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Need help buying my first laser!

Klawsome

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So i've been trying to get some help and information on buying my first laser.

All of the details on this i've already written in a Reddit post here,
https://www.reddit.com/r/lasers/comments/5cz60c/looking_to_buy_my_first_laser/

I'm not getting a lot of feedback and i'm having a rough time with everything so if anyone could leave some feedback or recommendations I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!


(Update)
I have decided that I am willing to spend as much as $150.
The Sanwu Challenger II is looking pretty beautiful to me and I would love to get it in 3W 445nm. But for my needs it's a bit pricey, and for what i'm doing, do I need that much power? Also how long would the battery life last on 3W and 445nm? It's not a huge deal since I would buy extra batteries and keep all of them charged.
Also when you have the option "Single" and "Multi" for the modes, what's difference? Also what do lenses do? I see on the Sanwu site there are 3 element, G2, and G7. Also if I got a Sanwu lens, could I get star caps for it?
 
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STI24

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You must be really patient when buying from Chinese companies. Their communication is not always best and you should expect to wait 2-4 weeks for your laser. Many people from the forum have bought from lazerer and the feedback is mostly positive. Give it some time.
 

Lifetime17

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Hi And welcome to LPF Lots office folks here enjoy your stay..

Rich:)
 

diachi

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Oh hey there! Fancy seeing you here! Welcome! :)
 
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Klawsome

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Damn... and I already requested my order to be cancelled...
 

diachi

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Damn... and I already requested my order to be cancelled...

Lazerer isn't dead, but they don't have the best reputation around here.

See this thread: http://laserpointerforums.com/f41/guide-company-should-i-buy-97936.html

If you want better service and quality lasers I'd suggest either LaserBTB, Sanwu Lasers, Jet Lasers or Dragon Lasers. They all have a good selection to pick from and they all have good reputations. You can always build it yourself too! :D

CarbonGod answered a lot of your questions on the Reddit thread it seems. If you think he missed anything or have any other questions feel free to ask! :)

I'm sure CarbonGod mentioned it, but you *must* buy laser safety glasses to go with a laser as powerful as 1W. Not only will they protect you from permanent eye damage but they'll also make it easier to focus the beam to a point for burning.
 
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Klawsome

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Judging off of all the information i've provided in my Reddit post, what would you guys recommend I buy from? Or should I submit a new order to Lazerer again.

Sanwu seems very interesting to me with the whole metal engraved designs they make. But I don't want to go over $150 now.

Also read above at my initial post, I updated it.
 
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CurtisOliver

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Welcome to the forum Klawsome. :) For your first laser, I don't recommend anything as high as the 3W Challenger. Also eye protection is very important.
For quality for your money, you can't go wrong with Sanwu and look at the pocket series first. As for the multimode driver, it allows different levels of output, but IMO single mode is better. For $90 you can get a 0.5W 445 which is perfect if you want to learn safe usage of a Class IV, but remember that this is still highly dangerous.
 

diachi

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Welcome to the forum Klawsome. :) For your first laser, I don't recommend anything as high as the 3W Challenger. Also eye protection is very important.
For quality for your money, you can't go wrong with Sanwu and look at the pocket series first. As for the multimode driver, it allows different levels of output, but IMO single mode is better. For $90 you can get a 0.5W 445 which is perfect if you want to learn safe usage of a Class IV, but remember that this is still highly dangerous.
I also don't recommend anything nearly as powerful as 3W, not for now anyway.

Yes, at 0.5W the laser would still present a huge danger to your eyes without protection. At 0.5W or 3W a direct hit will instantly cause permanent damage, both should be treated with equal levels of respect. At 3W you're getting into fire hazard territory too.

Highly recommend the pocket series, great little lasers. I didn't get the multi-mode driver so I can't comment on that.
 

Jhop

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Sanwu is a great choice, I can attest to their quality. And they are great in communication.

Single vs Multimode: Single mode means you click button, laser turns on, its full power. Click again and its off. Multimode means every click puts the laser in a different setting: low power, high power, flashing, safety ect. I personally prefer single mode.

For the lenses, I know that 3 element gives a better dot, G2 boosts burning capabilities and a slight increase in power output but the dot will be large, sometimes rectangular until focused. G7 is kind of a combination of those 2, better burning than 3 ele, better dot than g2, but not as high of power increase as g2.

I would also recommend grabbing one of the Sanwu pockets for a first laser. If you want a nice burner, grab the 405nm (purple) or 445nm (blue). if you dont want good burners, grab 650nm(red) or 520nm (green). The red and green will still burn some things at low powers, well more like melt holes in dark thin plastic or pop balloons. but are not as powerful as 405 or 445.

Sanwu offers expedited shipping, and normal shipping. I bought a pocket 650 from them with normal shipping, and it took about 3 and a half weeks to ship to me in the US. later on I bought their Spiker Saber laser with expedited shipping and it arrive in around 2 weeks(some people have gotten lucky and received in less than a week, but they were pretty busy with back orders when I ordered.

And a reminder, shipping from Sanwu on any laser adds 20$, and 20 more if you get expedited, so $40 shipping. My Spiker Saber in 445 at 1.6w, after shipping and g7 lens was $200.

Also if you select a Challenger II at 3w, that bumps itup to $190. then 10 more for a different lens if you don't want 3 ele, and 20 more for shipping.

So if you really want to stay under $150, get a pocket, any color+ shipping and you will stay under 150. Oh and if you get 405, get g2 lens, not g7. as recommended by the folks at Sanwu. Pm podo on these forums if you have more questions. he responds pretty quick

*EDIT oh and for batteries, all sanwu lasers (and most others) use Li-Ion batteries, which last a nice long while. And with any laser unless it has a huge heat sink, you don't want it turned on longer than a minute or so. thats the "Runtime" or "Power Cycle" you'll see in descriptions. And be sure to get good qualtiy Li-ion batts, i highly recommend efest sanyo or panasonic, they last a very long time and you don't see a noticeable loss in power as they drain down. Stay away from Ultrafire.
 
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Crazlaser

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I'd like to throw in there that you could also build a 2 watt laser for probably $120 or less. Also, pman has a sale going on right now with a really nice laser for $106.80 and another really nice one for $126.80. If I remember right, I think both were over two watts but I could be wrong.
 
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trencheel303

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It depends how sensible you are, and how sensible you are in the first place depends whether you can effectively self evaluate.

I started out with a 100mW green laser in a considerably fatter and heavier host than the usual pen laser you get, after months of research - the market is saturated with crap and when you are fresh to the hobby finding genuine stuff is like finding that secret club down a back street alley shop front.

Some say you shouldn't start with anything more than 5mW to be eye safe but I started with 20x that and still have my sight - it helps that I didn't even turn on the laser until I had my safety glasses and until I got comfortable with the hobby I was very respecting and even fearsome of it. I had a 1.6W (1600mW) blue as well that I actually got rid of because the bastarding thing would just burn a hole in anything that acted as a beam stop - too much power. For that I had certified OD7 laser goggles that I was able to pass on once I sold it.

Basically anything that is strong enough to show the beam in a dark room is a force to be reckoned with - for fun I sometimes take mine up into the hills and shine it on the mountains, the dot is visible for miles.
 
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diachi

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I had a 1.6W (1600mW) blue as well that I actually got rid of because the bastarding thing would just burn a hole in anything that acted as a beam stop - too much power. For that I had certified OD7 laser goggles that I was able to pass on once I sold it.

This is sort of what I was getting at with the fire hazard thing. A 1W laser may not burn your house down by starting a fire, but it's certainly enough to put scorch marks on things you may not want scorch marks on.

By blinds have a couple holes in them, with scorch marks around the holes, all caused by a 2W 445. That wasn't focused and it was from at least 15ft.
 




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