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Looking for a Good Laser for a Phaser

swaplink

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Hey, I am building a phaser (like in Star Trek) for my dad for Christmas, and I need a good red laser that can at least light matches. I was looking at some simple lasers under $20. If there are any lasers out there that are for laser cutters, that might work too. I am new to lasers, so it would also be nice to have some info about what the specifications mean, like focus and nano meters. What makes a powerful burning laser? :gun:
 

BobMc

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Howdy, it's recommeded that you make a post in the "welcome" section and tell us a little about yourself. It will make it easier for people to give you better advice. Welcome! :)
 

Gazen

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Welcome swaplink.
You could get a module and driver from DTR and put it in a phaser host. If you have it made already you can get a custom heat sink from one of the members here, or you can ask one of the members if they can make you a host if you don’t already have one. Just make sure your father knows the dangers of lasers. To burn matches, I believe around 100-200mW should be sufficient. Nanometers is a unit used to describe wavelength of the laser. A lower wavelength, like 405nm will result in a violet color, while 650nm will result in a red beam.

You can find a lot of information using the search bar at the bottom of the page. Right now it seems to be broken, but it should be back up soon.
 
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swaplink

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Thanks Gazen, I will probably just 3D print a host (handle with place for the laser to go. Do you think I will need a heat sink around it if it is only 200 mW? Also, I have heard that a tightly focused beam increases the laser's burning power. Is that true? And if it is, which lasers have a tight focus?
 

Gazen

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I’m by no means an expert on optics, but you can increase the burning capabilities of a laser by focusing it. The idea is that you create a focal point where the beam converges in a narrow space. That way, the energy density will be greater. Most lasers will come with a focusing ability, where you can change the distance from the diode to the lens.

*Laser are already focused, but some have adjustable focus. If they were not focused, the plain diode would appear to be like a flashlight.


As for the heatsink, I believe that you will need one if you plan to run it for more than a few seconds, especially with a 3D printed host with poor thermal conductivity.
 
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diachi

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I’m by no means an expert on optics, but you can increase the burning capabilities of a laser by focusing it. The idea is that you create a focal point where the beam converges in a narrow space. That way, the energy density will be greater. Most lasers will come with a focusing ability, where you can change the distance from the diode to the lens.

*Laser are already focused, but some have adjustable focus. If they were not focused, the plain diode would appear to be like a flashlight.


As for the heatsink, I believe that you will need one if you plan to run it for more than a few seconds, especially with a 3D printed host with poor thermal conductivity.

Correct!


A better term would be "collimated". You could also say "focused to infinity". This page goes into some detail: https://www.newport.com/n/focusing-and-collimating


For a 200mW red you'd be able to push it to maybe a minute or so with minimal risk, although I wouldn't go any longer than that. Ideally I'd stick to no more than 10-20 seconds. A lack of additional heatsinking and a chunk of insulating plastic around the module would result in longer cool down periods. I'd ballpark 5-10 minutes for 1 minute of run time.

You don't need a big heatsink for a 200mW red, at least not for runtimes up to several minutes. The 22mm heatsink from DTR would be plenty in such a scenario, throw in a small fan and that'd likely be enough for an unlimited duty cycle at those power levels.

 
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GSS

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Welcome Swaplink:)
Is there a reason other than maby cost you want a red laser? The beam won't be visible unless very dark or alot of fog.
I think they used a few different beam colors in the TOS series.
If your ok with not seeing a beam thats fine..If you want something visible with good match lighting ability and a bit more I would look into a A140 blue diode and set it low at around 500mw. These A140's are dirt cheap now:)
 
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swaplink

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I don't think they used any other beam colors in TOS, but I would be fine with another beam color if it is more visible cheaply. I did want something cheap, and it would be nice if it was mostly pre built so I don't have to do much soldering or anything. Something like this would be nice, but not very visible. The A140 is expensive on DTR, but I found one on ebay for $15: here. I would have to get a driver though, which is probably also expensive I'm guessing. I would really like the whole project under $40 (I can 3D print for free).
 
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GSS

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Actually they did use the red plus green and blue phaser beams on occasion on the TOS series..
So it looks like your not interested in using the phaser sound also with the laser? I was going to tell you to look for a Rubies TOS toy, even though they are blue and orange for halloween safety it's nothing that paint can't fix. They run from $10 to $15 but do have the right sound.
Hopefully someone can chime in and find a cheap and proper driver for you:)
 

paul1598419

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It is true that a 200 mW 650nm red laser would not be very visible, nor able to burn much, even when collimated and focused to infinity. The so called A140 diodes are your best value for a bang for a buck. You can easily get 1400 mW out of one which will burn all sorts of things including paper, plastic, wood, your retinas... It would definitely need heat sinking and a glass lens. I'd drive it with an X-Drive set at 1.5 amps. These drivers can cost up to $30.00 each, though. It all depends on how much you are willing to spend. The cheaper your cost, the cheaper the outcome will be.
 
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RB astro

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In case you're not aware swaplink and if it hasn't been mentioned, please wear laser safety glasses/goggles.
As Paul mentioned these lasers will fry your retinas instantly, even before you have time to react.
A good brand is the Eagle Pair from Survival Lasers, in the wavelength that matches your laser of course.
Safety is paramount, so be safe and enjoy.

RB
 

swaplink

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Say I didn't want to burn anything, and I just wanted a cheap laser that you could see the beam of (doesn't matter if focused or unfocused). What would that be? This seems to be getting more expensive than I originally thought.
 

paul1598419

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To get a visible beam that is not very expensive, your best bet would be a 150 mW 532nm diode pumped solid state laser module with driver. That would be quite visible in a lit room. It wouldn't burn much except your retinas if you accidentally caught it in your eye. Your blink reflex is only capable of saving you from a 5 mW laser. But, no 5 mW laser has a visible beam. Fasttech sells some modules that can be set up to output up to 80 mW depending on the luck of the draw. I believe they still go for under $8.00 each. It is not as visible as a 150 mW one, but that one would cost you about $50.00, last time I looked.
 

GSS

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My 2 cents as Paul said it best..
Can't go wrong with a Fasttech 532nm 5mw module. They are listed at $4.88 and seeing they can do 80mw+ that is a decently bright beam and although it won't light a match, it will pop a black balloon for a little wow factor.
I would order 2 or 3 of them as they are cheap and see which one is best plus having some backups. Unless Paul tells me wrong I think they are basicly the same as all the ebays listed up to 100mw??
They also won't need extra heat sinking if you run them less than 60 sec on, which is another issue for you. You also might find some true 150mw 532 module for around $25.
http://www.fasttech.com/products/0/10000626/1057303-5-mw-532nm-green-laser-3v-119mm

I'm curious to see your 3D printed phaser host also..
 
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paul1598419

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Yes, the link GSS provided is the one I would purchase from considering your budget for this project. I knew they were cheap, but hadn't looked for quite some time. You can increase the power by turning the pot on the driver board. Sorry to say I can remember which way increases the power. I think it is CCW, but can't say for sure. At under $5.00 each, I'd get at least three as you never know what the maximum output will be on one. Good luck with your phaser build.
 




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