First of all, let me say that dealing with LASERS is serious business. I have an old sign that was copied from a laser company ad that says; Dang!!! do not look into laser with remaining eye. A LASER, even a low power one, can blind you and you don’t get a second chance with blindness. Always wear eye protection with correctly tinted lenses when working with lasers.
The complete Amateur Scientist on CD-Rom
When I was a kid, Scientific American always had a science project that people could do in their home shops, usually with normal tools and some scrounging. The quality of these projects was always extremely high. Scientific American stopped putting those articles out sometime in the 1990’s, here they all are. There are thousands of pages of useful stuff and projects to fabricate. This is especially useful for getting info on obsolete projects and dangerous stuff.
Nikon 80th anniversary video.
While the inspection techniques have improved, the basic grinding techniques for grinding lenses hasn’t changed very much.
Actually the power of a light beam. Significant energy loss occurs every time the beam goes through a lens or reflects off a surface. Still, its a pretty Rube Goldberg: