How to make a cheap laser cutter

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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A laser cutter in the movies can shear through solid metal. While such devices aren't available to the average person, it is possible to take an ordinary green laser pointer and make it into a cheap laser cutter that has the power to cut through paper from a few inches away. The modification removes the limitation of the intensity of the laser light that was set by the factory and can be done within an hour using a few electronic tools. It does not require any knowledge of how a laser works.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Green laser pointer
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Portable drill
  • Jeweller's screwdriver
  • Bonding glue

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put some newspaper down on a work surface. Remove the battery cap and the batteries from the green laser pointer. Put the battery cap and the batteries down on the newspaper.

  2. 2

    Take the green laser pointer and hold it in your left hand. Separate the two halves of the green laser pointer by gripping the front of the green laser pointer with the needle-nose pliers and twisting till the two halves come apart. Put the two halves of the green laser pointer down on the newspaper.

  3. 3

    Take the jeweller's screwdriver and turn the small screw in the back half of the green laser pointer 1/4 turn counterclockwise.

  4. 4

    Heat up the soldering iron. Apply the tip of the soldering iron to the small circuit board that is above the screw in the back half of the green laser pointer. Remove the tip of the soldering iron from the circuit board when 10 seconds have elapsed. Unplug the soldering iron.

  5. 5

    Put the two halves of the green laser pointer back together. Apply bonding glue around the seam between the two halves and hold the halves together until the glue sets. Put the batteries back into the green laser pointer and put the battery cap back on.

  6. 6

    Aim the green laser pointer, which has now been made into a cutting laser, at the newspaper. Press the button to activate the laser and watch as the laser cutter cuts a hole in the paper.

Tips and warnings

  • Have a damp washcloth handy to extinguish the flame the laser cutter makes when it cuts a hole in the newspaper.
  • A laser pointer should never be aimed at a person's eyes.

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