[Ben Krasnow] and His 8 kJ Ruby Laser


We were again pleased to find another person who attended Maker Faire just to show off the awesome and not to hawk some goods. In our mind [Ben Krasnow] represents the highest echelon of hardware hacking (apparently Google[x] agrees because they just snatched him up) . But [Ben] always makes a point to explain how he does what he does so that others may learn and someday achieve a similar type of greatness. This time around it’s a functional ruby laser which is backed by a capacitor bank that stores a whopping 8 kilojoules of energy. This is what allows the laser to cut through steel plate. He sure has come a long way since he first showed off the project in January.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to [Ben's] booth until late on Sunday. His previous demonstrations burned through some seals and left him with a non-functional laser. But he’s a trustworthy guy so we believe him and look forward to him posting a video about the laser and hopefully about the failure. He also mentions that he may make an attempt at lunar laser ranging with this device; bouncing the laser off of reflectors on the moon and measuring the delay. This can then be used to calculate the distance to the moon.

By the way, it was super difficult not to crack a joke when he says the words “Ruby Rod“.


  1. krazer says:

    Looks like a neat project, although I should point to the editors out that lasers are customarily specified by OUTPUT power/energy, which is probably in the 10-100J range for this system, with peak powers of a few killowatts. I look forward to hearing about the further details of the system in any case!

  2. Default says:

    Korben!….. Korben my man!

  3. k says:

    Brilliant stuff! Mike, I know I also showed you my laser, I am going to open the design if it meets the indiegogo goals. We talked briefly — I was chasing down a kid who made off with one of the demo models (he’s since returned it, no worries).


  4. Alex says:

    Impressive Project, even though i would prefer a decent writeup, this television-style posts are annoying.

  5. John Smith says:

    Ben is probably the best hacker in NA, given the things we’ve seen come out of his workshop. I always look forward to seeing new posts about him.

    As for “Ruby Rod” I was appreciating your forbearance right up until the end. Now I just wish you’d forget about the movie, since you apparently cannot avoid the obvious joke.

  6. rasz_pl says:

    >apparently Google[x] agrees because they just snatched him up

    Ok. This is it, Im calling it now – CastAR bought by Google for $1Bil in 12-18 months from now.
    Jeri got Ben into Valve, he owes her this :D

    Make it happen Ben :o)

  7. HobNoblin says:

    I hope the seals were dead and just washed up somewhere, before they were burned through rather than killed for purpose of LASER-show edutainment. Blubber and shredded steel. Sweet.

  8. Auric says:

    If he kidnaps Sean Connery, it would be funny !

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