To those people with sufficient technical skills with basic electronics and mechanics, designing and building a laser system can be a rewarding experience. It provides an excellent opportunity to learn about how laser show systems work.
Keep safe whilst putting it all together
Of course, whilst assembling the system you and others in your vicinity will have access to raw laser beams, and possibly other hazards. You will be working in close proximity to the source of the laser beam, therefore any stray beams, or slips with reflective surfaces could result in dangerous amounts of laser radiation hitting you in the face.
Therefore when assembling or working on your laser system make sure you take care to be aware of where the beam path is travelling.
If there is a way of turning the beam power down, do so, and work at the lowest possible power for aligning the scanning optics etc. If you can’t turn the output power down electronically, use a filter in front of the laser output aperture to lessen the strength of the laser beam.
Laser safety goggles can be useful for this kind of work. However it should be remembered that safety goggles are laser resort, so you should be taking other steps to ensure the beams do not hit you in the face.
If you buy a pair of safety goggles, make sure you get the correct ones suitable for your type of laser, and they are of the right optical density. The supplier of the safety goggles should be able to advise on these aspects.
Certain types of laser have other hazards to consider other than just the hazard of excessive laser radiation. Different types of lasers can have power supplies with high voltages and electric currents, components that get very hot, and some even have nasty substances in the tubes that need to be treated with care if the tube breaks.
Basically with the many different types of laser, there can be other risks associated with them; Risks that a normal user would not be subject to, when the laser is embedded in a product. It is therefore important to familiarise yourself with any special handling or operation the laser requires.
Keep to the Standards
Section two of the Laser Safety Standard EN 60825-1 deals with Manufacturing Requirements. If you are putting together a laser system that you intend to use in public, then you must design and construct your system so that it incorporates all of the required features. You must follow what the Safety Standard describes, but the members area of this website has a page with a summary of the key requirements.
Even if you have no intention of using your laser system in public, it is worth looking at the requirements of the Safety Standards, so that you can build them into your system also. Many of them will be worthwhile additions to have included in you laser system. If you include them all, apart from having built a safer projector, you can be satisfied in the knowledge that you have built a projector to the internationally accepted safety standards.