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Yet Another Lasers Post

Posted 2006.09.17 0.00 in Lasers by Stephanie

I was doing a bunch of cleaning and a little redecorating today, and for a break in the middle of it all, I made another high-power laser.

In this case, I took an old low-power laser pointer apart, removed the 2.5mW diode, hot-wired the driver board, and replaced the diode with a high-power diode from another DVD burner.

This pointer is old, more than 5 years, maybe as much as 10 years old. I know it cost me about $50, and it came from Radio Shack. But they don’t appear to sell anything like it any more. I like it though because of the tiny size, only 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. It runs on two AAA batteries, but they go in side-by-side.

Anyhow, now that it’s been pumped-up and had a diode transplant, it’s now pumping out about 100mW, as much as the low-end Pulsar. Enough to pop a balloon or light a match, with the help of a focusing lens. Without a focusing lens, it’s just a really, really, really bright laser pointer.

Update: As a pointer, this laser has a switch to select between dot and line. The line was produced by a little optic. I’ve removed that optic and replaced it with a focusing lens from a DVD player. Now, at the flick of a switch, I can select between well-collimated long-range dot, or close-up burning power. Now I’m thinking if only I could have put a 150mW diode in there instead of the 100mW, this could become my favorite pocket-laser.

Mini-Laser

Fun With Lasers

Posted 2006.07.27 0.00 in Lasers by Stephanie

Do you know that cheap DVD burners can be had for only $20 or $30, if you go to the right stores?
Do you know that inside a DVD burner is a powerful (40 – 100 mW / Class 3b) visible laser diode?
Do you know how much fun a 40 – 100 mW laser diode can be?

In the photo, from left to right: A collimator lense assembly, 5.6mm diameter. A Class 3b 650 nm laser diode and heat sink, ‘rescued’ from a DVD burner. A cheap tiny pocket laser pointer.

The 3b 650nm diode is a 5.6mm diameter and looks like it will fit the collimator assembly. The cheap pointer is there because its brother was sacrificed to provide the collimator.

I’ve already used this laser diode to burn holes through some black plastic. Without a collimator, the diode has to be right next to the plastic, but it still amazed me when it worked.

Tonight, I’ll be having fun tinkering, to get a working ‘pointer’ with the high powered diode.

Laser Bits