Introduction: Powerful Burning Laser

Picture of Powerful Burning Laser

Hello today im going to show you how to make a powerful burning laser from DVD-RW, before we begin I must caution that its very powerful thing and can seriously damage your eyes, be careful.

Step 1: Diode

Picture of Diode

First thing first. We need to take off a laser diode from dvd driver, open it, find moving part with lenses, usually there is you’ll see 2 diodes IR for CD and just red for DVD, carefully take them from hit sinks, better before you start doing that solder together all the diode's terminals, in order to prevent damage from static electricity. Do not throw the rest, lenses may be helpful in this project, and small neodymium magnets good for levitron, if planning to do that. To be honest I don't have any DVD for about 3 years, so I just bought new diodes called LPC836 (Ali ) which is the most powerful one ever used in burners.

Step 2: Optic

Picture of Optic

Now lets talk about optic, as I said before, you can use native lenses from dvd, but you'll have to figure out how to fix them, I recommend to buy aixiz housing (Ali ), pair of dollars will solve all the problems with focusing. Interesting moment, you can buy only housing for about 3 dollars, or 5mw laser module with same housing but a dollar cheaper. So lets put our diode in to the housing, but first if you bought module like me, you need to remove the old insides and then press new diode.

Step 3: Driver

Picture of Driver

Next step is current limiter - driver, sadly we can not just connect diode to the battery its going to die immediately. So we need to build this simple circuit, if you google something about lasers from dvd before watching this video, you probably have seen easier one, I very don’t recommend to make it, when your diode is going to die is just a question of time. So as you can see there is only 2 components:

Chip LM317 (Ali or Amazon) and 3.3Ohm 2Watt resistor (Ali or Amazon). I also used little heat sink, but chip is absolutely cold, so you don’t need it. Solder resistor to the first two LM317’s terminals. And two wires, to first and last terminals, first is going to plus of laser diode and 3 rd to plus of power supply, minus is strait from battery to laser. One important moment, because I used a new diode I was 100% sure that it will handle this current, if you’re not sure use the series connection of two 3.3ohm resistors it’s give you a safe current for almost all diodes from dvd. I used a heat-shrink sleeve to protection from short. That’s it!

Step 4: Final

Picture of Final

If you have a bit more experience you can try to make this driver, which I used for laser from preview. when I decided on the housing, first I made this aluminum washer-heat sink. Then made a new buttum, because needed more space for 18650 battery, I planed to solder all PCBs to the body of flashlight, but didn’t found good flux, so just press it inside. Best what I can imagine with driver board is just glue it on the right place. And at the and, press aluminum washer with collimator.

Step 5: P.S.


tjh20 (author)2017-09-08

Setting aside the tidy laser housing for the moment....Why couldn't the already focused laser assembly be used as is, provided the diode(s) is(are) properly powered? For that matter, keeping the assembly intact would allow operating each of the diodes as desired. And how about a separate driver for each diode to have them both on at the same time. I'm just killing time on the bench, not building a death-ray.

okurt16 (author)2017-03-08

Hi guys. I have a question about laser diodes. I want to make laser engraver. And I want to engrave wood, leather etc also I want to cut balsa wood ( soft wood about 3-4mm), foam for making aircraft models.I need some information about this issue. So how much ?nm , ?mW I need to use? What depends on the cutting this material? How can I calculate? Many thanks

kusc007 (author)2017-02-12

hey what did you use for the battery pack

marderchen (author)2016-10-24

Nice.. (pulsing the laser is much bettet for getting more power.. so maybe try a simple NE555 circuit) but pleas do yourself a favor and do not buy ULTRAFIRE Li-ion cells.. (shown in video the typical red /black stripe look..) (have test they.. the real capacity is only ~1000mAh (mostly they are labled with 4800mAh etc...) also the don't supply a high current.. (and its dangerouse to charge them fast ) but the hole tink looks expensive.. ( have buyed one.. some time ago.. (not sou powerfull like yours.. but it works .. maybe finde some time to change the "resistor circuit to STM32 or NE555 puls circuit.. ) =^.^=

lukeuser (author)marderchen2017-01-01

The trick of buying Ultrafire and other cheap Li-ion batteries is knowing what you're getting. Even with the significantly lower capacity and low current (this laser only needs a quarter of an amp), they can still be good value from my experience, as you can get them dirt cheap.

fhedew (author)2016-10-24

I have no experience in electronics, but I was very interested in the tutorial you did. What is the name of the Chip LM317? I mean, has the chip a generic name?

w7ov (author)fhedew2016-12-30

The LM317 is an adjustable voltage regulator. In the configuration shown it operates as a constant current source. See the document here for the LM317 spec's:

Niii Pawww (author)2016-12-30


RileyM30 (author)2016-12-29

can you make this a safe and/or a non-burning laser?

brookelin68 (author)RileyM302016-12-29

I also need this. Who can help us :D

No laser is 100% safe, but if you use a 1-5mw laser diode module from a reputable source it will be reasonably safe as long as it is actually 5mw or less. Or just buy a red pointer. They are like $2.

Nader79 (author)2016-12-29

I remember I saw a laser pen in the past that used to make a noise when you press the momantory button it's like there is a mini cooling fan inside the pen or similar to low noise laser systems, that was in 1991,the beam was dim red probably around 680nm wavelength I'm guessing, not sure about the output though . So is it possible to use a micro cooling fan in a laser pen? I know what I heard when I placed the pointer next to my ear..

ronkrifchin (author)2016-10-23

Looks like a fun basic project but not very useful for cutting or
etching. Nice presentation... However, at
380mW+ CW or 570mW+ Pulse it clearly lacks power to do very much except

elufo made it! (author)ronkrifchin2016-10-23

Hi Ron, if you focus a 380mW with a good collimation CRYSTAL lens (not plastic), you can engrave soft wood, leather or cut black plastic, vinyl or EVA:

Ghostrider513 (author)elufo2016-10-23

Think you could create a ible for a laser to remove tattoos? If this will focus enough to etch leather, that it's just enough to remove tattoos in the epidermis. They charge a fortune ($1,000.00 a sq inch) for tattoo removal. This could help a lot of people land their great job. Narrow minded image conscious employers won't hire people with tattoos in the corporate sector. I know, I've been held back most of my life. I have an MS in CJ and tats held me back.

RussellS8 (author)Ghostrider5132016-10-24

Noooooo no no no no no! You are suggesting home surgery.

If you go to the doctor, you are guaranteed access to antibiotics and pain medication. Plus you have an expert who is trained and knows what they are doing, plus the laser settings are set to the right tolerances right between the therapeutic and permanent skin damage. Plus the wavelength of the light has to be exactly right. It has to burn the pigment and not the skin. The burning from tattoo removal is from the pigment being blasted, not the skin.

mickeypop (author)RussellS82016-12-29

What you suggest is both dangerous and would not work anyway .

The Eximer laser used to remove tats is UV in the 125-350 Nano Meter frequency area. UV below 335 causes cellular tissue damage and only VERY brief exposure should ever be considered. It is also un-focused beam and pulsed. If a focused burning laser were used the burn scars would likely be worse to look at than the tats.

The laser from the DVD depending on year model and which laser you use is between 440 - 650 red to UV light.

Laser removal actually bleaches the ink and the frequency of light is critical for it to work.

IE; red (635 nm, 660 nm), violet (405 nm) and darker blue (445 nm)

Having designed many systems that use lasers, medical and non-medical, playing with lasers on the skin is just not a smart thing for anyone to do.

Leave it to the pros.

Ghostrider513 (author)RussellS82016-10-24

You seem like you know what you're talking about so make an Instructable that does that. I'm sure if this laser doesn't cut me at the supermarket, then there's not much of a danger here, right? If the laser is cutting, then it's also cauterizing the wound immediately. Good prep and should be alright. Normal dressing afterwards would be about the same as getting a tattoo.

PreetS4 (author)Ghostrider5132016-10-23

I think the concern is skin cancers and other damage. If you take care and do the science before hand I think this is a great suggestion.

Ghostrider513 (author)PreetS42016-10-24

Thank you.

M4n0v3y (author)elufo2016-10-24

Greate! Could you share some schematic about this collimation CRYSTAL lens for us?

elufo (author)M4n0v3y2016-10-24

In step 2, you have a link to buy an Aixiz housing.
By default, this kind of (cheap) housings comes with an acrylic collimating lens that blurs the laser spot contour.
Simply replace it with a glass one like this.

RileyM30 (author)2016-12-29

how can you make this a...

fhedew (author)2016-10-24

I have no experience in electronics, but I was very interested in the tutorial you did. What is the name of the Chip LM317? I mean, has the chip a generic name?

abrannan (author)fhedew2016-12-29

LM317 is the generic name.

palogia (author)2016-10-24

Thank you for sharing your nice laser project. Something is not very clear though. You start by describing how to build the simple LM317 circuit and at the end you present the more complex NCP1529 circuit. Why would you use one over the other. What are the advantages, if any, of the 2nd over the 1st circuit.

forengineer (author)palogia2016-10-24

I can answer this question for the author. The NCP1529 is a switching regulator and is considerably more efficient than the linear regulator, LM317. Results in longer battery life.

GianlucaG1 (author)forengineer2016-12-29

but LM317 is a current regulator, then current flowing in the diode is fixed, instead the switching regulator is a voltage regulator, then current raises with the raising of temperature!

RicksterInstructables (author)2016-11-01

Naive question.

Is this focused to "burn" at a specific distance (matches, tape etc.), or is the "full" beam powerful enough to burn "anywhere" along it's length (sounds dangerous)?

I mean where would you point it to test it that it wouldn't cause damage... Oops. Burned a hole in the wall...

GregoryL20 (author)2016-10-23

There are many interesting and exciting things about this circuit. First of all, I didn't realize a 5mW red laser diode could burn like that! But one lesson, other than the interesting laser diode, would be the simple negative feedback to the LM317, by putting the Vadj AFTER the resistor, in order to regulate thermal runaway. I know it's a simple principle, but still interesting and important to electronics where you want current regulation. Just off the top of my had, I imagine someone could introduce a Zener diode in parallel with a resistor to regulate Iout.

TCSC47 (author)GregoryL202016-10-26

It is an order of 100 times 5mW.

How-ToDo (author)GregoryL202016-10-23

So, actually 5mw LD couldn't burn at all, LPC 836 I used in this project is about 400mw, and 5mw laser module is only a donor for lens and housing

JohnG220 (author)2016-10-25

Neat instructable. But no need to solder the leads of the diode together to prevent ESD damage, just wear an ESD wrist strap connected to ground when handling, and when transporting carry it in a metallic foil bag.

expedientSentient5 (author)2016-10-24

This is great.I didn't realize that the dvd laser was so much greater than 5mw.Can a multiple number of these be fed into the same lens,or will they interfere?Could various colors be used(Blu-ray,regular,cd,etc)?Theses things will burn out your retinas,right?

sk8nfool (author)2016-10-24

Your driver circuit design limits the diode current to 378 mA (1.25/3.3)
which means the resistor would dissipate 472 mW (0.378 ^ 2 x 3.3 watts). A 2 watt resistor is a
bit of overkill.

MHB02 (author)2016-10-24


mxx (author)2016-10-24

Looks very interesting!

Ghostrider513 (author)2016-10-23

So what about a laser that can be used to remove tattoos? Blue laser from a BluRay would be too much but this might work if used properly. As an 18 yo, I got several tattoos, Now that I'm 56, I have a couple that I want to remove. Light burning is what they use in a Dr. office and if this will barely etch leather, that means it would work for tattoos. Anyone want to create something like that?

DO NOT DO HOME TATTOO REMOVAL. Tattoo removal lasers are MUCH more powerful (like 5-10 watts) than diode lasers like the one in this instructable. The lasers used in tattoo removal are Argon gas lasers, in the IR spectrum, and they are pulsed by a special pwm circuit, and applied to the skin for 5-10 MILLISECOND bursts (depending on skin thickness/color). If applied in a constant on state, it would cut your arm off.

jlg58 (author)2016-10-23

is it powerful enough to point out stars without straining to see the laser ?

mattt87 (author)jlg582016-10-23

This laser pointer is used by astronomy teachers to point at stars. 20 dollars and it also comes with mounts to place on rifle

Graham Mantel (author)2016-10-23

looks great and easy to make. I can think of many uses of this device, such as fire lighting when out tramping, or just a hi power indicator light. This is great and worth trying thanks for the idea

fjr_scoot (author)2016-10-23

Excellent & informative. Thank you!

AngstromLogic (author)2016-10-23

Nice instructable.

Please note that although not a 2000mW laser, the 380mW is more than sufficient to blind humans and PETs. Caution.

Krell Metal (author)2016-10-23

Vey nice instructable my friend, Easy to follow and the end result is great!

MHB02 (author)2016-10-23

ایول خیلی باحال بود

dungnh2609 (author)2016-10-20

Wow! So useful!

TCSC47 (author)dungnh26092016-10-22

So, what do you use it for?

Mjtrinihobby (author)2016-10-21


RGBFreak (author)2016-10-20

Great article! Thank you for this :) I subscribed

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Bio: Just do things, electronics, woodwork, etc.
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