Homemade laser pointer

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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

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)
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Orngrimm1 year ago
pinomelean (author)  Orngrimm1 year 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...
baecker034 days 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)  baecker034 days ago

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

aniket virkar3 months ago

how long does the battery lasts ?

pinomelean (author)  aniket virkar3 months ago
With the diode at 50mA, it can last 6h
bneo995 months ago

How long does the battery last?

pinomelean (author)  bneo995 months ago
I haven't tested it, but i think it can last about an hour and a half...
Nixylix925 months ago

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

pinomelean (author)  Nixylix925 months ago
I think they need a different voltage.
aspina258 months 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)  aspina258 months ago
Maybe a 3.3ohm one?
Where did you get the stuff????
pinomelean (author)  stevenator20008 months ago
The laser diode was from a dvd reader (burners are more powerful) the componesta were both from old boards and from ebay.
DragonDon9 months ago
Truly a James Bond moment here! Cool.
Nitroxium9 months 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?
Ragingwasabi9 months ago
i really wanna make this... i just dont have the electronic components -___-
edvin199411 months 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
THEFORREAL11 months 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.
edvin199412 months ago
what size pcb need to be
pinomelean (author)  edvin199411 months ago
About an inch wide an as long as it still fitting into the battery.
If you're using anothes casing, it can be bigger.
edvin199412 months ago
can u pls say what are u using and what can i use for lens and laser to place pls
pinomelean (author)  edvin199411 months ago
I used a threaded tube from a potentiometer and it's nut for focusing, a piece of brass tube to hold the nut, the lens was from the same DVD burner sled... ¡Improvise it!
edvin199412 months ago
where to find the parts -LM 317 voltage regulator
-2x 10ohm 1/2w resistors
-1N4001 or somilar diode
-One 100nF capacitor
-A 100ohm potentiometer
-A push button
pinomelean (author)  edvin199411 months ago
You can look for them in radioshack, ebay, jameco...
edvin199412 months ago
is the laser beam in air visible
where can i find potentiometar at home
pinomelean (author)  edvin199411 months ago
The semi-infrared diode that i used is not visible in clean air. But there are some red diodes (totally red) that are more shini with the same power.
edvin199412 months ago
can i use other capacitor or it must be 100nF capacitor
pinomelean (author)  edvin199411 months ago
You can use a different capacitor, but with a similar value.
edvin199412 months ago
where to vode
waldosan12 months ago
the lm317 usually comes with a reverse voltage detector and safety crowbar/fuse circuit. voltage regulators in the lmxxx family are very sturdy, you literally cannot set them on fire without a torch since they have temperature safety circuits as well.
nancyjohns1 year ago
I'm rooting for you because my 9v battery flashlight didn't get in.
9v battery flashlight.bmp
diy_bloke1 year ago
I have a laser from a laser printer. Maybe I should give that one a closer look. Thanks for the article
Please be careful with the laser from a laser printer - the beam may well be Infra Red rather than visible. You won't be able to see it but it will still damage your retina just as a visible laser would. The first thing you will notice will be black spots on your field of vision but by then it will be too late. Take care!
Thanks but as I know the damger of lasers I would not even dream of looking at them.. ("closer look") might therefore not be the right term.
Did not realize though they could be infrared, but dont worry, I would not be looking into them to see if there was anything visible.

neverteles, thanks for teh warning
stechi1 year ago
I like this. But can you or somebody explain to me why a laser needs to be focussed? I thought the whole point was that a laser produced a parallel beam. It's a long time since physics at school....
ZacWolf stechi1 year ago
If memory serves, red lasers were originally created via energizing an actual ruby tube shaped crystal with mirrored ends with one end having a tiny polarized hole. The photons would bounce back and forth between the mirrors and would only exit the tube when they lined up with the tiny polarized hole.
Almost right - there wasn't a tiny hole - rather one end of the laser ruby rod had a 100% reflective mirror but the other end had a 98% reflective mirror. 2% of the light 'leaked' out through this partially silvered mirror end - this is your laser beam.
A laser emitter, diode based etc, do have resonant cavities that 'lase' when the energy pumped in is enough and the photons being released bounce back and forth in the axis of the cavity, and further emit photons but the photons are mostly aligned parallel but not perfectly, so the beam "diverges" at a small angle( "divergence angle"). A lens is used to reduce this.
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