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Photo: wickedlasers.com

This is the Arctic Spyder III, a hobby laser, and at $300 it’s meant for enthusiasts, not for your cat. What makes this one special (aside from the Mace Windu styling) is that it is currently the most powerful handheld laser in the world. How powerful? Well your typical Wal-Mart cat toy laser is operating at less than 5 mW (thousandths of a watt), which gives you a bit of an appreciation for how efficient lasers are considering that it’s bright enough to be visible in the presence of light bulbs using 20,000 times that power. The laser pictured here operates at a mere 1 watt, which doesn’t sound like much compared to a 60 watt light bulb, but it’s 200 times more powerful than the toy from Wal-Mart. This thing is strong enough that from over 4 miles away it’s still as bright as the full moon on a clear night. The description says you can burn through rubber and plastics with it, so definitely don’t look directly into the beam. Sounds like the perfect gift for someone who always complains that they have too many balloons to pop.

  • Charles_Barrett

    "Lasers don't blind people. People blind people. Don't interfere with my constitutional right to bear coherent photons…"

    • PowerTryp

      Well I came in here to muse something on the topic but you've successfully halted all train of thought with that statement. So I'll give you a joke instead. A photon checks into a hotel and is asked if he needs help with his luggage, he replies "no thanks, I'm traveling light".

      Thumbs up to you sir.

      • "we don't serve your kind here". A neutrino walks into a bar.

      • tiberiusẅisë

        So, a neutron walked into a bar and said "I’d like a beer, please."

        After the bartender gave him one, he said "How much will that be?"

        "For you?" said the bartender "No charge."

        • tonyola

          A neutrino walked into a bar and said "I’d like a beer to go, please."

          A young, attractive woman sitting nearby said "Hey, you're kinda cute. Why don't you stay awhile?"

          The neutrino answered "Sorry, but I'm just passing though."

          • pj134

            A neutrino walked into a bar and said "I’d like a beer to go, please."

            A young, attractive woman sitting nearby said "You're tiny, I bet I wouldn't even feel you."

            The neutrino became depressed and tried to hang himself multiple times. Every time he just passed through. He lives a depressed and unfulfilled life, spending his days trying to forget.

        • A proton walked into a bar and said, "I'd like a beer, please."
          The bartender said, "Get lost; we don't serve neutrons here."
          "But I'm a proton!" he replied.
          "Are you sure?"
          "Yes! I'm positive!"

    • The Professor

      Damned straight! Don't punish us good users because of a few bad apples. And unfortunate accidents. Bad design can get you into trouble, too. Oh, and don't forget idiot users! Did I mention them already? Some cretins can't tell their left from their right, and before you know it, they've gone and put a hole through their foot. Or their lab partners, which is far worse. You wouldn't believe the lawsuits when that happens.
      But they had better leave mine alone!

      • craigsu

        Oooo, this would be great for a handheld woodburning device. I bet you could get all kinds of wild designs burned into (or through) your turnings.

        • The Professor

          Yeah, you could do wood burning with it if your hand is steady enough. Mine aren't. I twitch and shake too much. Somebody with good hands could make some interesting things, I'll bet.
          It's funny that you mention wood burning. I've just started playing with wire burners on bowls, highlighting detail lines and beads, seeing what I can get. They work pretty well, and my primary sounding board (the wife) likes what they add to the bowls appearance.
          I also just bought a Wagner texturing tool to play around with, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet. This damned cold is just killing my desire to do anything other than sleep.

          • craigsu

            A steady hand shouldn't be necessary depending on the effect you're going after. If you want to burn a precise design then a laser engraver like an Epilog would be the way to go. If you're going for abstract, however, like fake wormholes or a more folk-art, hand burned look then something like this could be useful.

            As to wire burning you can make your own tools using various gauges of piano or guitar string with handles attached to the ends. These are very handy for disguising glue lines on multi-stage pieces. Just burn the glue line then burn one or more corresponding lines near it to make it a design feature instead of an obvious attempt to hide the glue line. Cut a very light V-groove to guide the wire and prevent it from jumping out.

            The Wagner tool looks like a variation of the Sorby texturing tool that's been around for several years, but the Wagner tool is more suitable for small scale work.

          • The Professor

            I thought about making some burners out of guitar strings, as I have all sorts of them laying around, but these were cheap and I didn't feel like making tools at the time. I'm lazy, sue me.
            I looked at the Sorby tools, and I just didn't want to dump that much money into something I might try and and think "man, that looks like shit" and be stuck with it. The Wagner is basically a small knurling tool, and I've wanted to try putting knurled grips on some pens for a while now. It might work for something I want to try on bowls too.
            Disguise glue lines? Why, whatever are you talking about? My glue lines are always perfect. Invisible to mortal eyes. Flawlessness incarnate. The embodiment of perfection. Impossible to detect.
            Hohoho. If you believe that, I've got some beachfront property in New Mexico that I'll give you a good deal on….

          • craigsu

            Ooooo, I've always wanted to go to New Mexico. Parts of it are so artsy, and being on the beach would be the icing on the cake!

    • P161911

      And I was just trying to figure out is this was small enough to mount under and AR-15.

      • The Professor

        Well, duct tape would likely work, but it's awfully messy looking. JB Weld might be a better solution, unless you are, or know, a machinist.

      • The Professor

        Wait, you wanted size didn't you? Sorry I got ahead of myself. Usually, I fall down when I do that.
        Anyway, I read about these things a few weeks back, and as I recall, they're like a large laser pointer, so I would figure that's about the diameter of a AA Maglite, and around 8 inches or so long. That's according to me, of course.

  • highmileage_v1

    Laser bad.
    [youtube 3k4C8grAGP4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k4C8grAGP4 youtube]

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