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How Lasers Work

Construction lasers are a significant subset of the many laser technologies found in practically all facets of modern life. You see the word laser attached to many wide-ranging activities such as barcode scanning, printing, cutting, welding, and even in computers. 

But the laser technology we’re focused on here revolves around the needs of contractors and the challenges these instruments face working in rugged conditions. 

That’s because in very general terms a laser is defined as an amplified, focused beam of light. The source of the visible dot or line is a device called a diode, a semiconductor that produces visible coherent radiation (i.e., a beam of light). These light waves emitted by the diode all have the same frequency, so the waves are all in phase (aka: zero phase-difference).
Construction laser manufacturers use mirrors and prisms to size and direct the light from the units. The size of the diode decides the width of the light. A small diode can produce a smaller beam of light which is more accurate and easy-to-locate. Most construction lasers use smaller beams of light. 

The instruments then create a straight beam of light in a concentrated direction. These beams are consistent and accurate so you can use them as a virtual taut stringline, from which you can reference control points.

Geared for Construction

Different types of construction lasers provide different types of beams. Manufacturers can match wavelength, brightness, beam type, and color to create a unit that works best for your application. 

Manufacturers can even include special prisms in their instruments that can project dots, horizontal lines and vertical lines onto walls and other surfaces. 
Laser Illustration with Beams
Power consumption is an important consideration when selecting construction lasers. Since the laser relies on electric power for the source of the beam, different types of construction lasers use different types of batteries. Some use alkaline batteries while some come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Are Construction Lasers Safe?

Construction lasers are safe to use on construction projects. Manufacturers provide units that meet the requirements as outlined in the Laser Hazards in Section III, Chapter 6 of the OSHA Technical Manual.

Construction lasers have been designed so that the intensity of the light creating the beam strength is strong enough to be visible on the job without creating any health and safety hazards. Most construction lasers are either Class 3 or Class 3B. You should wear laser glasses or goggles that are matched to the laser's power and wavelength. Sunglasses are NOT laser protective eyewear as they will not block enough laser light to significantly reduce hazardous exposures. 

Your White Cap professional can update you on how to best select the right laser unit that matches the power supply system, and any safety requirements on the jobsite.
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