How to Make a Laser That Will Burn

Written by john albers
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How to Make a Laser That Will Burn
A commercially made laser capable of burning paper, wood and organic tissue. (

Any laser is an optical device capable of projecting a highly focused beam of light. Their use has been primarily academic or technological. Lasers are used to read CDs and DVDs. Laser pointers also are popular, though they are of very low power and quality.

Believe it or not, laser weapons are not simply within the realm of science fiction. They are real. The United States military has been looking into building them for years; however, the energy source required to power a laser capable of killing someone is larger than most tanks, making it somewhat infeasible for the moment.

The materials and process by which such a laser can be created are not expensive or difficult to find, any electronics store like a Radio Shack should have them. To prove to yourself that such lasers are real, and to help give you an idea of how powerful they could be, you might try building one of your own.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Soldering wire
  • Soldering iron
  • Tweezers or clamps
  • 100-ohm POT
  • 16X laser diode
  • 2 triple-A batteries
  • Power switch
  • Cardboard tube
  • Duct tape
  • Top of an axis module
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Triple-A battery holder
  • Scissors
  • Sheathed copper wiring

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  1. 1

    The triple-battery holder should have both a positive and negative wire or lead running from it. There are two corresponding studs on the switch. Press the leads to the studs of the switch. Melt some of the soldering wire to each of the leads with your soldering iron and set them aside.

  2. 2

    There should be three contact points on the 16X laser diode in a triangle shape. Use the soldering wire to solder the 100-ohm POT to the top lead of the diode. The POT will act to regulate the current passing through the diode. If this is not done correctly you will simply have an expensive light emitting diode, or LED, rather than a laser. You will know the difference as soon as you turn the finished device on and the light does not form a visible beam.

  3. 3

    Cut two short lengths of copper wiring and clear the sheathing away from the ends. Solder each wire into place on the remaining contact points of the diode. Connect the other ends of the wires to the switch, soldering them into place as well.

  4. 4

    Look for a screw on the side of the POT. This screw is designed to allow you to change the resistance the POT creates in the circuit. Using the flathead screwdriver, set the POT to maximum resistance. Fit batteries into the battery holder and flip the switch into the on position. Watch the beam emitted by the diode and slowly decrease the POT's resistance until the beam is at its brightest.

  5. 5

    Look at the top half of the axis module. It should look no different from the head and lens of a flashlight. That's because it is basically is, though the lenses are of a much better quality than the type you would find in a flashlight. Insert the diode into the axis module, right up against the lens. This will turn a harmless beam of light into a laser capable of burning through paper and melting plastic. Solder the diode into place.

  6. 6

    Cut a small square into the middle of a paper towel or toilet paper roll. Fit the whole circuit down into the tube with the front of the module pointing out of the mouth of the tube and the switch protruding out the cut hole. Tape the switch and the axis module into their respective places to complete your laser.

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