originally posted by: draknoir2
I used to maintain a gas filled UV laser back in thew 90's. It was the size of a car and its sole purpose was to punch microscopic holes in mylar
hearing aid receiver diaphragms.
This thing happened during my last summer or two in high school, when Dad decided I needed to get off the farm more and see how things worked out in
the world of jobs with bosses and time schedules...so he got me one with the Corps of Engineers so some of his combat engineer NCO buddies could "show
me what a 9 to 5 is like", spent those summers with one of his brothers who was, if anything, crazier than Dad.
They had this neat but very incorrect idea that you could use a big honkin' laser to clear unwanted invasive plant species from waterways without
using nasty chemical herbicides. So they bought the physically toughest 10kW CO2 laser they could get, put it on a big pontoon boat looking thing with
a full-on industrial diesel generator, and added on a set of optics to direct the output where you wanted and as collimated as you'd like (within
reason), in a sort of gun shaped turret.
So we sailed the rivers, lakes and canals of the South on the SS Photon, burning the crap out of everything in our path, including ourselves. We
discovered, for science:
1) in the late 70s it was real tough to get a 10kW laser to not overheat and go boom in ideal conditions
2) big lasers don't like field conditions or being transported on a pontoon boat
3) seemingly minor things like a little bit of dried river on your optics can make odd things happen, sometimes dramatically
4) they don't go pew pew, or even make that neat Jonny Quest beeBeeBeeBeeBee laser noise that everything made. And yes, I had "Mystery of the Lizard
Men" in mind the whole time.
5) you can, in fact, torch the crap out of water hyacinths and hydrilla. Burn 'em right to the water line in a blink. The only problem is, that won't
kill them. Who knew?
6) If you sort of sit over a wad of invasive plants, you can kill them by directing the beam nearly straight downwards and boiling them to death. It
also kills all the fish, and you have to really pummel the plants with the beam to get the job done at all.
7) It is excessively entertaining to watch water boiling along the beam in clear water. Never gets old.
8) If you can see a bass, and you have the angle, you can fish with a big laser, and they come up parboiled. More or less.
9) If you can see a bass, and you DON'T have the angle, it'll reflect faster than a .22 LR bouncing off a lake. And it'll nearly always hit something
10) You can clean algae off a boat ramp in a fascinating and nearly effortless way
11) It's very hard to hit birds in flight. You can do it, though.
12) You can make coffee with a big laser, but you have to put the percolator on the dock and back off some. It's easier to just put it on the
manifold, but not as much fun
13) It makes holes in fiberglass boats, even if you didn't mean to. Especially if you didn't mean to.
14) You can start fires with it, really really easily, and quite some distance away if you collimate it tight and wind up the power
15) Wear the goggles
16) Lasers have a magic way of zeroing in on expensive things
17) Lasers make holes in/burn objects you weren't planning on, and things you want to burn or perforate are magically immune
18) You can break window glass at a truly amazing distance. A big CO2 laser will also opaque windshields in a blink.
19) Those little ripples on the lake when the wind blows that make sparkly reflections of sunlight? Pure #ing murder if you're firing a laser at the
water. I can't count the times we all screamed and dove in the water.
20) Don't do a burn-in test firing straight up at night.
edit on 16-3-2015 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)