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Locally Sell a Medium to High Power Laser

kuhny1

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Jul 21, 2013
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Hi all,

I was wondering how legal it is to locally sell a like within a town not shipping it anywhere.

Im asking this because im thinking about selling a 300mW red 650nm im made recently, to a friend. We've been friends since elementary school and he's responsible enough to trust him not be stupid with it. He will be responsible for his own eye protection, ill tell him exactly what needs but he will have to buy it.

As it stands now, im not doing anything until I understand the legal terms.

So far, I have only managed to gather this from searching this topic around:

1. Any with optical power output must have the required safety features on it like key locks, led to show the is on, and a certain delay until the actually turns on.

2. It is legal to sell any of any power as long as proper safety requirements are met.

3. The must meet the stated output power within a stated tolerance to go along with quality control and false advertisement.

Im sure this is not all correct, but if it is, what are all of the safety requirements, if I missed any that is.
 
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You haven't really missed anything, except that your laser must be have a unique accession number from CDRH, which is part of the FDA.

For all intents, selling a laser pointer over 5mW in the US is illegal. There is no gray area about it.

In terms of enforcement though, the agency that cares is the FDA, and it is not overly concerned with a hobbyist selling a laser pointer to another hobbyist.

Getting a Radiation Emitting Product to Market
 
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I believe an often used "loophole" is sell it in kit form
Danny
 
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Yup, none of the components are illegal to sell. A complete laser pointer is.

There is some gray area in interpretation, on what it means to have a kit that requires assembly. Generally speaking, if soldering is required, it's legal, if it it's just a module that you twist into a host, that's not.

For a private, local, sale, it's mostly a question of whether you believe the other person to be responsible or not.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2013
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IDK. I have built and sold a few lasers between friends before and never gave it a lot of thought as it was between friends. No one need know the particulars of the sale except for you and your friend and unless one of you talks about it is seems to be a moot point.
 
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I expect that's the case for most on here. That's also true of generally any kind of private transaction. As far as legalities are concerned all sales should be governed though, so they can be taxed, regulated and so on.
 
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Another "loophole" (if you will) is giving as a "gift," you could kindly give him the laser as a gift in private and he will "happen" to have the amount of cash you would want for it and as a kind gesture in return give you that specific amount of cash, "as a gift." Oh boy :crackup:
 
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Benm

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I'm not sure about the US, but usually there is a difference in legislation between selling someting commercially and privately. In such private transaction you are, for example, not required to charge VAT, unless you re-sold something as-is with a profit, in which case you'd have to pay VAT over the profit margin (in the EU at least) above a certain minimum.

If you are worried about being liable for any damage he causes with the laser, you could make a sales contract specifying how it is to be used. That would be indoors and always in such a fashion that it hits a beamstop before it can exit a window and such.

I case he hits and airplane with it or something you can always state that it was improper use - similarly to how hammers are perfectly legal to sell but using them to bash peoples heads in is not. For hammers this does apparently not require explicit explanation.
 

Pman

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Somehow we have managed to not require a warning sticker on all hammers that it is illegal to smash someone's head in with one.
On that note, I wonder how many lawsuits there have been against hammer manufacturers or hardware stores for injury other than something like the head coming off or the handle splitting. On the other hand I guess I really don't want to know....
 

Benm

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I guess hammers come with 'avoid hitting thumbs or other digits' warnings in the US nowadays? :D

With most devices it seems very clear that you can get injured when using them for other uses than intended (e.g. one should not juggle running chainsaws despite there are videos online of people doing so).

When it comes to portable lasers i think the main issue is if they are meant as presentation pointers or for some other purpose. Unfortunately they can look exactly the same, but something 100 mW is NOT a presentation pointer.

In the EU this is sort of a point of legal debate: presentation pointers should be eye safe, but if something in the same form factor is sold as a cutting tool or even firestarter it does not have to be.

I guess it's comparable to a water pistrol: it may have about the same dimensions of an actual one that fires live rounds can't do much damage. Toy pistols that resemble real ones are illegal to own here though. I guess one could spraypaint a real gun bright yellow and carry that without much police attention :D
 




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