Picture of Homemade laser pointer

Last week i purchased a laser pointer for my little brother, I told him to be careful with it. Two days later, he opened the laser and broke it, he was sad and i decided to make a new one.
I started to look for instructables about laser pointers and there were laser drivers, laser burners, laser spirographs... But no simple pointers from dvd readers laser diodes (i didnt want to buy a new laser on the internet and in my small city i didnt find any).
Then i decided to mix all instuctables i saw to make a easy laser pointer with some recycled materials. (I didn't made it able to burn because it is mainly for my brother)

Enjoy that instructable and make your own laser.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
What i needed to make that laser is:
- A laser diode, I used visible red diode, but you can use the color you want (or the one you have)
-LM 317 voltage regulator
-2x 10ohm 1/2w resistors
-1N4001 or somilar diode
-One 100nF capacitor
-A 100ohm potentiometer
-A push button
-The PCB (step 2)
-A case (step 4)
-A focusing system (steps 5 & 6)

Step 2: The driver

To make a proper driver for the laser diode, etch the PCB and solder the components as shown in the diagram.

Some people only connects the LD with a resistor in series, but that driver is a better (but more expensive) way to use a laser diode.

The LM371 varies the voltage the LD uses (i cutted the top because it didnt overheat, i think i does not affect the way it works), the two 10ohm resistors in parallel set the maximum voltage and current the Laser Diode will get, the pot allows adjustment of output current, The 1N4001 diode protects the LD from a negative input as battery placed wrong, but LM317 can't deliver neative voltages, so maybe it is not necessary, and the capacitor protects laser diode  from immediate  power supply especially when switching on.

This driver is a mixture of what i have seen arround, so, if something should not go there, please tell me.

Step 3: Plug to battery

Picture of Plug to battery
I had an old battery, and when i thought i was going to use a 9v battery as power supply, i decided to use this one as case and plug.
After you open it, if it is new, use the batteries inside, don't throw them!

I soldered the battery plug to the circuit input, making sure it was correctly polarized.

Step 4: The casing

Picture of The casing
As i've said, i used the old battery as a case for the driver, i sanded it and i drilled some ventilation holes because i cutted the top of the LM317 regulator.
Maybe you like to give it a paintjob, but i decided to leave the metal polished.

Step 5: Laser housing

That two steps are a guidance for you, because i used parts that i had on hand, that sure you don't have, you have to improvise, or buy a laser housing with its lens.

Step 6: Focusing system

Picture of Focusing system
For the focusing system i used a potentiometer threaded part and its nut and a salvaged lens from the dvd reader.
It is not perfect but it focuses the beam ad it's free!

Step 7: Putting it all together

I connected the driver to the laser diode and after making sure it works, i insulated the driver with tape, i introduced it into the case and i glued it to prevent pulling it out with cyanocrylate, But epoxi would work better.
The laser housing was hot glued making a diode replacement easier.

Step 8: Done!

Picture of Done!
P5310060 copia.png
The laser pointer war finished and ready to use, my little brother is now happy with it's new pointer and the cats in the street :3.
The laser reaches 150ft if you focus it well and it is about 5$ in materials and made by yourself!

If you liked my instuctable, please, vote me in the Epilog laser, pocket-sized electronics and battery powerwed contests.

If i win the laser cutter, thing that probably will not happen, I'll use it for engraving everithing i can, for cutting gears, cases, 123D kits... It would be totally awsome!

Feel free to ask me anything you didn't understand or propose upgrades.
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Orngrimm2 years ago
pinomelean (author)  Orngrimm2 years ago
Thanks. Now I see why I thought it was too simple: you simply drive the diode with no feedback. That's what normally the 3rd pin is for (as you asked). From this pin you can read back the laserpower.
Think of it like a small solar cell inside the laserdiode which gives you voltage in a function of laserpower.

Honestly I think you don't need that here since you don't need to compensate the few microwatts dropped in laserpower due to heating and such...
spitfire12342 months ago

does it burn

pinomelean (author)  spitfire12342 months ago

No, it uses a 5mw diode.

would it burn if i had used a diode from lets say a dvd burner

Nitroxium1 year ago
Yo,I have a lens used in laser and a really powerful bulb.Will you folks help me in making a laser outta it?

It would not work because a laser diode does not produce light light a bulb, it concentrates light into a beam which is why they are dangerous and powerful. On the other hand, a bulb will produce light waves in a scatter and not a beam.

Do I need a potentiometer if I am going to keep it on max current? I want to make this I just don't want to spend an extra $3 for 20 100Ω trimpots (yes i know my schematic will be different) and have an extra 19. Can i substitute it with a jumper wire or make the connection solid?

thismatters1 month ago

According to my understanding of the LM317, the other end of the potentiometer should be connected to ground.

pinomelean (author)  thismatters1 month ago

I'm not using it as a voltage regulator, but as a current source.

Okay, in that case shouldn't the resistor be in series with the load? Several sources cite that as the way to implement a current source using an LM317.  It is hard to argue with your results; the laser pointer works. However, I'm at a loss to explain how your circuit works.
pinomelean (author)  thismatters1 month ago

Yeah, you're right, i used this circuit i found in other pages when i had no idea of how it worked, and now i would use a different one.

I actually have little idea of what this particular circuit is doing. But it works.

DanielM341 month ago

Robaron tus imagenes y las expusieron en

They stole your images and presented here as your own, you can go to the site and report copyright ... greetings


pinomelean (author)  DanielM341 month ago

He/she took the effort to traduce my article and added a link to this instructable, i'll just let it be.

Thanks for the warning, though!

Use téminos first person is taking and misleading others as his own their work despite having the link to this page ..

spitfire12342 months ago


spitfire12342 months ago

does it burn

nilanjanduke 5 months ago
is this burning laser?
Wiebejamn7 months ago

Where did you get your PCB? That's the only part im struggling with. Also, the voltage regulator I bought at radio shack is huge in comparison to yours and there no way it will fit in the battery case

pinomelean (author)  Wiebejamn7 months ago

Yhe pcb is listed under "copper clad" on ebay.

The regulator was a regular lm317 in to-220 package, but i cut off the metal part.

hdfilmsitesi8 months ago

vay anasısı süper

kavehazeme9 months ago
baecker031 year ago

one thing which I would love to see is more detail in focusing the laser. At the moment I am looking to build some laser measuring equipment for some projects without having to drop the exorbitant amount of money which these things cost.

FYI for the housing, aluminium, brass, or copper would be ideal candidates... although aluminium is more fragile, and brass is less heat conductive.

pinomelean (author)  baecker031 year ago

I made this for that same purpose, not the best materials, but easy,cheap and efective.


can I use this dvd burner diode for laser engraving on paper and plastic material??

how long does the battery lasts ?

pinomelean (author)  aniket virkar1 year ago
With the diode at 50mA, it can last 6h
bneo991 year ago

How long does the battery last?

pinomelean (author)  bneo991 year ago
I haven't tested it, but i think it can last about an hour and a half...
Nixylix921 year ago

hey there, is it possible to use the laser from a PSP lense?

pinomelean (author)  Nixylix921 year ago
I think they need a different voltage.
aspina251 year ago
i was wondering if there would be a good substitute for the 10-ohm resistors, seeing as the Radio shack in my town does not carry them.
Thank you,

pinomelean (author)  aspina251 year ago
Maybe a 3.3ohm one?
Where did you get the stuff????
pinomelean (author)  stevenator20001 year ago
The laser diode was from a dvd reader (burners are more powerful) the componesta were both from old boards and from ebay.
DragonDon1 year ago
Truly a James Bond moment here! Cool.
i really wanna make this... i just dont have the electronic components -___-
edvin19941 year ago
can i use a normal dvd diode or it need to be a dvd burner diode and do i need pcb board or can i use copper strings
THEFORREAL1 year ago
Great a 9 Volt battery is "three AAA's". Aside from that it kinda reminds you of a "Zippo" lighter. So,I Was thinking the Zippo would be very cool looking Laser and thinking it would be nice to have a Laser in a package that size maybe the length of the two halfs of the zippo case together.
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