Step 7: Laser Stuff
This laser will immediately BURN AND CUT anything you put in front of it faster than a hot knife through soft butter. And, a laser is a light beam, so it will REFLECT OFF OF ANYTHING SHINY OR REFLECTIVE AND THEN BURN WHATEVER ELSE IS NOW IN ITS WAY. You're not going to cut shiny foil or anything else that reflects light unless you want a quick trip to the Emergency Room. Treat this with the respect you would give any powerful tool.
If it hits your eye, well, you're gonna need that spare you've been ignoring all these years after all.
Keep kids away. This is not a toy, it's an industrial-strength cutting tool that doesn't care one whit what you 'planned' on doing or not doing.
Please don't post comments about something that accidentally got burned unless you really think it will help others avoid the same mistake.
Don't do anything stupid. No drinking. No horseplay. If your friends want to watch and they get a little nutty, just turn it off and wait for them to settle down. If your buddy wants to try it, well, it's his laptop, right? Don't be afraid to sound a little paternal and give directions and caution to everyone around you. Better safe than sorry.
Pull the power supply from the wall before you make any adjustments or changes, then check your work before plugging it back in again. Unplug it when you're done, or if you walk away.
Now, go back and read that again. Out loud.
Fortunately, there is a focusing lens that concentrates the full power just in front of the laser. As you move further from this focusing spot, the power spreads out, but it's still hot. That doesn't mean you can get careless, it just means you may get a second chance. Don't depend on it. Be 100% safe at all times.
For testing and variability of the actual strength of the laser beam, the output voltage of the regulator is adjusted by sliding the the volume-control-slider-like potentiometer.
The lens screws in an out to adjust the focusing distance to concentrate the entire beam width down to a pinpoint right at the surface of the material to be etched or burned.
Changing the voltage with the slider alters the strength (brightness) and cutting power of the beam itself, but does not change the focusing distance.
Let's put some stuff together.