basics real quick; the laser is based on a 445nm diode that was harvested from a Casio XJ-A140 projector. I doubt that either the wavelength or laser projectors are new to Science, but certainly new to the average consumer, not to mention to our DIY community. 445nm is an interesting wavelength as it falls somewhere between our “funny-looking” near-ultraviolet 405nm BluRay diodes and the currently only official “blue” laser on the market, a 473nm laser based on DPSS technology. As can be expected in a DIY environment, cost plays a major role and we went from $40 4X BR diodes to $200 12X BR diodes really quick. At $200, just for one diode which may or may not last the distance, DIY was getting a bit risky, financially-speaking. Along came Casio with its array of 24 diodes, allowing the DIY community to provide a single 445nm diode with a very reasonable sub-$50 price tag!

Ain't that a fine-lookin' host...


So what can this 445nm do? Well, it’s being touted as a 1W diode. I’m not sure if this is fact or assumption, based on educated guesses or own testing, but we have seen several members push the diode beyond 1W, so, the label is probably warranted. There is a problem however, of running a diode at 1W or more and that problem is heat. Even if you have an appropriate “micro” driver capable of delivering the necessary Amp or so of current needed, it is all but impossible to successfully cool this 1W diode in a “Laser Pointer” or similar host. Hence, most of the members running near-1W 445nm diodes are doing so with a “labby” style host, most of which are properly cooled with large heat sinks, not to mention active cooling (fans). Hence, although capable of much higher powers, the DIY community is opting for more modest OP values in the range of 500-800mW for portable builds. Having spoken to the Professor about it, I settled on 550mW after Aixiz glass.

Number of the (blue) beast :eg: after Jay’s 405-G-1 glass.


Even at these “lower” powers, cooling is still a top priority and a properly-integrated heat sink is a must. Although most DIYers have relied on and worked around an Aixiz module, the need for better cooling introduced the concept of the press-in Heat sink. This is where the diode is pressed directly into the back of the heatsink and the front is threaded to accommodate an Aixiz-style lens assembly. Several members have already been won over by this concept, including LikeitBright and of course, JayRob, who’s precision work is up for display here:

Now that's what I call a heat sinnk...



Good lord, It’s a Razor Lazor!
One unique property, not to mention, a highly debated topic of these 445nm diodes is the beam profile. Initially, we were discussing the profile in terms of non-Tem00 modes but I’m not quite sure if that is accurate. I’ve never seen such a profile discussed on the Net (friends, please feel free to enlighten me…) but it has now become known as “bar-shaped” here on LPF. And there’s a good reason for that nick, too. I don’t care what lens you use, be it one of the 405-G-1s available at LPF or be it Aixiz’s upcoming 400-450nm coated glass, the profile will still be… a bar.

Who needs a razor when you got a lazor blade...


The above image was taken under very controlled conditions. What you are seeing is the beam projected onto a black, textured surface, properly focused and through safety goggles to eliminate “splash”. The reason the image is black and not the typical orange is because I manually controlled the white balance when I made the image. Now that we know what it looks like, what are we going to do with it? I mean, the beam has a divergence of roughly 4.5mrad, not too pretty, right. But of course divergence has its positive side, the beam will look phat in the (no-fly zone) night sky… .

To be honest you with, I wasn’t impressed with the profile and I even had myself wondering why I went for this diode. Fact: DPSS has better divergence and some of the 532nm portables on the market come close to the 445’s output levels. Fact: a 12x BR diode is the (DIY) way to go if you want to burn (and see it at the same time, otherwise you might as well turn to IR lasers), not to mention, fluoresce. But wait a minute, this odd-looking profile burns, and burns pretty well at close distances!?! At .5m or less, I guarantee you this thing will burn… thus my new nick for 445nm-diode lasers, the one and only Razor Lazor trav-tm :D

The total annihilation of an otherwise innocent CD jewel case…



How Bright is 445nm Blue?
In another thread, a few of the fellas engaged in a debate over how bright this wavelength – at these powers - really is. So we all grabbed our <200mW 532nm greenies along with our new 445s went out into the (no-fly zone) night sky and let our eyes decide… . “Green!” “No, blue!” “Now way, Jose, green!” And so forth. I personally thought that my 130mW green “looked” brighter than my 650mW 445… . The debate did remind me of Daguin’s excellent thread, Strange Things About Blu-Ray (405nm). The fact is, 445nm is not all that different from the venerable 405nm near-UV wavelength and thus, it’s quite reasonable to assume not everyone will see the same thing. I wear (1.5 diopter) prescription glasses and they are finished with AR and UV-blocking coatings (as most glasses are). At 3M range, I can see the projection clearly with and w/o my glasses but the visual difference is substantial, in terms of core shape as well as splash.

So I thought I’d let my camera decide. It too, will see something different from my eyes, even from other cameras. A digital camera’s sensor typically uses color filters in the classic “RGB” format. There are, however, exceptions to the rule, with filters in a “GRGB” or “RGGB” pattern. The theory being that the human eye likes green the best, so the sensors will highlight green. With this in mind, I took a few “realistic” shots, the aim being to compare brightness of several wavelengths and not to impress with over-exposed or amaze with smoky backgrounds. Despite my conviction that green was brighter, the camera chose blue…

White balance produced a purple hue but it is blue to the eye (see farther below
for a more “true to life” image). The point however was to show the difference
in intensity and the 445nm is clearly the brighter of the three depicted.




Well, I’m blown away…
In conclusion, I have to say I had my doubts about this diode and it’s rather odd bar-shaped profile. But after some testing and some simple enjoyment in the (no-fly zone) night sky, I have to admit that it has quickly become one of my favorite lasers! Not only am I enjoying this unique and novel diode, I’m also enjoying it in a very cool-looking host with some very cool gear (such as a Drlava’s Microboost driver) made by some very cool members. Fit and finish, form and function; all first-class, as can be expected from the likes of our JayRob and Daguin, both outstanding DIYers and major contributors at LPF. I cannot recommend the two highly enough and look forward to the next collaboration in the near future!

Cheers :beer:




Love this style of host…


…can you tell…


…?




Jay‘s Cu press-in heat sink is exactly what this hot diode needs…










Never mind the lens, It’s a bar…


...with the classic splash of a long, intersecting line and a
rather uniform rectangle just below (above) it…






And a bar at the end of a very good-looking beam at that…


A blue beam, at least when my camera feels like cooperating with me ;p


A blue beam that humbles my 230mW 6X in comparison…
 

Eudaimonium

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You so got some talent for writing, as if you are writing for some local (solar system) magazine...

I've read it all, all of a sudden a modwerx.com add ... :crackup:

"no-fly zone" Hah, yeah right ... :crackup:

I love your photos, I gotta try take a macro of my (well, dead, but still) 445nm diode, perhaps I can take better shot than you - do you use macro optics a lot?I mean if you have them, it would totally make better diode shots (although that may seem impossible by now, those are awsome by themselves!).

I love the collection shot but I see an empty Kryton? What's with that?

Awsome review, awsome review my man!!

P.S. "How the EFF does he do that" :crackup:
 

Gryphon

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^ Double post :crackup:

What an exceptional write up, a joy to read with some great photos. I must say that
heatsink/module really is something to look at. Perfect blend of form and function.

+1 to you sir
 
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Asherz

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Another deep and interesting review Trav :)

I love reading your reviews, and as always your pictures are superb. Hopefully I can find a suitable host for my 445nm and be as content with it as you are with yours :)

Great work Dave and Jay.

+Rep for the review!
 

Traveller

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Gentlemen, you are all too kind (and remember, flattery will get you everywhere :p)

...I gotta try take a macro of my ... 445nm diode, perhaps I can take better shot than you...
Go for it :beer:
Just remember to buy either a macro ring-flash or studio lamps too... (neither of which I possess. My photo gear is listed - see my sig.).

I love the collection shot but I see an empty Kryton? What's with that?
that "empty" Kryton is pictured next to my RazorLazor (images above) and, oh what the heck, replicated for your benefit here:

See my Reviews (sig.) for the review of the Jaynom Kryton-Groovy ;)
 

jayrob

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Another great review Traveller!

Such attention detail and great pictures.

Always using your one of a kind terminology and writing style to make for a captivating read.

Tried to rep, but got the message 'must spread more rep around'...
 
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My Chuck, those macros... I'm gonna die!!

Will traveller ever travel to Buenos Aires?

EDIT: Added to RT as 666mW instead of 550mW just for fun :)
 
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Eudaimonium

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Go for it :beer:
Just remember to buy either a macro ring-flash or studio lamps too... (neither of which I possess. My photo gear is listed - see my sig.).

that "empty" Kryton is pictured next to my RazorLazor (images above) and, oh what the heck, replicated for your benefit here:

See my Reviews (sig.) for the review of the Jaynom Kryton-Groovy ;)
I came home just now and found the charger with camera's battery with green light on. Picz time!

Sorry about the kryton, I saw the empty lens thread and though it was empty :banghead:

I'll see if I can get better macro od laser diode facet. My photography equipement consists solely of my camera, no marco lens or anything. That's where creativity comes into play :)
 

RA_pierce

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Wow, great review.

It looks like these hosts are gaining popularity on the forums.
Lubricating the O-rings may be necessary. They come very dry and several of them got stuck in the threads and ripped.
I brushed them with a little WD-40 and the O-rings don't rip anymore.
 

Eudaimonium

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OK, let's see...

Best possible with stock 14-42mm lens , no additional tricks:


Now if I place a small lens like so:


I can get this:




And this is one older photo, I was manually adjusting focus with the ring because what you are looking at is small portion of the pic (lens focal points demanded so) and wherever I pointed the center of picture, camera simply focused to the table behind it, so this is the best I got manually:


Picz are maximum zoom and Auto setting at "Macro" mode, stock lens and flash used, I got as close as possible without having the objective lens cast shadow on the diode from the flash (though it's abe to focuse a bit more closer ! )

I wish I had that flash addon with diffuser, some artificial light source (I do have some 3W white LEDs... hmm :D ) and I seem to have.... misplaced my tripod camera adapter mount.

In any case, Traveller, your move :)
 

Traveller

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Thx Jay, thx everybody ;)


Will traveller ever travel to Buenos Aires?
Niko, I certainly wouldn't mind! Argentina has some great culture, great history!

It looks like these hosts are gaining popularity on the forums. Lubricating the O-rings may be necessary.
Thx for the accolades and thx for the tip! By "these hosts", what do you mean, exactly? Ultrafire / Romisen type hosts have been around forever... were you being more specific?

OK, let's see... Now if I place a small lens like so ... I can get this ... In any case, Traveller, your move
Cool trick, hats off to you :)


My move...? Well I was pretty satisfied with my original (2nd pic in my review). Did you click on it to view it @full res? Did you expand it to 100% in your Browser window? My 1:1 Canon EF-S 60mm Macro can get even closer to it's subject but I need to be able to freely illuminate it. Thus, I can / will never be able to produce better results of a diode once it is in the host... :undecided:

anyways, I added a crop of my original so you don't have to click on anything ;)
 

Eudaimonium

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My move...? Well I was pretty satisfied with my original (2nd pic in my review). Did you click on it to view it @full res? Did you expand it to 100% in your Browser window? My 1:1 Canon EF-S 60mm Macro can get even closer to it's subject but I need to be able to freely illuminate it. Thus, I can / will never be able to produce better results of a diode once it is in the host... :undecided:

anyways, I added a crop of my original so you don't have to click on anything ;)
Yeah, somebody could've told me the images were clickable. :D

Hmm, is it just me or does your diode appear to have thicker wires?
I also noticed on my photo, one wire is clearly severed and tomorrow, I'll do a decanning of the diode in hopes of getting some last photons out of it.

You that it means more pictures.

Hell, I wish I had your equipement...
But , one should be grateful for already owning his possesions, hence I won't be demanding more than my great cam.

I'll improvise something with those 3W LEDs , tomorrow will be a fun day.

I believe that I actually saw some macro lens for this cam, I gotta ask the safekeeper of it, maybe if not lens, I definetly gotta get that flash attachment.

EDIT: What is that green ring looking thing around your diode's window? :thinking:
 
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Traveller

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Yeah, somebody could've told me the images were clickable. ... Hell, I wish I had your equipment... What is that green ring looking thing around your diode's window? :thinking:
Well, I kind of did mention it, in the very first paragraph of the review...

Once you go with an SLR, it's just a matter of one component at a time. My EF-S 60 Macro was approx. €350. Since this lens doubles as nice portrait lens (60mm*1.5=90mm), it's a bargain at that price.

Another member asked me what it takes to make such photos. Well, a good macro lens can't hurt, and is necessary for close-ups. But for a decent photo of say, a host, you need very little:

1. Tripod
2. Manual focusing
3. self-timer
4. good, even lighting
5. White blance control (either during the shoot or with post-processing)
6. Good photo SW (eg. Photoshop, Elements, etc.)

Light your subject, focus by hand, use a tripod & self-timer to avoid shake, work with smaller apertures - one-two stops below max aperture. If your lens is a f/4.0, work with f/5.6 or even f/8. This will minimze any focus errors.

That's it, no rocket science, just a bit of patience and a bit of trial & error ;) Of course, good glass never hurts. Some lenses will never produce really sharp photos no matter what you do. Thus, you're better off with a HQ Point & shoot than with a really cheap SLR lens.

Back to macros: Intro74 is one of several members that have shown what one can do with the right gear:





:bowdown:


***EDIT***
That green ring? Some sort of spacer, maybe associated with the diode window. In any event, the same is visible on my 6X BR diode too... (feel free to CLICK on the image... ;))
 
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