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New user here - I want to dip into lasers, but I've legitimately scared myself.

GreenDream64

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Sep 16, 2020
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Hello LPF, I'm a short-time Styropyro fan who's been lurking for a while, and since I got my first two 5mw (I hope they really are 5mw) el-cheapo pen-style-host laser pointers from ebay, I've actually been on quite terrified of what I've been doing.

In each of his laser vids, Styropyro always hammers home the importance of safety, in fact, due to my fear of getting an excessively-powered laser on ebay, I ended up buying the eagle pair goggles designed for blue and green lasers from survival laser.

Since the goggles themselves are already more expensive than my blue laser pointer purchases, buying a $200 meter for something that I'm not quite willing to fully commit to is out of the question. So I searched the internet for low-cost-tests.

First test: Brainiac75's balloon and magnifying glass test. I got an old magnifying-glass lens that is about the size of the one he uses in the particular vid he did the test with. I tested it on a bright-blue balloon and a violet balloon. Neither popped with the test.

So I figured I was fine, and used the laser without the goggles. It was the brightest laser I've ever owned, but it had no beam and wasn't as oppressively bright as the flashlight-style-host models that Styropyro used in his "testing illegal ebay lasers" video. but my darkest room was made surprisingly visible by this laser. My second strongest, a red airsoft laser, doesn't even come close to this one.

Though I don't think anything happened, my fear started boiling on me again- and due to my hard day already being a drain on me, it sparked my fear up again. I got thinking about how the magnifying glass itself during the test was kinda dirty, it wasn't awful, since I had cleaned it a while ago, but I also noticed that during the test of trying to pop the balloon that the laser was partially-reflecting off the magnifying glass if I had it at the right position. Both of these issues dulled my confidence in the test I had made and fueled my fear.

So I searched in the LPF forums and tried a second test: the IR thermometer test. (I'd link the thread but I don't get the same results on my PC, as I do my phone. So I don't know how to search for that link.)

I cut out a piece of painted black aluminum foil. Because I paint models and ran out of flat black spray paint a long time ago, I used Tamiya flat black acrylic paint for the foil. Measuring calculations with my IR thermometer got me a temperature of 69.9F for normal, and 70.0F for the laser. subtracting the difference, multiplying by 3.13 (and 1.01 because it's blue/violet) got me... 0.31613(mw?) (Can't remember exactly what measurement the raw number goes to).

Needless to say, I wasn't so sure on that test, furthermore, the piece of painted aluminum foil wasn't perfect-perfect-perfectly a half-inch like the test-creator intended it to be- and it was held up by a clothespin, and not glued to a string. So I'm really not sure about that.

I feel like most of this fear is all in my head, but I'd really want to be able to safely look at the blue laser dot on my pointer without goggles. I'll still use my goggles, they're great for night-computer-viewing, and I can use them with a low-level burner maybe... If I actually do. The thing is, I'll feel disappointed if I have to wear goggles for a laser pointer that doesn't have a beam or burn stuff because I feel like I'm missing out on the coolests part of lasering thanks to a lukewarm experience.

To be quite honest, lasers sound fun, but at this point I'm not even sure if I want to play with burning lasers with how dangerous they are and how much I value my eyes.

So that's why I came here. You guys are pros, and you know more than I do< I'm hoping you can put my fears to rest and learn from my mistakes so I can avoid being stupid in the future.

Thank you.
 



AquaticHarpy

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Sep 1, 2020
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Lasers are dangerous, and will cause permanent eye damage very very quickly. Some of the things I've done would be highly frowned upon by lpf. But for cheapo pen style pointers, they shouldn't be terrible powerful. Problem is your brain blocks out eye damage until it gets really bad so you have no idea. If the laser that lights your room is green or nm over 450 or so it may be due to eyes detecting that light far better than red, due to its point on the wavelength chart. I've always wanted a laser power meter and eventually I'll probably get a cheapo. If looking at the dot on the wall hurts, don't look at it. If it leaves spots in your vision or little floaties don't look at it. Ebay lasers are always curious and blue diodes can be the most powerful diodes out there. But I wouldn't be terribly afraid, avoid shining near reflective surfaces, maybe use it outside and point at stars, with no planes in view. I'll let others respond to this too, if your worried. Wear glasses. If the glasses stop you from seeing the dot you probably don't need them because I doubt they block ir. Just be careful, if it were me I wouldn't wear for ebay cheap lasers that say they are under 5mw. The stickers are usually pretty accurate. Be safe and have fun
 
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gazer101

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Feb 23, 2020
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Wear goggles and point it only indoors without pets or people near you and you're good (till some crazy karen sees you using a laser in your own home and tries calling the police on you--has happened... if you live near one make sure to cover your windows with blankets or something)
 
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AquaticHarpy

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Sep 1, 2020
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He's talking about an ebay pen laser pointer. I don't believe this level of safety needs to be exercised on something not even strong enough to feel or burn a little. As long as you excercise caution and common sense he should be ok. Read the laws and look at the sticker on your laser. That'll tell you what you need to know.
 
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Hap

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Read the laws and look at the sticker on your laser. That'll tell you what you need to know.
I would like to add that unless bought from a reliable seller laser safety stickers are basically useless to determine safety.

-Alex
 




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