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Laser advertisement - has anyone done this?

LSRFAQ

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OK, Lets clarify a few things.

One, even if terminated, your shooting into airspace for your project: Means you need to file an FAA report.
Due to a recent act of congress on Drones, FAA pretty much covers down to the surface now.

Two, its not "two" variances, it is a variance and a manufacturer's report.

Three CDRH has already won the legal battle on jurisdiction way in the past. Its an act of congress and much bigger corporate entities have tried and lost on 21 CFR 1040.1. Thus you have to comply. Basically you get a warning, and if you don't respond, then you get a cease and desist. If you continue, you can get a notice of apparent liability, which means pay up, you've been fined. If you still fail, you can possibly meet a US Attorney who will come after you in a civil or criminal suite. Same administrative law process used by FAA and FCC, and other agencies. There is NO day in court before the fine applies, an administrator decides how much and they send you a notice., Even if your lawyer files an injunction the fine stands until proven otherwise. Civil law is much different then criminal law.

Four, Hacking an approved device is not a workaround. Its been tried, and legally failed. Its actually considered worse then not reporting.

Five, The definition of "Laser Demonstration Device" was clarified a while back. Your proposed use fits the LDD term.

If your looking to get around the regs, most of us who know what we're doing will pretty much automatically consider you unsafe. Our industry has had enough of those, and permanent outdoor shows with the exceptions of a very large amusement parks and a few concert tours have disappeared as a result.

The paperwork is NOT that bad. Like most things that are time consuming and arcane, you will not find many people giving away how to do it. However the two Federal Agencies involved are both pretty good at walking you through the procedures and paperwork if you call/email them and get past the first layers of contact. While I hate the "guns and lasers" analogy, CDRH would be termed "Shall Issue" in their attitude, provided you can do the paperwork and quality control tasks. The FDA charter is PRO BUSINESS! Getting an airspace clearance requires you to have the variance, and the FAA is anything but "Shall Issue".



Source: I used to do this for a living, had a variance, and still do some work for those who do. I'll need a new one in the near future, having finally had the opportunity to switch to modern solid state gear. I have the ILDA Laser Safety officer cert. I've also worked as the required aircraft spotter.

Very few people will pay you to just put a static beam up like that. These days that does NOT attract much attention, and neither do aerial searchlights. Usually you have to earn your money by providing some form of active scanning.

I miss the days when I could toss 20 Watts up with short prior notice, those days are long gone thanks to one small group of rich idiots who illuminated an airport approach path for weeks, ignoring a cease and desist letter.

You can quickly end up with Nominal Optical Hazard Zones (NOHD) measured in miles and CZEDs / SZEDs much further then that. Enjoy this link to a partial, outdated, document on FAA 7400:


Steve
 
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Encap

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LSRFAQ:
Re: Your point # 2---Maybe it is incorrect or no longer correct but this web site say's :
"Two variances are needed, one for the equipment and one for the show."
"Laser Light Show Device Variance" for the equipment--Covers "demonstration laser products". This includes any equipment which is a laser or which is intended to use a laser, to create a demonstration or a laser show.
For equipment incorporating lasers over 5 milliwatts, or empty projectors which could be used with lasers over 5 milliwatts, a Laser Light Show Device Variance is needed. Normally filed by the manufacturer of the laser show equipment. Could be filed by an importer or dealer (as well as a Laser Product Report). For laser projectors, the variance application MUST be referenced in the Laser Product Report FDA form 3632'
+ a "Laser Light Show Variance" Covers how the laser equipment is used. Ilda info page says: Displays/shows using Class 3B and Class 4 laser devices/projectors must be presented only under the conditions of an approved FDA variance. Fill out FDA Form 3640, “Reporting Guide for Laser Light Shows and Displays”, and fill out an application for a variance using FDA Form 3147. Submit both to FDA.

Form FDA 3147 is used for both types of Variance. The difference is in question 7b.

See: http://www.laserist.org/us-regs.htm ( if pop-up asks for user name and password just click on "Cancel" and the page will come up.

Either way, FDA web site currently says:
"Laser products promoted for demonstration purposes are limited to hazard Class IIIa by FDA regulation 21 CFR 1040.11(c). This means that projectors are limited to 5 milliwatts output power in the visible wavelength range from 400 to 710 nanometers. There are also limits for any invisible wavelengths and for short pulses. Laser light show projectors therefore may not exceed the accessible emission limits of CDRH Class IIIa. Laser light show manufacturers must submit a variance request for FDA approval in order to sell and operate higher class (Class IIIb and IV) laser light show equipment.

Prior to using Class IIIb and IV lasers for a laser light show in the United States, the following documents must be submitted to the FDA:
  • Product Report describing the laser projector,

  • Laser Light Show Report describing the laser light show, and

  • Application requesting FDA approval for a variance from the demonstration laser product hazard class limit of IIIa (5mW visible output)."
See: https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/home-business-and-entertainment-products/laser-light-shows

Your points are excellent--- there is no way to play games with the FDA Laws, rules, and regulations, attempting to circumvent them.
Loop holes don't exist.
As you say: "FDA CDRH has already won the legal battle on jurisdiction way in the past. Its an act of congress and much bigger corporate entities have tried and lost on 21 CFR 1040.1. "
"If your looking to get around the regs, most of us who know what we're doing will pretty much automatically consider you unsafe "
 
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LSRFAQ

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When Patrick or his minions typed that, they deviated to what Patrick might have had in the past. If your taking an entertainment product on the road for sales demos, it was/is two variances and a product report. For the rest of us, it is a product report and a variance. In the old days it was a product report for each new model of device. These days a report can be very broad, and amended to a class of similar devices. If you have a fixed install that might get paperwork separate from your touring rig.

The actual procedures are often amended /described in "Laser Notices" which are issued once in a Blue Moon to help answer questions that arise when working on the paperwork. There are written guidelines for filling out the forms, which used to be faxed out, and which may or may not be a current document some place. When I did my first variance, I had a around 40 page BRH booklet as guidance. CDRH hires engineers for reviewing submitted paperwork, and if your serious enough, and patient enough, they get back to you with answers. If you don't make it on the first pass, they often write/email/call for supplemental information or ask for amendments.

When I started I was in high school, and they were willing to work with me, even then.


Take a look at 50 and 55.

Then this, which is probably outdated.


There are some arcane details each company may use in filing the document to their advantage, but that borders in trade secrets beyond the scope of this discussion.

Please tell me how FDA form 3147 is difficult?

Steve
 
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Encap

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This site https://www.lasershowsafety.info/LDIguide.html in the Links to FDA forms section says:
"Variance: FDA Form 3147, “Application for a Variance from 21 CFR 1040.11(c) for a Laser Light Show, Display or Device”. Note that this can be filled out just for a device/projector, or just for a laser show/display (e.g., how the device/projector is used), or both . "
As mentioned above question 7b determines which it is---maybe can be for both at same time am not certain about that? Looks like a multipurpose form.

However it is accomplished seems both the device/equipment and the show/display need to be reported and covered + outdoor use in open sky requires FAA letter of approval to be able to get the FDA Variance.
 

LSRFAQ

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Form FDA 3635 “Laser Light Show Notification”
Form FDA 3636 “Guide for Preparing Annual Reports on Radiation Safety Testing of Laser and
Laser Light Show Products”
Form FDA 3637 “Laser Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Report”

Form FDA 3640 “Reporting Guide for Laser Light Shows and Displays”
Form FDA 3147 “Application for a Variance From 21 CFR 1040.11(c) for a Laser Light Show,
Display, or Device”
 

Alaskan

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You could alternately use non-coherent light, like one of those high power spot beams I see advertising malls, or car dealerships from time to time in the USA. Then you don't have all of the laser regulations to deal with, but still not cheap.



 

MEDDER

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I was going to also suggest using a spot light, as far as I know there are not any laws regarding them. Little power hungry sure, but better than being sued for all you are worth and more.

I have been interested in a similar project but its for personal/scientific use. I cant tell you about the fda side of it (looks like it has also been pretty well covered), but IMO it looks like you will have to oblige.

FAA side of it is this link at the bottom. You are not required to do it, but if you dont and a plane fly's through your beam or even if a pilot just happens to see the beam you are probably screwed. But even if you do get clearance from them you do still have some responsibility because you are supposed to have at least one plane spotter whenever the laser is running.

You mentioned the laser clearing house, that again is a voluntary thing but you probably also dont want to be sent a bill because you burned out a camera on somebody's weather satellite. Their biggest concern is divergence so if you made your laser have relatively mediocre beam specs you would be fine.

Large astronomical observatories that use laser guide stars have no fly zones put around them, get o.k.'d by the laser clearing house, have two plane spotters sitting outside the observatory and have cameras/software that watch for planes and can auto shutdown the laser. and their lasers are collimated to a 15 inch beam that is hardly even visible to the naked eye, let alone something that is just as much if not more powerful and like 532nm.

 

LSRFAQ

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See FAA 7400.2,
Chapter 30. High Intensity Light Operations

The arc light exemption is gone if your near an airport... Those guys are learning that they need to file, too.

Generally FAA handles "clearing house" for laser shows. My two friends who do this on a weekly/monthly basis do not contact DOD directly unless instructed. But I once knew another guy with two 45 watt laser show CVL systems who does have to do DOD based on pulse energy and collimation.

Steve
 

LSRFAQ

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This site https://www.lasershowsafety.info/LDIguide.html in the Links to FDA forms section says:
"Variance: FDA Form 3147, “Application for a Variance from 21 CFR 1040.11(c) for a Laser Light Show, Display or Device”. Note that this can be filled out just for a device/projector, or just for a laser show/display (e.g., how the device/projector is used), or both . "
As mentioned above question 7b determines which it is---maybe can be for both at same time am not certain about that? Looks like a multipurpose form.

However it is accomplished seems both the device/equipment and the show/display need to be reported and covered + outdoor use in open sky requires FAA letter of approval to be able to get the FDA Variance.
The variance is yearly, and FAA has nothing to do with the standard variance, , the outdoor approval is on a case by case advance notice basis. I no longer have to report indoor shows in advance unless I am conducting some very specialized effects, I do have to file my annual report. Now if your in AZ, NJ, possibly Mass, Texas, NY, there are state rules that are more onerous. NY and AZ are brutal and for the most part, require licensed operators on top of the variance. I have friends with NY class B and Arizona licenses.

I helped my friend with a major show in AZ, and the questioning/inspection/adjusting effects to their expectations was brutal.

Texas, NJ, Mass, are pretty much "tax collection" ie licensing. Texas also requires a license /registration procedure for industrial and scientific lasers as well. Texas requires a seven day advanced notice of a laser show. Texas is 400$ every two years.

Steve
 
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LSRFAQ

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Skytracker lamps are the major expense, 675$ per lamp for a 2KW XBO... 1500 for a 4 KW XBO rated life about 2500 hours... Which means you probably get 1800 hours.. Plus the cost of keeping the mechanics running. Looking at them on Ebay, neither they or GE /Sperry Searchlights go cheap.

Steve
 




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