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How to build a simple laser pointer

Laser pointers have many uses that range from fun and games to helping with presentations. There are many commercially available laser pointers that range in price from the inexpensive, short-range versions to high-powered, costly models. Making a simple laser pointer can be as cheap or expensive as the parts used to make your homemade version. Converting a mini-flashlight is one of the easier versions for building a simple laser pointer.

Choose an appropriate laser diode. The laser diode is the part of the laser pointer that produces the laser. They range in power and intensity. A laser diode from a CD player will produce a laser that can be clearly seen, but without the intensity of a DVD burner laser diode which can light matches and pop balloons.

Buy a laser diode from an electronics store, online or remove it from the housing of a CD or DVD burner/player. The diode is usually located on two sliding rails that require the entire unit to be disassembled for easy access.

Purchase a laser housing online or from an electronics store. All laser housings will come with a laser diode that is too weak for daylight use.

Remove the existing laser diode from the laser housing.

Install the other laser diode into the laser housing and solder two pins to the positive and negative terminals of the laser diode.

Disassemble the mini-flashlight and remove the bulb from the inner reflector.

Drill out the existing hole in the reflector to accommodate the diameter of the laser housing.

Reassemble the mini-flashlight, substituting the laser diode for the bulb assembly, insert the batteries and test the laser pointer.

Warning

Shining the laser into someone's eyes will cause severe damage. Using a DVD burner as the source of the laser diode will create a powerful laser capable of starting a fire or inflicting bodily harm.

Things You'll Need

  • Mini-flashlight
  • Laser diode
  • Laser housing
  • Batteries
  • Soldering iron
  • Drill
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About the Author

Kenrick Callwood has been involved in Internet marketing since 2007 and his work has appeared in numerous online publications. His main areas of expertise are psychology, travel and Internet marketing. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from California Polytechnic University.