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What type of laser should I buy?

Protoman2050

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Hi!

I'm looking to burn things like matchs, wood, paper, maybe cut aluminum foil, what type of laser pointer should I buy? IR, red, green, blue, violet, UV?

Which would be more powerful at cutting things, a 400 mW IR laser, or a 400 mW UV laser? I know they don't make UV pointers, but...maybe I could buy a diode and make one myself!

Thanks!
 

ndrew2505

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you probably wont be able to cut foil with anything <1w.. especially if its not colored black..
 

Protoman2050

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you probably wont be able to cut foil with anything <1w.. especially if its not colored black..
What if I focused it to a tighter point, so the intensity is increased?

Anyway, I'm more interested in burning things like steel wool, matches, paper, dried paint off of stuff, dazzling attackers, things like that.
 

STI24

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What if I focused it to a tighter point, so the intensity is increased?

Anyway, I'm more interested in burning things like steel wool, matches, paper, dried paint off of stuff, dazzling attackers, things like that.
You are able to do most of what you posted above with a 200mw red laser. You also have to be careful and use eye protection when dealing with high powered lasers.

Welcome to the forum!
 

Protoman2050

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Are polycarbonate photochromatic lenses sufficient? AKA my regular eyeglasses?

Is it possible to build a pocket-sized Q-switch CO2 laser with a power output of a few watts/pulse?
 

Jaseth

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You need special protective glasses designed for the wavelength you are dealing with. Sunglasses, welder's goggles and so on will not protect you. The exception to this is with blu-ray lasers (405nm) where sunglasses do in fact block most of the light - however there are still a couple of reasons why you should get proper goggles for these too.

In short - don't handle a high power laser without the proper protection and care! If it can go wrong, it will eventually!

Seb
 

Protoman2050

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You need special protective glasses designed for the wavelength you are dealing with. Sunglasses, welder's goggles and so on will not protect you. The exception to this is with blu-ray lasers (405nm) where sunglasses do in fact block most of the light - however there are still a couple of reasons why you should get proper goggles for these too.

In short - don't handle a high power laser without the proper protection and care! If it can go wrong, it will eventually!

Seb
Okay, what do you recommend? How much do infrared (980 nm) blocking goggles cost? Or FIR-blocking goggles?

What about my CO2 laser question; I posted it in the gas laser forum too.
 

Prototype

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On your CO2 laser idea, there's no way you can build a CO2 pointer, although someone did build a 'portable' CO2 with HeNe for aiming, it was about 3 1/2' long, and 1' wide, with a large power pack.

Edit: Ignore size details ^
 
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Protoman2050

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On your CO2 laser idea, there's no way you can build a CO2 pointer, although someone did build a 'portable' CO2 with HeNe for aiming, it was about 3 1/2' long, and 1' wide, with a large power pack.
Is most of the size in the cooling system, or the actual resonator?

Is the reason b/c the resonator needs to be a certain size, or what?

I suppose I could wrap the resonator in a Peltier cooler.

Would Q-switching it reduce the heat output? How many volts does the discharge need to be?
 

billg519

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Aluminum foil dissipates heat very well. It takes a lot of laser power to cut foil, several watts at least. Not a beginner project.

CO2 lasers normally run CW and are not q-switched. If you want a portable pulse laser, get an SSY-1 head (already dye-cell q-switched) from a surplus seller and brush up on your power electronics to build a portable power pack for it. One of these can be made portable and it has been done a few times. These are not projects for anyone new to lasers and electronics. These involve lethal high voltages and currents in their operation.

From your questions, you need to do a lot of reading here, and on Sam's Laser FAQ to get yourself up to speed on lasers, especially laser safety and the need for valid eye protection.

As far as a laser to light matches, cut tape, pop balloons, etc., a 200mW red from 0-like or rayfoss will be fairly cheap and get you started. When you want a little more, consider a 6x or better bluray build, you can get hosts, kits, etc. here on the forum. Get the appropriate goggles for this laser.

As far as a UV or IR at 400mW, cutting and burning depend on the capability of the target material to absorb the frequency of laser light being delivered to the target. An IR at 2W will not burn white paper until it finds a tiny particle of dirt. A bluray at 200mW will easily burn white paper.

All of these questions have been answered here and there in the forum over time. Do some searching, and reading of old relevent threads as well as visiting Sams Laser FAQ.

Please remember that lasers are serious and potentially dangerous devices that are coming under more and more government scrutiny as lasers become more powerful. They require safe useage procedures and the proper safety gear.
 
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Protoman2050

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Aluminum foil dissipates heat very well. It takes a lot of laser power to cut foil, several watts at least. Not a beginner project.

CO2 lasers normally run CW and are not q-switched. If you want a portable pulse laser, get an SSY-1 head (already dye-cell q-switched) from a surplus seller and brush up on your power electronics to build a portable power pack for it. One of these can be made portable and it has been done a few times. These are not projects for anyone new to lasers and electronics. These involve lethal high voltages and currents in their operation.

From your questions, you need to do a lot of reading here, and on Sam's Laser FAQ to get yourself up to speed on lasers, especially laser safety and the need for valid eye protection.

As far as a laser to light matches, cut tape, pop balloons, etc., a 200mW red from 0-like or rayfoss will be fairly cheap and get you started. When you want a little more, consider a 6x or better bluray build, you can get hosts, kits, etc. here on the forum. Get the appropriate goggles for this laser.

As far as a UV or IR at 400mW, cutting and burning depend on the capability of the target material to absorb the frequency of laser light being delivered to the target. An IR at 2W will not burn white paper until it finds a tiny particle of dirt. A bluray at 200mW will easily burn white paper.

All of these questions have been answered here and there in the forum over time. Do some searching, and reading of old relevent threads as well as visiting Sams Laser FAQ.

Please remember that lasers are serious and potentially dangerous devices that are coming under more and more government scrutiny as lasers become more powerful. They require safe useage procedures and the proper safety gear.

Thanks! I just wanted to know whether it was possible to build a portable CO2 laser, and now I know.

I think I'l buy a 200 mW red laser now!
 




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