How to make a laser pointer out of household items

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How to make a laser pointer out of household items
A flashlight can be used to make a laser pointer. (flashlight image by Wayne Abraham from Fotolia.com)

Lasers are no longer only available to scientists as you can purchase a laser pointer in a drugstore or even a grocery store. You can make your own laser pointer from a few household items and an old CD player. You will also need to use a soldering iron, so adult supervision is a must if you are underage. Your laser pointer will function as well as one commercially made, and provide a beam of laser light that can project farther than any incandescent flashlight ever could.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • CD player
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Phillips jeweller's screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Disposable flashlight

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put newspaper on a table. Put the CD player on the table. Remove the screws from both sides of the CD player with the Phillips screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Lift the top shell off the CD player by pulling up on both sides with your hands.

  3. 3

    Locate the disc spindle near the centre of the CD player. Shine the disposable flashlight to reflect off of the laser lens to note the position of the laser assembly. Remove the screws from the laser assembly using the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Wiggle the laser assembly off the two rails it is riding on using your fingers. Pull the laser assembly off the CD player. Put the laser assembly down on the newspaper.

  5. 5

    Remove the metal bracket on the top of the laser assembly with the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver. Remove the metal bracket.

  6. 6

    Pull the laser diode that is now visible off the laser assembly using the tweezers. Place the laser diode on the newspaper. Discard the remaining CD player parts with the exception of the laser diode.

  7. 7

    Unscrew the reflector off the disposable flashlight. Remove the plastic lens from inside of the reflector. Discard the plastic lens. Put the reflector on the newspaper.

  8. 8

    Pull the incandescent bulb socket from out of the disposable flashlight with the tweezers. Unscrew the incandescent bulb. Dispose of the incandescent bulb properly.

  9. 9

    Solder the longer of the two pins attached to the laser diode to the centre hole in the incandescent bulb socket. Let the solder cool for a minute.

  10. 10

    Solder the other, short pin attached to the laser diode to the metal ring surrounding the centre hole in the incandescent bulb socket. Let the solder cool for a minute.

  11. 11

    Return the incandescent bulb socket into the disposable flashlight. Screw on the reflector.

  12. 12

    Aim the laser pointer you have made at a far wall. Depress the "on" button to project a beam of red laser light at the wall.

Tips and warnings

  • Fresh batteries are needed to power the flashlight for more than a minute or two.
  • You can get a CD player at a yard sale or thrift shop cheap if you don't have one lying around the house.
  • Never aim a laser beam at a person's face as the laser can cause serious damage to the retina.

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