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Laser Essay: Types of laser hobbyists on LPF.

Kenom

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Ok it's rare nowadays to actually get an english professor to allow you to choose the topics of your english papers.  My english teacher suprisingly has gotten it in her head that I'm a talented writer and has even asked to see a copy of my novel in the works.

As such, I have written my first three essays on lasers in one form or another.  The specific topic of the one I'm going to post here is "Types of laser hobbyists on LPF"  

I'm sure I'll make someone mad, but it's only a general observation and not directed at any "one person."  If however, you DO take offense at the essay, please don't sully the thread with them.  If you feel the NEED to argue, take it to PM.  I'm only sharing this cause I find it funny in a few places and it points out some common distinctions across types of hobbyists. THERE ARE ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS.  Your probably one of them in one form or another.  I never judge.  

Without further ado, I present in it's rather crude, unedited form (dragon naturally speaking doesn't clearly understand me.)

TYPES OF LASER HOBBYISTS ON LPF​

Laserpointerforums.com is an online discussion group put together to discuss lasers and the building, repair, and use of them.  There are three different types of laser hobbyists which are defined by mannerisms, forum activity, and general knowledge of lasers: the newbie, the veteran, and the elite.
The newbie is the most annoying of the laser hobbyists.  They join the form primarily to get enough information to build a laser pointer, without understanding the skills needed to accomplish the task.  The newbie is generally bumbling.  They ask questions that have been asked before and don't use the search feature to search the forum and see if the question has already been asked.  Their general understanding of lasers is rudimentary and needs the most basic things explain to them, or they have no desire to learn the things they need and would rather have it done easy and wrong instead of harder and right.  Some newbies are on the form for a short time, while some stay and move on to the next: stage the veteran.
The veteran is considerate, confident, answers a lot of questions, contributes to the hobby by asking good questions, and knows a fair amount about lasers and the skills needed to build them.  The majority of users on the form are veterans.  A veteran uses the search feature to find the information needed and when they do will contribute in the discussion going on.  I have been a veteran of the forums for over a year and love to pass on the knowledge that was passed on to me.  Without the veterans there would be no forum.
The last and rarest of forum-goer is the elitist.  The elitist has been involved with lasers since they were invented in the 1960s.  The elitist rarely contributes to the forum and when he does, goes on at length to show how superior they are, with wordy and technical explanations showing beyond a doubt that only God is more insightful.  The elitist is usually very argumentative and rude, especially when the information they deign to provide is called into question.  Never would you see an elitist use the search feature as they already know everything and has no desire to further everyone else's understanding of the blasphemous “pointer”.  Thankfully since the laser elitist is so unpopular there aren't very many of them.
Laser pointer forums.com is a thriving and active forum, were a wealth of information on lasers can be found.  Without the three distinctly different forum members, I doubt how popular and active this hobby would be.  Each member brings to the forum of mixture of new information as well as old ideas and techniques that nobody has considered, and camaraderie that binds even the most annoying qualities of everyone.  I cannot imagine laser pointer forums.com without them all.
 



iewed

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Hahaha, those classifications are so true.

Speaking of essays, I've been working on a 2000 word essay on applications of lasers for school, fortunately I found a several thousand page book dedicated to the topic.
 

daguin

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Don't apologize for classifying and simplifying your subject. It is necessary and central to being able to do science. Laserists (like so many other things in life) are varied enough to be considered a continuum. Each of us occupy a different "place" on the line from Noob to elite. However, in order to study us, you MUST categorize us and then treat everyone in that category as if they were the same. If you don't, all that is left is individual dialogues. They may be very interesting to listen to, but they are impossible to study.

Peace,
dave

P.S. You forgot the category of "old guys who do lasers to keep the Alzheimer's wolf away from the door" ;)
 

Kenom

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daguin said:
Don't apologize for classifying and simplifying your subject.  It is necessary and central to being able to do science.  Laserists (like so many other things in life) are varied enough to be considered a continuum.  Each of us occupy a different "place" on the line from Noob to elite.  However, in order to study us, you MUST categorize us and then treat everyone in that category as if they were the same.  If you don't, all that is left is individual dialogues.  They may be very interesting to listen to, but they are impossible to study.

Peace,
dave

P.S.  You forgot the category of "old guys who do lasers to keep the Alzheimer's wolf away from the door" ;)
The "old guys who do lasers..." are Veterans with no memory competent enough to become elite!

I wasn't really afraid of classifying the hobbyists or I wouldn't have posted the essay. Needless to say, since this essay was written in class instead of at home with enough time to truly prepare for the subject material, it's not as in depth or complete as I would have liked. I got a B++ for this and all of the other essays I've written for this class have been an A or higher having the time to prepare for them. As Daguin can attest, I'm not a bad writer, just in need of some practice, and this class has given me the practice I needed. As a matter of fact, my Inductive argument essay was so good, the Professor asked me to sign a release so she could use my paper for future referrence material on what a excellent argument essay looks like. I was very honored.

Here is another.
How to build a Laser​

Lasers over the years have mystified people in their ability to shoot a concentrated beam of light over vast distances. While the technology behind a laser is complex, building one is not. If you use the right components, have a little spare time, and a general interest in lasers, you too can very easily make a high powered laser capable of smoking most black colored item.
In order to assemble a laser you are going to need the right components. While many of them are not readily available locally, the internet is a vast resource for the parts that you can’t find locally. The first parts you’ll need can be found locally and purchased for under $15. You will need a soldering iron, solder, and wire. These can be purchased at Radio Shack. A soldering iron five piece kit can be purchased for $7.99, and will include a soldering iron and some solder. The only thing left to get at Radio Shack is some wires. The wires we are going to use are the wires from a typical light emitting diode or LED. One more component that can be purchased locally is plain old scotch tape. The rest of the components must be purchased online. The first is the laser module. This can be purchased at www.stonetek.org/shop for $26.99. The laser module is a barrel shaped brass tube 12mm in diameter and 12mm long. The laser diode is inserted into one end with the pins of the diode sticking out the end like chopsticks sticking out the top of a cup, and a lens is screwed into the other side so that the output of light from the laser diode can be focused. For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to need a host that is a flashlight. This flashlight can be purchased at http://dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12152. The host is needed to house the laser diode module and make it portable and easy to hook to our batteries. We won’t discuss the preparation of the host in this tutorial, as it was discussed in a previous tutorial. It is important however, to take the steps necessary to modify the head in order to accommodate the laser module.
Once you’ve got your module, you’ll need to solder your LED wires to the module’s pins. Cut about ½ of an inch of the wires from the bottom of the led and set them aside to be soldered onto the pins of your laser diode. On the bottom of the module are the pins of the laser diode. There will be a total of 3 pins coming from it. We need to determine which of the pins is which in order to connect them correctly. In order to do this we need to look at the pins. Two of the three pins have small black rings around the base of them and one does not. Position the laser diode so that the pins are pointing at you and put the two pins with black rings and position them like on a clock at three o’clock and nine o’clock and the pin without the black ring goes on the bottom at six o’clock. You will want to cut off completely the pin at nine o’clock as it is not necessary. This can be accomplished by moving it back and forth over and over until it breaks off. Now that we are down to only two pins, we can determine which pin is positive and which pin is negative. The pin at three o’clock is our positive pin and the one at six o’clock is the negative. From here, you will solder the wires you cut onto the pins. Making sure that the wires you solder don’t touch the bottom of the diode. Position the wires so they are acting as an extension of the existing pins yet overlapping them just a small amount, like taking two pencils and taping them together, so that it is now almost twice as long as a single pencil. To make sure we have a good connection, the overlap makes it so that the solder has a larger area to adhere to. Once you have placed the wire onto the pin, touch the soldering iron to the junction and touch the solder to the wire. The heat will cause the solder to melt and flow in the junction between the two wires. Pull the soldering iron from the wires and continue to hold the pins in place until the solder is cooled. This will take only about 10 seconds. Repeat the process for the remaining wire, and your module is ready to be taped. Use a 1 inch section of scotch tape and wrap it around the outside of the module. Trim it down with a knife so that it only covers the metal on the outside diameter of the module. We have now modified the module so that we can progress to the next step.
We now need to put the last component onto the module in order to fit it into the head, and allow us to make the electrical connections we are going to need to make the laser diode functional. You’ll want to take the plastic base that came from inside the head. The preparation of this was discussed in our other tutorial. The plastic base unit will essentially be like a T with the holes going through the leg from the top, and a metal ring on the underside of the top of the T. The bottom of the leg has two distinct holes, one that goes to the bottom and terminates there, and one that comes out the side as well as the bottom. There is an important distinction here. The hole that comes off the side is our positive connection to the base of the head and the positive pin needs to be soldered to the metal ring around the base. Position the module so that the two wires we’ve now soldered onto our module will fit into the holes at the top of the T. Making sure that the positive wire goes into the hole that exits to the side, push the pins in so that the base of the plastic meets the base of the module. Our pins will now stick out of the two holes and can be positioned in their correct places. The positive needs to be bent up and cut so that it touches the metal ring around the base of the T and not extend past the edge of the metal ring. The negative needs to be bend down flush with the top of the plastic cylinder. The positive pin is then soldered to the metal base by applying heat with the soldering iron to the metal ring and the solder touched to the metal ring on the opposite side of the wire. When the correct temperature is reached the solder will flow under the pin and you can then remove the soldering iron and allow the ring to cool for about two or three minutes. You can now push the module into the head with the lens going in first. It will come up to a lip and stop with the lens of the module stopping a little past the top of the head. You can then screw the head back onto the flashlight barrel.
Insertion of the batteries in the correct orientation is done next so that we have the power necessary to activate the laser. With the flashlight now reassembled, you can insert the batteries which came with the flashlight. The batteries, which are button cells, or small flat round batteries, will have one side that is marked with a + and is flat, and the other side is slightly rounded, and is the negative. With the flat side towards the back side of the flashlight, insert all three of your batteries into the light and screw on the tail cap. The head of the light will be your on/off switch, and twisting it loose will cause the laser to turn off. You’ve now assembled your laser. The focus of the laser can be adjusted by spinning the lens either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Like focusing the sun with a magnifying glass, the spot will get bigger or smaller and you can get a nice thin beam with the right focus. Focusing the spot down to its smallest size will allow you to burn plastic and many dark-colored objects.
You’ve now built a useful tool that not only allows you to smoke black plastic, but also allows you to point out things in a lecture environment much more clearly than your typical laser pointer. In an emergency situation, you can use this high powered laser to potentially flag down rescuers when lost, start a fire when you have no matches, or provide you a little light in a dark situation.
 

Curiously_Coherent

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Next career step... intern at Popular Science!

Nice work Ken! [smiley=thumbsup.gif] Illustrate that puppy and you have one helluva tutorial there.

Cheers, CC
 

billg519

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daguin said:
Don't apologize for classifying and simplifying your subject.  It is necessary and central to being able to do science.  Laserists (like so many other things in life) are varied enough to be considered a continuum.  Each of us occupy a different "place" on the line from Noob to elite.  However, in order to study us, you MUST categorize us and then treat everyone in that category as if they were the same.  If you don't, all that is left is individual dialogues.  They may be very interesting to listen to, but they are impossible to study.

Peace,
dave

[highlight]P.S.  You forgot the category of "old guys who do lasers to keep the Alzheimer's wolf away from the door"[/highlight] ;)
Good category, Dave !!!  ;D It might just fit me !!!

- Bill.

Edit - Kenom, well written, good work!
 

Kenom

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Curiously_Coherent said:
Next career step... intern at Popular Science!

Nice work Ken!  [smiley=thumbsup.gif]  Illustrate that puppy and you have one helluva tutorial there.

Cheers, CC
Hahaha for the essay I couldn't use illustrations. I had to make it clear enough for someone to follow without illustrations. That and the work needed to the head prior to the tutorial makes it an incomplete tutorial. But! I've contemplated posting the tutorial anyway and throwing in some pictures and posting it in the tutorial section anyway. If I get my math homework done early enough today I will do so.

Thanks for the compliments. :D
Ken
 

FrothyChimp

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The how-to would be a great article for the deviantphoton.com How-To section. Add some illustrations or photos and it'll be available to anyone as long as the site lives with you name on it.
 

Kenom

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Hahah that must be the site you've been talkin bout putting together eh? Well as soon as I put together the illustrations I will go post it there as well.
 

Tech_Junkie

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Kenom said:
Hahah that must be the site you've been talkin bout putting together eh?  Well as soon as I put together the illustrations I will go post it there as well.
I'll volunteer if you need help, let me know..
 

Morgan

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Once, I was a wannabe...

A wannabe newbie.

As a wannabe newbie I thought, and searched as a veteran.

I am now, and remain, (for the moment), still a newbie...

... But a newbie with wannabe veteran tendancies!

Nice writing Kenom...

M :)
 

XCreedX

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Hey you finally found the essay ken ;D.

Nice essay by the way, nice job ;)
 

Geneticz

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Nice essay! However, here are a few things which might help:

Referencing. Use it, love it, use it some more. Quote some newbies, or one of Dave's more insightful comments.

Topic sentence, especially for the first paragraph. Clearly state what you are attempting to prove, as you should be attempting to do so.

;)

Don't worry, not disagreeing or criticizing, I'm just trying to help!

P.S. Good laser guide! :eek:
 

laser83

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That list applies to all hobbyists forums by the way. Going into larger forums you could write a book on the social dynamics of a forum. To add: two types of newbies and this is universal. Annoying newbies who will never use search and ask obvious questions over and over. Next is the proper "lurker" type who won't ask a question without good reason.
Funny essay though.  ;)
 

daguin

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Geneticz said:
Topic sentence, especially for the first paragraph. Clearly state what you are attempting to prove, as you should be attempting to do so.
You're professors probably refer to this concept as either the "thesis statement", or the "central idea." No. They are not the same thing, but The English departments (here at least) don't appear to be teaching the "central idea" anymore. :'(

I hate taking up class time in a public speaking class to teach a basic writing component :mad:

Peace,
dave
 




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