The 445nm diode came in and I’ve hooked it up to the CNC. This diode is a multi-mode laser diode. This means that the dot will not be nice and round as with the 405nm diode, but it has some real power and durability. People seem to run these at about 1amp, where the diode delivers about 1Watt of laser power. That is not bad!
So as a slow start I raised the platform to be as close to the laser as I could focus the beam (to keep the dot as small as possible) and set the current to 400mA figuring I was going to get about 400mWatt of power, however at 400mA this diode barely burns paper! The 405 diode at 400mA rips through paper like butter, needless to say a bit disappointing.
A quick look at the amp vs power graph over at Laser Pointer Forums confirms that this diode takes a good amount of amperage just to get started. At 400mA we get about 250mW of laser power. Whereas the 405nm diode gave us 400-500mWatt.
Sadly I can’t drive the power up too much further today as I am running out of juice on the power supply. That’ll be the next improvement. So this diode should really shine with a bit more amperage.
I ordered a better lens from JayRob on the forums ($13) to see if I can get this laser focused nicely.