Introduction: Laser Flashlight Hack!!

About: Tinkerer, hackster and prankster. Hit me up on Facebook: Thanks for checking out my Instructables!
Turn a MiniMag flashlight into a powerful DVD laser pointer! This 245mw laser is powerful and fits real cozy in a MiniMag! See the video at the end for the Test Results!

NOTE: This Instructable WILL NOT WORK with any CD burner/player diodes or DVD player diodes!

See the FAQ on the last Step for common questions



UPDATE: If you want to use this as more than just a novelty item, a driver circuit is recommended. See the schematic for details.

Disclaimer: CAUTION! As you know...lasers can be dangerous. Never point them at any living object!T his is not a toy, and this should not be used like a conventional laser pointer. In other words, don't use it in presentations, or to play with pets, or allow children to use it. It should only be operated by responsible persons who understand and respect the potential laser safety hazards.

Step 1: What You Need...

You will need the following items:
1. 16X DVD Burner. I used an LG burner I had as a spare.


You can buy the Red LASER DIODE HERE

Step 2: And...

2. A Mini-Mag Flashlight You can get one HERE

3. An AixiZ Laser Module. You can get one HERE

4. Small jewelers screwdrivers, X-Acto knife, metal snips, drill, round file and other small tools.

Step 3: Extract the DVD Laser Diode

After removing all of the screws from the DVD burner, remove the cover and the DVD drawer. This will expose the laser carriage assembly.

Step 4: Extract the Laser Diode..

While all DVD burners are a bit different, they all rely on 2 rails that the laser assembly moves on. Remove all screws and do whatever it takes to free up the rails so the laser assembly slides off. Disconnect or cut and cabling and flat connectors.

Step 5: Continue Extraction...

Once you have the assembly off of the burner it's time to start disassembling it by removing all the screws you see. There will be many small screws so be patient. Cut any flat cabling off. There could be two diodes, one for the CD portion of the burner (IR diode) and the actual DVD burning diode (red). That is the one you want. There will be a 3-pin circuit board on the red diode that you want to CAREFULLY remove with a soldering iron revealing 3 pins. You can test the diode with 2-AA batteries and referring to the polarity chart (on the video). You will have to remove the diode from the housing and that will be in a case-by-case basis depending on the burner. The laser diode is fragile so take care in the final extraction process.

Step 6: The New DVD Laser Diode!

Here is what your extracting diode will look like!

You can get the burning LASER DIODE HERE

Step 7: Preparing the AixiZ Housing...

Remove the label from the AixiZ housing and unscrew the housing leaving a top and bottom portion of the housing. Inside the top housing is the original (5mw) laser diode that has to be removed. I used the bottom of an X-Acto knife and with a couple of sharp taps, the original diode will come out. It will likely be destroyed doing this but I have been successful in removing them before but using a very small screwdriver and tapping around the diode until it is freed up.

Step 8: Assembling the Housing...

I used a little bit of Arctic Silver Thermal grease and slowly installed the new DVD diode in the AixiZ housing. Using a pair of pliers, I SLOWLY squeezed the edges of the diode down into the housing until it was flush. CAREFUL!

Step 9: Installing It in Your MiniMag!

After soldering two leads to the positive and negative diode connectors, it's time to install it in the MiniMag. After disassembling the MiniMag (remove the top, the reflector, lens and bulb) you will need to enlarge the MiniMag reflector using a reaming tool, round metal file or drill or a combination of all three.

Step 10: Final Step!!

Be sure to remove the batteries from the MiniMag and after checking polarity, slip your new DVD Laser housing down into the top of the MiniMag where the bulb would go. Screw the top of the MiniMag on and slip the reflector over the Laser housing. You will not be using the plastic MiniMag lens.

UPDATE: If you intend to use this as more than just a novelty item, a driver circuit is recommended. Here is a basic driver circuit that can be built for this project which will regulate the voltage going to the diode.

Step 11: Test It Out!!

Reinstall the 2-AA batteries and slowly unscrew the top of the MiniMag, turning on your new Laser Flashlight! Caution!! Laser diodes are dangerous and should never be pointed at any living thing. Thanks and I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!

Step 12: FAQ

Here are the answers to common questions about this project.

Q. Can I use a CD player/burner or DVD player Diode.
A. No. Only a DVD burner diode 16x or faster will work.

Q. Do I need the Aixiz Housing?
A. Yes. It serves as a heatsink for the high-power diode and also the focusing element is essential.

Q. What happens to the existing circuit board that is inside the Aixiz housing?
A. It is not used for this project. You can keep it for a lower mA diode like a standard red laser pointer diode or just discard it.

Q. What's with the 'pins' you used?
A. The 'pins' are snippings from old resistors. You can use any sturdy wire. They are soldered to the diode and then inserted in the mini-mag plastic fitting that original held the mini-mag lightbulb.

Q. Can I use a regular laser pointer from the dollar store as the housing.
A. See the previous Question/Answer

Q. Can I use another type of flashlight?
A. Not sure. This project is based on the mini-mag.

Q. My diode is not burning anything. What did I do wrong?
A. In order for the diode to 'burn' it needs to be focused to a fine point and also the object needs to be black or marked black with a Sharpie.

Q. Why can't I see the beam like I can see in the video?
A. I used smoke to make the beam visible.

Q. Should I use a driver circuit?
A. The basis for this project was to show that you could use a diode from a DVD burner and put it in a flashlight and make it 'burn'. Ths is a novelty item and not designed for long-term or regular use. If you want to do that, a driver circuit is highly recommended.

For answers to any laser related questions, check with one of the popular forums like

The Instructables Book Contest

First Prize in the
The Instructables Book Contest