Introduction: Laser Flashlight Hack!!

Picture of Laser Flashlight Hack!!
Turn a MiniMag flashlight into a powerful DVD laser pointer! This 245mw laser is powerful and fits real cozy in a MiniMag! See the video at the end for the Test Results!

NOTE: This Instructable WILL NOT WORK with any CD burner/player diodes or DVD player diodes!

See the FAQ on the last Step for common questions



UPDATE: If you want to use this as more than just a novelty item, a driver circuit is recommended. See the schematic for details.

Disclaimer: CAUTION! As you know...lasers can be dangerous. Never point them at any living object!T his is not a toy, and this should not be used like a conventional laser pointer. In other words, don't use it in presentations, or to play with pets, or allow children to use it. It should only be operated by responsible persons who understand and respect the potential laser safety hazards.

Step 1: What You Need...

Picture of What You Need...

You will need the following items:
1. 16X DVD Burner. I used an LG burner I had as a spare.


You can buy the Red LASER DIODE HERE

Step 2: And...

Picture of And...

2. A Mini-Mag Flashlight You can get one HERE

3. An AixiZ Laser Module. You can get one HERE

4. Small jewelers screwdrivers, X-Acto knife, metal snips, drill, round file and other small tools.

Step 3: Extract the DVD Laser Diode

Picture of Extract the DVD Laser Diode

After removing all of the screws from the DVD burner, remove the cover and the DVD drawer. This will expose the laser carriage assembly.

Step 4: Extract the Laser Diode..

Picture of Extract the Laser Diode..

While all DVD burners are a bit different, they all rely on 2 rails that the laser assembly moves on. Remove all screws and do whatever it takes to free up the rails so the laser assembly slides off. Disconnect or cut and cabling and flat connectors.

Step 5: Continue Extraction...

Picture of Continue Extraction...

Once you have the assembly off of the burner it's time to start disassembling it by removing all the screws you see. There will be many small screws so be patient. Cut any flat cabling off. There could be two diodes, one for the CD portion of the burner (IR diode) and the actual DVD burning diode (red). That is the one you want. There will be a 3-pin circuit board on the red diode that you want to CAREFULLY remove with a soldering iron revealing 3 pins. You can test the diode with 2-AA batteries and referring to the polarity chart (on the video). You will have to remove the diode from the housing and that will be in a case-by-case basis depending on the burner. The laser diode is fragile so take care in the final extraction process.

Step 6: The New DVD Laser Diode!

Picture of The New DVD Laser Diode!

Here is what your extracting diode will look like!

You can get the burning LASER DIODE HERE

Step 7: Preparing the AixiZ Housing...

Picture of Preparing the AixiZ Housing...

Remove the label from the AixiZ housing and unscrew the housing leaving a top and bottom portion of the housing. Inside the top housing is the original (5mw) laser diode that has to be removed. I used the bottom of an X-Acto knife and with a couple of sharp taps, the original diode will come out. It will likely be destroyed doing this but I have been successful in removing them before but using a very small screwdriver and tapping around the diode until it is freed up.

Step 8: Assembling the Housing...

Picture of Assembling the Housing...

I used a little bit of Arctic Silver Thermal grease and slowly installed the new DVD diode in the AixiZ housing. Using a pair of pliers, I SLOWLY squeezed the edges of the diode down into the housing until it was flush. CAREFUL!

Step 9: Installing It in Your MiniMag!

Picture of Installing It in Your MiniMag!

After soldering two leads to the positive and negative diode connectors, it's time to install it in the MiniMag. After disassembling the MiniMag (remove the top, the reflector, lens and bulb) you will need to enlarge the MiniMag reflector using a reaming tool, round metal file or drill or a combination of all three.

Step 10: Final Step!!

Picture of Final Step!!

Be sure to remove the batteries from the MiniMag and after checking polarity, slip your new DVD Laser housing down into the top of the MiniMag where the bulb would go. Screw the top of the MiniMag on and slip the reflector over the Laser housing. You will not be using the plastic MiniMag lens.

UPDATE: If you intend to use this as more than just a novelty item, a driver circuit is recommended. Here is a basic driver circuit that can be built for this project which will regulate the voltage going to the diode.

Step 11: Test It Out!!

Picture of Test It Out!!

Reinstall the 2-AA batteries and slowly unscrew the top of the MiniMag, turning on your new Laser Flashlight! Caution!! Laser diodes are dangerous and should never be pointed at any living thing. Thanks and I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!

Step 12: FAQ

Picture of FAQ

Here are the answers to common questions about this project.

Q. Can I use a CD player/burner or DVD player Diode.
A. No. Only a DVD burner diode 16x or faster will work.

Q. Do I need the Aixiz Housing?
A. Yes. It serves as a heatsink for the high-power diode and also the focusing element is essential.

Q. What happens to the existing circuit board that is inside the Aixiz housing?
A. It is not used for this project. You can keep it for a lower mA diode like a standard red laser pointer diode or just discard it.

Q. What's with the 'pins' you used?
A. The 'pins' are snippings from old resistors. You can use any sturdy wire. They are soldered to the diode and then inserted in the mini-mag plastic fitting that original held the mini-mag lightbulb.

Q. Can I use a regular laser pointer from the dollar store as the housing.
A. See the previous Question/Answer

Q. Can I use another type of flashlight?
A. Not sure. This project is based on the mini-mag.

Q. My diode is not burning anything. What did I do wrong?
A. In order for the diode to 'burn' it needs to be focused to a fine point and also the object needs to be black or marked black with a Sharpie.

Q. Why can't I see the beam like I can see in the video?
A. I used smoke to make the beam visible.

Q. Should I use a driver circuit?
A. The basis for this project was to show that you could use a diode from a DVD burner and put it in a flashlight and make it 'burn'. Ths is a novelty item and not designed for long-term or regular use. If you want to do that, a driver circuit is highly recommended.

For answers to any laser related questions, check with one of the popular forums like


AlbertW32 (author)2017-03-16

Nice article! You really are the expert. It is hard to find the budget and good led flashlight now.I found the Gearbest <a href=>flashlight laser</a> is good and new. What is your idea?

SHOE0007 (author)2016-09-09

Here is another picture of other lasers in action. The laser was defective and required shipping of another type of laser.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-09-09

I have bought a 250 mw red 650 nm high powered laser and I have built other types of near UV lasers for experiements with living friendly bacteria.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-07-28

A little off topic but I have a 50 mw 532 nm green laser that I tried to convert into at least a 100 to 150 mw burning laser. Unfortunely I could get the mountings between the laser to be removed without possibly damaging the laser.

Ngrob3331 (author)2016-02-19

I bought myself a 3V 650nm red laser diode to build a cutter to cut polystyrene sheet 25 mm thick. I assembeled it in a flashlight but I dont seem to get it to cut the polystyrene. Where is my mistake?

mero55 (author)Ngrob33312016-04-11


I don't know exactly what could be wrong but perhaps polystyrene needs a higher temperature to burn :/ a.k.a a more powerful laser

Good luck!!

mero55 (author)Ngrob33312016-04-11


I don't know exactly what could be wrong but perhaps polystyrene needs a higher temperature to burn :/ a.k.a a more powerful laser

Good luck!!

Soumojit (author)2015-08-19

what is a driver circuit

Yonatan24 (author)Soumojit2016-01-14

There is Google, Google it...

NathanielE (author)2015-03-16

can this work with a cd player???????????????

DIYmasters (author)NathanielE2015-08-04

Hi NathanielE, no this will not work with a cd player, because the light emission from a CD player in infrared light.

RedstoneM (author)DIYmasters2015-09-04

Well, CO2 lasers still have infrared light in the multiwatt range

JoseA41 (author)2015-08-01

i just took a laser diode out of a broken playstation 2 but it's powered by a ribbon cable, no wires anywhere. anyone know how i could use it?

godofpain (author)2015-07-28

Nice!But I want to ask something.What is the laser's range?

mejiggles (author)2007-11-09

ok.... i have a dilemma. i spent $40 on a dvd burner, and i took it apart. i found the carriage where the diode has to be. inside the carriage there were several mirrors/prisms/whatever, and they led to two different holes, where i assumed the diodes would be. (there was no other place they could be!) but instead of finding some normal laser diodes, i found these strange rectangular ones with four pins on the back. they definitely won't fit in the aixiz housing... what should i do? are these really the diodes, or should i continue looking? i have completely dissected this burner, but to no avail...

CamoM1 (author)mejiggles2015-07-15

Mine look similar because I got a DVD/CD burner/player (It did all of the above so i'm lucky) from an old laptop. 1 is the dvd (red) and 1 is the CD (IR, looks like nothing is happening or pinkish). What I did was using a AA (1.5v), test each pin to see which one is + and which one is - . You have to try every combination so be happy it's only 4 pins and not 8, 12, or 16 pins. I found that 1 L.A.S.E.R. turned on and was red while the other looked like it didn't work. Camera's can "see" IR (that's how night vision works) so I labeled each pin 1-4, turned off the lights and started using my laptop camera and screen recorder (Screencast-O-Matic). Each time I tested a connection, I would call out both pin numbers and which one was positive/negative. Finally I looked at the recording and found my + and - terminals. Now, you might be ready to reply to me saying that this doesn't help your case at all... well, it was from a laptop so the laptop cooling fan is connected to a heat sink to cool the laptop faster. You can find a spot for the L.A.S.E.R. to fit in or cut a square/hole into the side of the heat sink for it to fit. This was done with a drill press and a strong bit. If you don't have access to this stuff you can probably find an old desktop computer tower that holds heat sinks, a CD/DVD player/burner, access for USB and other ports, RAM, ROM, and many other components. It doesn't have to work as long as you can get it cheap/free. Otherwise you can go on eBay and search for heat sinks because people that take apart electronics will try to sell parts that they don't need or want. I took apart 2 laptops, 2 Wi-Fi routers, an old digital camera (a monster in size by today's standard, it used floppy disks to save stuff!) and a big boom box. I want to make a EMP/taser thing,and some other cool tings that might even be able to be used by my Arduino. Anyway, I hope I helped at least a little.

CamoM1 (author)CamoM12015-07-15

"Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"


A.C.E. (author)2015-06-05

Kipkay, I'm a big fan of your tutorials! I've been wanting to try this for awhile and I just now found an old dvd burner that still has a good diode I can use. After messing around with this and perfecting the technique, I want to buy one of those 2 watt blue laser diodes and REALLY make something cool!

Anyways, my question is this: How long would a 9 volt battery power a typical red dvd burner laser? I don't know the current the diode is supposed to take yet, so I can't do the math, but I'm wondering if I should just use one 9 volt at first or if I should hook up 2 in parallel. Also, There was a glass lens in the dvd drive, should I try to incorporate that? Or should I just use the adjustable lens that came in the Aixiz housing? The one in the Aixiz housing doesn't appear to be made of glass.. I think it is plastic and I have no idea if the laser will melt it or not.


reda.youssef.1232 (author)2014-12-27

make me one i live in millwood dr in nashville tn my zipcode is 37217

reda.youssef.1232 (author)2014-12-27

make me one i live in millwood dr in nashville tn my zipcode is 37217

akshaylals (author)2014-05-22

I had found out the LD. I desoldered it from the board. But laser is glued into the whole thing. How to get it out. The one I had opened is samsung cd r/w 52X read, 32X rewrite, 52X writeable

starvan (author)2012-10-31

I connected, directly, the positive and negative pins of the laser in 3 AA batteries (4,5V). It turned on for a few seconds, and now it don't turn on with 3V (2AA batteries). Is it broken? :/

The Freak (author)starvan2013-10-07

Probably, yes.

edvin1994 (author)2013-07-27

can i make a module or can i put laser in other stuff or i need to have aixiz alser module

buboop61814 (author)2013-05-13

about how much power does it have?
like can it pop some balloons or light a match?

The nerdling (author)2013-03-23

200mW 650nm Laser Diode Kip Kay project suitable

haha look its you

finn12345 (author)2013-01-30

on estimated time how long do you think this will take

TayTayBob (author)2013-01-08

can you make an iron man plum laser with a blu ray laser that can burn ?

BionicBBQ (author)2012-08-02

Whats the range of the laser?

LightSpeed1 (author)2008-11-21

I was really intrigued by this Instructable. Thank you. I have taken to heart all the cautionary comments, too, so I may not try to build it for myself since it requires enough safety precautions to make it NOT a fun toy to play with; more like a dangerous power tool. The need to put the laser diode into the housing from a low powered laser was not fully explained. But I have deduced from later comments that the reason for the extra housing is: 1) to act as a heat sink for the diode during operation. And 2) The housing includes optics--lenses to focus the laser light to a dot, or a linear ray. I wonder if an alternative source of focusing lenses could be suggested. I am aware that often the primary difference between a good and a cheap laser device is the lenses used. I presume that with only a single wavelength of light, cheaper lenses can be used since there is no worry about chromatic distortion, but still there are cheap lenses and then there are cheaper lenses. The Instructable is sketchy also about the details of the hookup of the laser housing/electronic connections and the flashlight housing. Perhaps this section could be more detailed with closeup photographs. The same needs to be said about the regulator--how would this be fit into the flashlight housing? Is the regulator more for regulating voltage or limiting current? And how does one know where to set it? I suppose one could calibrate it with a multitester and mark the potentiometer for reference. BTW, could a simple resister or pot be used to regulate the current at least, without the rest of that circuit? Just wondering. Apply Ohm's law. It would really be good to research the optimal voltage and current of the diode used to be certain not to shorten its life--perhaps with that knowledge and Ohm's law a simple resister would be all you would need to regulate the current with a a prescribed number of cells powering it. I want to remind people that there is a much more powerful "Laser" that is available for free and requires no batteries. All you need is a mirror and a magnifier. And sunlight. Yes, you guessed it: reflect the sun with the mirror and it really is like a solar powered laser--visible for miles! (Not bad if you are signaling a search plane while lost in the wilderness.) The magnifier is all you need to burn wood or start a fire with the sun as well. Very simple, and obvious, of course, but we forget that when the word "laser" is mentioned, and we conjure up visions of Star Trek or Star Wars. Obviously the same precautions need to be observed with your high powered laser as when using a magnifier with sunlight--as every kid has learned early on when the light starts to burn the skin and he stops as once. The difference here is the fact that the laser beam focuses that energy much farther away from the source than a simple lens does, and the heating of distant objects may not cause as immediate a realization on the part of the aimer. Also the potential of scattered light off of unexpected reflectors doing harm is also introduced, since the longer focusing distance makes it a much more dangerous thing. For instance, shining it through a window perpendicular to the beam will reflect back a large percentage right to the aimer, or bounce it in other unintended places. I would caution against aiming it out windows or at metal or glass or liquids, or plastic bags even. Anything reflective can bounce it in unexpected ways. I learned from this Instructable the fact that DVD burners use visible wavelengths unlike CD readers which are IR. How about CD burners? What do they use? And the new Blue Ray DVD burners: do they have more energy output per mW? Certainly the ability to see the ray you are aiming is a safety feature, making IR or UV lasers less desirable. Thank you again for a truly interesting and informative Instructable.

jerrysl (author)LightSpeed12008-11-28

- Yes the Aixiz housing includes the optics necessary to focus the laser into a beam.
- I don't know if the driver is more for regulating voltage or limiting current, but I do know that you can buy drivers for laser diodes online, or you can make one. The trick for making one is to make it small enough to fit it in the host you want it in (like a flashlight. As for setting the driver to work well with the diode, I don't know how to do that yet, but is a great source for all of that information.
- Blu-ray diodes are about 405nm, which is violet/near UV. Some blu-ray lasers are more/less visible depending on the exact wavelength, which may be off by a few nm. Their power is generally around 100-150mW, where some of the red DVD burner diodes can go up to 200-300mW.
-Another housing you can use is the Meredith module which can be bought here: . According to what I have read on, those have better quality optics that produce more powerful lasers.

Please don't quote me on all that; I'm trying to help, but I'm not entirely sure of the accuracy of those statements.

srice4 (author)jerrysl2012-08-01

I've updated that Meredith-instruments site by the way (I'm their web designer type guy), that link will no longer work. Try this one instead:

dmhjah (author)jerrysl2009-08-13

It didn't look like he used the driver just the housing. Whats your take on that?

jerrysl (author)dmhjah2009-08-14

Well, if I remember correctly, the laser community called out kipkay for not using a driver. While it is possible for it to work without one, the longevity will be reduced, and it still may not work at all. The laser community practically considers the driver an essential part.

dmhjah (author)jerrysl2009-08-14

I saw the driver that is in the laser housing and its pretty small. I guess it might fit under the lid of the minimag that has the two holes to plug the bulb in?

REALONE414 (author)LightSpeed12012-05-20

blu-ray laser diodes work great but the diode from a casio x something projector is the best and you can buy one off e-bay for less then $50. i dont know the casio full name but when you are looking up the item you will see plenty of the right name and model.

reeseecup (author)LightSpeed12012-01-31

thats long

ashannon1 (author)LightSpeed12011-10-30

geez, that's one long post! :-)

mo5 (author)LightSpeed12009-08-14

killjoy...jk :]

applepie3657 (author)2012-07-05

what would happen if you used 2 watts

That is what I'm doing for my Senior Project, creating a computer controlled laser engraver/cutter. First of all, you need a bigger heatsink. Second you will need to use a different driver setup and you will actually need to make 2 and wire them in parallel because the LM317 can only handle a max of 1.5A and a 2W laser is 1.8A. I found this website very helpful

applepie3657 (author)2012-07-05

can you use the same driver in the aixiz housing with the new diode?

Kipkay (author)2009-03-11

Not that I am aware of.

dmhjah (author)Kipkay2009-08-11

Will the driver that comes in the laser housing work with the new diode that is being put in? Cheers

applepie3657 (author)dmhjah2012-07-05

have you done it because i asked the same question

dr4g0nbre4th (author)Kipkay2009-07-12

Hey I live in new Zealand and I can't find most of the stuff I need and I can't buy things online so I don't know how I'm going to make a laser because they look so AWESOME

PlzStndStil (author)dr4g0nbre4th2009-08-20

I'm from New Zealand too and i bought a laser module from Jaycar...but I can't seem to get it open. Are there any other types of laser modules out there that I can use?

applepie3657 (author)2012-07-05

if you cant use the same chip can you use a resistor

applepie3657 (author)2012-07-05

Can you use the same chip from the Aixiz housing when you put the DVD burner diode in the housing

000TOMO000 (author)2007-09-24

Can i use 4.5 volt ?

About This Instructable



Bio: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
More by Kipkay:The Garage Door Alert!Amazing Way to Test Batteries!Mighty Mini Fog Maker
Add instructable to: