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Old 08-14-2009, 03:37 AM #1
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Default Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Alright so I am new here and like I assume most new people to the world of lasers, I want to burn.

I've dug around the tutorials here and most of the internet, trying to figure things out and I have somewhat of a better grasp on concepts since before I started. But that's not saying much.

The point here is:

I have a green laser in my possession, simple 5 mW, cheap. I wanted to know what might be harvested from this to create something that will actually burn? I'm generally a technical person and proficient at soldering so that shouldn't be an issue.

I know in general you need a lens, the driver, the diode, a power source, and a housing (host, I believe you guys refer to it as). So from my limited knowledge I surmise I have all of those with this laser.

But to make it burn, one would need.... a different driver? More power?

You're help is greatly appreciated, and I'm looking forward to getting into a very interesting hobby.



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Old 08-14-2009, 04:04 AM #2
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Welcome to the forum!
First of all, it's impossible to make your 5mW green laser burn as a green laser. You can take the crystal set out to isolate the powerful (200mW-500mW) infrared laser diode, but then collimation is still an issue.
My recommendation to you is to get none other than the dilda-laser. If you haven't heard of it, here it is. Easily focusable 200mW's of red. If the "dilda" shape doesn't suit your style, then you can check out the other red lasers on the site. (here and here's a waterproof one)
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:09 AM #3
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Haha thank you. I really do appreciate the name, perhaps they should have it listed as such.

I'm currently on a REALLY tight budget so it might have to wait, but I am willing to purchase parts and construct myself. That's almost half the fun. Would that end up being cheaper or more expensive?
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:20 AM #4
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Hmm, well it depends. If you want it in a decent looking host, then forget about it. Project boxes are generally cheap and can end up looking good, or maybe an altoids tin? (Hehe) Anyways here's a small checklist at what prices you're looking at:
Heatsink: Depends if you want it custom made. You can always go the cheap way and use washers, or get a chunk of aluminum and drill a hole through it. $3-$10
Aixiz module: Used for focusing the laser. About $5
LPC sled: $10
Box: $2-$5
Switch: Depends on the kind. Around $2-3 for a decent one
Battery holder: $2
Driver: Depends on batteries, size of project box, and other limitations. $3-$20

If you're going for the "barely functional" style, then you're looking at around $30.

Here's a picture of the insides of an altoids laser I made:

Here's the front of the laser:
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:36 AM #5
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Bare bones is not a problem at this point haha.

So just to make sure I have a grasp on all the terms from looking around.
  • The aixiz module would consist of pretty much just the lenses right, the optical part?
  • The LPC SLED is the diode itself plus some housing for it? I know some parts can be salvageable from DVD burners, is this the part that would be removed?
  • The driver, what's a pretty average one I'd be looking at for this sort of project?

(You guys are amazingly helpful, thanks again.)
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:05 AM #6
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Sorry, I should have clarified on those things.
The Aixiz module is a piece of brass for holding the diode and lens together. Here's a picture of one disassembled and assembled:

The piece all the way on the left is for holding in the driver. It's not necessary. The next part is for holding in the laser diode, and the lens. The lens nut is the threaded black plastic piece, and the lens is inside it. The last part is a focusing ring, which helps with focusing, but isn't necessary.

In every CD, DVD, and BRD drive is the laser component. The laser component is on the sled, which slides back and forth to read disks. That's what a sled is. People buy these sleds bulk from China to extract the laser diodes from. It's cheaper than buying the diode itself and cheaper than buying the whole CD/DVD/BRD drive.

The cheapest, simplest driver to use is the DDL driver. You only need 4 parts (well, five if you want adjustability). Here's a schematic of the DDL driver.
(Thank you Rog8811 for the diagram)
The diode and potentiometer (variable resistor/pot) can be exempt from the circuit. The diode protects the driver and diode if the input polarity (+ and -) are switched. If you're never going to mix up the batteries, then you don't need it, but a little protection can't hurt. The pot is needed only to adjust the power, but if you select the right resistors for the LM317T regulator, then you don't need any adjustment.
Selecting the right resistors is very simple, all you need is a calculator. Take 1.25 (the reference voltage for the regulator) and divide it by the current you need. LPC sleds (LOC (long open can) diodes) need about 420mA, so take 1.25 .420 = 3
As per powering the diode and the driver, you need about 3 volts for the diode, and about 3 for the driver. That's 6V total, so you can use 4 (or more) alkaline batteries or 2 (or more) lithium batteries. Both have their pros and cons. Lithiums provide a better battery life and are rechargeable, but can be expensive (around $5 per battery). They are also less "universal," you can't buy them at the grocery store if they run out of charge.
Click on the schematic for more details of the DDL driver.
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612nm: 5mW Meredith Instruments HeNe
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532nm: 5mW Lyra-G5 - 70mW DIY by Wannaburn
473nm: 5mW Lab Style
445nm: DIY 650mA in Sonar II Host
405nm: DIY LG 10X at 330mA with Ehgemus host and Microboost - CNI GLP-405 70mW

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:24 AM #7
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Nice explanation Jimmy! I had to rep you +1 for helping out the new pledge.
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Old 08-15-2009, 03:20 AM #8
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Thanks! Just trying to help out the new members of the forum
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:16 PM #9
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

^^^ What kind of driver is that in your Altoids tin? Also... Is it easy to make it switchable?
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:17 PM #10
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

awsome contribution Jim!

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Old 08-21-2009, 07:19 PM #11
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdStl View Post
^^^ What kind of driver is that in your Altoids tin? Also... Is it easy to make it switchable?
It looks like a Dr. Lava "Groove" Driver. I've used a couple of these before and they are good drivers. They come as kits so you have to be fairly decent with a solder iron to assemble it and it is also a drop out driver(1V) So to power a 3V red you have to have atleast 4V going into the driver(to make up for the 1V lost thru the driver).
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:00 PM #12
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

It was fairly easy to make it switchable. I'll draw a diagram of what the switch does.
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Current Lasers:
8??nm: 1050mA DIY Micro Sized
658nm: 2mW keychain pointer - DIY 80mA/350mA switchable in Altoids tin - 300mA DIY Micro Sized
632.8nm: 10mW Hughes HeNe - 15mW Melles Griot HeNe - 1mW Melles Griot bare tube
612nm: 5mW Meredith Instruments HeNe
594.1nm: 4mW Meredith Instruments HeNe
543nm: 2mW Melles Griot HeNe - <1mW Multimode 6" HeNe (He's cute!)
532nm: 5mW Lyra-G5 - 70mW DIY by Wannaburn
473nm: 5mW Lab Style
445nm: DIY 650mA in Sonar II Host
405nm: DIY LG 10X at 330mA with Ehgemus host and Microboost - CNI GLP-405 70mW

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Old 08-22-2009, 09:27 AM #13
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Thats very clever jimmymcjimthejim, i always just assemebled them in their high range
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:14 PM #14
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

Thanks, Gryphon and Jimmymcjimthejim! I can't believe I didn't recognize it, as I just happen to have a couple of those kits on hand.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:10 PM #15
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

For the altoids tin, you had to insulate the driver from the metal of the tin, right?
Also, where can I get a chunk of aluminum? I've actually been wanting to put a laser in an altoids tin for a while. I made my first laser in a project box: I think it's high tide that I upgraded.
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Old 08-29-2009, 05:26 PM #16
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Default Re: Burning laser construction on a College kid's budget

to the Forum...

You will see that this hobby will put a strain your financial situation quite
quickly... if you don't be careful... we are all *********** here....

Jerry
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