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Old 01-27-2009, 10:42 PM #1
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Default HOW TO: MXDL 120+mW 405nm Laser

I've been making lots of Aixiz Rkcstr blu ray modules and I thought it would be a good idea to make a tutorial on how to make a proper laser out of one of them. This is relatively simple laser to build, especially if you already have one of the Aixiz Rkcstr laser modules

Any of the pictures in this tutorial are linked to a 1200x900 size picture. click on them to see larger view.

First, materials you'll need:
Aixiz Rkcstr Blu-Ray 405nm 120mA Laser Module ($78.59) (or build your own for less, you can still purchase many of the needed parts from me though )
-Note, I set my Rkcstr driver to 155mA for this build as the Jayrob heat sink is awesome. I normally set my Aixiz Rkcstr modules to 120mA, but can put them at anything you want, just let me know in the comments section when ordering if you want something other than 120mA.
MXDL 5W Luxeon 3-AAA Flashlight - Laser Host ($13.83) (or DX sku 3405 for less, but takes longer to receive)
Jayrob MXDL Custom Machined Heatsink - 3405-A (~$25)
Heat-shrink tubing ($1 ? at radioshack)
3x 10440 3.6v batteries ($~8.50) (or DX sku 974 but again takes very long to receive, and you have to buy 4 batteries from DX instead of 3 from me)

Tools:
Temperature Controlled soldering iron (~$35 at mcmelectronics)
solder ($3 at radioshack or elsewhere)
Rosin soldering flux ($3 at radioshack)
1.5mm Allen wrench ($?, I had lots from ordering heat sinks from DarkHorse)
Scissors Or Wire Stripper ($3 ?, should already have some scissors)
Knife ($5)
Sharp pointy tool ($1? I had one that came with my soldering kit, I've seen them at radioshack)
Lighter OR heat gun ($1 for lighter)

Ok on to the directions:
First, take the MXDL flashlight and unscrew the head of the unit off, as well as unscrew the front of the head (the part that holds the glass on). Take out the reflector and discard that, as well as the glass circle, these are both not needed for this build. Take the Jayrob heat sink and your Aixiz Rkcstr laser module (that you either made or bought). If you bought one from me, you'll want to remove the 9V battery snap connector by either cutting it off (with stripped wire still exposed) or desoldering the connector off. Take off the back end of the Aixiz module as you will not need it on, if left on it will actually hurt performance as heat can't escape as easily.

Now unscrew the silver head unit that has the LED bulb and star shaped piece from the body of the MXDL.

Take either the sharp pointy tool or knife and pry up the star shaped piece. We will be removing this.

I had tried to desolder the blue ( + positive ) and bare silver wire ( - negative ) but it was difficult to desolder them, so I simply cut the wires as close to the star shaped piece as possible, then stripped the blue wire to expose the bare wire using my scissors. Like so:

After doing this screw the silver unit back into the MXDL body.

Now warm up the soldering iron because we will be using it soon. Get out the heat shrink tubing and cut two segments of about 2-3 inches and place them over the wires of the Rkcstr driver.

Get out the rosin soldering flux and apply (I just dip the wire in the flux, or use the other end of my sharp pointy tool) flux to the wires of the Rkcstr driver (which is in the head of the MXDL unit) and as well as apply flux to the exposed wires of the MXDL silver middle unit.


EDIT: Now you should screw the head (bell shaped front piece) of the MXDL back onto the body without the heat sink or laser module in, have those separate and leave the very front circular piece off of the head of the unit. I didn't do this while I was taking pictures but it will make it much easier. Like so:


Line up the white (+ positive) wire of the Rkcstr driver with the blue (+ positive) wire of the MXDL silver unit and solder those together with a dab of solder. Do the same with the black (- negative) wire of the Rkcstr driver to the exposed silver (- negative) wire of the MXDL.


Now slide the heat shrink tubings down over the solder connections, take the lighter and burn the heat shrink tubing to make it shrink (hence the term heat shrink). It should only take a few seconds for each tubing to shrink.


Slide the laser module into the heat sink and fasten the set screw using the 1.5mm allen wrench. I like to have the front of the Aixiz module sticking out about 2mm so you can adjust the focus more easily. Now slide this whole heat sink unit into the head of the MXDL flashlight and screw on the front of the head back on, this will keep the heat sink in place. (per daguin's tip: "you hold the heat sink in place with one finger so it doesn't twist" )



Now that we have all that done, you can unscrew the back of the MXDL and remove the battery holder. Take the 10440 batteries and place them in, negative (flat side of the battery) always goes to the springs in the battery holder.

You can now put the battery holder back in and screw on the back tailcap and test to see if your laser works by pressing the button on the tailcap. You should see a nice bright 405nm LASER emission coming from the head of the unit. If not, turn off the MXDL and remove the batteries and check your MXDL to Rkcstr driver connections, if those look OK, you'll need to remove the heatsink and check the connections between the PHR803T diode and Rkcstr driver. If those look to be OK as well, it is possible that you somehow fried your PHR803T diode, or perhaps even your Rkcstr driver. In my experience it is usually a bad connection between the PHR803T diode and rkcstr driver which causes the PHR803T diode to die a quick and painful death. I test all of my Aixiz Rkcstr laser modules so you shouldn't have any issues if using a purchase Rkcstr module.

I like to cut off the back of the lens to allow more light to enter the lens. I do this with my knife cutting 4 slits on the back of the lens, then use my pointy sharp tool to pry off these 4 slices from the back, like this,



Then put the spring in the module followed by the acryllic lens (don't use the glass ones, they are AR coated and actually hurt the output power) w/ focusing knob. I like to use a Sure Electronics focusing knob for blu ray lasers as these focusing knobs allow the lens to screw down closer to the diode and let you focus the laser out to infinity where as the Aixiz focusing lenses only let you focus it to ~10-15ft away. You can see what I mean here, the Sure Electronics focusing knob is on the left, Aixiz on the right.


FINISHED.

finished pics:







Thanks for reading all this and I hope it wasn't too hard to make this. It took me about 2 hours to build it.

Enjoy the laser!


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Old 01-28-2009, 07:36 PM #2
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Default Re: HOW TO: MXDL 120+mW 405nm Laser

Nice writeup
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:18 AM #3
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Default Re: HOW TO: MXDL 120+mW 405nm Laser

Doesn't the heatsink insert from the front when that ring screws off?
I always thought that you have to screw the head on, and then insert the heatsink (w/ wires already soldered)?
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:37 AM #4
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Default Re: HOW TO: MXDL 120+mW 405nm Laser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyderz20x6
Doesn't the heatsink insert from the front when that ring screws off?
I always thought that you have to screw the head on, and then insert the heatsink (w/ wires already soldered)?
That's the way I always did it. *That way there is no need for twisted wires.

Peace,
dave

driver to diode in module via wires

screw on the "bell"

Slide the module into the heat sink and tighten set screw

place heat sink into bell

screw top ring on over heat sink (you hold the heat sink in place with one finger so it doesn't twist)
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:26 AM #5
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Default Re: HOW TO: MXDL 120+mW 405nm Laser

Same here in regards to the final assembly. I like to have the driver leads coming out the front, with the head already screwed on. Then solder them to the short leads from your module. (which is already mounted into the heatsink) Not forgetting the heat shrink tubing. Then the heatsink just sits in place, and the final ring threads on...

That said, VERY nice tutorial! We were long over due for a good tutorial on the MXDL.

And since you have the longest thumb that I have ever seen, I will give a big 'thumbs up'! PM robjdixon so he can put this in his tutoral compilation...
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:02 PM #6
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Default Re: HOW TO: MXDL 120+mW 405nm Laser

ooOOO I totally messed that part up then. I'll fix up this tutorial then.

I'm glad I read this cause I'm making a 6x blu ray MXDL tomorrow.

thanks guys,
Kendall
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