Introduction: DIY USB Laser Pointer

Hi and welcome to my first ever Instructable. This one is going to be a small project, so don't expect too much of it. It basically is going to be what the title says: a small laser pointer.

(Small disclaimer: I can't solder or use the shrink tube well. It is ugly, I know. Sorry)

Step 1: Materials & Tools

You won't need too many tools for the project, but you will need a couple things.

For power source, I decided to go with a USB-A connector, so it plugs into all computers and powerbanks. You could also hack you phone charger cable (doesn't have to be the original one) to be able to use it without carrying a powerbank.

  • USB-A Male connector

(find the cheapest usb cable, open the connector and remove the wires)

(Please note the shipping price and time to your country)

Step 2: Wiring

The wiring is pretty simple. You might not even need a resistor, it will still work just fine. (Check your laser diode's datasheet, if the Voltage is 3.3V-5V, you're good to go, like me. Just look at the image above, for the pinout of the USB connector.

Mine came apart pretty easily with just a bit of force, and now I have direct access to the soldering points.

Solder the diode's red wire (+) to pin 1 on the connector and the blue (or black) wire to pin 4 (-) on the USB connector.

Look at an other connector and be sure to check the direction you're going to assemble it.

Rebuild the USB connector and go on to the next step.

Step 3: Powering Your Device

If you did the same thing as me, you have something like the first image. You can just plug that into your computer, get a long USB extension cord, or for even more mobility, go for a powerbank. I happen to have a couple of them, which are pretty big ones. Since this laser diode only draws a current of 0.05A, you will be able to enjoy your laser for days with a single charge even with ~2000 mAh ones.

I ended up putting some shrink tube on the wires, so it doesn't look that bad (still, it's ugly :( ).

Step 4: Extending the Project

The possibilites are endless. You could make your DIY [Petcube]-like laser game with two motors.

You could add a switch, a warning sign or connect a potentiometer to control the brightness.

My friend suggested me wiring it up to an Arduino and making a laser-protected room.

Step 5: Conclusion

You're probably asking, "Ok, but why did you need this?"

Well, my cat is here to help me answer that: she LOVES these things. My previous laser pointer wasn't nearly as bright as this one, it was only visible during the night.

I hope you liked my project, if you did, please vote for it in the contests and if you made one, just hit that "I made one" button. Also, comments and constructive criticism, together with some ideas to make the project even better, is welcome.

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: I will upload a video on my cat playing with it, it is a must-see. Also, if you're choosing a powerbank, be sure to use one that doesn't have a turn on button, because the current used is so small that the charge controller in the powerbank won't notice it.

UPDATE #2: Sorry for no video, my camera and my cat don't go well together :). Although thanks for 2K views!