Introduction: Moire LASER Effect With a Handmade Laser

Picture of Moire LASER Effect With a Handmade Laser

Here below is a photo capture of this effect, at times the effect darts off onto the wall 90degrees from the screen. It is very impressive!. It has not and cannot come back at me from while watching, it is safe to do this though I would recomend that it is not setup in an area where other people might bump into the setup and upset the beam path from the intended direction.

I have made a metacafe video showing it in operation

There is a danger of being exposed excessively to laser radiation as with any laser project, yet the beam/effect has never done a 180 turn and come back at me in the viewing area. I would assume this would be attempted by responsible knowledgeable persons who are fully aware of the dangers of experimenting with lasers.

Step 1: Lighter Selection

Picture of Lighter Selection

I had been accumulating all my dead lighters for quite a bit of time with no idea what I would be doing with them till I happened to notice these very cool patterns reflected by my laser from certain types of plastics. I found that the green and blue (blue is best) gave some noticeable patterns. Look at the blue lighter! I have been using it for some time now and it is full of "laserpit" gouges from the beam!

Step 2: Lighter Setup

Picture of Lighter Setup

Here in the you can see how I shoved a lighter into the top of a can. The lighters are sticking up quite high now. I found this to block the viewing of the display a little bit. You may want to shove them down deeper into the can. Also a slight angle was used to get the display to be going up and onto the screen.

Step 3: Laser Stability

Picture of Laser Stability

The LASER was placed on top of a can. After adjustment the laser will wobble back and forth a little bit for quite a while till settling. I eliminated this anoyance by sticking a small wad of tissue paper into the opening and placing the laser upon this.

This laser uses an Open Can diode I found in a Lite On DVDRW drive, it has a 3 tripple A (AAA) cell battery holder and I have a 2.2 ohm resistor in series with the diode and I measured 310ma laser drive current. I used parts from the local hardware stores and for a colimnating lens I used the assembly on the end of a cheapo laser pointer. The lens is made of clear plastic. There is a switch on the end of and if i click it once it is on, click again it is off.

Step 4: Optical Diagram

Picture of Optical Diagram

Here you will see the setup in lighted conditions. It is a "hit or miss" situation to find a good spot along the focal plane and with experience you will learn what works best. A lot of the times you may get an expanding pattern that slowly dwindles and is not animating very fast, this is an indication that my batteries are running low and are in need of a recharge.

People have stated that the lighter may blow up! I have tried both filled and unfilled lighters and have never had one become peirced by the beam. I have no power meter to read the output power so I suppose if a higher powered laser was used it MAY release the gas inside a filled lighter.

With freshly recharged batteries and the right distance/angle the results are very cool!

And again, here is a link to the video if you have not went there yet to see this in operation:

I hope you can also enjoy my little discovery with your high powered laser pointer also!
There have been many times I get a call from friends inviting me over and then requesting that I bring my laser and special lighter along with me for an evening of socialization.


BradK1 (author)2015-01-13

All your bases are belong to us...

belgvr (author)2010-08-03


CyborgGold (author)belgvr2010-08-24

Thriteeeeeenth.... ooh, scary... and I hope you are getting the picture by now Laserco, lol

grenadier (author)CyborgGold2010-09-02


grundisimo (author)grenadier2011-04-20


yanni.vee (author)grundisimo2011-04-25


peetar_webster (author)yanni.vee2011-05-29


belgvr (author)peetar_webster2011-05-30

18th :D

grundisimo (author)belgvr2011-07-21

Infinite-th. I win.

girrrrrrr2 (author)2007-12-09

you should post an instructable on how to make the laser... becuase i like the design of it...

I agree

I second your agreeance and third gir's comment.

flips30240 (author)2008-02-15

I fully agree with girrrrrrr2.

iq_abyss (author)flips302402008-06-18

I second the motion.

viacin (author)iq_abyss2008-08-31


rovinghermit (author)viacin2009-03-07


denimchief (author)rovinghermit2009-04-02


gfella (author)denimchief2009-05-20


marc00703 (author)gfella2009-08-20


grenadier (author)marc007032009-09-01


Herminator (author)grenadier2009-09-02


I guess I'm tenth

ajn142 (author)2009-08-06

your video has been removed from metacafe. thought you should know, as i was looking forward to seeing the video, and i'm sure other people were too.

douglastheman (author)2009-03-30

yeah he should

wazza (author)2008-10-22

IS the green litter melt too? Cause as I have understood, it must be the litter's plastic that melt slowly On you pics the green litter seem not at all melt. Could you explain us how to obtain a moving moire pattern without any melt or moving of the reflector.??? Thanks a lot

ActionTekJackson (author)2007-12-07

I've wanted a high power laser forever, but I can't see spending the wicked laser price for one. I've noticed that parts to build one are significantly cheaper and I do have a bit of electrical experience and understand basic schematics. Though I've never seen any good tutorial on building your own laser. Do you think you could message me with a list of parts that I must have, or even better direct me to, or make an instructable on it? ;-)

Lew8 (author)ActionTekJackson2008-09-12

i will make an instructable soon on how to make a 200mw dvd burner laser, but in the mean time all you really need is 2-3 aa/aaa/c/d batteries a torch to house the enclosure an aixiz module 12x30 5mw from or (they do ship to uk by the way), a 5k potentiometer (smaller is better) and a laser diode from a 16x dvd burner for max power. then connect everything in series withe the can of the diode as the gnd and adjust the pot in series with the diode until a bright red light floods out dont djust any further. instructable coming soon!!!

conundrum (author)2008-01-21

hmm. my idea of using a high powered resistor to get much the same effect (it works by heat basically) seems to have vanished. I really must get around to trying this with a laser pointer sometime, it might be pretty useful. -A

LaserCo (author)conundrum2008-01-27

could you breifly describe that please? sounds interesting

andrewnonymous (author)2007-11-13

man i want one of those, how much did it cost you to make it?

JamesRPatrick (author)2007-11-10

Any danger of ignition with high powered lasers?

LaserCo (author)JamesRPatrick2007-11-10

I cannot answer that because this is my highest powered laser, would you say that it is high powered?

gmoon (author)2007-11-04

This is a nice effect, but I wish you had a little explaination about what a moire pattern is, and how you achieved the results with your setup...

(Note: If that's in the video: I don't generally watch video segments for basic information, only for dynamics that can't be done otherwise--sound, movement, etc. I personally find it irritating to watch a videocast for build information--I'm NOT taking notes on a subject, when text is a much more effect way of communication specifics... Sorry, just my little scree for the day.)

LaserCo (author)gmoon2007-11-04

from wickipedia: "A moiré pattern is an interference pattern created, for example, when two grids are overlaid at an angle, or when they have slightly different mesh sizes. Moiré patterns are often an undesired artifact of images produced by various digital imaging and computer graphics techniques, for example when scanning a halftone picture or ray tracing a checkered plane. This cause of moiré is a special case of aliasing, due to undersampling a fine regular pattern." as far as how it does it I really cannot answer! but it does!. someone once said it was because the beam is passing thru smoke yet I hardly even see any xmoke except for in the beginning when I am selecting a new "reflectance spot" on the lighers surface.

gmoon (author)LaserCo2007-11-04

You should add this to the instrucable! (I knew what they were already, as I've worked with halftone screens in offset printing...but many people wouldn't.)

LaserCo (author)gmoon2007-11-04

I dont think I can go back and change things, I beleive I read I cant while writing this, nonetheless the description I told you is right under the picture one post down, pretty hard to miss! I would like to learn how the moire is created in this case also, hopefully someone posts the reason.

gmoon (author)LaserCo2007-11-04

You surely can edit a published instructable (and don't call you Shirley, right?)

Just go to your 'you' page, and each instructable will have an (edit) link.

Re: metacafe--yes, I see you solved it. So you must have also figured out how to edit ;-).

About the moire patterns: I really don't know what's happening, but I suspect it 's related to multiple reflections from the plastic surfaces (clear plastic and glass reflect from both the outer and inner surfaces. This might be causing an interferometer type of effect, where the resulting two beams are just slightly out of phase.

LaserCo (author)gmoon2007-11-05

That sounds like a reasonable explanation to me, I have had that thought before Hey did you see my reply to your guitar ipod modification?, I cant see my comment in your tutorial and the only way I can see it is if I goto something like "comments made by me" page here.. If you seen it, OK, I will add something I forgot, I use a zoom also! a gfx 707 !

gmoon (author)LaserCo2007-11-06

Sent you a PM as a reply, yesterday.

LaserCo (author)gmoon2007-11-10

Yes I seen the email now, I wouldnt let five dollars limit that project!

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