This Instructable will show you how to create a pocket sized tool capable of doing almost anything! It can cut paper, light matches, set newspaper on fire, point out objects that are far away, save your life in a natural disaster, and can even be 100% waterproof.
Now you may ask "What can do ALL of these things?"
Well the answer is pretty simple - a LASER.
In this Instructable, you will be creating a pocket-sized laser capable of doing all of the above things... and more. And the best part? It costs less that $10 to make. So even if you don't have an immediate use for it, you might as well build one and keep it with you - It may just save your life one day.
Step 1: The Parts
Here is a breakdown of the required parts:
- Laser Heatsink/Driver: $4.50 - (order from here: Aixiz Module Get the "650nm 5mw 12X30mm brass case")
- A Button: $1.00 - (you can order a fun one from All Electronics)
- A Casing: $1.00 - (pick whatever size you want from All Electronics - this is under "Enclosures")
- The Batter Holder: Free-$0.75 - (You can make your own or get this one)
- Laser Diode: Free (check out step 2 to learn how to get a free laser diode).
Step 2: Obtaining a Free Laser Diode
So to explain a free diode (without stealing it!), search Google Maps for a local PC Repair Shop. When a tech repairs a computer with a DVD burner and finds that the DVD burner has problems, he/she will usually replace the burner and then throw it out. Many people do not know that DVD burners use laser diodes... to... well... burn! So if you go to a local PC Repair Shop and ask nicely, you can probably get 5 or 6 DVD Burners for free!
But now you must learn how to extract the diode. This step isn't very hard, and is fortunately quite forgiving if you make a mistake.
- Open the DVD Burner.
- Pull out the tray
- Remove the laser tray
- Unscrew everything on the tray and cut away anything made of plastic
- See the image below to identify the diode
- Extract the diode and cut the heatsink away.
Step 3: Laser Module
- Use an unregulated power supply. This will shorten the lifetime of the diode but make it much more powerful.
- Use the supplied driver board. This will extend the lifetime of the diode but make it weaker. It also requires additional soldering/desoldering.
You should see three leads on the diode. Use the diagram below to solder a wire to the ground and positive leads.
Next, unscrew the Aixiz module in the middle. A sticker is covering the seam. Use a hammer and screwdriver to remove the laser diode that is already in place. Once removed, replace it with your new diode. Put the module back together and you are done!
Unscrew the Aixiz module in the middle. A sticker is covering the seam. Use a hammer and screwdriver to remove the laser diode that is already in place. A circuit board will be attached to the diode. Desolder the circuit board and put your new diode exactly where your old one was and solder it in place. Put it back in the Aixiz module and you are done!
Step 4: Solder It Together
Solder it all together using the schematics below. This is the easy part...
Step 5: Uses (aka "Why This Is the "Do Anything Tool")
- Take it with you whenever you are hiking/backpacking/alone. There are quite a few reasons for this:
2) If you get lost, this laser can shine for miles and miles (as in >100 miles!). At night, the beam is very visible. Just shine it in the sky to lead rescuers right to you.
3) This can light matches. If you don't have strike-anywhere matches and you need to start a fire, this laser can do it!
- Put it in your pocket and forget about it. Why?
- Use it for art. How?
- Have fun. Show it off. It can pop balloons, burn electrical tape, etc.