A laser is a beam of man-made light that doesn't occur in nature. You can demonstrate the properties of a laser by making a laser "gun" that will project a beam of red laser light when you pull the trigger. You will need a toy gun, an old CD player and some hardware supplies along with a laser module from a laser supply store. Adult supervision is necessary if you are a child, as a soldering iron must be used.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Toy gun
- Phillips jeweller's screwdriver
- CD player
- Phillips screwdriver
- Laser module
- Soldering iron
- Electric wire
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- 9-volt battery
- 9-volt battery snap
- Portable drill
- Bonding glue
Put a sheet of newspaper on a table. Put the toy gun on its side on the table with the barrel facing to the right.
Remove the screw from the front top edge of the toy gun by the barrel with the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver. Remove another screw from the back top edge of the toy gun by the hammer.
Remove the two screws from the handle of the toy gun with the jeweller's screwdriver. Remove the screw from in front of the trigger guard.
Pull the top shell of the toy gun off the bottom shell with your fingers. Put the top shell aside.
Put the CD player on the newspaper. Remove the screws from both sides of the player with the Phillips screwdriver. Pull the outer case off the CD player with your hands. Discard the outer case.
Locate the black spindle at the centre of the CD player. Remove the screws from around the laser assembly next to the black spindle with the jeweller's screwdriver.
Wiggle the laser assembly off the two rails it is riding on with your fingers. Put the laser assembly on the newspaper. Discard the CD player.
Remove the screw from the metal bracket on the top of the laser assembly with the jeweller's screwdriver. Remove the metal bracket. Pull the red laser diode that is now revealed off the laser assembly with the tweezers. Put the red laser diode on the newspaper. Discard the laser assembly.
Unscrew the laser module. Pull the laser module assembly out of the back half of the laser module with the tweezers.
Hold the laser module assembly in your left hand with the exposed holes at the end facing up. Hold the red laser diode in your right hand with the tweezers.
Insert the long pin attached to the laser diode into the positive hole in the end of the laser module assembly. Insert the other pin attached to the laser diode into the negative-labelled hole in the end of the module assembly.
Place the laser module assembly on the newspaper with the laser diode facing to the right.
Cut one 6-inch length of electric wire with the wire cutters. Strip a half inch of insulation off each end with the wire strippers.
Heat the soldering iron for 5 minutes. Solder one end of the wire to one of the two contacts on the microswitch. Let the solder cool for a minute.
Solder the other end of the wire to the positive-labelled contact at the bottom of the laser module assembly. Let the solder cool for a minute.
Solder one of the two wires attached to the 9-volt battery snap to the negative-labelled contact at the bottom of the laser module assembly. Let the solder cool.
Solder the end of the other wire attached to the battery to the other contact on the microswitch. Let the solder cool.
Place the laser module assembly inside the bottom shell of the toy gun at the end of the barrel so that the red laser diode is facing to the right. Apply bonding glue to cement the laser module assembly to the inside of the barrel. Let the bonding glue dry for 3 hours.
Drill a notch in the bottom shell of the toy gun to the right of the trigger guard with the portable drill.
Place the 9-volt battery snap inside the handle of the bottom shell of the toy gun. Apply bonding glue to cement the battery snap to the inside of the handle. Let the glue dry for 3 hours.
Place the microswitch against the notch near the trigger guard in the bottom shell of the toy gun so that the microswitch button is pressed against the notch. Apply bonding glue to cement the microswitch to the notch. Let the glue dry.
Attach a 9-volt battery to the battery snap. Put the top shell of the toy gun back onto the bottom shell. Reattach the screws
Aim your laser gun at a far wall. Depress the button of the microswitch with your finger to "fire" a beam of laser light.
Tips and warnings
- Take pictures of the steps required to make the laser gun with a digital camera. You can then make a slide show to show others how the laser gun was constructed.
- Wear protective goggles to protect your eyes when firing your laser gun. Never aim the beam from a laser at a person's face. The laser beam can damage the retina of the eyes.
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