A TEA Laser is Nitrogen Laser that operates at standard pressure and temperature. In fact, many operate using normal air which is over 75% N2. Normal air has a property known as super radiance. This means that air can produce a laser beam without bouncing light with mirrors that most lasers require. This fact saves us much time and money. Now, before we start let me give you the needed warnings. First, this laser outputs light in the UV range. This can be very dangerous for your eyes. UV protecting sunglasses can help save your eyes. Furthermore, this project uses high voltages and charged capacitors when operating. Read the High Voltage guide from the laser cutter contest for safety information and how to generate the voltage needed. I would also like to say that I figured out how to build this laser by reading many very helpful websites for the past 3 weeks. A quick search of "TEA Laser" will find most of them. I am merely assimilating this information and adding my experience as I go. I have understood laser theory for a long time but this is the first practical laser design I have worked with.
Alright, lets get started building the laser. The second file is a schematic of sorts detailing the laser
Step 1: The electrodes
This is the most important part of the laser. Find some small strips of very straight metal. shorter strips will be easier to use later. I used some small pieces from an old erector set. Use electrical tape to make handles as the picture shows.
Step 2: The base
find a sturdy base to build your laser on. it should be similar in width to the rails and and about 1.5 - 2.5 times longer. Sand this smooth so that it won't damage any parts.
Step 3: Capacitor ground plate
Now you will need to cut a piece of aluminum foil slightly smaller than the base. Use super glue in one corner so that it won't slide around. This will serve as the bottom half of the 2 capacitors this laser uses.