With 3 volts and a 2.2 ohm resistor the diode will draw appx. 160ma's. If you have it focused properly, it should burn and pop balloons even with a 2.7 ohm resistor, assuming you are using fresh alkaline batteries.
Well then I believe you are not focusing it my friend. Try getting a little smoke in the room and then look at the beam. You will see where it is the thinnest. This is where it is best for burning and fun stuff.
Yes Gazoo, it is roughly 2.6 Volts. But I think we should suggest always checking it to be sure. I've seen an 8x DVD harvest reach laseing threshold at 2.45 Volts and 27 mA. and one I'm-not-even-sure-the-speed DVD burner yielded a diode that had a forward Voltage drop of almost 3 Volts.
All that to say, it's never a bad idea to check first.
If you can afford a laser you should be able to scrounge enough for a DMM