I ordered a Wicked Lasers Spyder Arctic S3 back in June. It did take quite a while to ship – so if you order one, expect long delivery times.
When I first read about them, I thought it was just over-enthusiastic marketing – a blue laser in the 1W range was difficult and expensive to buy – so whatever Wicked Lasers was selling, it couldn’t be the real deal for $300.
Mine finally arrived last week, and it turns out that the deal is real. This is one of the new 445nm diodes taken from a Casio projector and remounted with a new driver in a black alumin[i]um housing.
Build quality is good – the unit feels durable and solid. It comes with a “smart switch” feature that means turning it on requires a carefully timed sequence of clicks on the smart switch button. Once it’s on you can select strobe/constant beam/high/low power with the switch. It’s a good idea, but if you are thinking of turning this laser into a display system [Or a Laser Harp? - Ed] then it actually makes this impractical. I was given the option to have the smart switch removed, but I didn’t take them up on the offer – now I’m thinking that I should.
It comes with 2 pairs of safety glasses (one for you and one for whoever you are showing it to) – which is useful. I strongly recommend that you wear them – as even looking at the reflected spot from a white surface is enough to give you temporary retina burns.
So far almost everything I have used as an absorption target has been damaged in some way – not instantaneous, but if you leave the laser pointing at the same spot, expect to smell burning. From experience I would guestimate that my laser is about 6-700mw – I don’t have accurate measuring equipment so it is difficult to be precise.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be installing this device into a laser harp assembly, just to see how it performs – I would expect it to do very well – but I’ll be upgrading the gloves I use – skin exposure to this kind of radiation is not good at all.