Laser safety is serious business.
No no, not in the internet meme sense, but blind you forever with no way ever to fix it serious.
I know I’m about to rant, but I’ll do it anyways. This applies double for any girl/boy geniuses working with lasers. I know that you’re going to play with lasers regardless of warning if you really want to (you are a genius after all), and you’re already discounting my warnings because you’ve been warned about child molesters that are going to kidnap you on the way to school, secondhand pot smoke that will make you kill your friends, and terrorists that are a color code away from murdering your entire family. None of that has happened, and so you rightfully assume that most adults are full of shit.
I don’t want to be buried in that noise. You are warned about a ton of useless crap that will never happen and is designed to scare and control you. This isn’t one of those things.
If you turn on the laser I used and your eye happens to be in front of it, and you realize it, blink instantly, and look away, your eye is still ruined. Your brain cannot react fast enough – and the laser will cheerfully burn through your retina. This isn’t something that medicine will be able to fix. You will be blind or see a giant black spot in your vision for the rest of your life.
I don’t want to tell anyone not to build this – it’s an awesome project. Like most things that are truly interesting in life, there is an element of danger. If you are sensible, calm, and use the resources available to you and act in an intelligent manner, you will be perfectly safe. So what do you need to do?
BUY GOOD LASER SAFETY GOGGLES, AND WEAR THEM EVERY SECOND YOU ARE WORKING ON THIS PROJECT. Once you finish the project, close the case, and screw it shut, take them off – and not a second before. Sunglasses are not anywhere good enough, they actually make it worse because your pupils dilate and try to let in more light, making a bigger target for the laser.
Plus, when you look this good, you’ll just want to wear them everywhere. Laser safety goggles are the only thing that will protect your eyes from laser light. Zero exceptions. They are the very first thing you should buy, and cannot be substituted.
Alright, deep breath. Lecture over – got your safety goggles? On to Concept and Design!