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Old 01-24-2011, 10:35 PM #1
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Default noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

Hello,

This is my first post after lurking for some time. I've always wanted to build a laser pointer that could do cool stuff like engrave wood and pop balloons; since my old brother's birthday is coming up and want to give him a cool cheap gift, I thought why not give it a go?

There is plenty on building them all over youtube and this forum but I've yet to find answers to some specific questions I have.

First off, I want to make the strongest possible DVD burner laser. It seems many go for the 16x but would I be correct in assuming the burning speed correlates directly to strength? So if I used a 20x diode, it would be a bit hotter?

Secondly, how would I go about giving the diode maximum possible amperage? It seems if I tried to experiment with it, I would surely destroy the diode. It seems if that wasn't the case people would just up the voltage on their laser pointers to the point where they cut their house in half or something...

What exactly is the role of the controller circuit in all of this? Would a controller make the beam hotter than a trivial circuit?

What I'm looking to build a pointer with the hottest possible beam. Are there perhaps relatively inexpensive diodes that are better than DVD burners for this sort of application?

Thanks!


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Old 01-24-2011, 10:59 PM #2
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Default Re: noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

Usually the speed of drive relates to power, but it's not a perfect correlation (someone may correct me on this). IE, you could have a 16x with a stronger diode than at 20x. Though in general, you would expect the basic presumption to hold up.

In a super nutshell explanation, the controller circuit (the "driver") regulates the amount of current the diode pulls. This stops the diode from just swallowing all the current a battery can provide, toasting itself. It also smooths the output of the batteries and prevents damage to the diode.

Most importantly, if you don't use a driver you will pretty much certainly destroy your red diode. However it CAN be a trivial circuit (and cheap). Search for DDL LM317 Driver. You'll find simple designs. The only thing you might need to buy to make one is an LM317 chip, which sell for about $3 for 10 pcs on ebay.

Diodes - look for LPC-815. You should be able to find them for under $10 from a number of sources online. It will take a bit of work to extract the diodes, but this is an easy way to get just about the most powerful red diode. You can probably also find extracted ready-to-use diodes on eBay for not a ton more $.

Buy safety glasses. 300mW from a red diode can cause real eye damage. You might not want to dive into super expensive glasses, but at least buy something. $10 for a pare of 660nm laser safety goggles is a MUST. Don't disregard this piece of information. I'll even spoonfeed you this piece of it:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Safety-Glasses-R...item4156485d39
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Last edited by rhd; 01-24-2011 at 11:02 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:36 PM #3
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Default Re: noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

You better buy a LPC815. You will get a garanteed powerfull LOC red. Not all DVD-burners have 5.6mm can. Some are flat, others are rectangular or you get a less powerfull red.
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:59 AM #4
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Default Re: noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

Thank you for the replies, the information is very insightful.

Would even some refracted light from a 300mW beam be harmful? I'll head you're advice, I'm sure you know what you're talking about.

Instead of buying the LM chip, can't I just use a resistor network to get the desired power input, or is that too crude for this diode?

Since you mentioned it and since it's in every tutorial I've come across, I'm assuming that extraction from the can is absolutely necessary for this project? What is wrong with keeping it in the can?

Thanks
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:07 AM #5
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Default Re: noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

1) Refracted light - Obviously it would depend on the situation. But something shiny could refract enough light to harm your eyes, yes. It wouldn't take a ton at 300mW to cause a problem. Just because there are 2,000 mW lasers as pointers now, doesn't make 300mW any less dangerous. Keep in mind that the limit in the US is 5mW to be a pointer, and in Australia 1mW. 300mW is a lot of laser. Be really careful, and get goggles.

2) Resistors don't accomplish the current regulation required. It's a bit backwards intuitively, but threads on here have discussed this at length.

3) If you keep it in the can, you'll have no way to mount it in a housing module (won't fit). You need it mounted in a housing module both for heatsinking purposes, and so that you have a way to attach the lens. A laser diode without a lens, will sort of just look like an LED - no dot, just light.
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- Info release from Laserglow - Default Canadian restrictions on portable lasers (link)
- The Necessity of Safety Goggles (link)

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Old 01-25-2011, 02:02 PM #6
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Default Re: noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

Thank you very much sir.
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:43 AM #7
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Default Re: noob posting for advice regarding dvd burner lasers pointers

the LPC815 diode that was suggested is great! and you can pick one up for under $15. Then I would suggest a rkcstr driver found here rkcstr.com, Micro-Drive and laser diode electronics

When I built my LPC815 I used this driver and powered it using 2 cr123a batteries which can be found on many websites (I had good luck with ebay for batteries and charger).

Then you just need a aixiz module and lens and a good host. I as well as several others have hosts for sale.


The LPC815 lasers are alot of fun and their beam profile is amazing!
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