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Newbie Seeking Buying Advice

Etalbyn

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Feb 19, 2019
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Hey all! So let me preface this by saying I effectively know nothing about lasers, and am here for a single purpose: I want to buy a laser glove for a costume. What I'm looking for is specific though, in that it lacks any finger lasers, but just has 2 different colored lasers installed in a rotating palm, and I've seen them referred to by many names, such as "rave laser gloves", "swirl laser gloves", "whirlwind laser gloves", and the less imaginative but accurately named "rotating laser glove". I saw a couple on Ebay that gave me the idea initially, and figured it would be a fairly easy purchase, but I wanted to shop around to get the best bang for my buck. However I quickly realized that the laser industry is seemingly dominated (at least at the novice consumer level) by cheap, sketchy Chinese vendor sites, that either have a mountain of crappy reviews, or lack reviews altogether and are likely "fly-by-night" operations or some other scam. So needless to say, I am thoroughly overwhelmed by what I thought would be just as easy as any other online purchase I've made, and almost decided to try one of these random sketchy shops, in the hopes that I might get something remotely decent for the seemingly ridiculous prices they were asking.

Fortunately, in my quest for reviews for one of these sites, I stumbled across a post from a forum member here titled "GUIDE: Which Company Should I Buy From?", that opened my eyes and gave me hope that I might be able to make a well informed purchase and get a quality product from somewhere after all. That being said, a lot of you seem to be into building your own lasers and doing all kinds of complex and upper level stuff that is well beyond me, and in my searching I found virtually no threads related to these laser gloves that I'm looking for, so I figured I'd just ask directly. I also browsed through the sites of all of the suggested "Good Companies" in the above-mentioned buyer's guide post, but unfortunately only one of the retailers seems to carry laser gloves, and they were only rated as "Fair" in the list: www.o-like.com.

So if anyone would be so kind, I'm primarily interested in 3 things:
  1. Educating myself on standard safety protocols, such as how long can I operate the laser glove before I need to allow it cool down, what milliwattage should I be looking for to maximize safety for the use I'm intending it for (i.e. is there any wattage that is low enough so as to be completely harmless to the eye?); etc.
  2. Getting a product that is at least decent quality, and isn't going to break down immediately or have the battery pack explode on me or something.
  3. Getting something that is fairly affordable, ideally in the price range of $100 or less.
The ideal color combo/style I was looking for was a green/violet swirl laser attached to a black leather glove with metal rivets on the back, but unfortunately all of those that I've come across, seem to be offered by bad or unknown companies, most notably laserpointerpro.com. Here's the links I came across in my own searching to the sort of thing I'm looking for:

  1. https://www.laserpointerpro.com/400mw-532nm-405nm-green-purple-light-color-swirl-light-style-rechargeable-laser-glove-black-free-size-p-2573.html
  2. https://laserspen.com/laser-pointer-lit330.html
  3. http://www.laserpoints.com/laser-gloves-with-finger-lasers-and-2-rotating-lasers-in-palm-black.html
  4. https://alexnld.com/product/gloves-double-purple-swirl-laser-gloves-405nm-built-in-battery-1mw-5mw/
Are any of these at all reputable or decent quality products? They seem to list REALLY low milliwattage for the laserspen andalexnld options (1 - 5 mw), whereas laserpoints says 100 mw, and laserpointerpro says 400 mw, though apparently they're notorious for lying about the strength of their lasers. Do I want a super weak laser for it to be safe to use around other people? Or will a 1 mw laser be barely visible in anything but pitch black lighting?

Also, here is the list of available laser gloves from O-Like, which I was led to believe is a little more reliable, and also seems to be significantly more reasonably priced:

  1. http://www.o-like.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=457
  2. http://www.o-like.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=72&products_id=411
  3. http://www.o-like.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=456
  4. http://www.o-like.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=414
Alright, well I'll end my long-winded spiel there for now, but thank you in advance to anyone who reads this and tries to help me out.
 

Immo1282

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Firstly, if you're thinking of using it around other people, or using it yourself without appropriate eye-protection (laser safety goggles probably don't look right on your costume :p), You should stick to lasers <5mW in power. This is known as class 3R and will not cause eye damage before someone's blink reflex will protect them. Still can damage your eyes if you stare into the beams though. I do not know how much the power would be spread out by the rotating mechanism - but exposure duration is as important as power for eye-safety.

Rotating lasers on a glove mean you'll have less control over the direction of the beam than if it were a straight design - and you must be mindful of reflective surfaces surrounding you, as reflections from shiny surfaces are just as dangerous as a direct hit.
 

CurtisOliver

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First of all, I'm glad you came across Sta's company guide and bothered to check things out first. ✅
Secondly, I am also happy to see you want to educate yourself on laser safety. ✅
Immo, has already outlined some key points to consider so no point in repeating.
Personally, I hate the idea of laser gloves in terms of safety. They are not safe unless each individual laser is <5mW, and then they are only practical under fog. They actively encourage wild use of lasers, and many at once too.
 

GSS

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A quick note, what ever gloves you chose, get them from O-like..
Stay away from the other sources especially Laserpointerpro..
 

paul1598419

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Laser gloves is a terrible idea looking for someone to injure themselves and/or others. I did take the time to look at your selected items and, if the power ratings are accurate, they are not even close to being safe. At best you will get arrested for using it in public and will likely be sued for damages. The lowest power one I saw stated it was over 50 mW. Then there are the ones that use 405nm lasers. This laser is hardly visible at all, but will blind people very effectively. I hope you will be dissuaded from purchasing one of these very dangerous items.
 

RedCowboy

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Yes laser gloves with lasers over 5mw are a bad idea, maybe if each laser had double diffraction gratings and they were used in a heavy fog, it's still a very bad idea and could harm peoples vision, sadly I don't think the sellers care and there is no reasonable protocol for using these with over 5mw lasers when you are dancing around other people, now if someone was performing on a stage and was very careful then maybe, but just anyone flailing them around in a rave is stupid.

 
Last edited:

Etalbyn

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Feb 19, 2019
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Hey all, thank you so much for the replies and advice, and I apologize it took me so long to respond, it's been a busy week for me. Anyway, I would like to clarify some things further, and then address specific points. So while I know these sorts of lasers are largely marketed to the raving crowd, my intent was to use it for a sort of wizard-y cosplay outfit (the lasers intended to simulate casting a spell, etc.), to wear at conventions, halloween parties, etc. So whereas my usage would be pretty controlled (i.e. not flailing wildly in the middle of a dance floor), and simply aimed at a wall or some other inanimate object, there are certainly more risks and dangers than I realized at first...

1. In regards to wattage, many of you were very clear that 5 mW or less is a necessity, and while it does seem most of the sites I listed above, including all the lasers from O-like, do state they are much greater than 5 mW, however 2 of the sites offer them in the range of 1 - 5 mW. Unfortunately they both seem to be newer and thus potentially sketchy sites: www.laserspen.com is apparently based out of California, but the office address is seemingly in a housing plan which seems weird, and www.alexnld.com seems to be an Israeli-based wholesaler for Chinese products. Despite the fact that it seems absurd both of these sites are charging over $100 for such weak lasers, getting anything more powerful would be even more ridiculous and downright dangerous. Has anyone heard of or had any experience with either of these sites?

2. As for the wavelength, I was actually most interested in the violet (405 nm) lasers, because purple is one of the primary colors of the costume, and 2, I thought as they were the dimmest, they would also be the safest (and conversely with green/532 nm lasers generally being the brightest, they would also be the most dangerous). However
paul1598419 mentioned that apparently the 405 nm are actually MORE dangerous? Is this because since they are harder to see, your blink reflex is less likely to kick in and protect your eye? Is this wave length still particularly dangerous even with the weaker wattages (i.e. 1 - 5 mW)? And if so, which would be the safest option then, green? Red?

3. Also, legality was mentioned by paul1598419; is it just straight up illegal to use this in most/all public spaces, or is it just reckless/wild usage that would get you arrested? Though it sounds like at the very least, they probably wouldn't get through security at a con or anything like that.

4. One other general usage question: assuming I can even find a safe way to make this work, how visible would the wimpy 1 - 5 mW lasers even be? I know they're invisible in direct sunlight and brightly lit areas, but will they require a nearly pitch black setting to see anything, or could they be seen reasonably well indoors in areas that are just somewhat dimly lit, and is smoke almost a necessity to see them, or what?

5. If I do end up opting out of lasers entirely, what would safe alternatives be? It seems I could get somewhat similar results with LED light gloves (I've seen some marketed as "Ironman Gloves" with an LED light of varying colors located in the palm), would this be any safer, or is this also plagued with a whole slew of major safety concerns?

Thank you all again for the input, this has been very eye opening and sobering, and truth be told I'm leaning away from buying one of these now, but will gauge my final decision based on the answers to these last questions listed above.
 

Immo1282

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Hello again - thanks for doing proper research after our comments :)

2. Yep - it's initially counter intuitive that a less visible laser would be more dangerous - but if you can see a really bright laser, then people get automatically more cautious. You should be fine safety-wise with a 405nm <5mW but you'll really struggle to see it. Following this logic, green lasers are the safest for a given power, as they're the most visible of the bunch (Though if they're DPSS greens, then you may have some invisible IR as well but keep it <5mW and you don't really have to worry.)

3. The legality of lasers falls down to how you operate them. It's not illegal to own a 5W laser pointer, but it's extremely illegal to point that laser at people, or aeroplanes. Unfortunately, the spinning hand-mounted ones are much much more difficult to safely control compared to a fixed dot. I asked a friend who has worked security at a convention a couple of times if my Prop AEP-7 would get through security - and they told me it would if I removed the laser...

4. Not very. The beams on a 1-5mW laser are going to be invisble in all but the darkest, foggiest rooms. Unless you've got a smoke machine hidden in your wizard costume - no laser's beam is going to be very visible. Where the beam strikes the surface you'll see a dot, but the beams themselves... no.

5. You would be able to build something with significantly more powerful LEDs, and it remain safe yes. The danger with lasers is the energy density, and the fact that the beams are well-collimated i.e. parallel. This is dangerous as the lens in the human eye is such that it focuses parallel rays to a tiny spot on the back of our retinas - so if you take a laser to the eye, all the already-concentrated light is focused to a pinpoint and can burn the sensitive retina (permanent black spot in your vision). LEDs do not produce light that is remotely collimated without serious corrective optics. If you can find a way to drive LEDs brightly enough to cause pain/damage, then you'll be lugging battery packs and having to have fans and heatsinks all over your hands. Maybe look into cutting up and rewiring an RGB strip into your costume with a remote control or similar if you want to go down that route. If you're not averse to a bit of programming, pick up an arduino and a strip of WS2812 individually addressable LEDs!
 

paul666

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as GSS said stay away from laserpointerpro
and welcome to forum Etalbyn
 




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