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New to lasers and after advise?

Steve Cole

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Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and i am after some advise.

I'm sure these questions have been covered many times and you might get a little annoyed at them but as lasers aren't toys I want to make one post to get the correct information once and for all.

I would like a hand held pointer with the capability to pop balloons, cut through tape and light matches. I would like a blue laser but I was wondering is that the best colour?
There is a lot that I don't understand such as how many MW I would need, colour of the lasers i.e. which would work the best or does it not really matter for what I need? I have no intention of pointing the laser at stars or shooting it miles into the night sky. This is just for personal use within my home using the correct eyewear. Lasers have always fascinated me and the thought of being able to now buy a real laser that using just light is enough to cut through something just seems very "cool" and very sci-fi.

What I would like to no is;

What colour would work best so I can see the whole beam and so it will cut through tape and pop balloons etc?

What MW do I need to achieve the results I have seen on YouTube?

What level of eye wear do I need? I assume it is relevant to both the colour of the beam, wave length or power out put?

What lasers do you have, and would recommend? ( I was after a blue laser like the arctic but only for about £100 as I am not an astronomer an it is just for my own personal use)

Where is the best place to buy a laser?

Are there lasers available with a safety key? I will be keeping my laser in my tool box in the garage (as it's big, steel and lockable) however are the lasers with a lock and key operation as I have a few high powered torches and as these lasers from what I can tell look similar to my torches. I don't want anyone to pick up the laser and do damage or point it at things they shouldn't and I was wondering is there a good laser you would recommend that I can lock the switch so it can't be turned on by mistake?

Finally from what I can work out the law in the UK is a grey area? It says no lasers over 1mw (class 1-2) for use in a public place so I assume in a board meeting for a power point. But would a 1000mw laser for home use ONLY be illegal? I asked a police officer and they didn't no? Apparently if I was shinning it at someone or a plane or something then yes it is against the law. but that goes for any pointer even a 1mw I guess? Plus I would never do that anyway, these things can cause way touch damage to fool around with.

I would like to no 100% and get a definite answer am I able to import one into the UK safely and legally without customs sending me a caution or something? I would only go ahead with getting a laser if I can

A; get the correct eyewear protection and correct safety precautions

B; I would only every get a laser that I no is 100% legal and I can bring into the UK with no hassle. If I can't get a 1000mw then what am I able to get safely and legally? If the limit is 1mw end of, then hey, I will leave the sci-fi Starwars tech to you guys amd youtube but if I am able to bring in a 1000mw laser into the UK legally then I would like to no which is the one to have?

Many thanks
Steve
 

Frankk

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Welcome to the forums.

The power of the laser is measured in mW (milliwatts) or W (watts) respectively. MW is megawatts :p I don't believe the wavelength (color) of the beam has any correlation to its power (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong), though some colors appear brighter to the human eye.

445nm (blue) lasers are fairly priced, so I would stick with that. Anything over 120 mW will be able to light matches, cut black electrical tape, and pop balloons with no problem, but you can get more than that for £100. Which YouTube videos are you referring too?

You should get goggles with an OD (optical density) of at least 3-4 depending on the power of the beam. Many people here recommend the Eagle Pair from Survival Laser (Eagle Pair® 190-540nm Standard Laser Safety Goggles). I have an ARG pair from OEM Laser Systems myself (Visible : ARG - Blu Ray, Argon, Blue, KTP). That will protect you from all blue/green wavelengths up to 532nm.

Check my sig for the two lasers I have.

Search the forum for the best places to buy. From what I've read, Lazerer, O-Like, Dragon Lasers, and Jetlasers have a great reputation. You can also check out the b/s/t section (Buy, Sell, & Trade - Laser Pointer Forums - Laser Pointers and Laser Pointer info). There are plenty of lasers that require a key.

I don't know much about how customs works in the UK, but there are plenty of threads on the site to look through that will answer your questions.

You honestly should have done more research before creating this thread, but regardless, I hope you find what you're looking for!

Frank
 
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I don't believe the wavelength (color) of the beam has any correlation to its power (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong), though some colors appear brighter to the human eye.
Some wavelengths burn better than others. mW for mW 405nm will burn better than the rest in most instances. The brightest color appearance to our eye is 555nm.

and your right....he should have done more research before making a thread. All his answers are easy to find.
 

Frankk

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Some wavelengths burn better than others. mW for mW 405nm will burn better than the rest in most instances. The brightest color appearance to our eye is 555nm.

and your right....he should have done more research before making a thread. All his answers are easy to find.
Ah, good to know. Thanks
 

Steve Cole

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Okay thank you for the advise, To be honest i have used the search function and i get so many conflicting answers?

1) The law-

"UK and most of Europe are now harmonized on Class 2 (<1 mW) for General presentation use laser pointers or laser pens. There are no specific UK laws relating to laser pointers; however, Health and Safety regulation insists on use of Class 2 anywhere the public can come in contact with laser light, and the DTI have urged Trading Standards authorities to use their existing powers under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 to remove lasers above class 2 from the general market."

That is only saying that if i bought anything over 1mw and shone it in the town or around people then it is miss use and it would be confiscated :spank: but that would surely be obvious. What is unclear is, if i import a laser into the UK is it going to get confiscated? Because that description is saying that trading standards can use "there existing powers" to basically just confiscate it. There is no good reason that can validate the need for a high powered laser as a Maplins £5 laser is more than adequate for power points so if customs did send me a letter asking me to explain and state what they have stopped and why i have purchased it and my only answer and back up is "i think its fascinating and i want to cut tape and pop balloons" then i fear that i am going to lose alot of money. However if some one can give me some hard concrete evidence that states that there is nothing wrong with privately owning a laser for personal use and if i can find one with the correct safety features then at least i have something to back up why i am buying one. Hopefully i wont have any issues buy it wouldn't hurt to have an argument and reasoning in place.

2) As for the YouTube videos they vary i have seen some where it take a while to light a match and pop a balloon and seen others where instant contact was enough to pop a balloon or cut tape. What i am after is a blue laser that will cut and pop instantly but with the lowest power and preferably cost possible :thinking: if that makes sense. Basically if a 400mw will work and achieve what i am after then i am more than happy with that as it would probably be cheaper and is going to be less risk but if the results can only be achieved by using a 1w laser then that is what i will go for.

3) Safety- Now this one is key for me, i like the look of the firedragon as it has a key to arm it at the back, a red light to show the laser is on and a blue ring to show that it is armed, it also has a cover for the lens so if the laser gets turned on by mistake then at least it will not allow the beam to come out until you uncover it. Big fan of that as a safety point of view.

4) I don't really understand the nm after the colour? I assume that's how bright it is? I just want a blue beam that is visible like a light saber :rolleyes: lol how childish but i want it to be as lower risk as possible (emit no UV and cause as little damage as possible if something were to go wrong)

If i can find a laser that will match those needs for less than £100 or there about and if i can get it into the UK no problem the next thing will be a couple of pairs of protective eye wear ;) but for now i would really appreciate your help and knowledge for those questions.

Many thanks
Steve


Edit: Looking into it a little more watching YouTube videos etc it would appear that a green laser for a noob may be a better alliterative? It would appear that blue lasers are only available in very high powers suck as 1000mw? In peoples opinion on hear what would you go for? As i will happily take your advise and take safety and function over colour.
 
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Its not going to happen. Not in your price range anyway. The UK will confiscate any Chinese lasers. So your best bet it to make your own. They will let parts pass. With the power you want you'll also need goggles too. So add that into the cost. Where you live...and the power you want is limiting your chance of getting into the hobby cheaply. Sorry.
 
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Steve Cole

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okay mate i appreciate your honesty, if that is the case i will pass im not going to the extent of building one. If i can't get a pre-built and decent one then i will leave it.

Steve
 




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