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14367Re: [SeattleRobotics] Re: Laser Diodes from Laser Printers?

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  • Alan King
    Aug 1, 2003
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      David VanHorn wrote:

      > These lasers are perfectly safe, when used with proper precautions.

      Agreed, tool just like any other tool. Amazing though how many even
      adults think lasers are toys though, I've wanted to knock some people
      upside the head on more than a few occasions after seeing them stick a
      laser pointer right in their friend's eye playing around. There are
      some people who really are just too dumb to be allowed anything,
      hopefully not too many in this group though..


      >
      > I don't have any real ideas on where you'd use one in a robotics application, but as long as you take measures to keep the collimated beam from getting into open space, and an interlock to prevent accidental exposure, I don't see a problem.
      >
      > Warning labels can be applied to the housing, just like the big guys do it.
      >
      > That said, a visible beam is much safer, since you can see that it's on.
      >

      The one thing I have thought about them for is a long range IR link,
      spread the beam just a bit and it's much less likely to cause any type
      of eye damage yet should still get much longer range than just an IR
      LED, and could easily be set up over normal head height etc. Really for
      longer distance telemetry more than robotics, since it'd be hard to keep
      it on target beyond a certain point. Requires modulation but that's
      already in the board for a laser printer, but info can be very difficult
      to find so you just about have to get a working printer to see how to
      run the board. A printer junked because of a bad fuser would be fine
      though, everything else should be working.

      The most interesting thing to do with most laser printers is take the
      5, 6, or sometimes 8 sided mirror and get it spinning and point a
      visible laser diode at it. Then you get to see how the mirrors are
      precisely ground and slightly offset to produce multiple lines from the
      single laser. Not very useful except to see how it works.

      While it's fun to junk stuff, it will usually limit what can be done
      and take more time than it's worth. Motors are the main things useable,
      and it's many times better to just spend $50 and get 10 steppers off
      Ebay, and $10 or $20 more and get transistors etc to make your own
      drivers. Engineer once, and use over and over, just buy more motors etc
      when needed. While it's not "free" it's cheap, and you have to have a
      whole lot of the same junk to make up the difference in time and work.
      It's not the cost but the time spent pulling the parts, and having to
      slightly reengineer the solutions when you run out of a few parts that
      make it not worthwhile unless the motors are especially large. Only if
      you have 10 or 20 of the exact same printer etc does it become useful
      for general components.

      That said the rails from old dot matrix printers are the one thing
      that doesn't generally apply to. Rails from even 2 or 3 printers can be
      quite useful, and with their relatively high cost to purchase and having
      to engineer most solutions seperately anyway they often move back into
      the worth pulling category.
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