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Just starting out- looking for recommendations

Dux

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Hi all, I'm new here. I just recently took interest in laser pointers and want to get some safe "beginner" pointers to use. I'd like to ultimately get a true blue and orange/yellow pointer but figure I should start out small before spending that kind of money. If possible I'd like to get one red and one green to start playing around with. I had one of those little cheap keychain lasers before but now hope to get some that are slightly more powerful. If they are ok for beginners, I noticed that some violet lasers are also not too expensive and I'd like one of those too. I'm not really familiar with the whole mW and nm thing. I mean I get that the "nm" is the wavelength and ultimately color but when it comes to the mW thing I have no idea what I'm talking about.

So what do you guys recommend?
 

anselm

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Hello and welcome to the forum!:wave:

want to get some safe "beginner" pointers to use.
Very wise of you.;)

I always recommend 5$ ebay pointers as the first laser.
They were my first lasers too, and for the money spent, I guarantee you will not be
disappointed!

Some greens, they really are all the same. How bright they really are is a matter
of luck, it varies a lot.
5mW 5 mW 532nm Green Beam Laser Pointer Pen - eBay (item 200568972514 end time Mar-25-11 14:15:36 PDT)
Stylish 5mW 5 mW 532nm Green Beam Laser Pointer Pen New - eBay (item 280572810176 end time Mar-07-11 11:53:28 PST)
A violet laser:
405nm 5mW Violet Purple Blue Ray Blue Laser Pointer Pen - eBay (item 150564800034 end time Mar-19-11 07:17:44 PDT)

Keep in mind that although these are advertised as being <5mW, they can very well
be stronger than that.
The 405nm one in particular is usually around 40~50mw in reality!

While these lasers are relatively safe, a direct hit to eye or even a reflection from a mirror
or shiny metal surface can be quite hazardous to your eye, especially from that 405nm one.

Oh, do you live in the US? Because if you don't, then you can get some nice and cheap lasers
from Dealextreme.


Just real quick about the mW (milli Watt, 1/1000th of a Watt):
<5mW is considered more or less "safe" unless you stare intentionally into the beam,
because usually your reflex will close your eye fast enough to avoid damage.

at around 50mW, the power is enough to smoke black plastics, pop (black) balloons,
poke a hole through a black garbage bag.

100mW and you can light matches with it.
 
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rhd

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Dux:
I just want to say - AWESOME / PERFECT way to approach this :)
(both the hobby, and a new forum)

THIS, is how you properly approach something you're new at. You've renewed my faith in people :)
 

RA_pierce

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I'm not really familiar with the whole mW and nm thing. I mean I get that the "nm" is the wavelength and ultimately color but when it comes to the mW thing I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Wavelength for the visible spectrum is measured in nanometers (nm).
Short wavelengths like 405nm and 445nm are on the blue side of the spectrum. 532nm is near the middle and is a green wavelength. Red starts around 630nm (arbitrary) and as the wavelength gets longer you start to head into infrared (IR).

Power is measured in Watts. Most of the lasers we use here can be measured most accurately in milliWatts.
1mW is equivalent to one thousandth of a Watt or 0.001W. 500mW is equivalent to 0.5W. Pretty simple.

Lasers below 5mW are considered "safe" as pointers since they cannot cause immediate eye damage with momentary exposure.
Lasers between 1mW and 5mW are generally "Class IIIa" lasers. "Class IIIb" is greater than 5mW but less than 500mW. This class is what you will most commonly see here. Class IIIb lasers can burn and melt some materials and are a hazard to eyesight.
Above Class IIIb is Class IV. Class IV lasers are 500mW and up. Direct exposure to Class IV lasers can cause thermal burns. Direct exposure to the eyes will result in instantaneous retinal damage. Class IV lasers are a fire hazard as well.

Treat lasers as you would any other tool that has the potential to damage, injure, or maim.

Welcome. :)
 
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Dux

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Thanks for the responses and complements guys. I know what it's like with the whole "way to approach" this kind of stuff because my main hobby- reef aquarium keeping, is the same way. I'm a noob here but on the aquarium forums I'm like you guys saying "Are you crazy try to do THAT and you've never kept fish before?!" I know the two sound unrelated but in that sense they are.

Anyhow, I am in the US and I'm going to go take a look at the ebay pointers. So with the violet pointer, is that something that I should not sit on the couch and point all around in the dark playing around? (for fear of reflection into my eye) Or is that short quick reflection ok? I mean, do I need goggles?

I don't want to say I completely fear lasers but I think it's a healthy fear and it teaches respect. Which ultimately leads to why I want to make sure I take it slow and learn before I get a more potentially dangerous "toy".

I do have some sense about how dangerous lasers can be because a good friend of mine does laser eye surgery and he showed me how the laser can burn holes in green paper (it's a red laser). And trust me, he has told me all about the dangers.
 
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It's been said on these forums that all of these pointers probably come from the same supplier in China, so if you'd like to get one from a USA seller and not have to wait for shipping from Hong King, check out this seller on eBay:


LaserQuickShip items - Get great deals on Green Laser 532nm, Blue violet Laser 405nm items on eBay Stores!

He also is responsive if you happen to get a dead laser, and would be a lot easier to deal with than someone in Hong Kong.

Since the power of these pointers seems unpredictable, I personally would wear protective glasses if I was flicking it around inside the house. Cheap ones from eBay would probably be OK for these pointers:

Green Blue Laser Eye Protection Safety Glasses Goggles - eBay (item 270585416220 end time Mar-23-11 20:53:28 PDT)

GREEN BLUE LASER EYE PROTECTION SAFETY GLASSES GOGGLES - eBay (item 230400462650 end time Mar-11-11 09:14:42 PST)

For more powerful lasers, I'd plan to spend more for non-generic glasses or goggles.
 

Krogith

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Welcome to the forums BTW.

The Search Bar is helpful as I'm sure you know.

For a short run down. Light is a wavelength rated in (nm's) and so each different Color is made Differently. And you can only see with your eyes certain colors.
405 nm is purple/UV light
445 nm is Blue
473 nm is Light blue
532 nm is Green
589 nm is Yellow
635 nm is Orange
650 nm is Red
Past that is IR and you can't see it very well if at all. And some more colors in between there as well.

Now if they were all the same Power level (mW explain in a sec)
You will not be able to see the higher and lowers ones 650 nm and 405 nm as well as the others.
You would be able to see 532 nm to 589 nm the best with your eyes.

Now all the lasers are rated in the energy they put out in (mW's) and the higher you go the more dangerous they are no matter what color they are and it doesn't matter if you can't see it with you eyes of course.

So the mW's are Classed as this



Class II <.9 mW

The blink reflex of the human eye (aversion response) will prevent eye damage, unless the person deliberately stares into the beam for an extended period. Output power may be up to 1 mW. This class includes only lasers that emit visible light. Some laser pointers are in this category. (IR doesn't make you blink as a example)

Class IIa <1 mW

A region in the low-power end of Class II where the laser requires in excess of 1000 seconds of continuous viewing to produce a burn to the retina. Commercial laser scanners are in this subclass.

Class IIIa <5-1 mW

Lasers in this class are mostly dangerous in combination with optical instruments which change the beam diameter or power density, though even without optical instrument enhancement direct contact with the eye for over two minutes may cause serious damage to the retina. Output power does not exceed 5 mW. Beam power density may not exceed 2.5 mW/square cm. Many laser sights for firearms and laser pointers are in this category.

Class IIIb <500-5 mW

50 mW to 200 mW can Fume to smoke (black material/plastics/tap/baloons Etc)
Lasers in this class may cause damage if the beam enters the eye directly. This generally applies to lasers powered from 5–500 mW. Lasers in this category can cause permanent eye damage with exposures of 1/100th of a second or less depending on the strength of the laser. A diffuse reflection Can Be hazardous but specular reflections can be just as dangerous as direct exposures. Special Protective eye wear (goggles) is required when direct beam viewing of Class IIIb lasers may occur. Lasers at the high power end of this class may also present a fire hazard and can lightly burn skin. A few "laser pointers" at 300 mW visible green output are now available in this category.

Class IV >500 mW

Lasers in this class have output powers of more than 500 mW in the beam and may cause severe, permanent damage to eye or skin without being magnified by optics of eye or instrumentation. Diffuse reflections of the laser beam can be hazardous to skin or eye within the Nominal Hazard Zone. Most entertainment, industrial, scientific, military, and medical lasers are in this category.
 
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Dux

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Alright so I was thinking for just starting, so I could have a few colors to play around with:
Green and Blue/Violet Laser Pointer Combo SALE US SHIP - eBay (item 110606495924 end time Mar-02-11 05:05:19 PST)

and

Red Laser Pointer 85-100 Visible Beam Beast Edition USA - eBay (item 110653364583 end time Mar-25-11 19:47:15 PDT)

Glasses:
600nm-700nm Red Laser Safety Glasses Protection Goggle - eBay (item 180630511230 end time Mar-24-11 23:08:46 PDT)

and

Eyes Protection Goggles Green Blue Laser Safety Glasses - eBay (item 180595006958 end time Mar-01-11 07:38:03 PST)


How's that for starters?

I like the US seller better for shipping reasons and such.


So, if I was just showing someone the lasers and I just pointed it at a normal, painted, wall and I was careful about not pointing it at a reflective surface, would I need glasses? I heard that looking at the point on a non-reflective surface is ok. Just don't have it go into your eye in any way shape or form (direct or reflected).

And thank's for the nice explanation Krogith.
 
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Krogith

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Don't go cheap on protecting your eyes. You want the real deal nothing less.


Yes if your using a high power laser you can hurt your eyes on a non reflective surface.
 
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Krogith

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Ok you're right. Is there something specific you would recommend?
I honestly have no idea about the IQS Red laser and I couldn't find any info for you

I know his green are doing close to the #100 (+/- 50 mW)

I got my Goggles from the forum so I can't tell you a good seller honestly. I haven't looked into it other than just browsing the B/S/T and just buying mine with a laser someone was selling and there really good. You'll have to have someone else tell you a good place. But make sure there rated for the nm & mW of the laser you buy :beer:
 
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I would stay away from ebay.
first go with the LEDshoppe 50mw green pointer then move onto the old or new style o-like 200mw red "dilda"
That's how I first started.
Search around the forum for both those lasers and read reviews. Everybody loves them.
Both those lasers combined are less than $75
 

Dux

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I would stay away from ebay.
first go with the LEDshoppe 50mw green pointer then move onto the old or new style o-like 200mw red "dilda"
That's how I first started.
Search around the forum for both those lasers and read reviews. Everybody loves them.
Both those lasers combined are less than $75
I will look around. Truthfully I'm not a big fan of ebay and it would be nice to be sure of what I'm getting. Shouldn't I start with a 5mw though rather than a 50mw?

So I looked at those and I see no problem with them. I mean the big thing for me is getting one that is safe to play around with since I'm just starting out. I don't mind paying a little more for knowing what I'm going to get.
 
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