Author Topic: Are IR lasers really illegal for companies to sell to non-government entities?  (Read 13388 times)

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Offline Ben321Topic starter

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I was looking at this IR laser sight https://tnvc.com/shop/izlid-c2-ae-ultra-laser/ and noticed that it said it's sold to government/military only. Their explanation is "IR Lasers are restricted to Law Enforcement and Government sales only and cannot be sold to civilians.". However, I've heard of no such law. There are IR lasers sold to the public in all kinds of products. CD players use IR lasers. That green laser pointer you have? It has an IR laser in it that's actually more powerful than the IR laser in a CD player (additional laser optics then convert the IR beam to a visible green beam, and an IR blocking filter removes any IR that isn't converted). And power is also clearly not an issue for civilian owned IR lasers, as you can easily get high power CO2 cutting and engraving lasers on Amazon, such as this one https://www.amazon.com/OMTech-Engraver-LightBurn-Software-Engraving/dp/B099KKXMHZ/ and that's perfectly legal.

So I don't know what law TNVC is thinking supports their idea that IR lasers (or even high power IR lasers) are illegal for civilians to own. They don't actually cite any law by its reference number (as would be found in the actual bill that established that law) so that I could look it up and verify it myself. So I'm wondering if this isn't just some kind of liability thing for them. They don't want to get sued if a member of the general public accidentally hurts themself with these high power aiming lasers, so they refuse to sell it, and then back that refusal with the false claim that such a sale would be illegal.
 

Offline Psi

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A 1 Watt laser sold as a laser pointer or sold for pointing at things is illegal. That's what they are talking about. 
The fact that it's IR is irrelevant.

It's not that 1 Watt lasers are illegal to own. It's about the regulations on the laser output power in specific products that uses lasers.
In this case things for pointing at other things.

Lasers used for pointing at things have to be under 5mW (1mW in some countries)
But for example, a home cinema data projector, like the Casio one, full of many 1Watt blue lasers is fine because it's not for pointing.
Or a bluray writer with 400mW diode is totally fine.


https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rules-general/rules-US-consumers/rules-US-consumers.html
« Last Edit: October 29, 2022, 10:06:16 pm by Psi »
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Offline Ben321Topic starter

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A 1 Watt laser sold as a laser pointer or sold for pointing at things is illegal. That's what they are talking about. 
The fact that it's IR is irrelevant.

It's not that 1 Watt lasers are illegal to own. It's about the regulations on the laser output power in specific products that uses lasers.
In this case things for pointing at other things.

Lasers used for pointing at things have to be under 5mW (1mW in some countries)
But for example, a home cinema data projector, like the Casio one, full of many 1Watt blue lasers is fine because it's not for pointing.
Or a bluray writer with 400mW diode is totally fine.


https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rules-general/rules-US-consumers/rules-US-consumers.html

I know that. I'm very well aware that lasers may not be sold with the term "pointer", or be described as intended to be used in that manner in ads for the product, if the laser is over 5mW. However, the laser in question isn't a conventional laser pointer, nor is it advertised as such. It's advertised as an IR laser gun sight for night vision users. Yet it's still restricted to govt/mil sales, and the claim on the website selling it is that this is because "IR Lasers are restricted to Law Enforcement and Government sales only and cannot be sold to civilians". Nothing mentioned about the device being sold as a laser pointer. Nothing about it having too high of output power. It seems that the company selling this laser is under the impression that IR lasers can't be legally sold to the general public. Do you have any idea if there's actually any law supporting that? If so, it would seem to make CD players illegal, because they use IR lasers. So I think this company is operating under some incorrect info.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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A 1 Watt laser sold as a laser pointer or sold for pointing at things is illegal. That's what they are talking about. 
The fact that it's IR is irrelevant.

It's not that 1 Watt lasers are illegal to own. It's about the regulations on the laser output power in specific products that uses lasers.
In this case things for pointing at other things.

Lasers used for pointing at things have to be under 5mW (1mW in some countries)
But for example, a home cinema data projector, like the Casio one, full of many 1Watt blue lasers is fine because it's not for pointing.
Or a bluray writer with 400mW diode is totally fine.


https://www.laserpointersafety.com/rules-general/rules-US-consumers/rules-US-consumers.html

I know that. I'm very well aware that lasers may not be sold with the term "pointer", or be described as intended to be used in that manner in ads for the product, if the laser is over 5mW. However, the laser in question isn't a conventional laser pointer, nor is it advertised as such. It's advertised as an IR laser gun sight for night vision users. Yet it's still restricted to govt/mil sales, and the claim on the website selling it is that this is because "IR Lasers are restricted to Law Enforcement and Government sales only and cannot be sold to civilians". Nothing mentioned about the device being sold as a laser pointer. Nothing about it having too high of output power. It seems that the company selling this laser is under the impression that IR lasers can't be legally sold to the general public. Do you have any idea if there's actually any law supporting that? If so, it would seem to make CD players illegal, because they use IR lasers. So I think this company is operating under some incorrect info.

Read the advertisement carefully.  It is advertised for use in designation (pointing) and also "fencing".  Not as a sight, although it is mounted in an assembly similar to a sight.

I am not an expert on US law so have no idea what the exact regulations are.  But would assume that this product is more tightly controlled than the visible light pointers, because they are much more dangerous.  The IR light does not activate the human blink response, and you can get serious retina burns without even realizing that anything bad is happening, since there are no pain receptors in the retina.  Actually you may notice that the world is going black in small and perhaps growing regions.  The damage is permanent.  It is not mentioned in the ad, but there may also be AM, FM or other modulation of the beam for IFF and other purposes which would also result in controls on distribution.

I am actually surprised that law enforcement has access to them.  Without proper training and protective equipment for everyone in range they are quite dangerous. 
 
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Offline Psi

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Yeah as CatalinaWOW said, it says it's for pointing in the first sentence. So it falls under laser pointer regulations.

"The IZLID Ultra combines the powerful IR laser of the IZLID 1000 (for pointing and illumination)"
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 06:58:53 am by Psi »
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Offline Someone

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So I don't know what law TNVC is thinking supports their idea that IR lasers (or even high power IR lasers) are illegal for civilians to own. They don't actually cite any law by its reference number (as would be found in the actual bill that established that law) so that I could look it up and verify it myself.
Perhaps you should do the laser safety course for this category/class of laser...  then you'll know what laws apply.
 

Offline trash

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It seems rather pointless to restrict a laser based on a range of wavelengths. It sounds like somebody is just misquoting a law somewhere because it's easier. The police do this all the time, accidentally enforce a law because they misread it or just made shit up. So anybody can be forgiven for ignorance of the law because, it's often hard to find, hard to read and almost impossible to understand. :)

To get to the bottom of it (if you were really keen to find out) would be to ask the seller which specific law they are following and which section etc.
I'd guess they have a specific case and are applying a broad spectrum response. I've seen this too.

But occasionally digging deeper just for your own curiosity digs up a very specific reason and if you follow the paper trail you can track down a very specific obscure reason. Something like a simple piece of tech which is classified in plain sight. There's lots of these little easter eggs if you just like solving puzzles. But to everybody else, they're just boring dead ends which mean nothing.
 
 

Offline Someone

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It seems rather pointless to restrict a laser based on a range of wavelengths. It sounds like somebody is just misquoting a law somewhere because it's easier.
Wavelengths do come into the classification (and restrictions) of lasers, for very good reasons. That company aren't misquoting law but massively simplifying the text so that most people will quickly understand why they won't ship it to random Joe/Jane.

The device in question is an eye burning invisible energy weapon, its not hard to imagine why its restricted.

As an explanation the non specific but to the point text is pretty much perfectly targeted/pitched, anyone who needs to know the specifics already has that accessible and knows where/who to ask for more details.
 

Offline LaserSteve

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21 CFR 1040

Aiming devices are "Demonstration" lasers when sold to the general public.

Thus limited to Class IIIa.  CdRH has been cracking
down on unapproved high power laser sights lately.

One major manufacturer of pistols has a recall out now
on the whole firearm. They integrated a laser in excess of IIIa i to the pistol without without a warning label or registering. 

I know, because the Pastor of my Church called me when he received the recall notice, wondering if he had to comply. He was in no hurry to send his beloved, and very expensive, customized,  9 mm back to the factory for an unknown period of time at his expense.  Shipping the firearm was/is a potential regulatory nightmare for him.

CDRH finally has been able to increase their enforcement staff to a decent size.

I for one do not want Joe or Jane Idiot aiming a Watt of 808nm at me with no warning.
Thus I agree with this enforcement action.

I have the safety training Cert in my desk drawer. Failure to register as a manufacturer of a laser device in the US
can result in expensive penalties. Up until now enforcement was very lax. That is changing.

You see, they will shut down your whole production line and audit you for quality control.  It would not be in a corporation' s best interest to lose production over a few specialized items.  I have two friends that specialize in "compliance issue" correction. Their services are not cheap for a reason.

If an enforcement action is started, and a notification of apparent liability is sent, you don't exactly get a hearing to defend yourself before notice of a fine arrives. If your lucky you get a corrective action letter first.

Steve
« Last Edit: November 04, 2022, 07:44:01 pm by LaserSteve »
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Offline Ben321Topic starter

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Yeah as CatalinaWOW said, it says it's for pointing in the first sentence. So it falls under laser pointer regulations.

"The IZLID Ultra combines the powerful IR laser of the IZLID 1000 (for pointing and illumination)"

I think it contains several optical emission devices. One of them is a lower power visible light laser for pointing (this is what the text is referring to as a pointer), the others are like an LED flashlight, and an infrared illuminator (which is either an IR LED or an IR laser combined with beam spreading optics, intended for providing IR illumination for NV scopes). The most dangerous part is the IR laser target designator, as it has like a 500mw collimated beam, to provide a bright point of IR light over a distance of thousands of feet, for a laser-guided munition to follow to the target. The laser target designator feature makes complete sense, as it is intended for military used, but that's not the part that the text is referring to as a pointer, and therefore it's not an illegal labeling of a high powered laser as a pointer. Because it's not illegally labeled as a pointer, it wouldn't be actually illegal to sell to the public (even though its obvious main usage is military). Even though one of the parts of the device is intended as a laser target designator, that in itself isn't illegal for the public to posses, because the public doesn't have access to laser guided munitions (though it certainly would have export restrictions so you couldn't legally ship it out of the US).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2022, 04:59:42 am by Ben321 »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Yeah as CatalinaWOW said, it says it's for pointing in the first sentence. So it falls under laser pointer regulations.

"The IZLID Ultra combines the powerful IR laser of the IZLID 1000 (for pointing and illumination)"

I think it contains several optical emission devices. One of them is a lower power visible light laser for pointing (this is what the text is referring to as a pointer), the others are like an LED flashlight, and an infrared illuminator (which is either an IR LED or an IR laser combined with beam spreading optics, intended for providing IR illumination for NV scopes). The most dangerous part is the IR laser target designator, as it has like a 500mw collimated beam, to provide a bright point of IR light over a distance of thousands of feet, for a laser-guided munition to follow to the target. The laser target designator feature makes complete sense, as it is intended for military used, but that's not the part that the text is referring to as a pointer, and therefore it's not an illegal labeling of a high powered laser as a pointer. Because it's not illegally labeled as a pointer, it wouldn't be actually illegal to sell to the public (even though its obvious main usage is military). Even though one of the parts of the device is intended as a laser target designator, that in itself isn't illegal for the public to posses, because the public doesn't have access to laser guided munitions (though it certainly would have export restrictions so you couldn't legally ship it out of the US).

Ben321.  Let's make it real simple.  You want everything to happen in a way that benefits you.  You argue with every restriction, sometimes based on carefully selected interpretation of rules and regulations, sometimes on your personal opinion of what makes sense.  This pattern has repeated on laser emitters, the price of IR focal planes and cameras, the restrictions on IR focal plane frame rate and other things.   That is fine.  You do you.

What this vendor is doing is their version of the same thing.  They don't want to mess with a violation.  They don't want to have to argue with anyone about whether their device is legal to sell to you or anyone else.  They don't want to fight a negligence lawsuit in court.  They have defined a business model that they are comfortable with.  It may well be more restrictive than is legally necessary, giving them margin for error.  That is their choice.  If you don't like it, find another vendor with different choices.  They may be hard to find, or have shady business practices such as promising something but delivering something less, or not allowing returns or refunds for defective material, but all of that comes with the territory of businesses willing to take risks. 

Several of us have explained why many businesses have made such choices, why there are legal restrictions in many parts of the world, and why it might be dangerous to you to sneak around the various rules and business self restrictions.  You don't have to agree with any of those explanations.  But your life might be simpler if you at least understood why businesses and nations make those choices.  You would spend less time tilting at windmills.
 
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Offline Ben321Topic starter

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Yeah as CatalinaWOW said, it says it's for pointing in the first sentence. So it falls under laser pointer regulations.

"The IZLID Ultra combines the powerful IR laser of the IZLID 1000 (for pointing and illumination)"

I think it contains several optical emission devices. One of them is a lower power visible light laser for pointing (this is what the text is referring to as a pointer), the others are like an LED flashlight, and an infrared illuminator (which is either an IR LED or an IR laser combined with beam spreading optics, intended for providing IR illumination for NV scopes). The most dangerous part is the IR laser target designator, as it has like a 500mw collimated beam, to provide a bright point of IR light over a distance of thousands of feet, for a laser-guided munition to follow to the target. The laser target designator feature makes complete sense, as it is intended for military used, but that's not the part that the text is referring to as a pointer, and therefore it's not an illegal labeling of a high powered laser as a pointer. Because it's not illegally labeled as a pointer, it wouldn't be actually illegal to sell to the public (even though its obvious main usage is military). Even though one of the parts of the device is intended as a laser target designator, that in itself isn't illegal for the public to posses, because the public doesn't have access to laser guided munitions (though it certainly would have export restrictions so you couldn't legally ship it out of the US).

Ben321.  Let's make it real simple.  You want everything to happen in a way that benefits you.  You argue with every restriction, sometimes based on carefully selected interpretation of rules and regulations, sometimes on your personal opinion of what makes sense.  This pattern has repeated on laser emitters, the price of IR focal planes and cameras, the restrictions on IR focal plane frame rate and other things.   That is fine.  You do you.

What this vendor is doing is their version of the same thing.  They don't want to mess with a violation.  They don't want to have to argue with anyone about whether their device is legal to sell to you or anyone else.  They don't want to fight a negligence lawsuit in court.  They have defined a business model that they are comfortable with.  It may well be more restrictive than is legally necessary, giving them margin for error.  That is their choice.  If you don't like it, find another vendor with different choices.  They may be hard to find, or have shady business practices such as promising something but delivering something less, or not allowing returns or refunds for defective material, but all of that comes with the territory of businesses willing to take risks. 

Several of us have explained why many businesses have made such choices, why there are legal restrictions in many parts of the world, and why it might be dangerous to you to sneak around the various rules and business self restrictions.  You don't have to agree with any of those explanations.  But your life might be simpler if you at least understood why businesses and nations make those choices.  You would spend less time tilting at windmills.

I've given up on trying to find companies that sell such lasers as complete devices. However it's very easy to find the COMPONENTS to build such lasers on eBay. Usually from Chinese sellers, you can find all kinds of high powered laser diodes on eBay.

This 1-Watt IR laser diode has a TO-3 type package (the same type as used by some power-transistors). It has no collimating lens, so the beam spreads out. It's only powerful enough to burn stuff within a distance of less than an inch from the emitter. A separate lens would be needed to collimate the beam.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/184495988613

This is a 3.75-Watt blue laser diode. It's in a much smaller can type package, but I'm not sure the official designation of this package type. It's only slightly larger than TO-18 (what normal laser diodes use). Suffice to say, this laser which is more powerful than the above mentioned laser, but in a much smaller package, gets quite hot quite quickly (I've only left it on a couple seconds during each test firing, to avoid overheating the laser diode, as I don't know where to get a proper heat-sink for it). Also it contains a built-in glass collimating lens, so its output is completely collimated, and therefore is capable of burning stuff a that's quite a long distance away from the emitter. It quite possibly could start a fire a thousand feet away, who knows, I haven't tested its burning range yet.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/123731735542
« Last Edit: December 30, 2022, 05:42:12 am by Ben321 »
 

Online zrq

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I routinely work with high power IR lasers in my day job experiment setups.
1W power at 800 nm  :palm:, it's a extremely dangerous laser, not only to people near you, also to yourself. Lasers at this wavelength, unlike safer ones at longer wavelengths (1550 nm for example), will not trigger eye blinking reflection but it can focus on the retina and damage it. And at this power, reflected light can be also dangerous.

To me it's not be the power and wavelength that should make the laser forbidden, but the form factor. It's actually crazy and very irresponsible for them to make a handheld version of such a laser.. What if it slipped from one's hand when operating it and the beam goes to a terrible direction? What if there is a piece of reflector near your target and the reflection goes to ones eye? One will know hands do shake and shit do happen if he/she have some experience in a laser lab. I will never work with a laser with such a specification without safety glasses and an additional layer of protection at our fiber coupling setup, even if everything is bolted down to the optical table and mostly confined in fibers. One is also supposed to have safety interlocks implemented (well, not so well enforced in our lab). For a handheld one? I'll stay away from it as far as possible. One can of course buy a fiber coupled 808 nm 3 W LD module or even a 30 W water cooled diode stack (available on ebay or Xianyu, not that expensive), then build a fixed setup for scientific experiments, pumping Nd:YAG DPSS lasers or laser engraving for example. It should be fine if one have a proper idea of protection and the emission beam is reasonably constrained rather than in ones shaking hand.

Well, maybe in the US it's more common that private person owning things like guns that can badly hurt others and with very limited not-dangerous-use-cases. In other jurisdictions I stayed in, it's hard to believe you can own such a device with extreme danger but little practical use.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2023, 12:35:30 pm by zrq »
 
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Offline Ben321Topic starter

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I routinely work with high power IR lasers in my day job experiment setups.
1W power at 800 nm  :palm:, it's a extremely dangerous laser, not only to people near you, also to yourself. Lasers at this wavelength, unlike safer ones at longer wavelengths (1550 nm for example), will not trigger eye blinking reflection but it can focus on the retina and damage it. And at this power, reflected light can be also dangerous.

To me it's not be the power and wavelength that should make the laser forbidden, but the form factor. It's actually crazy and very irresponsible for them to make a handheld version of such a laser.. What if it slipped from one's hand when operating it and the beam goes to a terrible direction? What if there is a piece of reflector near your target and the reflection goes to ones eye? One will know hands do shake and shit do happen if he/she have some experience in a laser lab. I will never work with a laser with such a specification without safety glasses and an additional layer of protection at our fiber coupling setup, even if everything is bolted down to the optical table and mostly confined in fibers. One is also supposed to have safety interlocks implemented (well, not so well enforced in our lab). For a handheld one? I'll stay away from it as far as possible. One can of course buy a fiber coupled 808 nm 3 W LD module or even a 30 W water cooled diode stack (available on ebay or Xianyu, not that expensive), then build a fixed setup for scientific experiments, pumping Nd:YAG DPSS lasers or laser engraving for example. It should be fine if one have a proper idea of protection and the emission beam is reasonably constrained rather than in ones shaking hand.

Well, maybe in the US it's more common that private person owning things like guns that can badly hurt others and with very limited not-dangerous-use-cases. In other jurisdictions I stayed in, it's hard to believe you can own such a device with extreme danger but little practical use.

Why would 1550nm be less dangerous? It's still invisible, so the human eye won't react to it (no reflex to blink or turn away), and at high power it's still dangerous.
 

Offline Kleinstein

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At 1550 nm most of the light is already absorbed in the lens and thus not focussed. So there is little danger to the retina. 
The problem in the visible and near IR is that the eye can focus the light comming in about parallel to the retina and cause damage there. So 808 nm or 905 nm is way more dangerrous to the eye, also at a distance.
 
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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At 1550 nm most of the light is already absorbed in the lens and thus not focussed. So there is little danger to the retina. 
The problem in the visible and near IR is that the eye can focus the light comming in about parallel to the retina and cause damage there. So 808 nm or 905 nm is way more dangerrous to the eye, also at a distance.

I agree, 1550 is far less dangerous.  The few tens of milliwatts at 880 that can cause serious damage easily is unlikely to do serious damage in casual encounters.  These wavelengths are even characterized as eye safe in the context of Geneva convention discussions on blinding lasers.

But safer is not safe.  When power is measured in Watts as Ben321 often discusses serious caution is required at virtually any wavelength.  A thermal burn to the surface of the eye is of much more concern to most people than a similar burn on the hand or other skin location.
 

Offline Stray Electron

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I was looking at this IR laser sight https://tnvc.com/shop/izlid-c2-ae-ultra-laser/ and noticed that it said it's sold to government/military only.


   Boy, you are obsessed with high power lasers aren't you?

   First, you need to say what country your in and what country they are referring to in the link. The laws are different in every county.

  Second, one company not selling a particular product in one country doesn't mean that it is Illegal in that country or necessarily anywhere else. That's another reason that you need to name your country and the country of the company that you are referring to.

   FWIW I have owned and used a high power IR laser. Made by California Laser IIRC.  I fully agree with the comments about high dangerous they can be. Mine gave me a good burn on my hand one time, after that I got rid of it.
 

Offline jonpaul

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read the optometrist and eye surgery papers and sites regarding laser hazards vs wavelength, power and beamwidth.  any wavelength can damage or blind for power over 5 mw.

Literature has many lab, lightshow and casual users with permanent retina burns.

very costly special safety goggles are required in professional laboratoires.

if the pointer, diode or laser vendors provide any protection it is junk and will not save sight.

Beware

jon
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Offline LaserSteve

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A few years ago a first or second year engineering
student was showing off his wonderful homemade
Goggles using dyed theatrical gels. On the Youtube platform
and in several laser forums. He had never heard of or believed
In photo-bleaching.  He just would not listen to reason.

He also had a wonderful video claiming that surgical gloves, double layered, were safe for handling charged flashlamp capacitors.

So he put his university logo and the NSF logo on his presentations.  My email to his Department Chair and Dean read simply "Is this one of yours?", with links to the videos and the PDF presentations.  I hope his parents enjoyed paying
for an extra semester of Engineering College.

This is a serious business. I have a tiny retinal burn. A fellow operator walked into the laser control booth , ignored my lockout tag, and booted the control system. A shutter opened for a brief fraction of a second, then a beam deflection arm moved as well. When the deflection arm moved, my right eye caught a brief reflection.

  Fortunately for me, I had the system idling at 20 milliwatts instead of 20 Watts @ full power. 20 mW of blue at 488 nm works out to around 100 Kilowatts per cm^2 at the spot size on my retina out of that system.

My burn was minor compared to what could have happened.. Spending the next three days watching my brain recalibrate my eye to fill in the damage around the spot was terrifying. I'm lucky, the damage is on the edge of my peripheral vision and not on the optic nerve. I was "lucky".⁸

The procedure I was following was otherwise very, very, safe.
Today I would be using an alignment camera instead of a diffuse target for the task mentioned above. In 1989 that option was not easily available.

If my story does not scare the he'll out of you, it should
Every laser specialist I've ever spoken to, will tell you it's better to be dead then to lose an eye.

I've spent years studying laser safety. Yes, in the US, in theory you can buy anything you want that is not export controlled with the exception of five states that require various levels of licenses and training. Provided it is an approved device. In reality there are controls in place. DoD for example expects units to destroy any laser before disposal. Most universities will destroy a used laser, as will most corporations.

 CDRH rule violations can get you a visit from ORA, the FDAs enforcement arm. I assure you their  job is taken seriously.

However, the moment you turn the safety key on, damaging someone else's eyesight exposes you to drastic legal and civil
penalties.

I cringe every time I read a certain safety manual. It has a few paragraphs from a well trained technician describing the last thing he saw in his right eye  was his eyeball filling  with blood.

Don't screw around with what you do not understand.


Seriously, if your NODS device, if you really had one, is so insensitive that you need a IR laser illuminator at 1 watt to use it, something is very, very wrong.  Not to mention the forward scatter off dust in the air will illuminate a path right back to your position at that power level.

BTW,  LEDs have long ago reached the point where they are a hazard in some cases.

Also, removing a lockout tag that is not yours will get you fired, escorted off the the premises, a horrible reputation, and the union, if there is one, will not help you. In fact the union will kick you out and help management fire you.

Radiation safety is no joke with non-ionizing radiation.

Steve











« Last Edit: January 18, 2023, 07:17:29 am by LaserSteve »
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Offline Wallace Gasiewicz

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quote from Lasersteve:

Also, removing a lockout tag that is not yours will get you fired, escorted off the the premises, a horrible reputation, and the union, if there is one, will not help you. In fact the union will kick you out and help management fire you.

Radiation safety is no joke with non-ionizing radiation.


That is one reason we used actual padlocks rather than tags.
However it did not stop an engineer from burning a partial hole in a cement block wall with an experimental welding laser, we had all sorts of lasers.
We also had retinal photos of everyone involved in laser projects done periodically by an ophthalmologist.
We did not have any injuries when I was involved, but we did have a few incidents. Serious stuff.

Thanks, Steve
 
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Offline ikrase

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These devices are restricted due to industrial laser regulations in the USA that cover all lasers without exception, and the only exemption for weapons aiming lasers (what this is) is a government/military/LE only one. Limited enforcement (since this is an industrial regulation, not direct criminal law like most American firearms laws) means that Russian (before the war) and Chinese noncompliant higher power lasers are sometimes available, or lasers on the secondary market as some vendors will sell lasers as personal property to law enforcement officers. Some people have published instructions for building their own, which sounds like a good way to injure yourself if you are not sure what you are doing and do not have laser goggles.

This specific device is actually even more powerful than the typical mil/leo restricted rifle aiming laser which are usually closer to 150 milliwatts rather than 1000.

In principle, one should only be aiming this laser at things which you are intending to potentially shoot with a firearm. However, not everyone who can afford rifles and NVGs (about $3000 US dollars) in America knows about hazards from reflection, etc. Disturbingly, some of the noncompliant Chinese lasers are sold to the airsoft market, in which it should be safe to aim them at other people.

The higher power lasers do matter -- these are meant to make a very highly visible spot under NVGs, in an environment with some ambient light, hundreds of meters away. However, the allure of the forbidden fruit is often much stronger than its actual usefulness or practicality.



There is a very serious culture clash between firearms community and other technical communities here. The American firearms community fundamentally views being able to have weapons and military materiel as a human right, which might be mediated through the absolute minimum amount of licensing, limited to keeping out violent felons and people who have no idea what they are doing, and every regulation is to be looked at with hostile skepticism, assumed to be motivated by authoritarian motives and a government bent on removing its citizens' ability to resist repression until proven otherwise -- and even then, every regulation is to be undermined by developing the ability to build things at home.

To some degree this reflects the gradual tightening of regulations that has happened over years and a widespread belief that the ATF (American federal regulatory organization for firearms and explosives) is a malicious actor, related to perceptions of capricious rulemaking and a history of legal entrapment and some high-profile abuses of the police power that killed a number of people and dogs.

This attitude is not so common in many communities such as lasers, radio communications, etc, that have a less hostile relationship with their respective regulatory organizations. However, many of these things are of interest to people who are interested in firearms and martial skills -- for example, these people are often outraged for understandable reasons to see that the Amateur Radio Service regulations strictly prohibit encrypted transmissions and moreover the ham radio community is OK with this and actively will help the FCC enforce the law. Of course, there are very different issues at stake -- lasers causing eye damage in a moment is more subtly harmful than accidental discharge of a firearm, and the airwaves are subject to interference even if people are not trying to be difficult to each other.

You are welcome to have a higher power laser in the USA, but generally not one that is unenclosed and considered to be useful for pointing. You will see that this vendor actually does sell several civilian-legal low power infrared lasers, so presumably they are not under the impression that every IR laser is restricted.


An additional note: It is surprisingly common in the USA for firearms and firearms accessory vendors to have a very shaky understanding of American firearms regulations, especially local laws or those outside the most familiar issues. The same is also unfortunately true of some American police officers. This is a realm where rumor, idealism, over-caution, and pop legal interpretations reign.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2024, 02:19:25 pm by ikrase »
 
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Offline tooki

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A few years ago a first or second year engineering
student was showing off his wonderful homemade
Goggles using dyed theatrical gels. On the Youtube platform
and in several laser forums. He had never heard of or believed
In photo-bleaching.  He just would not listen to reason.

He also had a wonderful video claiming that surgical gloves, double layered, were safe for handling charged flashlamp capacitors.

So he put his university logo and the NSF logo on his presentations.  My email to his Department Chair and Dean read simply "Is this one of yours?", with links to the videos and the PDF presentations.  I hope his parents enjoyed paying
for an extra semester of Engineering College.

This is a serious business. I have a tiny retinal burn. A fellow operator walked into the laser control booth , ignored my lockout tag, and booted the control system. A shutter opened for a brief fraction of a second, then a beam deflection arm moved as well. When the deflection arm moved, my right eye caught a brief reflection.

  Fortunately for me, I had the system idling at 20 milliwatts instead of 20 Watts @ full power. 20 mW of blue at 488 nm works out to around 100 Kilowatts per cm^2 at the spot size on my retina out of that system.

My burn was minor compared to what could have happened.. Spending the next three days watching my brain recalibrate my eye to fill in the damage around the spot was terrifying. I'm lucky, the damage is on the edge of my peripheral vision and not on the optic nerve. I was "lucky".⁸

The procedure I was following was otherwise very, very, safe.
Today I would be using an alignment camera instead of a diffuse target for the task mentioned above. In 1989 that option was not easily available.

If my story does not scare the he'll out of you, it should
Every laser specialist I've ever spoken to, will tell you it's better to be dead then to lose an eye.

I've spent years studying laser safety. Yes, in the US, in theory you can buy anything you want that is not export controlled with the exception of five states that require various levels of licenses and training. Provided it is an approved device. In reality there are controls in place. DoD for example expects units to destroy any laser before disposal. Most universities will destroy a used laser, as will most corporations.

 CDRH rule violations can get you a visit from ORA, the FDAs enforcement arm. I assure you their  job is taken seriously.

However, the moment you turn the safety key on, damaging someone else's eyesight exposes you to drastic legal and civil
penalties.

I cringe every time I read a certain safety manual. It has a few paragraphs from a well trained technician describing the last thing he saw in his right eye  was his eyeball filling  with blood.

Don't screw around with what you do not understand.


Seriously, if your NODS device, if you really had one, is so insensitive that you need a IR laser illuminator at 1 watt to use it, something is very, very wrong.  Not to mention the forward scatter off dust in the air will illuminate a path right back to your position at that power level.

BTW,  LEDs have long ago reached the point where they are a hazard in some cases.

Also, removing a lockout tag that is not yours will get you fired, escorted off the the premises, a horrible reputation, and the union, if there is one, will not help you. In fact the union will kick you out and help management fire you.

Radiation safety is no joke with non-ionizing radiation.

Steve
At work, some of my duties are electronics for the laser labs, which make up about half of my floor. If the “laser on” light outside the door of a lab is on, I ain’t going in. For now, I haven’t actually received the formal laser safety training yet, so I fundamentally only go in escorted.
 

Offline ikrase

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A quick additional note:

I am seriously bothered by a trend of people who believe in inadequate electrically insulating gloves. I remember the "King Of Random" (RIP, but not for this reason) handling neon sign transformer outputs wearing only nitrile gloves.
 
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Online coppercone2

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that is not a capacitor the transformer will current limit quickly


there is a better type of glove for handling charged capacitors. its called discharging the capacitor and not handling energized crap at all. If you need to handle a energized cap it means that your experiment sucks and you are under funded. Basically you are safer if you can verify caps are discharged and shorted before handling them with out gloves then trying to play games with flexible dielectrics.

they have these things called circuits, they use wires and switches. you don't have hands in circuits.

HV gloves are for people doing truely crazy repairs in impossible situations mostly on pain in the ass infrastructure.


it requires making the thing you are working on friendly towards discharging and probing, and it means additional design features IMO.

if you made every possible effort to deenergize the system, then the gloves could be handy as a extra measure of confidence, but they are no excuse to handle live stuff. The advice I have is that it should always take more effort and time to work on anything HV then LV. If its not taking too much time to do, you are probobly doing something wrong.

For lasers I would probobly prefer if you have a low power supply that limits it to a few miliwatts, do whatever adjustment you need, bolt it down and then plug in the actual power supply that allows for a high power level, if thats possible. It seems reasonable on a optics table but I don't do lasers
« Last Edit: February 28, 2024, 01:13:38 am by coppercone2 »
 

Offline Ben321Topic starter

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I was looking at this IR laser sight https://tnvc.com/shop/izlid-c2-ae-ultra-laser/ and noticed that it said it's sold to government/military only.


   Boy, you are obsessed with high power lasers aren't you?

   First, you need to say what country your in and what country they are referring to in the link. The laws are different in every county.

  Second, one company not selling a particular product in one country doesn't mean that it is Illegal in that country or necessarily anywhere else. That's another reason that you need to name your country and the country of the company that you are referring to.

   FWIW I have owned and used a high power IR laser. Made by California Laser IIRC.  I fully agree with the comments about high dangerous they can be. Mine gave me a good burn on my hand one time, after that I got rid of it.

I was talking about the US. I live in the US.
 


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