How to turn a cheap laser pen into a burning laser

Written by mike venture
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How to turn a cheap laser pen into a burning laser
A boosted laser pen can even be used to start a campfire with good tinder and a steady hand. (laser pen keyholder and tips image by timur1970 from

A laser pen can be great fun whether you're using it to give your pets exercise or to annoy people at the cinema. By following a few simple steps, you can increase the power of your laser pen, allowing it to pop balloons and light matches. This can be a good way to learn about electronics and optics.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small flathead screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Remove the battery or batteries.

  2. 2

    Unscrew or pry off the housing.

  3. 3

    Locate the variable resistor on the circuit board. It will be a tiny platform connected to the circuit board by two prongs. In the centre of the platform will be a circular area. There will be a divot in the centre of this area.

  4. 4

    Insert the tip of the screwdriver into the divot and turn it slightly counterclockwise.

  5. 5

    Assemble the housing and reinsert the battery or batteries.

  6. 6

    Turn on the laser. If the light is not brighter, disassemble the pen again and turn the resistor clockwise.

Tips and warnings

  • As with any laser, do not point it into the eyes of any person or animal.
  • Do not give laser pens to children.
  • Do no turn the resistor too far or you will burn out the laser.

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