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Thread: My first Laser purchase...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Chicago
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    Default My first Laser purchase...

    I am ready to buy my first laser, but I am rather uneducated. After some looking around I found this:

    http://asymptech.com/store/index.php...&productId=131

    I'd like some feedback on weather this is a decent first laser suitable for my needs. I can't seem to find any info on this particualr laser. I'd be using it semi-regularly at "raves"...probably every other weekend, for a few hours at a time, in medium sized venues. This one seems to fit my price range and I like the idea of 4 windows and 2 colors. To me it sounds good and from what I've read about mW...it sounds rather powerful (for my use). I will have access to a DMX board if that matters. Please give me any and all opinions before I commit myself to a laser that I regret buying.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Where are you located? What sort of effects are you trying to accomplish? Who will be running the unit?

    That unit uses stepper motors, which are at least an order of magnitude slower than galvos, so you won't be able to to anything really fancy with it. Basic beams and lissajous patterns only.

    I suppose it's a starting point, but if you've been looking at the gallery here on PhotonLexicon and hoping to recreate some of those effects, then this unit is going to dissapoint you.

    But like I said above, it depends on what you want to do with the unit...

    Adam

  3. #3
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    Dec 2006
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    Default

    I'm from Chicago. Not looking for anyhting too fancy, but of course I'm on a budget. What is a Lissajous pattern? I am just beginning to learn about lasers. I'm involved in the underground electronic music scene and now a days the local scene is lacking laser effects. I want to start bringing lasers back...one laser at a time. Lasers always seem to be a crowd pleaser. In terms of effects...I like tunnel effects and others of the sort. I'm not looking for animation or anything to intricate as of now, but I realize the addictive potential of lighting equipment! =)

  4. #4
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    Chicago? That poses a *big* problem right there!

    Since you are in the US, you fall under the jurisdiction of the CDRH (Center for Devices and Radiological Health - a division of the Food and Drug Administration) when it comes to commercial laser displays. Which means you can't just buy that unit and start using it at a rave. If you do, and you get caught, you'll be explaining yourself to the federal government. (Not a good idea...)

    I agree that lasers add a lot to a rave, but you need to play by the rules. Unfortunately, the rules are quite strict here in this country. If you follow them, and jump through all the hoops that the CDRH places in front of you, you can still have a great time with your lasers. But if you try to bypass the CDRH, you may find yourself being arrested, your lasers confiscated, and your patrons sueing you.

    I'm not trying to put you off on the idea of adding lasers to the show, mind you. If you are willing to do all the work needed to get a proper variance for both your equipment, your specific show effects, and the venue where the show will be performed, then you CAN incorporate lasers into your raves safely. Several members here on this forum have already gone through the process, and others are in the middle of the process right now, so there is ample assistance available.

    But there are some hard and fast rules (including the one that prevents you from scanning the audience) that you MUST adhere to or risk being brought up on charges. Since it's obvious that this is all new to you, I would suggest you delay purchasing the laser until you've had time to do some more research into exactly what is required. Then you will be in a better position to decide if you are willing to go through all the work.

    To answer your other question, lissajous patterns look like the designs that a spirograph makes. They're abstract patterns that look like rose curves, or flowers. Google for "lissajous pattern" and you'll see some examples.

    Adam

  5. #5
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    Default

    I understand the restrictions involved in laser use...however most events are on private property and very rarely get "inspected" if you will.

    About those lissajous patterns...I currently own a Chauvet 4.95 mW laser that makes these types of patterns. I am more interested in the straight beams, tunnels, fans, and basic geometric patterns. By the way, this will mostly be running on auto/sound and sometimes off of a DMX board depending on the lighting equipment already being used for the event. Eventually I want to acquire my own DMX board.

    Can you, or anyone else, tell me about the power of the unit I am interested in. It is rated at 80mW x 2 - R and 50 mW x 2 - G. Is this the actual, continuous output? Or is it over rated? And for my application, is this a good amount of power?

  6. #6
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    If you are charging admission, the CDRH has jurisdiction - period. Anytime commerce is involved, their rules apply - even if the show is being held on private property. As an aside, you really don't want to try and hide from the CDRH...

    Seriously, there is a lot of help available to you here on this forum. You would be much better off doing it the right way.

    Now, if it's just a bunch of your pals getting togther in someone's basement for some music and laser fun, then you are OK as far as the CDRH is concerned. But even so, you can *still* be held liable in civil court if someone later decides that your laser show was responsible for their eye problems and thus decides to sue you. (It is a lot harder to defend yourself if you are not operating the lasers in compliance with the CDRH guidelines to begin with. Basically it opens you up to a charge of negligent operation, even if the injury claims of the plaintif are otherwise baseless.)

    As for the types of effects you're talking about - beams, tunnels, fans, and simple geometric shapes... You can probably accomplish all of those with the stepper motor-based projector that you linked to in your original post. While not an optimal solution, stepper motors can be used to do very simple effects. You should be able to select the various built-in effects via your DMX control board. You probably can't do anything beyond that though. (Most laserists use a computer and a DAC to control their scanners, thus the computer can create nearly any pattern or effect you can dream up, subject only to the speed limits of the galvos themselves.)

    As far as the power rating of the unit - I can't tell from the listing exactly what they mean, though it does appear that they are quoting power levels for CW operation. If they really do have two 80 mw red lasers plus two 50 mw green lasers, then the unit is a pretty good deal at only $209. But I wonder about the guts of the thing. Are there 4 sets of stepper motors in there - one for each launch port - or do they only have one pair? (And then what of the other 3 ports?) Do they have any dichros to combine the red and green to make a yellow beam, or does it just offer two red beams and two green ones? (One from each port?)

    It would be great to see one in operation. Just 30 seconds of video would clear up a lot of questions. Have you contacted the manufacturer to ask them about the unit?

    As far as the power level being high enough: that depends a *lot* on the environment you want to use it in. Assuming for the moment that it really is 2 red beams at 80 mw each plus 2 green beams at 50 mw each, that would look pretty good in a completely dark room with a lot of fog in the air. Figure a room size of roughly 40 to 50 ft on a side. Now, if you start adding lots of other lights in the room (a disco ball, some strobes, etc...) then you'll notice that the beams from the laser projector will be much harder to see.

    Adam

  7. #7
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    Chicago
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    Default

    I found this when looking for more info from the manufacturer...which I am having trouble finding.

    http://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/h..._id=1409571796

    It has different specs listed than the other site. That makes me wonder...

  8. #8
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    I printed the docs they had on that site, and the specs listed in the docs match the specs of the original site you linked to. (Granted, the numbers on the website itself were different - not sure what to make of that...)

    They claim 4 lasers: 2 red ones at 80 mw each, and 2 greens at 50 mw each. Also, 4 sets of stepper motors: one pair for each port. The lasers alternate red/green/red/green for each port as you move left to right across the front face. There is no color mixing between lasers or ports.

    Based on the docs, it looks like they have a pretty good library of built-in effects. While stepper motors aren't the best solution, they will allow you to do very simple effects. If you had a nice DMX control board you would probably be able to do quite a lot with this little unit.

    I have to admit, the price is certainly low. Dj Traximus has been discussed here before; they manufacture several different laser projectors, and they all seem to be very economical. I can't speak about the quality of the components, however.

    You are still going to need a variance if you decide to use it for a commercial show though.

    Adam

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default

    I think That DJ Traximus is a guy that is based in Australia and "drop ships" using various manufacturers from china

    Dave and Aijji are based there and may know about him or these lasers

    although im not in the states and our laws as far as audience scanning goes are slightly different, What Buffo says is very TRUE ...

    I would be vary concerned about not complying with the regs even at a private party
    unless you can afford a jolly decent lawyer

    even here in the uk we have to minimise audience scanning / hold insurance / do a risk assesment .... even at a private unpaid function .....

    Basicaly you have to cover your own ass

    Now what you do in your own home on your own is totaly at your own risk ....

    I can just see the ads on TV ....

    Lasershowinjurylawyers4U.com .... no win no fee ....


    all the best ........ Karl

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