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May the Force Be With Us
August 12, 2010 3:11 PM   Subscribe

You know that real-life Light Saber you always fantasized about getting as a kid? Good news! It's finally here! Sort of. And for only $299 USD. Oh, wait, no--turns out, it's not a light saber at all and any resemblance is purely coincidental. No, this thing is actually more like a sharp-pointed laser stick for poking people's eyes out and setting things on fire from as much as a mile away.

Previously here.
posted by saulgoodman (92 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
My brother has already ordered one. I'm so frightened for his cats.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 3:18 PM on August 12, 2010


Even wearing protective glasses and just glimpsing the direct beam could cost you the color green for 4-6 months.

Oh, man, does that mean you could see through green?
posted by griphus at 3:18 PM on August 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


My brother has already ordered one. I'm so frightened for his cats.

Yeah, I'm a little ambivalent about this. It's great that you can get a high-power laser at such a low price, but 1 W lasers are serious, serious business. I don't like that it's shaped like and marketed as a toy.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I anticipate a great disturbance in the Police Force, as if millions of red light cameras will suddenly cry out in terror and will be suddenly blinded. I fear something wonderful will happen.
posted by adipocere at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Hong Kong-based company bills the new device as "the most dangerous laser ever created." The laser is accordingly raising eyebrows in the blogosphere and in safety circles alike.

"There really is no need for an individual private citizen to use [this laser] because it is way too powerful and unsafe," said Gus Anibarro, education director of the Laser Institute of America in Orlando, Florida.


Why was this even invented? Just to fuck with us, I gather. That, and to facilitate the rise of accessible and affordable super-villany.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 3:27 PM on August 12, 2010


Isn't killing people kind of the point of light sabers? It seems weird to go "someone has invented light sabers! yay! oh no, they kill people!"
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:28 PM on August 12, 2010


Oh man oh man oh man oh man. I've lost track of the number of times I've almost emptied my bank account to buy lasers that can melt shit and light toy soldiers on fire. And this is blue. BLUE. None of that blue violet crap. You're telling me that I can melt shit while cackling in style? Oh man oh man oh man.

Sadly, I know me, and eye-melting-doombeams are right out of the fucking question. I cannot trust myself with such awesome. Mostly because if I managed to blind myself I'd be unable to get as much enjoyment out of my laser!
posted by Stunt at 3:31 PM on August 12, 2010


Don't you people see? This is just a proxy company for the Chinese government, designed to give dangerous lasers to stupid Americans to blind and injure themselves. When those Mao loving bastards roll through the streets Washington D.C. they'll have no opposition, save those poor souls staggering in the streets, unable to see the bright red of our new flag.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 3:33 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was going to take all sorts of issues with their claim of "the most dangerous laser ever created.". I mean, there are lasers out there that are way more powerful...

But then I got to thinking about it. Yes, they are more powerful, but they aren't the kind of thing you can jam in your pocket, or cheap enough that you can buy on impulse.

So yeah, this might actually be the most dangerous laser every. Because it's one that I can buy. And nobody should ever have let that happen.

A pair of safety goggles also comes gratis with any order of the Arctic.

This would be way better if they could figure out a way to give safety glasses to everyone in a mile range around the buyer.

I feel like I'm watching the beginning of a sci-fi story which will include the line "And nobody realized that this was the first step in a chain of events that led to every living thing on the planet being eventually blinded..."

And yes. I really, really want one.
posted by quin at 3:35 PM on August 12, 2010


I ordered one of these in June. Several people have already received the G1 model. I opted for the G2 model with more inherent safety devices.

The forum is here: Blue Laser Forum
posted by Splunge at 3:37 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


My basal nervous system wants this laser. PEPSI 445 NANOMETERS OH GOD MY FUCKING EYES!
posted by adipocere at 3:38 PM on August 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


When I used to look up criminal records in HR, I'd get to find all kinds of arcane code violation numbers in state law. My favorite is still "Unlicensed use of laser within city limits"...

I always envisioned the law being passed to prevent Doctor Doom from randomly rampaging with robot armies and firing lasers left and right.

Then I found out it was just about assholes blinding people. I sad.
posted by yeloson at 3:43 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just a note. While I am an American, I'm not stupid enough to use this in any way that will endanger myself, my family, my pets and most importantly my fellow humans, in any way shape or form.

OTOH, those aliens that visit me at night are in for a real surprise.
posted by Splunge at 3:59 PM on August 12, 2010


KISS is not amused.
posted by cazoo at 4:01 PM on August 12, 2010


careful, splunge. from the Digital Trends link:

Even wearing protective glasses and just glimpsing the direct beam could cost you the color green for 4-6 months.

I would also like to borrow yours, if you ever get bored with it. I'm bored with green, so no harm there.
posted by angrycat at 4:08 PM on August 12, 2010


Erminger and Mauck were released on $10,000 bond and must wear electronic monitors and avoid alcohol, drugs and lasers.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:13 PM on August 12, 2010


I've been researching safety glasses online and I'm thinking of purchasing a more robust pair. Actually a couple of pairs. One for the girlfriend. I'll be using it on low power mode and/or with the training lens until then. But thanks for the thought.

Borrowing, eh? We'll talk...
posted by Splunge at 4:21 PM on August 12, 2010


I'd like to see some sort of apparatus that hooks up about a dozen of these in a circle, on little mechanical arms, to a laser rangefinder. So that whereever you point this ... let's called it a "lasgun", a computer will determine the range, calculate the angle, and tilt the lasers so they're all focused on the same point. And then you depress some sort of button - let's call it the "trigger" - to turn them all on at once.
posted by kafziel at 4:21 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't even begin to express how much product like these piss me off. Marketing a laser of this power to the consumer market is reckless - period. It'll be a matter of time before some poor schmuck will suffer the consequences of some drunk frat boys deciding to try out their newly acquired "toy".
posted by oxidizer at 4:22 PM on August 12, 2010


Gus Anibarro, education director of the Laser Institute of America

If this man's work clothing isn't a silver jumpsuit with big pointy futuristic shoulderpads and big black Science Goggles, then nothing makes any damned sense to me any more.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:23 PM on August 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


I was going to say that there is absolutely no sane reason for anyone who is not doing serious scientific research or something similar to have a laser like this, no matter how cheap it is.

Then tapesonthefloor mentioned cats.
posted by localroger at 4:25 PM on August 12, 2010


kafziel: "I'd like to see some sort of apparatus that hooks up about a dozen of these in a circle, on little mechanical arms, to a laser rangefinder. So that whereever you point this ... let's called it a "lasgun", a computer will determine the range, calculate the angle, and tilt the lasers so they're all focused on the same point. And then you depress some sort of button - let's call it the "trigger" - to turn them all on at once."

Not a good idea. That laser rangefinder could be dangerous.
posted by Splunge at 4:26 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Batteries not included. Shark-mounting harness sold separately."
posted by mattdidthat at 4:27 PM on August 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


I witnessed an incident that makes me very fearful of this. I saw some thugs steal a powerful laser, put it in the back of a pickup, and terrorize the Greater Los Angeles area by shooting cars and trees and making them burst into flame.

Okay, it was an episode of "CHiPs."
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:30 PM on August 12, 2010


Using one of these in public should be a weapons felony.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:31 PM on August 12, 2010


I think my point is that the public can't be trusted with wimpy laser pointers or even Laser malt liquor. This is going to be very, very bad.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:32 PM on August 12, 2010


The article says "It is derived from a home theater projector and packs a full watt (W) into its sleek confines."

What home theater projector uses a 1W blue laser??????

I'm only asking for informational purposes, I'd never do something like take the red laser out of a CD burner and put it in a new case with a focusing lens. No, I'd never do that.
posted by warbaby at 4:36 PM on August 12, 2010


"There really is no need for an individual private citizen to use [this laser] because it is way too powerful and unsafe," said Gus Anibarro, education director of the Laser Institute of America in Orlando, Florida.

How many times has humanity heard that one about a new weapon before?
posted by Lukenlogs at 4:37 PM on August 12, 2010


I understand the concern of people that think is a bad marketing move. But understand that WL is making these from laser diodes found in Casio projectors. While the average "frat boy" doesn't build something like this, they are already out there. Just check YouTube. And while said "fratboy" probably can't or won't make their own, they can buy them online already, in many cases cheaper than $300 USD.

The genie is already out of the bottle.

I ordered mine for $199. They upped the price to $299, not for some careful safety reason, but more likely because the orders swamped them.

I have no answer to the people who think it's a bad idea. Because, honestly, it is. I'm not a moron. The one I get won't be used in a dangerous fashion. But others no doubt will.
posted by Splunge at 4:38 PM on August 12, 2010


A local policeman sustained eye damage when he was targeted with a "green laser". I believe the idiot shooter has been arrested. Assault against an officer charge should bring dawn of realization that Portland is not a fantasy site.
posted by Cranberry at 4:38 PM on August 12, 2010


Splunge, what are you going to use it for?
posted by stavrogin at 4:47 PM on August 12, 2010


oxidizer : I can't even begin to express how much product like these piss me off. Marketing a laser of this power to the consumer market is reckless - period.

Absolutely. Totally, shamelessly reckless. Mere mortals should never have access to devices such as this. Deliciously, wantonly reckless.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a call to make. To my...um... Mother. Yeah, good ol' mom. She had a birthday this past year, I think.

/ Honey, have you seen my credit card?
posted by pla at 4:50 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't even begin to express how much product like these piss me off. Marketing a laser of this power to the consumer market is reckless - period. It'll be a matter of time before some poor schmuck will suffer the consequences of some drunk frat boys deciding to try out their newly acquired "toy".

It's 1 watt, so it can deliver one joule per second.

The same drunk frat boys almost universally have devices that can almost instantaneously pump a month's worth of that laser energy right into you. I'd worry more about those, frankly.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:52 PM on August 12, 2010


Splunge, what are you going to use it for?

"I bought the laser for two reasons. The first is to entertain myself because, come on, it's a blue laser. The second is to keep kids off drugs."
posted by penduluum at 4:57 PM on August 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I can't imagine the lifelong guilt of accidentally permanently blinding someone with a ridiculous toy like this. Regulation of the consumer laser market is taking way too long. I imagine it'll get ramped up once someone blinds a child or a bunch of strangers in a movie theater or somesuch. Sucks for them, eh? In meantime, I'm sure it looks cool with your Ed Hardy t-shirt.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:57 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll probably set up a bench in my basement. I've checked the prices on lenses, half-mirrors and other equipment. The initial cost was low enough that I think that I can actually afford a few things now. More later. I already have saw horses and a large amount of MDF.

I'll be honest, my first thought was, "Damn, a 1 watt blue for how much?" But now that I've done a bit of research, I realize that unless I have the G2 on low pulse with the training lens, it's not something I'd just flash around my living room. Even then, anyone (myself included) that sees that would still have to wear protective eye-wear.

OTOH now that I've been puttering about the interweb, I've learned a bit about lasers and as an unemployed computer tech, the whole idea of a laser bench in my unfinished basement is irresistible.

So, I think I have a new hobby.

One that does not include downing planes or burning strangers. Is that okay? ;-)
posted by Splunge at 5:00 PM on August 12, 2010


I don't understand the connection between powerful blue lasers and Ed Hardy.
posted by everichon at 5:00 PM on August 12, 2010


Data point: I own a low-powered green pen laser, and all of my shirts are plain.
posted by everichon at 5:01 PM on August 12, 2010


But, what would you actually DO with it? Just burn shit?
posted by stavrogin at 5:06 PM on August 12, 2010


No that would smell AWFUL!
posted by Splunge at 5:09 PM on August 12, 2010


Do not stare into laser with remaining eye.
posted by tim_in_oz at 5:12 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry the GF and I have a movie in our Netflix queue we have to watch...
posted by Splunge at 5:12 PM on August 12, 2010


seanmpuckett wrote: "Using one of these in public should be a weapons felony."

No, using one of these in public or private in a way that endangers other people should be reckless endangerment.
posted by wierdo at 5:16 PM on August 12, 2010


Hypothetically speaking, could I use one of these to gradually bring down a couple of dead tress in my back yard by myself, instead of calling-in a really expensive tree guy?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:19 PM on August 12, 2010


Trees, dammit
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:20 PM on August 12, 2010


Surely the 2nd amendment protects my right to bear lasers?
posted by straight at 5:22 PM on August 12, 2010


Sorry the GF and I have a movie in our Netflix queue we have to watch...

This one, I presume.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:25 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This scared the heck out of me when I saw it as well.

Okay, even those fearful must acknowledge it's cool as hell, which is why they have and will sell lots of these.

I felt that way about cheap dealextreme lasers (visible beam green lasers for 30$, what's not to love?). Then I played with mine a bit.

If you own one, you really have to avoid letting other people play with it unless they understand the full ramifications of what could go wrong. People don't intuitively understand how many reflective and refracting surfaces there are in everyday life. Using one outdoors has a range of seemingly forever; using it indoors one must be frightful of reflections.

I am curious what the 2nd amendment gun enthusiasts think about the proliferation of such technology. To me this thing is scarier than a handgun - at least someone who is handling a handgun can intuit the obvious dangers involved. I can imagine those who might argue rabidly for allowing 'assault weapons' to be sold with relatively few restrictions to be unhappy at a populace running around with these things.

Terrifying, and I would even consider getting one, ever.

(but if a friend had one, i would be eager as hell to play with it)
posted by el io at 5:27 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I always envisioned the law being passed to prevent Doctor Doom from randomly rampaging with robot armies and firing lasers left and right.

How naïve! Doctor Doom has diplomatic immunity and can't be prosecuted for trifles like rampaging laser robots.
posted by martinrebas at 5:28 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


How naïve! Doctor Doom has diplomatic immunity and can't be prosecuted for trifles like rampaging laser robots.

Perhaps they were worried about copycat crimes?

Once the durn foreigners introduce things, suddenly everyone's wearing burkas, listening to their bhangra music, eating with chopsticks and using laser robots at their gay marriage dance parties.

You gotta draw the line somewhere.

(preferably with a suborbital laser cannon).
posted by yeloson at 5:48 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm allowed to taze and shoot people who try to blind or burn me with this thing, right?
posted by meowzilla at 6:13 PM on August 12, 2010


I have no interest in this.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:14 PM on August 12, 2010


This seems like the perfect opportunity to invest heavily into everyday gogglewear.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 6:17 PM on August 12, 2010


Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:18 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, who wants to be the first to explain what purpose a high-powered laser serves in any average home?
posted by randomyahoo at 6:20 PM on August 12, 2010


What purpose does a stereo serve, randomyahoo?
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:25 PM on August 12, 2010


straight wrote: "Surely the 2nd amendment protects my right to bear lasers?"

I thought it only protected your right to lase bears.
posted by wierdo at 6:25 PM on August 12, 2010


randomyahoo : So, who wants to be the first to explain what purpose a high-powered laser serves in any average home?

Absolutely none. Aaaaaand?

Personally, I would probably start one small fire, play for five minutes in the dense coastal early morning fog we get in my area (even ordinary red lasers look awesome in the fog), then hide it from myself in the basement until I found it again and did the exact same thing a year or so later. :)

And to address those talking about this as some sort of devil's own death-trap... I (and most of you) can legally own a real lead-and-boom gun (and can get one a whole lot faster, considering the backorder on these). "Shining" that in my (or anyone else's) eye causes a hell of a lot more than blindness.

Of course, even hardcore idiots don't go randomly firing a gun around in public, and I would certainly agree with the "reckless endangerment" comment above. But to whine to the FDA (what do these have to do with food or drugs, again, that you couldn't also say about a good boning knife?) to ban sale and/or possession of these? Just "no".
posted by pla at 6:39 PM on August 12, 2010


I could post to Ask MeFi, but seriously, since this thread is already open and my question is on-topic, COULD I feasibly bring-down dead trees with this?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:57 PM on August 12, 2010


The two most common uses for a laser at home:

1) cat toy.

2) trippy psychedelic light show thingy.

I build #2, but usually have a couple handy for #1. I'm still waiting for one powerful enough to paint vector graphics on low clouds.

I think I have somewhere between one and two dozen lasers in the house. The most powerful is 30mW green. Lots of cheap ($2) 5mW reds. No blue, sad to say.

*cackles evilly*
posted by warbaby at 7:11 PM on August 12, 2010


Warbaby, we should talk.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:21 PM on August 12, 2010


Faint of Butt: "Sorry the GF and I have a movie in our Netflix queue we have to watch...

This one, I presume.
"

Actually it was "The Book of Eli". And I won't give my review here. So now the GF is watching her home improvement shows and I'm going to watch a cheesy 1951 movie called " The Man from Planet X."

Night all.
posted by Splunge at 7:33 PM on August 12, 2010


zenmasterthis: No.
posted by localroger at 7:34 PM on August 12, 2010


localroger: Could you elaborate just a bit?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:39 PM on August 12, 2010


This laser combined with this personal satellite (including launch costs) for $8k is finally bringing supervillain powers to the average man. It really brings a tear to my eye. Soon little Johnny will be brewing up custom genes for cootie plagues in his sandbox. It's truly a wonderful time we live in.
posted by formless at 7:44 PM on August 12, 2010


ZenMasterThis: No, forget it, not even close. The laser is too weak by many orders of magnitude.
posted by ryanrs at 7:46 PM on August 12, 2010


I'm figuring ~1W/mm^2. Couldn't that burn through wood?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:52 PM on August 12, 2010


Would've made for a much shorter Star Wars:

"Your father's lightsaber. This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as aOHGODMYEYES..."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:53 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, who wants to be the first to explain what purpose a high-powered laser serves in any average home?

Illumination.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:21 PM on August 12, 2010


It really illumantes that 2mm circle you couldnt see before!
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:23 PM on August 12, 2010


"Phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range."

Ok, fine, imagine that plasma refers to the power source or something.

I like how you think, kafziel.
posted by porpoise at 8:33 PM on August 12, 2010


To the folks who bought one...

I want one, and I have no legitimate reason for it. What's your justification?
posted by Señor Pantalones at 8:52 PM on August 12, 2010


Just to be clear:

I like this laser. I like tech and I very much like cheap as hell hi-tech. In a perfect world - you know, one where people are sane, reasonably intelligent and respectful of one another - I'd issue one of these at birth... sadly, that just ain't the world be live in.

The same drunk frat boys almost universally have devices that can almost instantaneously pump a month's worth of that laser energy right into you. I'd worry more about those, frankly.

As I don't spend any time around fraternities, please, educate me.
posted by oxidizer at 9:41 PM on August 12, 2010


I assume he's talking about guns.
posted by kenko at 9:56 PM on August 12, 2010


Or cars.
posted by kenko at 9:56 PM on August 12, 2010


Or a stun gun.
posted by wierdo at 10:06 PM on August 12, 2010


I was thinking more particular of SUVs, but yeah, cars. Instead of a joule per second, they can dump a megajoule or two into you in a fraction of a second.

A megajoule-range stun gun would be impressive.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:17 PM on August 12, 2010


The same drunk frat boys almost universally have devices that can almost instantaneously pump a month's worth of that laser energy right into you. I'd worry more about those, frankly.
Frat boy cocks aren't that powerful.
posted by planet at 10:31 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I (and most of you) can legally own a real lead-and-boom gun (and can get one a whole lot faster, considering the backorder on these). "Shining" that in my (or anyone else's) eye causes a hell of a lot more than blindness.

1. To just about anyone, a gun is obviously not a toy. If you handed this laser to a random person in the USA, I'd guess 95% or more would assume it's a toy and not dangerous. I'd guess over half would not really believe you if if you said it's dangerous unless you gave them a big long speech with visual aids.

2. When you shoot your gun, it's mostly obvious what kinds of surfaces could cause a dangerous ricochet that could hurt you or someone else that you're not aiming at. For the laser, most people do not have a very good idea how many kinds of surfaces pose a danger of reflecting it into your own or someone else's eyes.
posted by straight at 12:01 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd use it to seriously hurt people I didn't like from a long way away.

There, happy now?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:20 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a 30mW green laser that is a good pointer for astronomy. My kids think it is ace that the beam is visible as a faint line off to the sky.
In Australia we have banned import of anything above 5mW (from memory) without a permit after a few incidents of idiots shining them at police helicopters and or sportspeople in stadia.
posted by bystander at 1:33 AM on August 13, 2010


Just a side-note for the people using laser pointers as cat toys... Don't.

This has nothing to do with hurting the cat (though they have a pretty good chance of at least occasionally staring right into the beam), but rather, for the reasons they play-hunt.

Watch a cat playing with a real mouse - They start out very active, chasing it and throwing it all around the room/yard at first, but carefully not using their claws or giving the bite-of-death (yep, cats have a bite-of-death - you know that clicking sound they make while watching birds play in the yard? Think of it as Mr. Fluffybutt role-playing). They then slow down as their "toy" tires, giving it more and more of a chance to get away and hopefully make one last dash for freedom. Then when its "batteries" run out (or its heart explodes), they'll give it a celebratory chew or two and take a nap. Note that, with few exceptions, the cat remains in control from the first pounce to the kill.

When playing with a non-living toy, they will emulate this same cycle, more-or-less. They start out in a burst of energy, often throwing it places they can't see to emulate it trying to get away (thus the collection of cat toys under the oven/fridge/whatever - Ones that "really" got away), eventually winding down and letting the toy "die".

With laser pointers, that doesn't happen. They can't ever catch the prey, can't ever score a kill, and have zero ability to control the motion of their prey. It never tires, only stops long enough to tease the cat, and can "get away" almost infinitely fast. They will chase it, obsessively even, but after a few times it turns into more of a frustration for them than a fun play-time - Imagine playing an unbeatable video-game, over and over and over, as someone who bases their entire self-image on their gaming skills.

Get a mouse-on-a-stick, and emulate their "real" play as much as possible. And most importantly, let the cat win at the end. It doesn't prove much for a 5'9 150lb human to "beat" the cat at its own game by making the toy escape.
posted by pla at 3:29 AM on August 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Way to bury the lede. I could give a shit about light sabers, but I am very interested in setting things on fire.
posted by Eideteker at 6:11 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


My laser made from a CD burner (following instructions in MAKE magazine) had a very narrow working distance. You had to get the focus exactly right. Too near or too far and it wasn't hot enough. Even so, I had to use a Sharpie marker to blacken the heads of matches for them to ignite. If they were red, too much radiation was reflected.

Ultimately, it overheated and died. But it would illuminate something about a mile away. the spot wasn't well collimated and at that distance, the circle of illumination was about 15 feet.
posted by warbaby at 7:36 AM on August 13, 2010


Oh, yes. The original article recommended wearing an eye patch over your remaining eye if you didn't believe the safety warnings.
posted by warbaby at 7:37 AM on August 13, 2010


So when can I join the NLRA?
posted by Eideteker at 9:11 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hypothetically speaking, could I use one of these to gradually bring down a couple of dead tress in my back yard by myself, instead of calling-in a really expensive tree guy?

With some kerosene.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:23 AM on August 13, 2010


re: cutting down a tree. Nope, not nearly powerful enough. I have a 40W CO2 laser engraver, and while it can eventually cut through thin wood, it can't cut through even a quarter inch of white oak. The problem is that while wood burns at a relatively low temperature, after it pyrolyzes to charcoal, what you've got is basically pure carbon. You'd have to then vaporize the carbon, or oxidize it to CO2, which takes more energy and/or air supply than it can provide. That's with a laser 40 times more powerful than the one in the article, and guided by a computer with accuracy to 1/1000 of a inch.

Stick to a chainsaw, they're much easier to work with, and almost as much fun.
posted by Blackanvil at 10:46 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


COULD I feasibly bring-down dead trees with this?

If you use it to ignite the dead tree, possibly. But then you run the risk of bringing down lots of not-dead trees. And perhaps a house or two.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:32 AM on August 13, 2010


Stick to a chainsaw, they're much easier to work with, and almost as much fun.

Yeah and you can just walk right into the store and buy one, no license no training.
I have a couple friends that I have had to ban from using my chainsaws ... and wood chipper.
posted by Tenuki at 6:19 PM on August 13, 2010


I have a couple friends that I have had to ban from using my chainsaws ... and wood chipper.

future anonymous AskME: What's the best way to get, uh, stains out of a wood chipper?
posted by Justinian at 5:08 PM on August 14, 2010


And how many times could you split this beam before it got too dim to be fun? That's the potential I see in this laser for fun at home. One source, many beams. I'm assuming the beam is on the visible side, like with the green lasers (I got a green pointer when they came out, it's amazing how far away I can see the point).
posted by Goofyy at 11:02 PM on August 14, 2010


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