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Thread: Beginner needs a bit of help...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Beginner needs a bit of help...

    Hiya, folks,
    As it says, I'm just getting into the wonderful world of lasers, and I need a bit of help. I'm looking for a lab-style laser, just a basic one, to do some project development work, and I've got a few questions.
    What I need:
    Inexpensive - This is just for initial development, I'll put some solid money into a heavy laser when everything's put together.
    TTL blanking - I don't need analog as of yet.
    Ideally, visible beam - in a dark room with a bit of fog would be fine.
    100% duty cycle - There's a fair bit of tweaking and such that will be going into my projects, and I don't want to have to wait for the darn thing to cool off a lot.

    I was looking at this:

    Seems like it might work. Cheap, supposedly visible beam, TTL blanking. But I notice someone said it needs an IR filter. I'm fairly sure that's important. I'm concerned that it will dim the beam a fair bit. Also, do DX carry a decent filter? Or do I need to get one somewhere else?

    Alternately, does anyone have a laser along these lines they don't need anymore and would consider selling? I am in Canada if that makes any difference.

    Thanks very much for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Coming to a theatre near you!


    I would highly suggest that you choose a name brand laser for your first unit. while it is true that dx has some cheap lasers, that's just what they are - cheap lasers. You can buy one if you want, but be prepared for it to be unreliable and perhaps DOA. Also, im not sure what the import limitations on DX are, but i've heard that customs has been cracking down on them, so you may not be able to order from them at all.

    You can get a laser-wave 100mw greenie for $250 though CTlaser (gottaluvlasers here on PL). For that power and that quality $250 is a very nice price. if $250 is a humbling number, I would suggest you start with diode lasers. if you check out the laser pointer forum you can find group buys on 16-22x dvd burner diodes that will kick out a couple hundred mw each. if you combine these you can get a red 650nm that will easily do 250mw for $100-$150. you can also do the same with Blu-ray diodes.

    Dr.lava on here sells the flexmod driver, which is what you'll need to drive the diodes, but for it's price it is an impressive piece of kit. he sells the flexmod (As well as his other drivers) here:

    In addition to that, you can check out the buy/sell/trade section of this forum, and you may find some good deals on used lasers there.
    Good Luck, and welcome to the forum!
    "TO DO IS TO BE" - Nietzsche
    "TO BE IS TO DO" - Kant
    "DO BE DO BE DO" - Sinatra

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Lake Geneva, WI.


    I agree.
    Buy a quality laser like the LaserWave units available from CT lasers. Can you disclose a little info on what your trying to do? This would be very beneficial in helping you pick the right laser module for your application. If stuff like human eye visibility or beam size and divergence at a distance is important to you. These are important factors to discuss in most cases.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Stockholm, Sweden


    I agree with the above comments BUT since I'm also on a tight budget and has gone down this path before...see this post I made in another thread:

    (Before people start to complain, this is for budget, entry-level projectors!)

    For cheap entry-level 532nm green look at these:
    Deal extreme 35mW 532nm module. Price: 57.20 USD - free shipping
    Aixiz 15mW 532nm module on Ebay. Price: 41 USD + 6.50 USD shipping
    (possibly the same as the above one from DX)
    Aixiz 50mW 532nm module on Ebay. Price 65 USD + 6.50 USD shipping

    All these will reliably do 70 to 100mW when tweaked a bit.
    The black one from Aixiz seems a bit better built.
    I use the
    as drivers for mine.
    I have used one of the ones from DX for about 40 hours at 75mW wih no degradation I can measure or see.

    I have a BlueRay 405nm laser in my projector, the diode is cheap and can be found in a spare part for the Xbox360:
    It can deliver about 150mW or so. You can propably combine two using the PBS-cube in the drive.
    There is a groupbuy on the way for even more powerful diodes from 6X BluRay writers at LPF:
    Lenses for bluray is a bit complicated, they need to be anti reflective coated for 405 or uncoated to work.
    A standard clear acrylic lens from Aixiz or DealExtreme works ok but there is a another groupbuy on LPF for special 405nm lenses:

    A really good red diode can be found in the Pioneer 112D och 115D DVD writers that can be found at almost every seller of computer parts.
    The diode delivers 250-350mW with good cooling.
    Two can be combined using a Polarizing Beam Splitter (PBS) for a 0.5W red!
    Most people use a cheap Aixiz or DX 5mW red module as a mount for their more powerful homebuilt lasers:
    They only cost a few dollars each and are ok.
    Sometimes you need to mount them in someting that dissipates a bit more heat, a bigger block of aluminium with a hole works.
    You can also buy cheap glass lenses at Aixiz, they make a better beam than the plastic lens.
    I have made my own mounts, it's not that hard but you need 3,6mm and 8.6mm drills (uncommon sizes) and M9x0.5mm tap that is quite expensive.

    I have quite cheap 30k scanners from laserphoto in China:
    I believe that is the same brand scanners as lasershowparts have on their cheaper scanners.
    The mirrors even reflect 405nm (BluRay) really well.

    My dichros, PBS and mounts are from, they have several european resellers, look at

    Also, try to find a cheap laser power meter. I found a Coherent sensor board on ebay but they are all gone now. Some of my friends have bought this sensor (24USD, max 120mW) on ebay and are happy with it. Just connect it to a multimeter.
    The same company has models up to 1W,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    Thanks for the help! Lot of stuff to think about. 300evil, we'll be using it for a couple of different projects. Lot of learning-type stuff, to include a beam show as well as a closed-frame laser harp.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Lake Geneva, WI.


    Quote Originally Posted by Felix View Post
    300evil, we'll be using it for a couple of different projects. Lot of learning-type stuff, to include a beam show as well as a closed-frame laser harp.

    I'd go with a green 532nm DPSS laser then. Best bang for your buck when it comes to visibility and output power in relation to cost. Most green DPSS lasers have very good divergence specs and the beam is very visible due to the human eye acuity to this spectrum.

    A green DPSS would be a very good choice for a beam show or a laser harp. I'd recommend something between 100-200mW for a nice bright beam visible in a dark room with little suspended particulate.

    Keep in mind though. Anything over 5mW can become a possibly serious eye hazard if not handled correctly. Appropriate safety precautions should be observed for users and bystanders.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Omaha, NE


    I bought a similar 50mw TTL green for my first laser & it worked out just fine. Spring for at least 50mw! Also, as mentioned above, I ended up using the die4drive at a later time for analog blanking. Once you experience analog, you won't go back. The nice thing is that you can upgrade the P/S when time & budget permit. I do agree with the vendor reputation being important- I bought mine from David Lanling on ebay, but I have heard good reports about the small greens from AixiZ too. Have fun & protect your eyes!

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