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Topic Title: Build your own Laser Brush - Detailed Instructions.
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Created On: 05/01/2007 04:59 PM
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 05/01/2007 04:59 PM
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OverMachoGrande
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www.overmachogrande.com/laserbrushinstructions

(By request, here are more detailed step-by-step instructions. I’m posting this at Regrowth, HairLossHelp, HairLossTalk, and on my personal webpage at overmachogrande.com/laserbrushinstructions. I check Regrowth the most often, but if you ask *me* any questions: IMPORTANT… I know nothing more than what I’ve written here! Lol… after this, you are on your own!)


OverMachoGrande's Homemade Laser Brush
Non-Abridged Instructions!




Intro:
There are several cheap alternatives to laser brushes now, but if you’ve ever considered making your own for whatever reason… this is how I made mine. Sure… there are a trillion different ways to do it, but I’m only giving instructions on how I made MINE! And mine is a 10 laser brush -with a 3x4x3 pattern- running at 4.5 volts with a homemade wooden brush part.


Also, don’t ask me what the total cost is. It was somewhere around $50 I think, but it might have been less for me since I had most of the proper tools I needed, etc. Just look at the items needed below (and I’ve included links to the adapter, the “Hobby Power Lead”, and then and you can figure that up yourself, and whether or not it's worth it to make your own.


In my learned knowledge of this, there really are only two things that MUST be similar with all of our homemade laser brushes:


1) No matter how many lasers you use, you must AT LEAST use 5mW, 650nm red lasers! This is the standard to reach the depth of the hair follicles, which are 5mm under the surface of the skin. The 650nm wavelength will penetrate to a depth of 8-10mm, so that ensures stimulation. Also, some of the fancier commercial models use higher powered lasers (i.e. 20mW) and split them with mirrors, and I don’t have a clue how to do that or what effect it has on the total power of the laser, so don’t ask me!


2) The wiring is essential, and it must be wired “parallel” (all the positive [red] wires touch the positive wire coming from the adapter, and all the negative [black] wires coming from the lasers touch the negative wire coming from the adapter). “Series wiring” –or basically a daisy chain- is the wrong way to wire it, and will result in a decrease in the voltage for each laser, and although it may work… it will be underpowered!


If you’ve ever walked into a Home Depot and have some basic tools, it’s very easy to make. With the wiring, I didn’t use any soldering –only electric tape. Also, the only glue I used was for gluing the bristle pad onto the brush. I simple have the lasers shoved into the hole I made, which also means that if one goes out I can replace it that much easier.


NOTE: I’m not selling anything, including kits to do-it-yourself, I’m *not* committing copyright infringement by discussing something I made on my front porch for personal use (lol...), and I’m in NO WAY an expert on lasers, wiring, or electricity! And if you disagree with anything I say in this entire manual, I don't care!!!


Tools Required:
Here are all the tools I used to make mine. After looking through this list, you will be able to easily judge whether or not you can make your own at low cost...



1) Power Drill
2) Two drill bits... a really long, thin one and a wider one.
3) skil-saw
4) Sandpaper
5) Spray-on Finish



1) Household Goop, or any thick glue
2) Exacto Knife
3) Paddle brush (for the bristles only)



1) Electric Tape
2) Wire Stripper
3) Wire Cutter (redundant... the stripper also cuts!)
4) Black and Red wire (I got them from Radio Shack, and it's the thinnest they had)



These are the things you probably WON'T have laying around and actually have to buy. Also, I’m sure there are hundreds of sources for lasers and adapters you can use, but these are the locations I got mine…

1) Lasers. However many 650nm lasers (with wire leads) as you want. I got mine from eBay from a Chinese company called "sureelectronics" for $0.99 a piece. Shipping is pretty steep, though. Just search "5mw 650nm laser", sort by LOWEST PRICE, and you'll get a bunch of listings from them like "High brightness 5mW 650nm RED laser pointer", and they look like the picture up above. I don't have any thoughts about any other lasers, these are just the ones that I chose.

2) Adapter. The adapter I used is from Radio Shack, and it is the "3-12VDC/800mA Regulated AC-to-DC Adapter." The lasers indicate that they run from 3 volts to 4.5 volts, and this adapter has both settings. The 4.5 volts setting is slightly brighter, and I've chosen to use this. Also, this adapter has an option for the...

3) "Hobby Power Leads Adaptaplug." Also at Radio Shack. This has a positive and a negative wire coming from the end that isn't shown in the picture (I sketch it later down below). We will attach the lasers directly to these ends and plug it right into the adapter! Neato!


Part One: Making the Wooden Brush

1) Cut the board: Yes, you can just use a pre-made brush, but I didn’t want to because I wanted to have paddle brush bristles and I didn’t want to drill into plastic. Okay… get a board, and cut out a shape for the brush with the skil-saw. Make it whatever design you want… go CRAZY! Just make it wide enough for your rubber bristle pad.


If I had it to do over again, I would have probably gotten a really good piece of oak or something, stained it (maybe ebony), and cut a fancier brush design… maybe like a PRS guitar headstock. How cool would that be?!

If you are like me, remember this… the nicer you make it look, the more pride you are going to have in it, and the more prone you are going to be to use it!


2) Use an Exacto Knife to cut the complete rubber “Bristle Pad” off of your comb. This isn’t the brush I used, but trust me… it’s easy to cut and remove the entire thing right around the borders...



3) Cut the holes for the laser clusters in the wood and bristle pad:
A: First you need to cluster your lasers together with electric tape like this (or whatever pattern you want):



B: Then trace the pattern on the center of the wooden brush and cut it out with your skil-saw the best way you can! Here is a sketch of the hole on the wood:



c: Then finally use the laser cluster to trace a template on the back of the rubber bristle pad, too, and use the Exacto Knife to cut it out, obviously cutting in between the bristles. It would be too much of a pain to sketch that, but here is a picture of the bristles I cut out:



4) Drill the holes for the wire. This is absolutely optional, but I wanted to hide the cord.
A: First, I used a really long, skinny drill bit (mine was 3/16” and about a foot long… just make sure it’s thick enough to be able to fit two wires with some electrical tape, but not too thick to make the handle really weak) to drill all the way from the end of the handle to the cluster hole. Yeah, this was one of the hardest parts, but I didn’t mess up. If I had to drill a couple of more inches it probably would’ve broken the surface!



B: Next get a wider drill bit (I think the one I use is 5/16ths but I can’t tell because it’s worn away) to drill a hole in front of the cluster (in order to meet the other hole you just drilled so you can run the wires through). I didn’t do this, but you can just drill straight through the whole brush if you want to because chances are the rubber bristle pad when glued to the bottom will cover the exit hole.






Then, I used the same drill bit to drill the end of the handle about an inch or whatever so I could shove the end of the hobby adapter lead in (we’ll cover this in the wiring section).


5) Do the finishing steps on the wooden part. This includes sanding, staining, spraying a finish on or whatever you want to do. Obviously this is completely optional, too. I sanded the heck out of it, and then sprayed a bunch of thin coats of high-gloss spray lacquer on it. It has a cool, deep finish that way that makes it look a little like a guitar finish.


If you’re like me… this was the most PAINFUL PART! Having to wait for the lacquer to dry enough to get to next step was torture!


6) After the finish is ready, glue on the rubber bristle pad to the bottom. I used “Household Goop” and lots of it because the bristle heads sticking through the back side of the rubber have a lot of texture, so in order to make it lay flat I really had to goop it on. Yes, that rubber cement smell will fade away (so will the lacquer smell for that matter).

Here is a picture of the bristles glued on to the wood (and ignore the wires and the "adaptaplug" you see. That comes later)...


You’ve finished the brush part!



Part Two: Wiring the adapter and lasers.

1) Wire the “Hobby Power Leads Adaptaplug”. I don’t have a picture of the what the lead looks like when you get it, but here is a sketch...



There are positive and negative BARE wires that extend from the hobby power lead. Unfortunately, the wire wasn’t long enough to fit all the way through the handle, and the bare ends needed to be stripped more anyway. Therefore I made an extension chord for the two wires.

A: First, I stripped the ends of the positive and negative wires from the “Hobby Power Lead.” I did this STAGGERED, like in the diagram below, so that when I used electric tape to cover the bare wire, they wouldn’t be right next to each other possible making them too thick to go through the hole that runs through the handle.



B: Next, I made positive and negative extension wires with really long bare ends. I connected them to the “Hobby Power Lead” by simply twisting them together and covering them with electric tape. It was as simple is that.



C: Finally, run the newly-extended “Hobby Power Lead” contraption all the way through the hole and out of the top hole. This was actually pretty hard, lol… Finally I succeeded, and here is what it should look like at this point:



2) Strip and group the positive and negative wires of the laser cluster: The lasers had some sort of adapter head at the end of the wires, but I snipped that off so I could have bare positive and negative wires. I was lousy at stripping them at first, but I got better by the time I did my 20th strip! Make sure you make a LONG BARE SECTION, because you are going to twist all of the positives together and all of the negatives together, and you want to make sure that you have plenty of exposed copper so they all get power. This is what it should look like:



3) Shove the laser cluster into the hole on the brush: Yeah, you might have to either wrap more electric tape around it for a tighter fit, or sand and cut a little bit if it’s too tight. Mine fits in very snuggly, and I’d say that the lasers push through the hole enough so that they are about ¾ of an inch from the surface of the scalp. I don’t think a little more or less matters one bit. IT’S A LASER BEAM! It’s going to be almost exactly the same potency and size when you shine it across the room, so I think a fraction of an inch is essentially meaningless. That’s common sense telling me that and not any scientific experiment, by the way.


4) Connect the grouped red and black wires from the cluster to the corresponding wire from our extended “Hobby Power Leads Adaptaplug.” This is easy… just twist and tape with electrical tape the same as you did before! Red to Red, and Black to Black! Remember, I used really long bare ends of the wires to make the twisting easier and more thorough.



5) Make the wires look pretty: I just twisted up the excess “Hobby Power Leads Adaptaplug” extension wires, and I looped and used twisty ties on the laser cluster wires. Literally plug in the adapter and you're set!





THAT’S IT! Don't expect any bells or whistles or anything because it's completely silent. However, expect a feeling of accomplishment and pat yourself on the back because you...

...HAVE JUST MADE YOUR OWN LASER BRUSH!!!


Edited: 05/01/2007 at 08:33 PM by OverMachoGrande
 05/01/2007 08:40 PM
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Bald2TheBone
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Hey that's pretty cool, thanks for the detailed info. Give us an update on how well it works for your hair.

-------------------------
Current regimen:
Theradome (LLLT) EOD
Cromoglycate and Ramatroban topicals ED
Neutrogina 2in1 Zinc shampoo ED
internals: fish oil, vitaminD ED
moderate results with zero sexual side effects
 05/01/2007 10:12 PM
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highsierra
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Nice Job but are you absolutely certain it will perform as well as the ones commercially available?
 05/01/2007 10:32 PM
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OverMachoGrande
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Nope! Not absolutely certain, but *I'd* bet money on it... All the scouring I've done has told me that a "5mW/ 650nm laser is a 5mW/ 650nm laser is a 5mW/650nm laser", there isn't any difference between them. All the data I've seen has told me that all of the commercially available ones are following that same standard, no matter how many lasers they are using or whether or not they are splitting/mirroring the beam.

And I'm pretty damn sure that mine is probably more powerful (in terms of total milliwatts, not wavelength) than a lot of the ones commercially out there -I've got the 10 x 5mW lasers running BRIGHT and fully powered at 4.5 volts EACH LASER, and it penetrates the skin at the same depth as any of the other commercial ones because it has the same 650nm wavelength. It's the real deal and I personally am fully expecting it to work as well as -if not better than- any other one designed for this purpose! I mean, it really HAS to perform at least as well as the others... it's essentially the exact same thing!

I can't give *you* the "absolutely certain" title, though... I've never personally taken apart (or even seen, for that matter) a commercial laser brush so I'm relying on the internet for all my info, but if you do research like I did, you'd more than likely come up with the same answer as me. The research is out there, on other threads in this forum, too, but after I saw over and over again "5mW, 650nm is the standard for follicle stimulation" I didn't need to see any more specs.

So I'm convinced. If others want to leave more info backing up the research I did, then by all means do it! I'm convinced not only by the research, but yeah... I feel the scalp stimulation after I do a session. It's definitely a warm feeling that lasts for a few hours, and I'm assuming that it's reaching the follicles because the ten lasers are indeed spec'd out to do that (they are supposed to penetrate the skin at a depth of 8-10mm, and the follicles are at 5mm). Also, my topicals absorb much stronger after I use it (I know this from face bloat from Minox Foam!).... just a little more evidence that it's stimulating the scalp.

Edited: 05/01/2007 at 11:21 PM by OverMachoGrande
 05/01/2007 10:57 PM
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OverMachoGrande
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One other thing. I *think* this is correct, and even if it isn't dead on, I'm pretty sure it's close. BASIC LASER 101 - Someone please correct me if I'm wrong because I'd like to know this for future laser helmet applications that could really benefit us all...

Some commercial brushes like Hair Max use ONE more powerful laser in terms of milliWatts, and then the split/mirror it. From what I understand, each time the beam is split, the milliWatts get reduced, but the WAVELENGTH stays the same. Meaning you can split a 20mW laser 4 times and it will still have at least 5wM strength, but the probably-more-important WAVELENGTH aspect still stays at 650nm, so it still penetrates the skin.

Therefore, I think people that bash HairMax by saying that there laser isn't even as "strong" as others might be missing the more important aspect of the beam, the penetration, which is still there. ...BUT still the same as any other 650nm brush, like mine! If you want to bash HairMax, bash the criminal price! OMFG!

I could be totally wrong on my understanding of what's going on with what I just said about splitting/mirroring laser beams, but *my* laser brush is just fine on the specs for follicle stimulation!

OK.. that's enough. You guys take it from here, and since I posted this stuff somebody needs to join me on this pioneering excursion. I want photos...
 05/01/2007 11:58 PM
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OverMachoGrande
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You know what, HighSierra? I'm changing my answer. Yes... I'm absolutely certain! It's the essentially the exact same lasers.

When I drink a lot of coffee, I type a lot. Sorry, lol...
 05/02/2007 01:04 AM
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Neoren
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LOL you got to be desperate to go through this.
 05/02/2007 07:18 AM
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OverMachoGrande
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Nah Neoren...

You gotta be desperate to pay $600 for one of these that anybody can make! It was EASY to make, too! The science is there for this stuff. I don't know why more people aren't more openminded about this, but no skin off my back! I'm not trying to sell anybody on it, just giving the peeps that want to make one a better place to start.
 05/02/2007 09:06 AM
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kornflakes
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Sweet looks like a cool project. Thanks!
 05/02/2007 12:46 PM
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hopefull
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dont mind the negative comments it was super cool what you did.(for you)

My concerns are safety... i am afraid that somebody might get hit with electricity if he does not do it right.a lot fo wires these things are dangerous for some people
 05/02/2007 01:24 PM
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Side Show Bob
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How close to the scalp/hair do the ends of the laser have to be?

I'm thinking a battery powered laser helmet would work better because you could wear it around the house for an hour every night.

You could load that puppy up with a ton of lasers.

Can too much light cause damage? I haven't really paid atention to the laser posts.
 05/02/2007 02:00 PM
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OverMachoGrande
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A Laser Helmet is EXACTLY what needs to be done next. I completely agree with you on that. I, myself, probably won't take a crack at it until I get burnt out using the laser comb. The problem is you need some sort of a fan or vacuum to lift the hair up out of the way to expose the scalp. In concept it's easy to add that, but when I actually think of how the hell I'm going to go about it, it get's harder!

With batteries... I did the math once -and I could be wrong here- but I came to the conclusion that batteries just wouldn't be strong enough for more than a couple of lasers (unless you start adding a ridiculous amount of batteries). Also, when the batteries lose a little power, are the lasers going to slightly dim?? Probably... and then they may not be up to the right specs. I think you need to stick to electricity, especially if you are talking about a crap-load of lasers!

I have no idea about the "too much light" question... All I can say is that I've read once or twice that using it too much can cause "over stimulation", and lasermax says that if you use it more than what they suggest it doesn't give any better results, but frankly I don't really think there is a whole lot of research out there on that yet. Despite the tests done, I really don't think that magic time exists yet. The reason I think that is because the amount of laser exposure in expensive commercial in-office laser treatments has to be WAY more than the laser brushes give, and they tout more results (...scam or not, I'm not sure) and even usually give a laser comb at the end only for "maintenance."

As far as the distance of the diodes from the scalp is concerned, I do NOT think it makes much difference. Mine are about 3/4ths of an inch off the scalp. HairMax's bristles are 9/16th's of an inch long (so I've read), BUT they have a different configuration using splitters/mirrors and the laser is actually probably a few inches away in total distance. My logic is this (and I have it written in my post up there)... I don’t think a little more or less matters one bit. IT’S A LASER BEAM! It’s going to be almost exactly the same potency and size when you shine it across the room, so I think a fraction of an inch is essentially meaningless. The one's I ordered have like a mile range... lol. That’s common sense telling me that and not any scientific experiment, by the way.

That's pretty much all I know!


Edited: 05/02/2007 at 02:01 PM by OverMachoGrande
 05/02/2007 03:19 PM
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Side Show Bob
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Ok, that's my problem. I was thinking red LED's, not lasers for some reason. I thought they looked a little strange.

Yeah, batteries wouldn't cut it on a helmet, but that's what you need. Maybe a plastic hardhat that you could easily drill holes into mount the lasers. Set them in place with hot glue or something.

I still think it's a good idea though.
 05/02/2007 08:34 PM
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Peter Mac
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Quote

Originally posted by: OverMachoGrande
Nope! Not absolutely certain, but *I'd* bet money on it...
While I admire your ingenuity and the time you spent on this, I'd like to make a few comments. Your research that there isn't any difference between your brush and the hairmax comb is 100% anecdotal and hasn't had any scientific tests. You need to test your hypothesis. You need an independent party to take 50 people with your brush and 50 people with the comb and compare the results side by side.
The hairmax comb has FDA approval. We know it works. Your brush may work very well too, but you need to prove it first.
 05/03/2007 03:51 AM
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OverMachoGrande
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Agreed 100%, Peter Mac! Couldn't have said it better. Everyone is at there own risk using *anything* other than the FDA approved Hairmax!
 05/03/2007 04:30 AM
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OverMachoGrande
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Oh... one more thing. I'm not going to try to prove anything to *any* of you cats! I'm just passing on instructions of how I built one. If others are interested, then they NEED TO DO THE DIGGING ON THEIR OWN to be convinced that one built like mine is up to par.

No offense to anyone -and I really mean that- but It's not my problem or burden to convince anybody of anything. I'm trying to grow MY hair, not yours! lol... If I get some results, then six months down the road I'll divulge how much I'm using it, what other things I'm using, etc. Hey.. and if 50 other people wanted to make this and test it out, that'd be SPIFFY! The Free Market in action is a wonderful thing.

But again, I don't care if you guys build this or not. I filled a void. There is obviously interest out there in building them, and there really weren't any detailed, step-by-step instructions out there, and the sparse ones I did find... the wiring was wrong!

So these are just instructions to make the, yes - "100% Anecdotal Laser Brush!" I like that... I may put that in the web page! So enough of this discussion. Make at your own risk of 1) Death by Electrocution, and 2) Heartbreak that it won't work for you and you've wasted 30 minutes a night for the past six months.

Also, if anyone *still* feels on Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 that there are some other "magic ingredients" -some undefined "je ne sais quoi" -in HairMax, Aculas, or anything else other than lasers (the potency and class of which is federally regulated and divulged to the public, so we KNOW what the lasers are) and plastic, then, umm... we have an unreconcilable difference of "opinions", and I'll step it up a notch by breaking it to you that Harry Potter is fictional.

Edited: 05/03/2007 at 05:20 AM by OverMachoGrande
 05/03/2007 08:07 AM
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Peter Mac
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Quote

Originally posted by: OverMachoGrande
Oh... one more thing. I'm not going to try to prove anything to *any* of you cats! I'm just passing on instructions of how I built one. If others are interested, then they NEED TO DO THE DIGGING ON THEIR OWN to be convinced that one built like mine is up to par.
So many people think the Hairmax laser comb is still a scam and it's FDA approved. I admire your ingenuity and creativity. I hope it works well for you and for others.
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