Laser Flashlight Hack!!





Introduction: Laser Flashlight Hack!!

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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...

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...

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

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..

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...

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!

Here is what your extracting diode will look like!

You can get the burning LASER DIODE HERE

Step 7: 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...

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!

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!!

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!!

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

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

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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?

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


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.

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?

2 replies


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!!


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!!

There is Google, Google it...

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

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

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?

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

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...

2 replies

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.

"Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation"


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.


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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