It's 450 nm! That short? No! That blue!
October 1, 2010 12:04 AM   Subscribe

Should I buy my father a blue laser pointer? If so, which one?

My father recently started a new position which will require him to give presentations about once a month. He has a red laser pointer, but I'd like to get him a blue one (they're rarer and niftier and I'm a science nerd who likes to share that with my dad).

I'm concerned about brightness (I'd like the spot to be easily visible but not in any way dangerous) and longevity (I don't want the thing to burn through batteries too fast, or wear itself out quickly), but would be happy to consider other factors if you all think they're important.
posted by nat to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I (and many other people) have pretty bad visual acuity in the blue part of the spectrum. Blue laser pointers are gadgets with little practical use.

Get him a green one: they're bright and sharp. The only complaint I've heard is they are too bright and people looking at the screen get an after image.

Re: safety: 5 mW is roughly safe. Don't go for those chinese 30+ mW pointers, your dad may inflict serious damage.
posted by gijsvs at 12:44 AM on October 1, 2010

A new project in out office prompted the boss to get a number of laser pointers.
The blue one is visibly weaker in the beam and the point.
The green one is very bright. Maybe too bright. It seems to reflect off of stuff much more also.

The red one is 'just right' as the baby bear says.

Check eBay, you can get him all three for a reasonable price. (Green: less than $10 with free shipping)
posted by Drasher at 6:23 AM on October 1, 2010

Green. Or, if you want to really be fancy, YELLOW.
posted by fatllama at 6:30 AM on October 1, 2010

Seconding green. For presentations, don't go above 5mW in power.
posted by Mwongozi at 6:53 AM on October 1, 2010

There can be only one blue laser for public purchase...

I'm mostly kind of kidding, but there won't be any "brightness" issues.
posted by TomMelee at 7:39 AM on October 1, 2010

Response by poster: There exists a yellow laser pointer? Where? (And what is it made from, anyhow?)
posted by nat at 8:09 AM on October 1, 2010

ThinkGeek just released an orange one.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:23 AM on October 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks guys! My dad has been pestering my mom with his (green) laser pointer ever since he got it. Not the intended result, but I'll take it.

(I'm thinking about the orange one maybe when it comes down in price in the future..)
posted by nat at 12:37 AM on November 2, 2010

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