I built my first 7 colour laser and posted it here: 7 colour laser It was far from being the smallest laser I had ever made, I did learn a lot from building it, my next challenge was to try and make a pocket size 7 colour laser....oh, and see if I could fit a spiro projector in it too!
Other than the size of the unit there are no dimensions or drawings to be found here as I made it up as I went along and I will never make another one. I hope it might inspire you to give it a go if lasers are your thing!
Step 1: Starting Point
The optical side of this is very fully covered in my old instructable so I will not repeat it all here, suffice to say I had my starting point with a 3 laser combining unit that works, the only place I strayed from the original was to superglue a plastic cover on to keep out the dust and protect the optics.
Now I needed to scale everything else down around it for pocketability.
Step 2: Enclosure
I had a number of choices for a project box to put this in, sourced from reichelt, an online retailer for industrial and consumer electronics – they offer a range of tools, components, tech accessories and more – save up to 20% on many products".
I could not find my perfect size, which was 30mm high X 110mm long X 55mm wide as I needed a box with a deep lid to get external switches on the split line, I purchased two boxes to cut and shut to get the desired size ( the thin filler piece in the photo's came about due to late design change, see colour control).
Step 3: Drivers
The laser drivers for red and UV were from Rkcstr on Laser pointer forums There are numerous options for laser drivers there if these ones are no longer available.
I mounted them on the side of the optics sled to keep the wiring as neat as possible. The green module comes with its driver attached so nothing needs doing there other than bypassing the push button if fitted.
Step 4: Battery Contacts and Switches
I machined up a support block for the optics and trial fitted it in the box with a set of batteries (one for the green, two for the red and UV) I then could see how to make up the battery contacts and the switch that will turn it off and on.
These parts are all mounted from a plastic tube that fits over the green laser module that protects the drive circuit.
Step 5: Colour Control
My original laser had a pre-selector switch for the colour then an on/off button, this meant that I could not easily switch colours, my new design has a group of three push buttons in a triangle shape, mounted on a piece of veroboard. Each button operates one laser, I started off drilling the lid and having the button tops jut out but then I had one of those moments when a light bulbs pops on in your head!
If you have a triangular button that covers all three push buttons you press a corner for a single colour, press a side to get a combined colour, press in the centre and you get White! This is when I added the extra piece in the top of the box to get the extra couple of mm space I needed for the triangular button top.
Step 6: A Bit More Complication
At this stage I had a working 7 colour laser with its beam emerging from a hole in the end of the box, but look at all that space in the box...it looks like there is enough room in there for a spiro projector with 2 mirrors!
Step 7: Spiro Projector
Two tiny motors, of the type used for vibration of mobile phones, mounted with a small, round, front surface mirror mounted on a brass bracket that has one contact for the motor battery, a switch block with a pot for speed control, all of this clicks into place over the batteries for the lasers.
Step 8: Letting the Light Out!
As the motors are off to the side of the laser beam path I had to add a little 45 degree mirror on a slide that redirects the beam for the spiro, another hole in the end of the box lets the goodness out.
Step 9: All Done, Let's Try It Out!
With everything fitted you can see that I have now used up all the remaining space. Time to try it out.
The video below is very poor quality one taken with a potato but you get the idea :)
The clickyness of the switch has been accentuated by the camera, in life it is nowhere near as noisy.
A slightly better video here clearly shows the difference in size between my first try and this one.