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Old 02-11-2013, 08:41 PM #1
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Default I don't know where to start

I've tried several other times on other forums to get as basic of an explanation as possible, and they always include terms that I (as well as 99.9% of the world) don't understand.


Starting from buying the parts for a laser pointer online, what do I do? What do I need? If I did build my own laser I'd start with a more unique color like violet or orange or yellow. It would be more of a toy than anything, and yes I am aware that lasers are not toys. I assume you know what I mean, however.

Sorry if this is the wrong section



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Old 02-11-2013, 08:46 PM #2
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

Welcome to the forum!

Take a look at these:
How laser diode drivers work; An Explanatory Thread
Driver Specifications Compendium
"What is what" Basic tutorial for beginners!
The, "I want to build a laser", Thread
Meta Topic : Pinout & Performance of actual LD

Also, I highly recommend you don't start with a yellow or orange handheld laser, those wavelengths are extremely hard to DIY; unless you do a multi-wavelength laser in which case read this:
https://sites.google.com/site/argsla...combine-lasers

A good place to start would be building a PHR diode laser. It's violet (405nm) and the diodes are less than 10$, so not a huge deal if you end up killing one or two.
Look at some builds done by others and see if you can get an idea of where to go.

Last edited by ARG; 02-11-2013 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:47 PM #3
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

What do you think about a blue or violet build then?
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:50 PM #4
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by naphthoylindole View Post
What do you think about a blue or violet build then?
Violet is recommended, you can buy cheap violet diodes and a PHR-803T diode build is a perfect place to start for a beginner.

Blue is more dangerous and more expensive.

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:14 PM #5
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

Or you can start by buying a $10 pen laser of any color, and moving the module (the diode and circuit board assembly) into a bigger host.

Other options that cost a little more, but still DIY, is to buy a host with a driver board already installed with just two leads hanging out, and buy a diode already mounted inside a module. If you play your cards right and make the correct purchases, all you need to do is solder two wires together and the rest is primarily a mechanical assembly exercise.

A little more advanced is changing the driver, the thing between the battery and the diode to drive the diode harder and produce more output.

Harvesting a diode from a sled, such as ARGLaser said, and building a whole laser pointer around it is a bit more advanced. But many, many people have done it, and the information to do so can be harvested from this site by using the search functions and doing some reading. Sipping tea, coffee, or another caffeinated drink while doing so, perhaps listening to Jazz in the background, can be a pretty rewarding experience.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:38 PM #6
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

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Originally Posted by pschlosser View Post
Or you can start by buying a $10 pen laser of any color, and moving the module (the diode and circuit board assembly) into a bigger host.

Other options that cost a little more, but still DIY, is to buy a host with a driver board already installed with just two leads hanging out, and buy a diode already mounted inside a module. If you play your cards right and make the correct purchases, all you need to do is solder two wires together and the rest is primarily a mechanical assembly exercise.

A little more advanced is changing the driver, the thing between the battery and the diode to drive the diode harder and produce more output.

Harvesting a diode from a sled, such as ARGLaser said, and building a whole laser pointer around it is a bit more advanced. But many, many people have done it, and the information to do so can be harvested from this site by using the search functions and doing some reading. Sipping tea, coffee, or another caffeinated drink while doing so, perhaps listening to Jazz in the background, can be a pretty rewarding experience.
Where would I get bigger housing?

and how's this for a first project?
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:59 PM #7
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

Regarding pen lasers from Amazon, I would recommend this one:

Amazon.com MillionAccessories 5mw Blue Violet Laser Pointer Pen 405nm Electronics

I have ordered from, and heard good things about the "MillionAccessories" seller.

Now, before I answer you about a bigger housing, I am getting the impression you are not reading the volumes of information on this forum. If you were, you would see the bulk of the posts are about putting a laser diode into a different host. Why do people do this? The reasons are plentiful:
  • they have a broken flashlight, and want to do something with it.
  • they want to put bigger batteries behind an existing laser.
  • they want more batteries behind an existing laser.
  • they think this or that flashlight (host) looks cool.
  • many, many more reasons not listed

So when you ask me where to get a bigger host, you either don't understand where to buy flashlights, or you don't know what you want. Before I could even begin to suggest where to buy, I would need to know what you're looking for in a host. I'm not a mind reader. That's like asking me, "where can I buy food?" I would have to ask, "what kind of food do you want? because there are limitless places to buy food." (at least in my country) There is hamburgers, pizza, Chinese, Thai, sushi, pasta, smoothies, falafel, pirozhki... take your pick.

now, if you find a host you like, then post some pics, give us some links (presuming you order it online) and ask questions.

Better, yet, use the search function, read and consume what you find here, and choose a host that many others have chosen. You will find pictures and all kinds of helps if you do that.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:53 PM #8
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by pschlosser View Post
Regarding pen lasers from Amazon, I would recommend this one:

[URL=" MillionAccessories 5mw Blue Violet Laser Pointer Pen 405nm Electronics[/URL]

I have ordered from, and heard good things about the "MillionAccessories" seller.

Now, before I answer you about a bigger housing, I am getting the impression you are not reading the volumes of information on this forum. If you were, you would see the bulk of the posts are about putting a laser diode into a different host. Why do people do this? The reasons are plentiful:
  • they have a broken flashlight, and want to do something with it.
  • they want to put bigger batteries behind an existing laser.
  • they want more batteries behind an existing laser.
  • they think this or that flashlight (host) looks cool.
  • many, many more reasons not listed

So when you ask me where to get a bigger host, you either don't understand where to buy flashlights, or you don't know what you want. Before I could even begin to suggest where to buy, I would need to know what you're looking for in a host. I'm not a mind reader. That's like asking me, "where can I buy food?" I would have to ask, "what kind of food do you want? because there are limitless places to buy food." (at least in my country) There is hamburgers, pizza, Chinese, Thai, sushi, pasta, smoothies, falafel, pirozhki... take your pick.

now, if you find a host you like, then post some pics, give us some links (presuming you order it online) and ask questions.

Better, yet, use the search function, read and consume what you find here, and choose a host that many others have chosen. You will find pictures and all kinds of helps if you do that.
I would like some sauteed morel mushrooms and a coke please.

I don't really have any old flashlights I'm willing to destroy. No vibrators. What about an old hollowed out marker? One of those big smelly permanent ones will be about twice as big as a normal pointer pen.

Well maybe not that one since it's solid metal. But something like that.

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Old 02-12-2013, 09:36 PM #9
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

I've seen builds out of mustard squeeze bottles. Seen builds out of just the module. Try looking at some you tubes for visuals.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:27 PM #10
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

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I've seen builds out of mustard squeeze bottles. Seen builds out of just the module. Try looking at some you tubes for visuals.
Yeah... you can build a laser in just about anything.
Someone once posted a DIY laser built in a dragon toy from McDonalds or something.

Get creative, experiment, make mistakes, learn, and most importantly have fun with it!

If you want recommendations, I would ask Jayrob about his pen kits.
They are personally my favorite. They are super easy to build and inexpensive.

Here's my last project:
638nm 80mW (single-mode) Pen + Beam & star photos
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:49 PM #11
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Default Re: I don't know where to start

if you like red there are some pretty cheap, and powerful, red diodes out there. lpc826 comes to mind. these are great for a first build.
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