Introduction: Green Laser Pointer

Picture of Green Laser Pointer

In this project, I built a solid enclosure for a green laser module I brought from futurlec for $15 AUD. This was in response to an older laser module of mine being damaged.

The old laser module's enclosure was inadequate, and I wanted the new one to be sturdier, as well as having options to run the laser in continuous mode as well as push-button mode.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Picture of Materials and Equipment

Materials used were:
1 green laser module. (This particular module takes 5V to run.)
1 double pole, single throw switch.
1 momentary button.
1 4AA battery pack.
2 40mm PVC end caps.
1 short section of PVC.
1 40x40 piece of polypropylene plastic. (from a cutting board).
3mm metric fasteners. (Small bolts.)
Shrink wrap.
Solder.

Equipment used were:
Drill press. (I actually used a mini drill-press that takes a hand drill.)
Dremel with cutting disks and sanding wheel attachments.
Soldering iron.
Blow torch.

Step 2: Drilling and Cutting Plastics.

Picture of Drilling and Cutting Plastics.

I was 1/3rd of the way through the project before I thought to start an instructable. Most of the early stages are pretty simple however.

1. Drill a hole large enough to fit the laser module into the end of one of the PVC end caps.
2. Losely fit the laser module into the end cap, and attach to the PVC pipe.
3. Using the laser module as a depth guide, place two holes for the switch and button just past the module's end.
4. Remove the end cap, and remove the laser module for safety.
5. Using the cutting and grinding dremel tools, cut the polypropylene into a disk that fits inside the PVC pipe. Cut a notch into the disk to allow the electrical cords through.
6. Insert the polypropylene disk into the PVC pipe, just past the holes for the buttons, and drill three 3mm holes through the PVC, into the polypropylene. This is where the metric fasteners will be added to hold the disk in place in future steps.
7. Place the battery pack into the other end of the PVC pipe so it touches the polypropylene (Opposite the laser module end of the pipe.) and use it to mark the required length of pipe.
8. Remove the battery pack, and cut the pipe to length using the dremel.
9. Place both end caps onto the pipe and drill three 3mm holes through the sides of the end caps into the PVC pipe.
10. Finally, remove the polypropylene and end caps, ready for the final construction stages.

The picture below shows what the plastic parts will look like once you're finished.

Step 3: Soldering

Picture of Soldering

The switch and button are wired in parallel, and then attached to the laser module and battery pack. All connections are covered in shrink wrap that was shrunk into place with the blowtorch.
(Except for the one bare terminal that had the shrink wrap too close to the iron while I was soldering. I had to cut it off because it shrunk into the wrong spot.)

This particular laser module seems to be one designed for a pen-type container, and to have direct contact with the batteries. The switch on the module is actually short-circuited by the red and black wires that it came attached to. This suggests to me that the manufacturer repurposed these modules for the electrical hobbyist. Since I was going to do this anycase, I'm not complaining.

Step 4: Circuit and Disk

Picture of Circuit and Disk

The wires from the battery pack are placed into the slot in the polypropylene disk.

Then the battery and disk are fed into the PVC pipe until the disk is in line with the middle row of holes. The disk is fixed in place using metric fasteners. In the second image below, you can see where I've left one fastener out the side.

Polypropylene is very easy to screw into and forms a tight fit, removing the need to use nuts on the ends of the fasteners.

Step 5: The Magic of Hot Glue.

Picture of The Magic of Hot Glue.

The laser module is inserted into the PVC end cap with the hole and stuck in place with LOTS of hot glue.

Step 6: Fitting Switch and Button.

Picture of Fitting Switch and Button.

This was the fiddly bit. There is only about 40mm of free space inside the pipe, and I have REALLY thick, stubby fingers. :-(

The switch and button are pushed through the holes and locked in place using nuts and washers. Then the PVC end cap with the module is pushed into place and locked with metric fasteners.

Note that I made sure there was enough length on the battery pack cords that it could be pulled out from the other end of the container.

Step 7: Moooooreeee Power.

Picture of Moooooreeee Power.

Here I am putting the batteries into the battery pack.
The batteries I used are rechargable Eneloops. They take a night to charge, but stay charged for up to a year if you leave them lying around. The only hastle is that they only give 1.2V. This is why I used 4 to charge the 5V laser module. We will see if they have enough voltage to keep the laser running for long periods of time. Needless to say I'm NEVER using 1.5V alkalines with this project.

Step 8: Padding for the Battery Pack.

Picture of Padding for the Battery Pack.

I slid the battery pack into the PVC pipe, padded the pack with some cotton wool, and then attached the other PVC end cap and screwed in the metric fasteners.

Step 9: Final Product

Picture of Final Product

And done.
If the switch is flipped forward, the laser module turns on and stays on.

Edit: There seems to be a bit of a problem with the module heating up in continuous use mode. The laser module comes with inbuilt thermal regulation and the laser gets dimmer with long term use. I'll add on my solution to this once I find something that works.

Comments

Schmidty16 (author)2013-08-01

Does it burn

curious youth (author)2011-08-24

use a heatsink lad

ancienthart (author)2011-08-02

The only issue I have with it, is the laser compartment warms up too much. Still have to drill some holes in that section of it.

Skwerl (author)2010-06-16

hot glue does melt at a low temp, and lasers get pretty hot. so i wouldnt recommend this on a strong strong laser.

Stevie89 (author)Skwerl2010-07-01

Epoxy then?

ancienthart (author)Stevie892010-07-01

The laser is moderately powered at best, and I chose hot-glue deliberately so that I could remove the module later if I stuffed something up.

Stevie89 (author)ancienthart2010-07-01

What about the .... aaaa.. damn don't remember the damn but something like gorilla glue? they make "duct" tape.. it's stronger then glue, high temperature?

Thereyouhaveit (author)Stevie892010-12-21

Or some white gaffer tape .

That sounds like a nice idea.
Currently I'm having difficulty with the diode overheating - I suspect that while it gives out 50mW of light, it consumes a heck of a lot more electrical power, and puts out a lot more heat.

It might be because of it's efficiency , lasers are set to give out 50mW until overheating comes in .
But its different with fluorescents , because the amount of heat they give out , + the amount of light = total energy .
That means 40W might actually mean 35W , because they don't have efficiencies matching LED's

Thereyouhaveit (author)Skwerl2010-12-21

If it is 50mW , the heat is quite manageable even after 10mins of constant shining , even if you are holding the end where the diode is .

Thereyouhaveit (author)2010-12-21

That's not good ... its only about 10mW , what's the lightning around you ?

junits15 (author)2010-07-03

what is so special about eneloop batteries?

ancienthart (author)junits152010-07-22

They hold a charge for a long time. 80% over a year. And that's not marketing hype. They last so long, I often have a hard time remembering where I put the recharger when my camera batteries need a top-up.

tunkymunky (author)2010-07-21

good instructable. the only critsism i will have to make is that it looks kinda bulky. other than that it looks pretty cool

meagherze (author)2010-06-29

where did u get the laser module from? im in aus and im not sure where i can buy from, or import from to make my own

ancienthart (author)meagherze2010-06-29

www.futurlec.com.au They're based in Taiwan, and it takes 3-4 weeks by regular post, but at $15, I can wait.

Skwerl (author)2010-06-16

rechargeable always means power fluctuation. if your driver is not very good you can pop your laser.

ancienthart (author)Skwerl2010-06-25

Ouch. The driver comes with the laser module, and since it's so cheap, it probably isn't all that good. :(

toxicwolf (author)2010-06-14

it looks a lot like a pipe bomb was that on purpose or what either way it is cool

ancienthart (author)toxicwolf2010-06-15

Actually noooooo. :( I wanted to use this as a demonstration laser in the science classes I teach, but now I'm too paranoid - the kids pick up on connections like this too fast as it is.

toxicwolf (author)ancienthart2010-06-16

lol well im in 9th going to 10th grade and i know how most students are for example: my algebra teacher brought in a vase well the vase looked similar to a bong and he got reported by a teacher cuz one of the snoby students said it wuz a bong and he wuz using it with weed and he almost lost his job (he used to be a botanist i think he said) so he loves flowers thats why he brought the vase cuz he wuz bringing in some tulips to go in the class.. but on to the whole pipebomb thing maybe if u made a box out of a old cell phone like one of those old nokias the a nice size i used to have one but i wanted my uncle who was a sapper to show me how to make a remote detinator out of a phone well i let him use mine cuz i never liked it cuz the size i was about 9 or 10 then and i still remember how to make them but i never make them cuz ive got no reason

lemminggenocide (author)2010-05-15

legality of ownership varies from state to state
for most states there are no laws but in vic they are completely illegal as lasers, but not as components of tools or machines.
you can buy 1mw red ones from cheapo stores, but you'd struggle to see the light that they emit :/

I'm pretty sure they're still legal up here in Queensland, though I'm sure that won't last long. I originally bought it so I could use it for optic demonstrations in the science classes I teach. The little red ones can't be seen from the _front_ of the classroom, let alone the back. Living near an airport, I'm too paranoid to use it anywhere else in public.

KentaGrace (author)2010-05-04

Is it just me, or does this thing look like a bomb?  I suggest that you DO NOT bring this with you on any kind of flight.  Just saying, but it's always best to be cautious of this kind of look.

ancienthart (author)2010-04-27

Hi Fashim,
This particular power of laser pointer is borderline in Australia. I think the 100+mW lasers (e.g. Wicked Lasers) aren't allowed. The 10mW green laser pointers are legal, as long as you don't use them outdoors, especially near airports.
There IS talk about bringing in a law to require a license, which I think is overkill - they're not that powerful. :(

four_eyes954 (author)2010-04-26

It looks like a bomb lol but nice ible

Fashim (author)2010-04-26

Is this like the illegal ones that arent allowed in Australia?

ancienthart (author)2010-04-25

Thank you. Having the dremel tool made all the difference - the disk sanding tool was used on all cuts to get rid of the burrs.

rimar2000 (author)2010-04-25

What neat work!

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