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your hobby: how did your journey begin?

ixfd64

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I'm just wondering how y'all became interested into lasers. Also, feel free to describe your first laser!

For me, I first became interested in lasers some time in 1998. I was in an after-school program, and one of the people who worked there had a laser pointer. His name was Ben, I think. Back then, those were rare and you were considered "cool" if you had one. He told me that the shorter the wavelength, the more energy is carried. I remember asking him what wavelength was needed to cut metal, and he told me that the burning power also depended on the wattage. ;D He let me use his laser pointer for a while and I instantly became interested. Not long after, I got my own laser pointer from Costco. I don't think it was very cheap! A few months later, I went to a museum, where we could burn tiny holes in a piece of paper with an eye-surgery laser. (It was probably some sort of excimer laser.)

Anyways, my first laser is a <5mw 670 nm red pointer. It's divergence isn't as good as my other newer red pointers (~1.8" vs. ~0.8" at around  15m), and it's not as bright, either. However, it's much more stable, and will not dim unlike my other red lasers unless you let them rest.

However, not long after, I totally forgot about lasers.

Fast forward to summer 2006. I had seen ads for Wicked Lasers on a few sites, but didn't think much of it until someone mentioned WL on Pyro Universe, a forum for fireworks hobbyists. That's when I became a laserholic again, more addicted than ever!

Recently, Wicked was giving away free "Core" lasers to established forum members, and on June 1, 2007, I got my first green laser! On August 23rd, I got my first class IIIb laser (Wicked Lasers "Advanced") from winning a contest at another forum!
 

Vegeta

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As a kid I loved the small gold red laser pointers and wouldn't just shine them around in a dark room, especially on the chandelier because of the cool reflections. I wasn't aware of green laser pointers existing until a friend told me about them probably just over a year ago, and now I have a nice little collection including the Blu-ray Sonar.
 

paperboy421

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my friend bought a 5mw green pointer and showed me, and I thought they were really cool. I saved up some money, went on amazon.com and bought a DX20 for $75 plus shipping in June 2007. I didn't realize I got ripped off until I learned more about lasers. Then I got a DL95 just last month, August 2007. Lasers rock!
 

Angdvl089

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My first laser was one of the cheap red lasers. It was from the dollar store and came with a bunch of lenses with etchings in them so there were all kinds of designs. I actually still have them and that was like five years ago. After that I ended up spending about $30 on an apollo red laser pointer that was <5mW (big deal to me then). Then about a month and a half ago I found out about CPF. I really liked it there, well kinda, some people were dicks. The main reason I came here though was because we can post pictures from outside (plus it's all about lasers). Then after about a week here, I placed an order for my x-85. And just in case anyone wanted to know, Nova just emailed me back telling me they are replacing my laser for free because it was out of spec so I should have it by the end of next week. Oh crap! Just remembered I should order the lense set and goggles too! Time to "invest" more money! Later
 

buko

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It started off when I was a younger, in probly 97 or so I got my mom to buy me several red lasers. At the time they were considered great. I had always had a facination with them after that. Years later i bought my first green, it was when 5mW leadlights were like 80$. I bought that one on ebay. Years later I bought my first high powered laser, the origional silver pulsar 150mW. Then a 55mw ebay laser which ended up putting out 70mW average when tested. Then later bought the Dragon Lasers 125mW ( currently on sale in the buy/sell Section). Recently I purchased a 150mW pen style from Shawn Wang and its awesome! So here I am a yellow/orange, and a blue laser away from being happy.
 

styropyro

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It all started when I was looking for a green laser on eBay. I never had heared of one but in science we were talking about different wavelengths in lasers so I wanted to see if there was such thing. I was amazed that you could see the beam in mid air so I started saving up for it. $50 was a lot for me back then but after I found out about modifying it for even more power I finally bought one. I loved my laser ever since, and back then I was wanting a Wicked laser too. Then for about a year I kkinda quit the laser hobby, but then I started it again this summer when I had nothing to do and I saw things about building a red laser from a DVD burner. Now I have learned so much about lasers and I love it!
 

Ashton

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holy crap, I fell like an absolute nerd now! my interest in alser started probably when I was 1 or 2 years old and saw them on TV shows! ben interested ever since. When I was around 9 I wanted to save up and get a laser pointer, which was, I think $200 back then, from Edmon scientific. Was never allowed to, though, and never did get one untill some years later, I found a $20 pointer at walmart or someplace equivilent (yes, I live a phesant's life, I cant afford to go to fancy stors like sears...) I got it and played with it untill the batteries died. being a keychain pointer, I couldn't find replaceable batteries, and decided to hook it up to a 9v pwoer supply... it was awesome for a second or less, then it became a 0.1mw LED. It was confiscated b y my mother, who belives "laser" means "big scary death-beam" and if you turn on a laser you're going to blind atleasy 5 people...

a few years after that, my father completed some training at work and was given a personalized laser pointer. He didn't use it so I stole it (and to this day he's not forgiven me --- not because he minded, but because he wants me to buy him a new one since I ran it down) it also used special batteries and died eventually, I still ahve it's remains, but I canibalized it for a DVD-RW enclosure. Worked suprisingly well, I might add.

But my interest wasn't that much, since the beam wasn't visible and the spot dim. I had most of my fun using it to play with my cats and watching their antics more than the laser. But it was still cool because it was a laser, dont get me wrong, every laser is cool because it's a laser... lol

Early this year (or rather, really late last year) I was reading a post on HardForum (hwardware forums, no dirty thoughts!) and somone posted about a "lucky duck" laser that was cheep, and somone countered with a link to a step-by-step guide to building a DVD-rw diode laser. That guide lead me to Wicked, and when I made my DVD-RW into an LED, I decided just to buy a prebuilt one. That was my pulsar, which really ignighted my thill in lasers again, because this really could BURN! this was a REAL laser, not a pointer! It was like what I saw on TV and in movies (well not really, but that was the feeling) I since have moved on to a 200my Atek and just purchased a NOVA X-85, my pulsar, sadly, got stolen, and I hope soon to be getting one of Pseudo's 400mw 808nm monster burners!

My father, aumsingly enough, likes my lasers and was impressed seeing my pulsar light a match, but he said all he wants is for me to replace his 5mw pointer... yep, he STILL wants it replaced... lol
 

rog8811

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I started with lasers around 4 years ago, everyone I shot with was fitting a red laser sight tothe scope of their rifle, the dot was all but invisable, after a couple of shots the calibration was lost....Me, being me, thought "we can do better than this" so I armed myself with a Z-bolt 5mw green and did this with it......
 

Attachments

photongeek

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When I first saw the "ancient" laser article in National Geographic when I was a kid. It showed a diagram of a ruby laser and I was hooked! Never got to build that ruby though. :(. Maybe some day.
 

Things

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hehehe i started with a 1mw red (or a couple actually. blew em all up ;D) then heard of green lasers and bought one on ebay. it was only a 8mw thing, but i thought it was really awesome nad spent lots of time playing with it(untill the crystals got knocked outta place somehow) then i got 2 DX lasers, and now i have my RGY scanner. so i don't have very much lasers, although they still are fun to play with even if they can't light a match ;D
 

rog8811

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@ Angdvl089 It is an air arms .22, and yes 5mw greenie. The laser is perfect for range finding as it is a long way from the scope....It centers in the scope at 40metres, one mil dot up =35metres and 1 mil dot down =45metres. Shooting from the hip is no problem :).

Regards rog8811
 

Zarniwoop

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Revealing my age here, I first got interested back in 1965 or so, when in 3rd grade I went to a PTO meeting with my mom because a guy from Bell Labs was there showing off one of their new-fangled helium-neon lasers. Way cool when I was 8 yrs old and this was stuff right outa sci-fi.

When LaserDisc players came out I got into experimenting with helium-neon, but of course those needed high voltage supplies (like 4KV), which was interesting in itself.
My smallest one of those I built into an auto timing light housing, and I can plug it into the car cigarette lighter jack. I've probably still got half a dozen HeNe tubes lying around.
Started building a laser show device with galvanometers salvaged from old LD players once, but never finished it. Now it looks like it would have been really slow anyway.
I hadn't really done anything more than take apart a couple of cheap laser pointers until the DVD burner projects started showing up. But now I'm back playing with this stuff full time again.
 




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