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BudgetGadgets 200mW Violet Star-field Pointer

The Basics
This laser comes in powers from 30mW all the way up to 200mW in the colors green and violet. In violet, the 50mW only costs $25.51 where the 200mW version costs $91.55.

Shipping/Packaging
Shipping took about ten or so days from China, but they ship their stuff for free so I couldn't really expect any faster. This company does ship to the US unlike DX/KD, which makes this laser a great alternative to those sites. It came in a padded envelope:

The laser itself is packaged in a nice presentation box:


The case is padded with foam. It has a cut out for the laser, the 5 diffraction tips, and the two included AAA batteries. The presentation box itself is rigid enough itself to handle a trip from China to the US.


Overall Appearance/Feel
This laser is remarkably heavy for its size, which is a plus IMO. The laser itself has a sleek appearance.


The diffraction tips screw on to the tip of the laser. They have a very solid turn to them, and they are easy to mess with when changing heads.


To adjust the patterns simply turn the head of the laser. I'll explain the diffraction tips in more detail later in the review.
The switch is a momentary side button, typical for a pointer this size. It has a nice click to it and doesn't feel weak.

Overall the laser has a good feel in the hand and does not feel like it is going to fall apart after some use with it.

Visibility/Output
405nm is not a very bright color, but with 200mW behind it it is pretty bright. You can tell its true power when you hit something fluorescent with it, from a small violet dot you get a huge flash of color!

Here is a shot of the laser while running:


The beam diameter of this laser is huge! This is a great thing when it comes to divergence. I haven't actually measured divergence on this laser, but it is still very low.

Being a diode laser, you won't come into any beam stability issues. The dot is fairly round.

Here is a beam shot of this laser at night. Now keep in mind my camera SUCKS at picking up 405nm, so I had to do a 15s exposure to pick up the beam as it should appear!


The 4 Diffraction Tips

This laser came with five tips, one normal tip and four diffraction tips. Each tip has two diffraction gratings, and when you rotate the head you turn one of the diffraction gratings. This causes a really cool array of dots that is constantly changing. Here are each of the diffraction heads pointed at a fluorescent surface:







Fluorescence/GITD
405nm is a great color for sweet effects, the high energy violet light can "charge" GITD surfaces and fluoresce a bunch of objects. This combined with the diffraction heads makes a really cool combination. Check out the video to see these effects in action.

Burning
Even at 200mW, the beam diameter of this laser is way too big to be much of a burner. (You can see why here) You can pop balloons and barely cut tape unaided with this laser. If you focused this laser to a point you could pull off some burning tricks but this laser was not meant to be a burner anyway.


Suggestion: I feel the best power/price ratio is the 50mW version they offer. It is only $25 shipped and you can experience the same effects as the 200mW. With the large beam diameter you won't be burning anything anyway, so I feel the 50mW version is a great addition to the laser collection, especially to someone who hasn't experienced 405nm.
Overall: Good Laser at good price. Definitely recommended.

Video:

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