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This instructable will show you how to assemble a laser module with a TO-5 Laser Module, this can generally be either a 1W 808nm or 1W 405nm diode. But any 9mm diode will do.
This method does not require the use of a press, but it is recommended.

This is a general guide that will apply to all variations of laser cases.
Similarly this will be exactly the same for any other size of laser diode.

Here is a demonstration of a completed identical laser burner module


Step 1: Getting Started

Ok, heres what youll need.
  • 1W 9mm / TO-5 laser diode. I use a 1W 808nm IR laser diode
  • TO-5 laser diode casing
  • Soldering Iron, very clean if possible
  • Lead free solder if possible otherwise get the one with the highest possible tin (Sn) content.
  • Joined different colored wire, 1.5mm or higher
  • Correction Pen/Whiteout or any strong white dye based paint (acrylic is bad)
  • flat Blade screwdriver or 5mm metal pipe
  • Hammer or other hard blunt object
Optionally you can use a press instead of the hammer

Step 2: Inserting the Diode

First step is to push the diode into diode host, this is actually quite hard, and generally impossible without tapping or pressing it with a hammer or press.

Most people wont have a hydraulic press, so ill tell you how to do it with a hammer.

First thing is to place the diode on the housing as in the picture, it sometimes helps to sand/ file down the edges down slightly to make it fit in more smoothly.
Make sure its in as evenly as possible, and get a flat blade screwdriver, place the blade between the terminals of the diode and tap gently a few times until it goes in tight, afterwards, begin tapping at the most elevated point until it goes down, but make sure not to smash and bash it in, a gentle tap will move it enough.

tap one side as it elevates, then tap down the other and eventually it will go down, but dont let the angle become too great or it will jam.

Alternatively, get some strong metal pipe that has a greater inner diameter than the distance of the two terminals, place it over them, even out the diode, and tap it down keeping the tube straight, ensuring your diode goes in flat and evenly.

once complete your diode should look like my second picture.

I cant stress it enough that you tap the diode gently, its very easy to crack the lens if you just smash it in like i did once.

Step 3: Masking the Collimation Lens

Most people dont notice this until its too late, and usually just think its diode degredation, but , as you know, 1W laser beams generally burn black plastic, and the collimation lenses are made of black plastic, i find that within half the range of lens focus, the laser is shining on the lens, causing it to melt and eventually boil and burn causing the inner lens to fog up.

Fortunately this is easily avoided, as you might know, infrared light doesnt seem to have any affect on white colored material unless focused.

In order to combat this issue, all you need to do is put some whiteout / pen correction marker onto the plastic , to do this, perform the following steps
  1. screw the grip ring onto the lens tightly, then flip upside down like in picture 1
  2. along the ring dab white paint ( im asuming any source), along the ring so it fills up the crevas, look to picture 2
  3. from this spread out the paint until it covers the entire face of the lens, like in picture 3, but make sure no paint goes onto the actual lens glass as that will wreck it.
  4. keep thickening the paint until it looks totally white, when done it will look like picture 3

Once finished, move onto the next step

Step 4: Soldering the Leads

The next stage is to solder on the wire leads for the diode. If you have a clean soldering iron, good solder and have basic soldering skills, you should have no problem, however, as this is very heat sensitive stuff, beginners may accidentally destroy their diodes, so ill explain the steps.
The reason you need to have the diode already fit into the module is that it leaves a much wider room for error, the case will draw heat from the diode, lessening the chance of negligently wrecking your diode.

First step is to strip your wire ends and tin them. In case you didnt know, tinning means to have them coated and soaked in solder, this can be done by heating the wire with your soldering iron, and pressing the solder onto the now heated wire, causing the wire to become soaked in liquid solder. Ensure both sides are covered and you are done.

Do the same with the laser diode terminals, however we dont need much solder here, just wipe a bit of solder on the iron over the terminals so they turn silver.

Next, put a little bit of solder on the iron, and put the now tinnned wire alongside the terminal, about half - three quarters of the terminal length, and solder the two together, a small amount of solder on the iron should cause them to fuse together evenly, and the process should be very quick, ensuring you spend as little time heating the diode as possible.

Do the same to the other wire with the other terminal. Always ensure your black or designated negative wire is soldered to the diode terminal with a black ring at its base. Although they are called diodes, lasers are terrible at blocking reverse current and generally die when reverse current is applied. 

Finally, wrap some tape or apply liquid insulant to your negative wire, its optional but i recommend it, one time ive had the positive break off an the laser occasionally stopped working, if it were the negative it will have shorted had it touched the case or positive terminal.

Move to the next step

Step 5: Attach the Lens and Back Case and Your Done

The next and final step is to attach the case and the lens. This will require you to get your grip screwed tightly onto the collimating lens, it never needs to come off so you can even glue it on also you will need your spring and back case ready.

first place your spring over the diode within the threaded area, ensure it is fit over the diode where it should be, it should stay there.

Next, place your secure collimating lens into the threaded area and screw it on while pushing down on the spring.
you'll be screwing by the grip inline with the threading so it must be secure or it will come loose.

After the focusing head is all in place attach your case and you'll be done. Keep in mind the purpose of the spring is to keep the focusing lens from slipping, as it is generally quite loose and wont stay as it is without the spring.

I recommend stripping and tinning  the input wire ends for convenience later, weather your going to run it off a battery, regulator or not at all, tinning your wire into a solid strand will prevent conductivity loss by rusting.

Thats it.
Thank you for reading my instructable, please rate and comment.
Do you think it could be possible to use common epoxy to make a collimation lens or clear epoxy to make an inner lens, ...on your own?
<p>no. these lasers produce a thick line so, a 1 dimensional lens is needed to correct them before you can treat them like a circular dot and focus with a collimation lens</p>
<p>how to shop the diy laser</p>
How much power (for the power source) fo you need?<br>
<p>What do you use for a power supply? Do you use a driver? Thank you.</p>

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Bio: I enjoy building things which i need or want, like coilwinders, coilguns, laser burners ect. I am into a bit of everything, electronics, programming, animating ... More »
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