Introduction: How to Make a Laser Diode Driver That Enables You to Burn Paper

Picture of How to Make a Laser Diode Driver That Enables You to Burn Paper

A cheap laser diode is the first thing you need to make your very own high powered laser capable of burning paper.1000s of laser diodes  have died due to the lack of proper drivers A laser diode is current hungry, it will take all it can get.
i  would advice you to wear safety glasses and not fool around while doing this project  have fun and be carefull

what we are going to  make today is something called as the LM317 constant current driver

so lets make one

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

what we are going to need is 
1 laser diode (you could hack it out of a dvd drive) x1
2 10uf 16v capacitor or 10uf 63v capacitor x1
3 1n4007 diode x1
4 10 ohm resistors x2
5 100 ohm variable resistor x1
6 lm 317 voltage regulator x1
7 veroboard x1
8 soildering iron 
9 solder
10 heat sink
11 switch
all done !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Step 2: What Actually Happens Inside the Circuit?

Laser diode (mine is red you could buy any color it hardly matters)
10 microfarad 16v capacitor (protects Laser Diode  from immediate  power supply especially when switching on/off)
1N4007 rectifier diode (protects Laser Diode  if batteries are inserted the wrong way )
2 X 10ohm resistors in parallel ( sets the maximum voltage and current the Laser Diode will get)
100ohm variable resistor (allows fine adjustment of output current )

IMPORTANT! the switch MUST be placed between the battery and the driver, NEVER between the driver and the laser diode! doing so is as good as not making one of these

Step 3: Solder It Up

Picture of Solder It Up

solder all the connections properly and always test your driver using a bulb before using your diode any wrong connections would kill it 
also  always short your capacitors

have fun and do not point it on naked eyes


shashankp20 (author)2016-11-18

where's the diagram ?

zacka21 made it! (author)shashankp202017-02-15

Hi, i tried to follow this instructable’s steps, but the laser refused to burn any thing even a paper .after a lot of research i found that to make a burning laser you need an advanced circuit diagram which now I’am trying to make ,however if you’re interested on the circuit diagram of this instructable i but 3 of them down bellow (choose one of them ,all of them worked well).If you’re also interested on my circuit diagram I’ll send to you when I finish it .

Note : those diagrams and the circuit on this instructable used to connect the laser diode safely to the power supply especially if you’re using more then 4 volt NOT to burn things .

JureH (author)2016-05-10

which one exactly i must use?




anuragtheviper (author)JureH2016-07-30

both nearly same.
I use lm317 .. not lm317t

Mind2Shape (author)2016-01-13

Congrats Wade, youve won the award for "most repetitive commentator"

phillip 29 (author)2015-09-13

RaviB6 (author)2015-07-20

I have 808nm 300mW 5.6mm TO18 High Power Burning Infrared IR Red Laser Diode Lab 2.2V, can i use this driver for my laser diode. And can i use 12v dc hi-power battery?

Solomon Sig (author)2015-05-28

Thank for sharing.

djevukas (author)2015-01-22

Welcome. I've made doctrine but my laser is very dull even glows in which only could the problem be?

anand210394 (author)2015-01-11

Kindly tell me. If this circuit would work with IC-7805 instead of LM317. Reply Asap.

If possible, can you please also give the link for this laser purchase. I need the same laser for my project

bravoechonovember1 (author)2014-05-10

could you provide a better schematic please i find it hard to understand the one you have right now

TECHTRAKER (author)2014-02-17

be careful

atharva12 (author)2013-08-20

what color diode

atharva12 (author)2013-08-14

it dosen't burn

atharva12 (author)2013-08-11

send me the diagram at pleaaaaaaaaase

gauravclb96 (author)2013-05-30

if i increase the voltage input of any laser pointer will it be changed into laser burner

joshuam511 (author)gauravclb962013-06-06

While you will increase the power going to the laser - and so the amount of energy transferred - you will also increase the heat produced on the diode and shorten it lifespan. If you significantly increase the voltage you will blow the diode and it will just stop working (or it may damaged other components near it).

If you want to have a more powerful laser, it is probably sensible to just purchase a higher power rated laser diode (from ebay) and use its rated voltage.

miicchhii (author)2013-03-18

Here is a PCB with curcuit,
LM317 Laser Driver Schematic and PCB Layout
you can download and edge it to get a tiny driver.

coolkids (author)2013-03-16

how did you draw that figure of 6.75 w ? please show me the working and i might be able to tell you a little something

j553738 (author)2013-03-14

What would the wattage be from this driver? Doing the math (wrongly, I assume) I work it out to be 6.75 watts. That's a pretty hefty laser. And that's 120 ohms resistance so. If I'm doing my math wrong I'd like to know, but I'd suffice with knowing the "right" answer and discovering where I went wrong on my own :)

miicchhii (author)2013-03-11

You can find an other curcuit shematic here:

Its easier to understand and also includes the two capacitors.


Gadgetboy123 (author)2012-06-19

would I be able to connect 2 AA batteries directly to the diode? what is the voltage and amperage required by the diode itself? I cannot find that out.

imont (author)2012-06-08

The laser diode is from a dvd driver or DVD burner?

lis.tesla (author)2012-03-21

if i gave you my email address could you send my a schematic of some sort please

rockstar50 (author)2011-04-30

hi I'm having a bit of trouble trying to decipher your schematic, particularly the connections of the 10 ohm resistors to the 100 ohm variable resistor and the regulator. can you give me some guidance on the connections?

coolkids (author)rockstar502011-05-01

look your 100ohm variable resister would have three pins one of them would be connected to the spinning thing and other 2 to the resistance plate so connect the spinning thing to on pin from the resistance then this combination must be connected to the 10 ohm resisters in parallel the remaining pin from variable resiter to the voltage regulator

GLaDOS V_3.11 (author)coolkids2011-12-10

f.y.i the spinning thing im pretty sure is the power control.

lizardosanwen (author)2011-10-18

can you show plzz the schematic diagram of the driver circuit

coolkids (author)lizardosanwen2011-10-19

its on step no 2 (pdf)if it doesnt work then iwould post another circuit. each box in the diagram represents a component (look diagram)

1codis (author)2011-08-05

The 1N4007 is connected wrong in the schematic, if you connect it like that then it will get very hot. You connect the anode of the 1N4007 to the cathode of the laser and vice versa, this way the current will take the path of the laser and not the 4007.

3zuli (author)2011-04-14

BEFORE connecting this to your laser, don't forget to short the output of this driver. otherwise if there was any charge in the output capacitor, it would KILL your laser!

coolkids (author)3zuli2011-04-15

thanks man i would be carefull and inform the others

rickharris (author)2011-04-03

A connection diagram or a circuit diagram might help people build this.

coolkids (author)rickharris2011-04-04

i just added it i thought i would add it later and then i forgot

rickharris (author)coolkids2011-04-04

Just as a passing thought - I don't see how making a constant current power supply will actually improve the quality of the laser? Current from a battery is the same as current from the power supply.

Unless you intend to over drive the laser, in which case you need to calculate your component values with care and be prepared to say by by to the laser when it gives up the ghost.

Kiteman (author)rickharris2011-04-03


rickharris (author)Kiteman2011-04-03


rickharris (author)rickharris2011-04-03

This constant current circuit is good to drive LEDS cheap and few components. If the author doesn't supply a circuit diagram I suggest you look at Steve's circuit here - Same thing.

tobyscool (author)2011-04-03

Should the laser diode in a high class or can it be a class I laser diode?

coolkids (author)tobyscool2011-04-04

it does not matter now because you have made your driver that is going you to burn all sorts of things

The Ideanator (author)tobyscool2011-04-03

Do you even have a high class laser diode?

tobyscool (author)The Ideanator2011-04-03

nope just class I laser diode

rimar2000 (author)2011-04-03

April Fool's day, maybe?

Kiteman (author)rimar20002011-04-03

Published April 3rd?

rimar2000 (author)Kiteman2011-04-03

Yes, I saw the date, but I don't understand it.

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