Yeah, lots of people. Though those people call them 'laser engravers' and 'laser cutters' ;D
No, but my introduction to lasers was at a job I had 10n years ago - before that I had never seen a laser of any power up close and personal. These were 700watt to 8Kw CO2 lasers! Imagine the first laser you ever see burning something is a 5kw CO2 monster.....totally blew me away & sparked my fascination with lasers. Would be kinda like if the first car you ever got to drive was a Ferrari!
Portable I don't have over 200 mW but in the garage, is my CO2 laser with 25 watts. XYMARK7000 laser engraver, it cost the medical co. $55,000 but it was mine for asking.
My first two lasers were H.S. class projects, so I had to let the school keep 'em. I really didn't have proper eye protection for them. Helium Cadmium and helium selenium Ion exchange metal vapor lasers of about 1 watt. Next I bought a Hene 6 mW from MWK. (I don't even count those $2 red pointers though).
I feel very lucky to have red 160 mW, blue 25 mW, and green 160 mW portables, and I must have a violet over 100 mW. When will the yellow lasers ever catch up?
Mine is a 500mW 808nM pump diode mounted in a Merideth 9mm housing with glass lens and expoxied back into the Defunct green DX laser pen it was originally taken from because it started mode hoping. Av. output is around 540mW with freshly charged batteries, and it burns real well at up to a few inches. Even lights those trick party candles.
Well, you guys have far outdone me... but for the record I have played with an Argon ion laser ~12W .. that was the size of a small car.. yikes and ran 35A-40A with 240V feed into it.
3 phase power of some-sort .. a hugely inefficient beast.
The most interesting laser was a ruby laser, it was the closest thing to shooting you can get. 3000W pulses for that guy. Big sparks from metal plates when hit with the beam. Amazing!!
One of the items on my list of things to own before I die is this laser:
Free electron laser
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A free-electron laser, or FEL, is a laser that shares the same optical properties as conventional lasers such as emitting a beam consisting of coherent electromagnetic radiation which can reach high power, but which uses some very different operating principles to form the beam. Unlike gas, liquid, or solid-state lasers such as diode lasers, in which electrons are excited in bound atomic or molecular states, FELs use a relativistic electron beam as the lasing medium which move freely through a magnetic structure, hence the term free electron. The free-electron laser has the widest frequency range of any laser type, and can be widely tunable, currently ranging in wavelength from microwaves, through terahertz radiation and infrared, to the visible spectrum, to ultraviolet, to soft X-rays.