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Thread: "Safe" green laser pointer?

  1. #1
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    Default "Safe" green laser pointer?

    Hello everyone ,


    I am based in europe and my work field is entertainment and stage lighting. I'm currently developing a show similar to the laserman show, but I feel very disconcerted with the handheld laser units that are currently available. Recently I saw a show where the beams looked very nice and very thin with very little haze, and I got the hell out of there as fast as I could, because earlier I talked to the guy backstage and he told me he got the whole system from AliExpress for a few thousand euros.
    The handheld units, we are talking about 50mw - 150 mw 532 nm going for 30 - 40 euros a pop that arent probably even IR filtered.
    (kinda like this https://www.aliexpress.com/i/3295084...48476de6seGW7A )


    So, what I want is a safe green laser (and a unicorn &#129412 that if accidentally "scanned" into an audience, would not cause eye damage. The performer can make mistakes, and I would always sacrifice visibility for safety.
    The unit needs to be very small and very light with a body pack style power supply.


    My current unit is a 5mw 532 NM cheap laser pointer that I took apart. Since it had a click style switch, I soldered a flip switch which leads to an external 2 AA battery holder. As long as there is darkness and haze, it looks great. The modules are 2 years old now, and still working fine.
    But I feel with the addition of other lasers (two RGB 3000 mw laser scanners with ILDA), they arent going to be able to keep up.
    So, I have to ramp up the power.


    My current (very very very limited) understanding is to use an expander to make the beam thicker.
    I did some research online, and I came across this:


    https://www.altechna.com/products/fi...eam-expanders/


    So, here are the questions I have:


    Using the expander to get a thicker beam would really make it safer?
    What other steps can I take to mitigate the risk factor to the naked human eye while doing so?
    Using an IR filter for a 532 nm laser reduces eye risk?
    Can you give me links to a high quality green laser diode with variable power output?


    I am quite handy in basic soldering and I am familiar with 3d design and printing, so I can make my own housing and parts to tie all the elements together.
    Also I am willing to spend more money for quality products and safety.
    My plan is to have the system wired up an ready, and to go have it tested and dialed back to safe levels.


    And finally, am I asking for the impossible?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ableton69 View Post
    I am based in europe and my work field is entertainment and stage lighting. I'm currently developing a show similar to the laserman show, but I feel very disconcerted with the handheld laser units that are currently available.
    Welcome to Photonlexicon! We have several members in Europe that may be able to provide more detailed advice, in particular with regard to the specific regulations in the EU for permissible exposure levels during audience-scanning laser shows. Personally I'm in the US, so my replies will be based on US law, which is often a bit more restrictive.

    I talked to the guy backstage and he told me he got the whole system from AliExpress for a few thousand euros.
    The handheld units, we are talking about 50mw - 150 mw 532 nm going for 30 - 40 euros a pop that arent probably even IR filtered.
    The lack of an IR filter is certainly cause for concern, as any leaking IR is probably not reflected in the rated 50 mw output. (Which means the total output could be much higher.) As for the stated 50 mw output power, that would normally be an illegal product here in the US based on the fact that it fits the definition of a laser pointer and it exceeds 4.99 mw.

    However, it is possible to certify such a device as being legal, provided that:

    1) a company has a laser product manufacturer's variance from the CDRH, and
    2) they file a laser product report certifying the device's compliance along with the specific use case, and
    3) the further certify that it is eye-safe (that is, less than 2.5 mw per square cm irradiance) at some minimum distance, and
    4) they apply for and are granted an audience-scanning laser light show variance for the performance using this product. The show report portion must explain in detail the methods that will be used to ensure audience safety. (Note that this will require a number of QA procedures plus several pre-show control measures to ensure consistency and continued safety.)

    Of course, this is a simplified task list. Convincing the CDRH that your QA program and pre-show procedures are rigorous enough to ensure that you will never exceed the MPE when beams will be in the audience is no easy feat. But it can be done (and has been, several times).

    So, what I want is a safe green laser that if accidentally "scanned" into an audience, would not cause eye damage.
    The easiest way to accomplish this is to make the beam eye-safe at the aperture of the device. However, this may end up making the effect too dim to be useful for your application. So the next best thing would be to make the beam eye-safe at the point where it hits the audience.

    Relying on divergence to spread the power out so that by the time the beam hits the audience your irradiance is less than 2.5 mw square cm is the common approach for most of the audience-scanning systems I'm familiar with here in the US. Typically these projectors start out with a fairly large beam, and then after the scanners the beam passes through a diverging lens before heading out into the audience. The audience must be positioned beyond a certain minimum distance to allow the beam to spread out, and usually part of the pre-show checklist includes measuring the irradiance at this "closest point of audience approach" to ensure that you are below the MPE.

    My current unit is a 5mw 532 NM cheap laser pointer that I took apart.
    Have you measured the power at 5mw, or are you going by the label? And what is the beam diameter at the aperture?

    If that pointer is actually making 5 mw or less (and no extra IR leaking out), then as long as the beam diameter is 1.6 cm or larger, it will be eye-safe. (That is, it will be less than 2.5 mw per square centimeter.) If the beam diameter is smaller, it can be expanded to 1.6 cm and then it will be eye-safe.

    I feel with the addition of other lasers (two RGB 3000 mw laser scanners with ILDA), they arent going to be able to keep up.
    So, I have to ramp up the power.
    Unfortunately, a 5 mw beam is not going to compete favorably with the output of a 3 watt projector. That projector likely outputs at least 700 mw of green, and it might output as much as a full watt or more. So I agree that your hand-held unit will need to be brighter. But don't forget that you can reduce the power on the projector so that it is less likely to overwhelm the hand-held unit.

    Another factor to consider: does the projector use a DPSS green laser (532 nm), or does it use a direct injection diode (520 nm)? The color difference between the two will be immediately apparent to the audience if both are on at the same time. (You mentioned that your hand-held was 532 nm.)

    My current (very very very limited) understanding is to use an expander to make the beam thicker.
    This is a more elegant solution, yes. It expands the beam and then re-collimates it so it still appears to be mostly parallel, but just larger in diameter. Beam expanders are going to be more expensive, however, as they will contain several lenses.

    The audience scanning example I mentioned above simply uses a single lens to diverge the beam, and it continues to expand the further away you are from the source.

    Using the expander to get a thicker beam would really make it safer?
    Yes. Absolutely. Exposure is all about irradiance, which is power per unit area. There is no real limit on power, so long as it is spread out enough to bring the irradiance down to acceptable levels. Note also that the irradiance limit may be different in your country.

    What other steps can I take to mitigate the risk factor to the naked human eye while doing so?
    Apart from obvious things like ensuring there is no IR leakage, there isn't much else to do. If the beam was being scanned mechanically and you could ensure the beam was always moving above a given speed, this would allow for slightly higher irradiance levels. However, since this laser is moved by a person that isn't an option. You might consider a wireless remote e-stop system, but quite honestly I think that would be overkill. The performer has the device in his hand and has direct and immediate control over it, so a remote kill switch seems rather pointless. (This is something that would be prominently featured in the product report and the audience scanning variance application if this device were being certified here in the US.)

    Using an IR filter for a 532 nm laser reduces eye risk?
    Only because it ensures that the only output is the visible 532 nm green light. If you are crowd-scanning, you must consider all laser output, not just the visible portion, so if you are leaking any IR it must be included in all your irradiance measurements. (Your power meter needs to be able to detect broad-band laser output.) Thus any leaking IR is part of the total power, meaning that you now have less visible green for the same irradiance.

    Basically the IR filter ensures that you get the most bang for your buck with regard to the visibility of the effect.

    Can you give me links to a high quality green laser diode with variable power output?
    Are you looking for an off-the-shelf solution or do you plan to build it yourself? Bare laser diodes are available for purchase from DTR for very reasonable prices, and he also sells mounts, lenses, and drivers for them. If your new laser projector uses a direct injection diode for green (so 520 nm), you'll want to use the same thing in your hand-held unit. The other nice thing is that direct injection green laser diodes do not generate any IR. (They don't use the frequency-doubling technique that DPSS lasers do.)

    I am quite handy in basic soldering and I am familiar with 3d design and printing, so I can make my own housing and parts to tie all the elements together.
    This is well within your abilities to assemble then. Google around a bit on the site and you'll see lots of threads about how to proceed. The more difficult part will be the regulatory hoops you will need to jump through. I would suggest speaking with James Stewart (JStewart here on the forum) about this project and ask him for advice re: the European Laser Safety regulations.

    And finally, am I asking for the impossible?
    Not at all. There are lots of "laserman-style" laser shows in operation all over the world. Granted, some of them are playing fast and loose with the rules, but many of them are 100% legal and safe. You've already demonstrated a healthy respect for the eye damage that lasers can cause, and honestly that is often the biggest hurdle: recognizing that there is a risk. Now you just need to mitigate it, and fortunately there are ways to do so.

    Note that as a general rule you will want to do this effect in *DARK* conditions. As in, as dark as you can possibly make it. This will greatly improve the visibility of the lower-powered hand-held beam and also help to minimize the apparent brightness difference between the laser projector and the hand-held unit. Using *fine* haze verses thick fog will also help.

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Welcome to Photonlexicon! We have several members in Europe that may be able to provide more detailed advice, in particular with regard to the specific regulations in the EU for permissible exposure levels during audience-scanning laser shows. Personally I'm in the US, so my replies will be based on US law, which is often a bit more restrictive.

    Adam
    Wow, they werent kidding when I was told on over at laser pointers forum that folks at Photon Lexicon can help. They just like to burn stuff hehe.

    First of all, thanks a lot for your extensive explanation and guidance Adam.

    The easiest way to accomplish this is to make the beam eye-safe at the aperture of the device. However, this may end up making the effect too dim to be useful for your application. So the next best thing would be to make the beam eye-safe at the point where it hits the audience.

    Relying on divergence to spread the power out so that by the time the beam hits the audience your irradiance is less than 2.5 mw square cm is the common approach for most of the audience-scanning systems I'm familiar with here in the US. Typically these projectors start out with a fairly large beam, and then after the scanners the beam passes through a diverging lens before heading out into the audience. The audience must be positioned beyond a certain minimum distance to allow the beam to spread out, and usually part of the pre-show checklist includes measuring the irradiance at this "closest point of audience approach" to ensure that you are below the MPE.
    Yeah, eye-safe at aperture is not logical in this particular application. The performer is always at least 5 meters away with the units I have at the moment, as for the show itself, that will be increased to 10.

    Lens you are talking about is something like this?

    Not applicable in my case, but I think I understand the concept. Spread the beam.


    Have you measured the power at 5mw, or are you going by the label? And what is the beam diameter at the aperture?

    If that pointer is actually making 5 mw or less (and no extra IR leaking out), then as long as the beam diameter is 1.6 cm or larger, it will be eye-safe. (That is, it will be less than 2.5 mw per square centimeter.) If the beam diameter is smaller, it can be expanded to 1.6 cm and then it will be eye-safe.
    I will be honest, I got it from China. And whatever you get from China, the label is more useful to get a good laugh. Applies to everything, including lasers

    Not sure if i mentioned it, but yes I did, but it was not done in any official capacity (TÜV Rheinland for example would be an equivalent in EU?)
    It was a laser enthusiast that had a Laser Bee unit I think, and he measured it at 5 meters distance an gave me the thumbs up.

    Very dodgy sounding now that I read it

    But we always have to battle it out with clients and lighting staff to get a decent blackout during the show and we bring our own haze machines, otherwise it looks very wimpy. That alone tells me that the laser is not dangerous, and also I took a few close range hits in the ol' eyeball from the unit over the years and I didnt even get an after image from it.

    Unfortunately, a 5 mw beam is not going to compete favorably with the output of a 3 watt projector. That projector likely outputs at least 700 mw of green, and it might output as much as a full watt or more. So I agree that your hand-held unit will need to be brighter. But don't forget that you can reduce the power on the projector so that it is less likely to overwhelm the hand-held unit.

    Another factor to consider: does the projector use a DPSS green laser (532 nm), or does it use a direct injection diode (520 nm)? The color difference between the two will be immediately apparent to the audience if both are on at the same time. (You mentioned that your hand-held was 532 nm.)
    Definitely. Im making the show now, using Pangolins Quickshow (too poor for Beyond) and while there is interaction with the hand unit I will use only the green laser at a much lower power. No matter how much I expand the beam, it will never be as powerful and safe, but then again, the hand unit will not always be used.

    The laser is a "Pure Diode", and the green is a 520 nm. Thanks for the heads up.
    So the hand unit I am after will have to be a 520.

    This is a more elegant solution, yes. It expands the beam and then re-collimates it so it still appears to be mostly parallel, but just larger in diameter. Beam expanders are going to be more expensive, however, as they will contain several lenses.

    The audience scanning example I mentioned above simply uses a single lens to diverge the beam, and it continues to expand the further away you are from the source.

    Exposure is all about irradiance, which is power per unit area. There is no real limit on power, so long as it is spread out enough to bring the irradiance down to acceptable levels. Note also that the irradiance limit may be different in your country.
    Thanks, I am not to keen on a flashlight style, but if recollimated to about 10mm thick, that would serve nicely.
    Do you know any stores that sell expanders that arent meant for industrial laser applications? Because they cost an arm and a leg...
    I will take a look at DTR, perhaps there is something I can use.

    As for the E stop for the laser, my reflexes arent that fast hehe. By the time i hit the switch, somebody's retinas are already fried.

    But the performer is a musician. In addition to the instrument and in ear wireless unit, there is also a remote DMX for the WS 2811 LED costume, and yes, a future wireless control unit for the laser I want to develop to turn on the laser so she can focus on playing and choreography. I like to complicate things...

    Not sure how to do that yet, but one step at a time.

    Are you looking for an off-the-shelf solution or do you plan to build it yourself? Bare laser diodes are available for purchase from DTR for very reasonable prices, and he also sells mounts, lenses, and drivers for them. If your new laser projector uses a direct injection diode for green (so 520 nm), you'll want to use the same thing in your hand-held unit. The other nice thing is that direct injection green laser diodes do not generate any IR. (They don't use the frequency-doubling technique that DPSS lasers do.)
    Yes it will have to be a 520, just checked the specs of the laser.

    I would like an off-the-shelf, but I seem to be not able to find anything out there.
    Thanks for the link, I will check out their stock.


    This is well within your abilities to assemble then. Google around a bit on the site and you'll see lots of threads about how to proceed. The more difficult part will be the regulatory hoops you will need to jump through. I would suggest speaking with James Stewart (JStewart here on the forum) about this project and ask him for advice re: the European Laser Safety regulations.
    Thanks for the contact.
    Do you think he could do this project for me for free? It will be really good for him for exposure?

    Kidding ofc lol, I will contact him and maybe he can hook me up with someone that has experience in this field.

    My soldering abilities are limited to LEDs and Senheisser RF antennas. I am very nervous around though. Loaded gun mentality hehe.
    I barely passed math and physics in school, I was always a creative type :/
    My teachers were right when they said: "You will need this in life!"

    Not at all. There are lots of "laserman-style" laser shows in operation all over the world. Granted, some of them are playing fast and loose with the rules, but many of them are 100% legal and safe. You've already demonstrated a healthy respect for the eye damage that lasers can cause, and honestly that is often the biggest hurdle: recognizing that there is a risk. Now you just need to mitigate it, and fortunately there are ways to do so.
    That's good to know, and thankfully seems that the vast majority of people that handle lasers respect it.

    But I will have to disagree with you in that most are 100% legal and safe, at least here in Spain.
    In addition to the laserman show I mentioned earlier, I've seen laser projectors scanning into the audience in a relatively small venue with no brightness attenuation and a "hot beam" to top it off, not a "scan".
    We mostly do small to medium sized corporate events that have a sizable budget, so the danger is that they sometimes hire companies that have the budget to include a 2 - 5W laser scanners, either rented or bought, but seem to not have the training or common sense on how to use them.

    Big festivals though are perfectly safe in my experience and small bars and clubs are using 50$ moonflower lasers. Its the medium sized you have to watch out for.


    Note that as a general rule you will want to do this effect in *DARK* conditions. As in, as dark as you can possibly make it. This will greatly improve the visibility of the lower-powered hand-held beam and also help to minimize the apparent brightness difference between the laser projector and the hand-held unit. Using *fine* haze verses thick fog will also help.
    We always insist on "Blackouts". We have 2 water hazers and a high powered fan that we always take, because when we say haze machine, they get a 100$ fogger that triggers the fire alarm. Actually happened once, a 100dB alarm went on 20 minutes during an event, thank God they didnt have sprinklers.

    Again, thanks for your time and effort, I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    And it may be amplified by stimulated emission of radiation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ableton69 View Post
    Wow, they werent kidding when I was told on over at laser pointers forum that folks at Photon Lexicon can help.
    While we're not always on our best behavior, the whole point behind this site is to share information and help people. So, yeah, it's what we do (or at least, what we're supposed to be doing anyway!)

    eye-safe at aperture is not logical in this particular application. The performer is always at least 5 meters away with the units I have at the moment, as for the show itself, that will be increased to 10.
    Wait - are you saying that the performer is always 5 meters away from the hand-held battery-powered laser, or that he is always 5 meters from the laser *projector* (with scanners) that is mains-powered? I thought we were talking about your need to upgrade the hand-held battery-powered laser to a higher power level because you were upgrading the mains-powered projectors and were worried that the hand-held unit would no longer be bright enough.

    Regarding the Pangolin Safety Scan lens you linked to, yes, that is a commonly used lens to increase the divergence. However, it is a special lens in that it's designed to only affect a portion of the scan field. In your case you would want a larger lens that would cover the entire scan field of the projector (or in the case of the hand-held battery-powered laser, a lens big enough to cover the aperture of the module). Note that a full-disc lens will likely be cheaper than the Pangolin Safety Scan lenses. I would have a look at Edmund Optics for starters, although they are a bit on the pricey side. Hopefully others will chime in with more suggestions.

    I think I understand the concept. Spread the beam.
    Yup. You got it.

    a laser enthusiast that had a Laser Bee unit I think, and he measured it at 5 meters distance an gave me the thumbs up.
    The Laser Bee is not a professional power meter, but they *are* surprisingly accurate. I wouldn't take that power measurement to court or anything, but it strongly suggests that the label matches the output.

    we always have to battle it out with clients and lighting staff to get a decent blackout during the show and we bring our own haze machines, otherwise it looks very wimpy. That alone tells me that the laser is not dangerous
    Be very careful with this line of thinking, as it will lead you into trouble every time. It is flat-out *impossible* to reliably judge whether a given effect is eye-safe or not by simply observing the beams. You need to actually measure the irradiance.

    I took a few close range hits in the ol' eyeball from the unit over the years and I didnt even get an after image from it.
    Again, be very cautious here. Laser strikes that are powerful enough to cause eye damage *usually* will also leave an after image, but not always. (The classic example case is a strike from a tightly collimated beam while you are in a brightly lit room, but it can also happen in certain dark conditions as well.) The other problem with laser injuries is that even if you do damage your retina, unless the damage is *massive* you will likely not realize it for quite some time because the brain is very good at combining images from both eyes to create a cohesive visual field. To wit: every human being has a blind spot in each eye that covers over 4 degrees of vision, yet none of us are ever aware of it's existence unless we're performing a specific test that makes it noticeable. (This blind spot is at the point where the optic nerve attaches to the retina in each eye.)

    Regarding James Stewart:
    Do you think he could do this project for me?
    I know you were joking, but yeah, I'm sure he could do the project - for a sizable fee! However, I don't think he does much work with hardware these days. Still a good idea to speak with him though, as he can definitely put you in touch with other people who can help as well. James is one of the most respected experts in the field of Laser Safety, so he will never steer you wrong.

    My soldering abilities are limited to LEDs and Senheisser RF antennas.
    Should be just fine then. If you order the diodes from DTR you can specify that you'd like them to arrive in a mount with the wires already attached to the diode. Then you just need to solder those wires to the driver, and then solder the wires from the power supply and the switch. Easy!

    I will have to disagree with you in that most are 100% legal and safe, at least here in Spain.
    The rules in some European countries are more lax than what we have here in the US, which often leads to shows that would be unthinkable here being done every weekend in Europe. Regarding Spain in particular, I've heard other people complain about the lack of enforcement there. I can understand how you might be facing more reckless show operators than normal. (All the more impressive that you're taking the time to do it properly. )

    We always insist on "Blackouts". We have 2 water hazers and a high powered fan that we always take, because when we say haze machine, they get a 100$ fogger that triggers the fire alarm. Actually happened once, a 100dB alarm went on 20 minutes during an event, thank God they didnt have sprinklers.
    I always discuss the use of haze with the client before I book a show, and I always request that any fire alarms be disabled. If that can't be done, then I normally perform a haze test during the site visit to see how much haze can be used before the alarm goes off. (And even if the alarms are still active, I insist that the monitoring company place the system in "test" mode so that they don't automatically call the fire department if the alarm goes off!)

    You mentioned water hazers. Do you mean hazers that use a water-based fluid (like the Smoke Factory Tour Hazer, for example)? Or are you actually using an ultrasonic hazer that only uses de-ionized water? Just curious... I normally use water-based haze as well (Look Solutions Unique 2), but I also have some hazers that use oil-based fluid.

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    While we're not always on our best behavior, the whole point behind this site is to share information and help people. So, yeah, it's what we do (or at least, what we're supposed to be doing anyway!)

    Adam
    With what you told me so far, I got plenty of investigative material to peruse.

    Wait - are you saying that the performer is always 5 meters away from the hand-held battery-powered laser, or that he is always 5 meters from the laser *projector* (with scanners) that is mains-powered? I thought we were talking about your need to upgrade the hand-held battery-powered laser to a higher power level because you were upgrading the mains-powered projectors and were worried that the hand-held unit would no longer be bright enough.
    At the moment, we do shows with the hand unit only, and the performer is 5 meters away from the audience while performing. There are no laser scanners at all.

    With the new show, she will be standing on a platform with a methacrylate floor and the laser unit directly below, and another one behind, angled up for tunnels and with a crushed Y axis for making a liquid sky effect, tunnels etc.
    (goes without saying, do NOT look down and tight fitting laser safety goggles are a must for the performer)

    Regarding the Pangolin Safety Scan lens you linked to, yes, that is a commonly used lens to increase the divergence. However, it is a special lens in that it's designed to only affect a portion of the scan field. In your case you would want a larger lens that would cover the entire scan field of the projector (or in the case of the hand-held battery-powered laser, a lens big enough to cover the aperture of the module). Note that a full-disc lens will likely be cheaper than the Pangolin Safety Scan lenses. I would have a look at Edmund Optics for starters, although they are a bit on the pricey side. Hopefully others will chime in with more suggestions.
    I will take a look at their inventory, thanks for the advice.

    I'm only interested in optics for the hand unit, the laser scanners will probably never be used at 100% power since their "luminosity" have to match that of the hand unit. I still did not order the scanner for the rear, and that one will probably be a 1 watt unit, since it will be pointing over the audience, and that angle makes it much more visible.

    The Laser Bee is not a professional power meter, but they *are* surprisingly accurate. I wouldn't take that power measurement to court or anything, but it strongly suggests that the label matches the output.
    At the time I was just starting out and now I am in the financial position to do things right. Well.. to a limit ofc lol.
    The label did not match the output at all. I still have the original unit with the casing still on. When I find it I'll take a picture of the dot on the wall and you can see for yourself. Its like 2-3 times more powerful then the one I disassembled and stepped down. I remember my vision getting tired just seeing the reflection from it on a matt finish wall.

    Be very careful with this line of thinking, as it will lead you into trouble every time. It is flat-out *impossible* to reliably judge whether a given effect is eye-safe or not by simply observing the beams. You need to actually measure the irradiance.
    +1

    Again, be very cautious here. Laser strikes that are powerful enough to cause eye damage *usually* will also leave an after image, but not always. (The classic example case is a strike from a tightly collimated beam while you are in a brightly lit room, but it can also happen in certain dark conditions as well.) The other problem with laser injuries is that even if you do damage your retina, unless the damage is *massive* you will likely not realize it for quite some time because the brain is very good at combining images from both eyes to create a cohesive visual field. To wit: every human being has a blind spot in each eye that covers over 4 degrees of vision, yet none of us are ever aware of it's existence unless we're performing a specific test that makes it noticeable. (This blind spot is at the point where the optic nerve attaches to the retina in each eye.)
    Yes I read about basic safety back when I was doing it, and every time I got hit, I took a self assessment test for pilots.
    And yeah, laser injuries do not "heal", they just get incorporated into your vision like the blind spots we all have.

    I know you were joking, but yeah, I'm sure he could do the project - for a sizable fee! However, I don't think he does much work with hardware these days. Still a good idea to speak with him though, as he can definitely put you in touch with other people who can help as well. James is one of the most respected experts in the field of Laser Safety, so he will never steer you wrong.
    After I read more about all this and get my bearings around the topic I will contact him and see what he says. I cant get a right answer until I ask the right question

    The rules in some European countries are more lax than what we have here in the US, which often leads to shows that would be unthinkable here being done every weekend in Europe. Regarding Spain in particular, I've heard other people complain about the lack of enforcement there. I can understand how you might be facing more reckless show operators than normal. (All the more impressive that you're taking the time to do it properly. )
    This is the true wild west of Europe.

    I always discuss the use of haze with the client before I book a show, and I always request that any fire alarms be disabled. If that can't be done, then I normally perform a haze test during the site visit to see how much haze can be used before the alarm goes off. (And even if the alarms are still active, I insist that the monitoring company place the system in "test" mode so that they don't automatically call the fire department if the alarm goes off!)


    You mentioned water hazers. Do you mean hazers that use a water-based fluid (like the Smoke Factory Tour Hazer, for example)? Or are you actually using an ultrasonic hazer that only uses de-ionized water? Just curious... I normally use water-based haze as well (Look Solutions Unique 2), but I also have some hazers that use oil-based fluid.
    I once went to Barcelona from Madrid, and when we were setting up, the venue told the client we cant use haze. So we did a normal show without lasers and got payed the same. Still better then risking it and triggering the alarm.

    At the moment I use chauvets Haze 2D, but funny you mentioned the Unique 2 because I am going to upgrade to that so it blows to the fan unit. I saw the unit fill a huge venue in a matter of minutes in the UK.

    Probably going to print a duct attachment or something.
    (their attachment costs a 100 euros... for a round piece of plastic...)

    They are water based fluid, I havent seen an ultrasonic hazer in action. However, I really love how oil based haze looks. Problem is, that oil sticks to mirrors in laser projectors, curtains, floors, walls, everything and some venues would never allow it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ableton69 View Post
    At the moment, we do shows with the hand unit only, and the performer is 5 meters away from the audience while performing.
    Got it. So the goal will be to ensure that the beam from the hand-held unit is eye-safe at a minimum distance of 5 meters. This is absolutely doable.

    And yeah, laser injuries do not "heal", they just get incorporated into your vision like the blind spots we all have.
    Some laser injuries can heal over time. It depends on how serious the damage is. Small lesions often heal after a month or two. Large burn spots (where the tissue has been destroyed) do not. Like you, I've had my retina imaged several times, and thus far I've managed to avoid any permanent damage.

    At the moment I use chauvets Haze 2D, but funny you mentioned the Unique 2 because I am going to upgrade to that so it blows to the fan unit. I saw the unit fill a huge venue in a matter of minutes in the UK.
    Those Chauvet units are quite affordable, and I almost went with them. However, I managed to get a good deal on some slightly used models from Look Solutions, so I went that route. I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the Unique 2. I was able to haze an entire convention center (36,000 square feet with a 35 ft high ceiling) using just one unit. (This was for laser programming prior to the event; the lighting director was not on site at the time and I didn't want to mess around with his haze equipment without his permission so I used my own.) I currently own two of them.

    I also hear very good things about the Smoke Factory Tour Hazer. We have a few people who come to SELEM each year that use them, and they're very nice units. One nice thing about the Tour Hazers is that they have absolutely no odor at all. The Unique 2 has a very faint smell to it. Nothing like a fog machine, mind you, but there is a slight odor to the haze. I don't find it bothersome, but if you're worried about that you may wish to take a look at a Tour Hazer before you buy.

    Probably going to print a duct attachment or something.
    Do you need the duct for directional control? If not, you can just place a fan in front of it (or even to the side or behind it) and this will move enough air to spread the haze evenly throughout the venue. (That's what I did at the convention center. I had a 12 inch diameter fan that I placed in front of the hazer, angled upwards, and I had the whole place hazed up in about 15 minutes. And if you absolutely need the duct, you might want to look at the flexible ducting that is available for clothes driers and wood burning stoves. (Check your local hardware store.) I've seen people use that stuff to make home-built fog chillers for Halloween displays.

    I havent seen an ultrasonic hazer in action.
    I played around with some of the tiny ones that are used for water fountains, but I understand that there is a commercial unit available now that uses *mostly* water with a tiny bit of fog solution added to it. They are supposed to be very efficient. I guess at some point I need to go to a trade show and see one in person. (My concern would be whether they have enough "hang time" compared to a standard hazer.)

    I really love how oil based haze looks. Problem is, that oil sticks to mirrors in laser projectors, curtains, floors, walls, everything and some venues would never allow it.
    Completely agree! For a one-off event, the oil-based haze isn't usually a problem, but most nightclubs and theaters have plenty of experience cleaning mineral oil off their fixtures and will tell you up front that they don't allow it anymore. I don't worry about it getting inside the projector because all my units have a sealed optical deck. But it definitely ends up on the exterior of everything! (And if you spill any on the floor you have one hell of a mess...)

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post

    Those Chauvet units are quite affordable, and I almost went with them. However, I managed to get a good deal on some slightly used models from Look Solutions, so I went that route. I have to say that I'm quite impressed with the Unique 2. I was able to haze an entire convention center (36,000 square feet with a 35 ft high ceiling) using just one unit. (This was for laser programming prior to the event; the lighting director was not on site at the time and I didn't want to mess around with his haze equipment without his permission so I used my own.) I currently own two of them.

    Adam
    Chauvets served me well, might be time to open them up and service them since they are starting to chug along instead of giving a steady stream. Already tried a cleaning solution, but it didnt completely clear them.

    The tour hazer is nice, but cant seem to find them in the EU, and the unique is a standard it seems. Kinda like the magnum by Martin.

    Do you need the duct for directional control? If not, you can just place a fan in front of it (or even to the side or behind it) and this will move enough air to spread the haze evenly throughout the venue. (That's what I did at the convention center. I had a 12 inch diameter fan that I placed in front of the hazer, angled upwards, and I had the whole place hazed up in about 15 minutes. And if you absolutely need the duct, you might want to look at the flexible ducting that is available for clothes driers and wood burning stoves. (Check your local hardware store.) I've seen people use that stuff to make home-built fog chillers for Halloween displays.
    Yes, other hazers will take care of the ambient haze, and this one will blow more dense haze where the business end is for extra visibility. The unique because its output is more suited for the huge fan.

    Placing, behind probably, and maybe a mini 3d printed duct system in the stage itself that will branch out and blow haze straight up for maximum effect. But that is finessing a pig... need to get the pig first

    I played around with some of the tiny ones that are used for water fountains, but I understand that there is a commercial unit available now that uses *mostly* water with a tiny bit of fog solution added to it. They are supposed to be very efficient. I guess at some point I need to go to a trade show and see one in person. (My concern would be whether they have enough "hang time" compared to a standard hazer.)
    Ive seen humidifiers that are ultrasonic, and hang time is like... 2 seconds hehe.



    Completely agree! For a one-off event, the oil-based haze isn't usually a problem, but most nightclubs and theaters have plenty of experience cleaning mineral oil off their fixtures and will tell you up front that they don't allow it anymore. I don't worry about it getting inside the projector because all my units have a sealed optical deck. But it definitely ends up on the exterior of everything! (And if you spill any on the floor you have one hell of a mess...)
    We had a lot of shows in a row using a Martin oil based hazer, and it was the best haze conditions we ever had and no smell at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ableton69 View Post
    Ive seen humidifiers that are ultrasonic, and hang time is like... 2 seconds hehe.
    I beg to differ... The initial thick white fog dissipates quickly but there are very minute particles that linger for a while. Of course, the humidity of the air is a huge factor. My homebuilt fogscreen can haze up a 1000 CuFt room in about 2 minutes. The haze lingers for quite some time. Leaving it running for about 10 minutes raises the humidity and the haze lingers for longer. 6 liters per hour does that! A large venue would be a different story though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by absolom7691 View Post
    I beg to differ... The initial thick white fog dissipates quickly but there are very minute particles that linger for a while. Of course, the humidity of the air is a huge factor. My homebuilt fogscreen can haze up a 1000 CuFt room in about 2 minutes. The haze lingers for quite some time. Leaving it running for about 10 minutes raises the humidity and the haze lingers for longer. 6 liters per hour does that! A large venue would be a different story though.
    I meant the haze from a room humidifier, I never saw that tech in action (or maybe I did and havent realised).
    What is the liquid composed of, water and VG?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ableton69 View Post
    I meant the haze from a room humidifier, I never saw that tech in action (or maybe I did and havent realised).
    What is the liquid composed of, water and VG?
    My fogscreen just uses water, which is what normal humidifiers use. I have actually been considering doing my personal shows without glycol foggers at this point because of how successful my fogscreen hazes the room.

    Here's an example. You can see the light from the projector in the haze. Even a 5mW pointer would show up brighter than that.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIcHqusLUv8

    Anyway, sorry, I didn't mean to derail your thread regarding laser pointer safety. I just thought it should be mentioned that ultrasonic foggers can haze pretty well in enough numbers.

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