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Thread: What lasers should I buy and from where?

  1. #1
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    Default What lasers should I buy and from where?

    Hi Folks, I know this could be a tricky one to answer but I am thinking of upgrading my lasers to something a bit better. The modules I currently have are of unknown origin, they are not very well matched and the blue is distinctly lacking in laserishness, I have a pointer that is allegedly 1mW that is brighter. I know that blues need more oomph than red, which in turn need more than green, I have die4 laser drivers that I understand are good for at least 1 watt lasers. I can't go spending a fortune as Mrs Thorcus is prone to outbursts of extreme sarcasm and rudeness on occasions. I think I want something of about 1 watt for the blue, 800 for the red and 500 for the green - does that sound about right? Ideally I want the diodes, housings and lenses all from the same source to reduce the amount of what we scientists call "fannying about". I am assuming that it is ok to use higher power devices and turn them down on the drivers to get proper white light?

    What I have works but with some of the effects I have been experimenting with even the green starts to look a bit weak.

    All thoughts and comments would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Told you! Lasers are addictive! :-)

    You could buy diodes direct from DTR or another forum member. I believe (don't quote me!) That he can supply them mounted with basic optics.
    Other forum members can help out with lenses and dicros etc.
    Stanway Laser is a UK member with a shop for lots of goodies... and he's often at the LEM to help and advise:-)
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WookieBoy View Post
    Told you! Lasers are addictive! :-)
    Not bad.... only took him a couple weeks.

    There are two roads you may now travel. One is the replace, repair, modify, tweak, route. It has it's charms but yet frustrations. I've known people to go more than a year to muddle through that process. Buy this part and discover you need to change that. Or, buy that part and discover you need to rework this. It can be a nightmare or, it can be a joy depending on whether you really enjoy that type of work. If you're a metal worker, electronics guru, engineer, have steady hands, want to develop a relationship with your postal worker, and a nice shop of tools, then by all means build (or re-build).

    On the other hand, if you want to quickly satisfy the itch to see lasers doing their "thang"... consider something like a Lightspace Venus at around 2.5 watts. There is something to be said for the smell of opening a brand new flight case and unwrapping a brand spanking new projector that you can simply plug in and have it work... right out of the box and... with likely nicer output that you'll get on your first attempt a building or re=building something.

    I know, I know.... I'm the devil. And that suggestion flies in the face of a hobbyist forum. BUT! You're going to want more than one projector anyway so, you buy the Lightspace to satisfy being able to play with lasers and then, also use it as a reference and model towards completing your (re)build.

    Sure the argument is money.... and a Mrs.

    I'd first say, ditch the Mrs. but... there are those "needs" that must be met from time to time so, you have to weigh that out. But seriously, scrimp for a little while and consider investing in something decent and ready to go, to hold you over.
    PM Sent...

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies, chaps. I hate lasers. It started off as an innocent little diversion and now I am hooked on the fascinating little blighters. I am quite handy on electro and mechanical, I served a 4 year apprenticeship with the MOD in the black art of electronics, I am a keen model engineer and have built numerous steam engines. I have also built 3 cars - well 2 1/2, the last one pissed me off and got what it deserved from my angle grinder. I can't see me buying ready made but can understand the attraction of them. I don't have a lot of spare cash thanks to my other hobbies so diy is the way to go for me. I had a look at DTR's site, that looks promising. I think my galvos and other bits are ok, the ILDA test pattern comes out ok, the dicros seem ok and I am well on the way to creating my first show, it's just that I think I am being restricted by poor / low power lasers - the blue is really crap. I probably wont buy anything more just yet but like to have something to aim towards. Methinks I will try to make my first show half decent first.
    Thanks again for you valued input.

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    Ok, then yes, it sounds like messing about with diodes, drivers and lenses are well within your scope and budget. People are building some pretty nice rigs going that route. Besides DTR's site for the diodes, also check out www.lasershowparts.com as Dave has a lot of great mounts, drivers and other necessary mysterious pieces of glass and such to go with them.
    PM Sent...

  6. #6
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    I'd strongly recommend waiting till you've been to the LEM... talk to a few of us and see what everyone else is doing to get an idea of where to go next. Bring your bits as they are and camp out in the kitchen (workshop) and tinker there

    Also, there's a buy/sell/trade table that might have some useful bits on it
    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

  7. #7
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    Sounds like good advice, Wookieboy. It's good to know there's a bring and buy bit, I didn't know that. Will you be bringing any Wookies?

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    " 15 characters"
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 11903820_10207626549368760_5307315844313297049_n.jpg  

    Last edited by Laser Wizardry; 11-13-2015 at 12:56.

  9. #9
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    +1 for Karl's (Wookieboy's) advice. The upcoming LEM is a huge source of knowledge and skills all amassed in one place - You *Need* to be there. Also, great advice regarding Rob (Stanwax Lasers) here in the UK. Rob's online store will pretty much have everything you need for either repairing or building your own, right through to buying a superbly well built and reliable complete projector.

    I think you also ought to consider bringing a working steam engine to the meet, I think that'd go down a storm

    Oh, and take look on Facebook for the 'Surfleet Laser Enthusiasts Group' and also the 'Photonlexicon' emergency forum (just in case the worst happens here we can still get our photon fix)
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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    Actually... all these gentlemen are very correct and I may have been a bit premature but, yes... going to the LEM will be an incredible experience for you and Rob is also an excellent source. You may still need to give this wife thing a thought though. They never seem to quite have the same appreciation for lasers that we do.
    PM Sent...

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