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what do i need to make a non-burning laser pointer?

i want to make an LED flashlight out of an altoids tin but i figured while i'm at it i might as well throw in a laser pointer. could i maybe take apart an old one that has dead batteries and use the parts inside it in the new laser pointer?

A laser pointer consists of a laser diode, a laser driver (the circuit board), a power source, and an enclosure. If you already have the diode and the driver, you're in good shape.
Yes, you could use one with dead batteries. Make sure that the thing uses a proper current controlled supply, or you'll kill it. if your new batteries are a higher voltage.