Introduction: Burning Laser With Joule Thief

Picture of Burning Laser With Joule Thief

Take care of Eyes since these lasers are lethal for eyes. It can blind you before your eye lid will close. --- I am Not responsible for any damage.

Please Go through before reading and come to any determination about the topic.

We can burn things specially black or dark colored stuff by simple 3V battery but this will heat up the diode after intensive use. In case we need to make a Laser engraver which needs to operate over long time, Requires assembly to cool the diode down. How ever by using Joule Thief we can increase its brightness and eventually draw the heat away from diode to the transistor used. In fact I was able to run a 12V 10 Watt LED with a single MOSFET , It was very bright , using a third winding.the video is

How ever the Mosfet got very heated and unnoticed by me . Died.....!!!

Anyway I am still finding such MOSFET for Laser Applications.

For High Voltage generation visit

Step 1: Setting Up Components

Picture of Setting Up Components

The basic requirement is any NPN transistor, a Laser Diode, a Ferrite ring,a resistance,A 3 V battery,Bread Board , Wires.etc.

The pin Configuration of BD139 is Front Facing E-C-B.

However any NPN transistor can be used.

Step 2: The Circuit of Joule Thief.

Picture of The Circuit of Joule Thief.

You may find this diagram every where throughout internet.The working principal is also as same as explained by others.

Step 3: The Laser Diode

Picture of The Laser Diode

This is specifically a Infra-Red Laser found inside a DVD Burner. I removed all optics and finally wanted to fix with the focusing lens. We can use any lens depending upon requirement and focusing length.

Step 4: The Toroid , the Heart......

Picture of The Toroid , the Heart......

This toroid was found from a CFL driver. 3 Turns each for each Winding. If the figure does not work out. Reverse the wire. i.e interchange the Blue and Violate wires.

Please try to understand the winding. If understood correctly, we can use any toroidal ring for the same purpose. Please Note that Torroidal Ring used in good SMPS have good performance against high frequency.

Step 5: All Connected and Its On

Picture of All Connected and Its On

Connect every thing as per Circuit diagram.

IR laser from DVD/CD Burner connected to Joule Thief with BD139 and a 10K variable resistance. It can burn any black or dark color plastic,rubber etc. Take care of Eyes since these laser are lethal for eyes. It can blind you before your eye lid will close. --- I am Not responsible for any damage

You can take red laser or high power leds. Please also note to limit the supply voltage to 3 Volt Max else you will damage the diode. These diodes can bear 3.3V Max.

Step 6: Its Ready and Burning....................

Picture of Its Ready and Burning....................

Take care of Eyes since these lasers are lethal for eyes. It can blind you before your eye lid will close. --- I am Not responsible for any damage.

Hope you will Enjoy...... Take Care..


t.rohner (author)2014-12-22

This instructable seems to have started a fundamental discussion, about what information should be easily available.

I used to work with laser cutters with IR-Sources up to 120W. These are really dangerous, if handled the wrong way. (High voltage, IR-Radiation) What is certainly underestimated by untrained personel, is stray radiation. The retina is serverely and permanently damaged, even by a stray ray of 0.01% of the laser energy. We lit a cloth with the laser during training. (With the unfocused half inch laser ray. Imagine what it does focused...)

Until a couple of years ago, no country restricted the import of
powerful laser pointers. These were about the same, as in this
instructable. But ready out of the box, with a decent optic and usable by every idiot.

But then, there are so many "dual use" tech products, which are very interesting to tinker around.

You can't make them go away, by banning them from sites like instructables.

If the stuff is available, there is information available about it nowadays. If not on instructables anymore, you can find it elsewhere.

So the final question should be: Do you want freedom, or (a wrong sense of) security?

thaipham101 (author)t.rohner2014-12-27

I also concern a lot about this. That's why I still do not want to try it. Is there any other ways to prevent the laser from reflect to unwanted objects rather than using safety glass, like some materials to make a case that absorb the energy?

t.rohner (author)thaipham1012014-12-29

Do yourself a favour and get protection goggles for the correct wavelength. Only this way you are on the safe side.

Engraving with 400-500 mW? This will be a very slow process. So keep the Dremel close ;-)

Samiran (author)thaipham1012014-12-27

Use black covering , non reflective type cartboard. U can use web cam as an eye inside such closure.

Woodco (author)2014-12-22

Thanks! Takes place one on my projects list!

aquif1990 (author)2017-05-10

made it ,the circuit is simple and works,done some tinkering and 12 volt smd led is working ,but i dont know how to use 7805 voltage regulator for mobile charging.

PaulF88 (author)2016-02-14

I just want someone to build a laser mower. improbable?

MakerMichaelB (author)2014-12-19

Good stuff!

You might want to consider putting the warning about it burning an eye as the first bit of text. It'd be a shame to have someone injure themselves or their cat because they're too impatient to read to the end prior to building.

Thanks for putting this up! :-)

Samiran (author)MakerMichaelB2014-12-19

Thanks for your valueable comment. Agreed on your view.

dekalb20050411 (author)Samiran2015-11-12

sooo cool

mihir.sahu.355 (author)2015-03-29

output power of burning laser depend on what ??? can i. make a burning laser from keychaiaser diode !!

LaserByte (author)2015-01-27

I am confused as to how the ferrite ring has these induction properties. I can't seem to find a good explanation as to how this works.

aamott (author)2015-01-12

What if you used this for a (very weak and slow) laser cutter with recycled computer parts? With this ( as the body. Someone already made a 3d printer based on this. I wanted to, but don't have enough to spend. I do, on the other hand, have computer parts.

If you wanted to (he recycled 2 dvd or cd drives) you could probably just use multiple lasers and angle them so they all focused on the same point.

Here's another guy who used the same type of body:

dpatterson13 (author)2014-12-25

And the odds of anyone building this without already having basic knowledge of lasers is..?
But, yeah, somebody sued McDonald's for offering-up hot coffee

aamott (author)dpatterson132015-01-12

What has this world come to...

GeraldTrost (author)2014-12-24

Hi All!

I dont want to be limited in spreading technical knowledge just because
of security reasons - this is mainly because "security reasons" are
often used as an excuse for some other intentions behind that ...

But I need to ask you all:
Do you really think that a smart kid who understands this instructions
will sneak into father's electronic lab to do some experiments and
do you think that he will apply all the safety guidelines ?

My concerns are about the young people and about the silly
people who are phsically adult but are not mentally adult.

I really dont know a solution to this problems and I have no idea how
to deal with it so that common knowledge flow will still be possible in future.

But if any one knows the solution on how to share information freely
amongst "trustworthy" and "rationally thinking" persons then I will
be glad to read it here and I will be glad to spread this idea wherever I can.

Gerald Trost
PS: can kids access the instuctables pages ?

hvela-fauson (author)GeraldTrost2014-12-30

Hi Gerald,

I think your concerns are valid.

The author incorporated safety precautions into this project. There is no reason for the site or the author of this instructable to nanny readers given most individuals are capable of managing themselves.

Yes, I believe Instructables is an all ages site. While very few things in life are 100% guaranteed, young persons and persons of diminished capacity typically have care-givers that help in decision making. From a parents perspective: The best thing I can do is review prospective projects and work through the decision making process and then, if we agree to move move forward, work with my child on the project.

Warm wishes,

honeylieg V.

thaipham101 (author)2014-12-27

Great, I'll replace my Dremel with this for my engraver project

ridalyn (author)2014-12-21

Cool! Now I can make my Death Star model functional!

goldfish408 (author)ridalyn2014-12-22

Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!

Covo (author)ridalyn2014-12-22

don't you mean "opporational"? ;)

ybaggi (author)2014-12-21

Anyone know or have an instructable or yt thing on how to remove the laser from a dvd burner? I've failed 4 times now... seem to make a mess of it.


tovey (author)ybaggi2014-12-21

Here's an instructable on dissembling a DVD burner.

There are others that are older, but typically, they are pretty much the same.

Here's an instructable for building a laser cutter with a laser purchased off of ebay.

Just do a search for laser cutters, cnc laser cutter ect.

ybaggi (author)tovey2014-12-22

ok, thanks will check these out.


Samiran (author)ybaggi2014-12-21

I can also help you with that. Mine first try was also a failure though. I burnt them adding some extra voltage. Then I thought for an avalanche pulser which was not good as per expectation.Then I made this.Its fun but with CAUTION!

necdet.aslan1 (author)2014-12-21


I see that you have 3 kind of windings on the toroid. Can you tell how you do winding for the primer and seconder side?

Samiran (author)necdet.aslan12014-12-22

It was not used in this project. Here I used two winding of same turn count (3 or 4) and made it center tap (i.e. shorting one coil ending to another coil beginning ) which is essentially connected to +ve of battery.

KROKKENOSTER (author)2014-12-22

Interesting instructable now to find an old laser burning dvd or cd burner!

Budweiser143 (author)2014-12-21

Make sure to also put warnings about there being small parts, keep away from children, choke hazard, risk of electrical shock, etc. etc. There's a LOT of people out there that don't have the brains to realize these sort of dangers you know!

Chitlange Sahas (author)2014-12-21

was the mosfet added with heatsink my friend. you may try

wdgandy (author)2014-12-21

Nice instrctable. Now I'm learning about using the joule thief circuit. I was disappointed with the comments, though. It's bad enough that the govt is telling us what to do to save ourselves, but the meddlesome nags on here need to keep it to themselves. Anyone learning about lasers will read much about laser safety before they get to the point of putting one together.

It's good to see that a safety warning has finally been posted. Thank you Mr. Samiran for sharing this information with us.

Tronclay (author)2014-12-21

When firing a gun ricochets may be a risk but its a VERY small risk unless you are being stupid and shooting at a solid metal or brick wall. Most people shoot at a gun range, at paper that's placed in front of a "berm", a slanted mound of sand that often has rubber tires and/or wooden walls with debris inside to stop pass-throughs.

starphire (author)2014-12-21

Again, Spokehedz, what you're saying here is incorrect and shows that you do not understand the limits of the blink reflex (it is too slow!), which offers zero protection against getting hit with a flash of laser beam in the eye. It's also misleading to suggest that a reflected beam, particularly from a diode laser (which spreads out fairly quickly from the source) is equally or more dangerous (except in that it may be less anticipated), as the beam intensity will diminish as the beam travels farther from the source and spreads out.

You cannot be of service to the community by spreading misinformation or assumptions, or are you just trying to be irresponsible and get someone hurt?

starphire (author)2014-12-21

Sorry Spokehedz, Lightning Stalker is correct: ordinary sunglasses are practically useless for protecting your eyes from lasers. In fact, they could actually INCREASE the likelihood of retinal damage, because the overall darkening effect on the eyes will cause the iris to open up to compensate. If the beam then suddenly hits the eye, it can do even more damage to the retina before you can blink or look away than with no sunglasses at all. Not to mention that nearly all sunglasses coatings are very cheaply done, and their absorption spectra vary all over the place.

You apparently know some facts about wavelengths, and may have some experience working with lasers, but that does not qualify anyone to promote a belief or assumption as equivalent to GENUINE, documented laser safety procedures. Any real expert on laser safety or authoritative source online would have disagreed with your assertion about sunglasses offering even weak protection for this application, had you checked before posting the first time, or before coming back to defend your assertion when it was (appropriately) challenged. It would behoove you to now either: look up and post a reputable link (i.e. based on actual medical science) backing up your claim OR read and understand why your assertion was misguided and post a suitable retraction before someone gets hurt. Please.

The Lightning Stalker (author)2014-12-21

Sunglasses will not help. Yes, technically there will be fewer photons hitting the retina, but the difference would be insignificant. Retinal damage will still occur long before triggering a blink reflex. To clarify, when I say they will do "nothing", I mean they will do exactly nothing to prevent eye damage.

The safety glasses sold by McMaster Carr only block some near and far infrared wavelengths. They would be effective for CO2, and some YAG, diode, and HeNe lasers.

If you are looking for the least expensive pair of laser safety glasses that actually work,

Tronclay (author)2014-12-21

You really need someone to tell you NOT to stare directly into a laser beam? Do you make it a habit of staring into the sun too??

sperez perez (author)2014-12-21

Like the another 100 instructables about laser burning, this dont work too.

The Lightning Stalker (author)2014-12-21

Dark sunglasses, or any kind of sunglasses for that matter, will do exactly nothing. Welding masks are also out because they block visible light wavelengths somewhat equally, and a laser can be many times more intense than a welding arc.

Special laser safety glasses are made that block specific laser wavelength ranges while allowing others through so you can see what you're doing. DO NOT BUY SAFETY GLASSES FROM EBAY OR AMAZON! There are other online retailers selling them as well. See my other posts elsewhere on this page.

nak (author)2014-12-21

Awesome, I'd like to see someone take your circuit and make a small laser cutter/engraver... maybe I'll do it sometime :)

SolidRaven (author)2014-12-21

The operational mechanism by why this works could probably be explained a bit better, a so called "joule thief" is actually a very simple switch mode power supply. To be precise its a very simple boost converter, minus the voltage or current regulation that is. Now this is why it actually works very well to limit the heating of the laser diode, but more about that later.

Since I presume most people here are not very familiar with electronics I'll give the simple explanation (a technically correct one can be found on enough websites): When the circuit switches on a DC voltage is applied over the coil and transistor, but the voltage is too low to drive the diode. As a result the current starts to flow through both sides of the transformer into the transistor base and collector. The coil prohibits a very large change in current so it might take a few microseconds, or even milliseconds before magnetic field saturates the ferrite core. (There are a few more things going on here, but that'll only make it harder to understand.) Once this saturation occurs the current to the transistor base will be squeezed off, reducing the current through the collector and lowering the current flow through the transistor. At this point the inductive behaviour of the coil tries to keep the current flowing and starts to increase the voltage to the point where the current starts flowing again, but this time the voltage is high enough to force the diode to conduct. This energy was stored in the magnetic field, once this energy is depleted the voltage starts dropping again and the transistor will start to conduct again. I hope that explains the Joule thief part accurately enough.

Now the laser diode will act as a pulsed diode because of this! Pulsed lasers have a few advantages, you fire it in short bursts which gives the diode time to cool down between pulses. This also allows the momentary light intensity to exceed that which you could normally be achieved. This means there is less time for the delivered energy to dissipate through heat conduction, so the material gets hotter and will start to ablate a lot quicker than without pulses.

Samiran (author)SolidRaven2014-12-21

A big Thanks to Raven for demystify the terms used for needy people...

Thank you once again.

benwade (author)2014-12-21

May i suggest that you inclide in your eye notice the danger of reflected laser light as well?

Samiran (author)benwade2014-12-21

Thanks and added Safety link about LASERs. Any other views of improvement.

MakersBox (author)2014-12-21

Crazy cool hack, but be careful! "You'll shoot your eye out, kid". You could combine this with and make an laser engraver.

jmood (author)2014-12-21

Thanks for making the change suggested by MakerMichaelB. Since infra-red isn't visible to the human naked eye, you can blind yourself easily, literally without seeing it coming. Cats cannot see it either — I wouldn't want to hurt my kitties or dogs. My Dachshund chases a low power red laser pointer like crazy... it's practically the only exercise she gets, that lazy dog!

The video shows it as light, as most digital video camera elements CAN see infra-red. I've been checking my TV and other infrared remotes for a long time by looking through my digital camera to see if they are putting any 'light' out, since the camera can see it but I can't.

The use of a diode from a DVD burner is an excellent idea since the extremely fine focus needed to burn a DVD makes for a very fine engraving with some skill and patience you could do some very ornate and beautiful engraving on the right materials.

I would like to mention (NO, I do not work there, but I am a customer) Dalbani Electronics ( ) often has items no other electronic parts distributor has. They are located in Miami, Florida and ship quickly. I occasionally build Amateur Radio projects and they have been invaluable. Their prices are competitive as well.

The possibility of adding a heat sink as well may reduce your heat problems, such as those used in computer CPU applications (and smaller). A little heat sink & some heat conductive grease and you may get even better output as well as less ruined parts.

Excellent article Samiran.


About This Instructable




Bio: The flow of electrons fascinates me the same way it make a bulb glow.
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