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"Pman special"

Pman

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*****I DON'T SELL LASERS***** I do however at my discretion give things away for free. Some of the units I am making (have a bunch more pieces/parts on order) will be finding new homes and I also will be giving away some of the dual lights so others can build something into them.
I was originally going to make some more of the "black ones" when some parts arrived and post this tutorial on my 1000th post but since I am in a hospital waiting room as my father is having a surprise 5 bypass surgery and just went into the OR I have time now.
This isn't about what you can buy from some of our resident pro builders (which I GREATLY admire and take my hat off too not to mention own some of their stunning work). This is thinking more out of the box on a shoestring budget old school style I've got no money or just want to challenge yourself to build something with a piece of string and some flip-flops:) Well, maybe not that far out but I think you get the point. I've accumulated a ton of stuff to play around with my fun little builds so it's certainly not as hard for me to do this kind of stuff at this point. Hopefully this will encourage others to mess around and share with the rest of us interesting possibilities, solutions to build problems and other ways around issues we haven't thought of yet.
I am a "tinkerer" and if you have ever taken a look at my inexpensive build thread you knew this already. The way I do this build allows you to take everything apart if you want.
Came across what I consider to be a great matchup between 2 different very inexpensive flashlights from 2 different sources. When I combined them I personally couldn't believe how cool they looked so without further ado let me reveal our players.

These $4 flashlights can be found at your local Walmart usually in 3 different locations in the store. Most of the time 2 of those locations is up at the registers right before you get into a checkout line at either end of the store and are in a kind of square/round battery center thing sitting in the middle of the floor. The black rubber hand grip can slide right off (it's not glued on).


The other source is Fasttech flashlight model B68 which comes in 4 different ways. You can get a black or silver version and either a single mode or 3 mode. The cost is <$5.50 for any version. Will say that currently the 3 mode versions have a 4 day wait period to ship right now. I hadn't noticed that it came in a black version so that's why I only had a couple black ones made so far. Ordered a lot more black ones. I try to make a bunch of them at once.






Now I realize some don't want to read this whole thing and would like to just see the results so here's a bunch of pics of possible end product.
The first pic shows 4 units just as 240lm 3 mode flashlights still.










Now here's the step by step for anyone interested. Keep in mind again that I am trying to keep cost to a minimum so there's no "custom" bought heat-sinks or anything like that.

Here's your basic parts


This is what you are going to use


Pop the plastic lens out. Sometimes it is easy to push out and sometimes it is press fit hard and you will need to push really hard with something. I would try and not scratch the lens as you may want to later use it to basically turn your unit into a laser flashlight as it will give you a nice wide beam.


Take something that will fit in the grooves where the led is and turn CCW a turn to loosen it so you can then unscrew the whole top led section.


This is what you end up with


Press out the inner section. It is held in place with an o-ring. You will want the o-ring intact for reassembly later.


You can then disassemble the other parts as they are just pressed in.


Either cut the wires to the led or un-solder them so now everything is apart.


Now what I have been doing is using either a 5V or 3V Fasttech 532nm module that runs in the $5 range and are way overspec.
They are overspec to begin with but also have an adjustable pot. Thru a lot of experimentation I've found that the best setting for either one of them is about .43ma for the most output. It's easy for me to set them as I use a variable DC power supply set to 3.2V and tweak the pot CCW using a ceramic micro screwdriver and the power supply shows the ma draw. Most of the time that setting will result in quite a lot more output.
These modules have no issues running a standard 14500 cell at 4.2V peak. Have not blown a single one yet with that voltage. I would strongly warn about adjusting the pot with a something conductive as it is easy to slip and blow either the board or diode. I've had modules hit over 140mw with low IR. Take a look at any of my builds and all the ones with the yellow stickers are 100mw or above (actual number is the highest peak as I label for safety and not average output). As with almost any 532nm, stability and output is a crap shoot. The point is that I don't know of a better bargain out there for these modules and shipping is free regardless of whether you buy one or a 1000.
532nm is extremely impressive for someone who has never seen one before and I still get a kick out of them each and everytime.
Fasttech sells the ceramic screwdrivers ones for a bit over a $1 apiece and they have 8 different ones. If you would like to see many of my builds using these modules just check out the inexpensive build thread.



Some of the possible suspects for drilling holes. Would mention that drilling in aluminum is 100 times easier keeping the bit/piece wet with water.


Made a starter hole and then couple of bigger holes for either module. It is actually not critical from the way I build these to get the hole perfect because of how it will align as you will soon see (although you certainly have to make the hole so that the module won't be skewed to the side).




Now because the inside of the host is coated and won't conduct, you need to remove the anodizing or paint. I use a dremel with steel wire brush, stick it inside and let her rip. Good idea to do it outside or you're going to get a cloud of anodizing and aluminum so hold your breathe or wear a mask. Don't have to get it all out. Just a couple inches in.




Now take a 1/2" copper coupling (cleaned). and it will fit inside the piece you drilled a hole in for the module.




Not all couplings are created equal and sometimes you need to press it in.




Would look like this if you stuck a module in it although the module will be loose at this point.


I've soldered across the 2 button solder points already so that when power is applied you don't need to push it in to get the laser on.
Also, I take my dremel cutoff wheel and notch either side of where I'm going to be soldering on a spring as it makes it MUCH easier to attach the spring to the solder that is already there. For an added conductivity bonus, when I solder the spring on I run a bead of solder from the switch over to the spring.




Something else I do that I should mention is when I get the modules, I mix a bit of epoxy and put some where the board contacts the brass to make it stronger as you are manipulating the module a lot while working with them and you will kick yourself when you twist the board and break a connection to the diode. What is most likely to happen is the side with the single diode module prong will break away from the board. This can be repaired by scraping the protective covering from the trace on the board and soldering to it.

I figured out how long the spring has to be for good contact to the battery and soldered it on and then added a piece of heat shrink tubing on part of the spring and then over the whole board.




Now my secret ingredient for making things fit right and conduct is copper sheeting. This comes with an adhesive on one side so in order to use it wrapped around tight to itself you have to remove some of the adhesive for your initial conductivity. I do this with a razor blade. Scrape it off (somewhat of a pain) enough on the initial part so you have pure copper touching the other surface and then tightly roll it around itself. By using this thin copper and copper tubing pieces, you can make a custom heat-sink without having a machine shop. Would a machined piece e better? Absolutely would be great but I can't invest in the equipment necessary. I would greatly encourage everyone to utilize those here who can make all that awesome custom stuff! You could use copper wire or other things but what I use works for me. Keep in mind that I personally like finding my own way and using what I have and pushing myself to find ways to get around problems without having to rely on others so I can keep building a stupid number of different units. If I didn't find other ways, I wouldn't be able to build a 1/10th of my builds.
You can get copper sheeting like this at some hardware places but the problem is they usually want to sell you a big roll for $200. Better say up front that I don't have any to sell. You could certainly use other things like conductive wire or thin solder wire or whatever so you DON'T need the copper sheeting as there are plenty of other things out there that you could use to shove in between any spaces you need to make up for.



Don't know if you can see in this pic or not but I've wrapped a small piece of the copper around the module so it is quite tight when you push it into the copper coupling.



Now that you have that put together, you slide that whole piece into the piece that you pushed it out of and it will center itself because the o-ring is a snug fit once it is all put back together. You may or may not need to take a small piece of the copper and wrap it around the part of the coupling that fits inside the host for good conductivity. You can screw it down tight at this point.


What you see now from the other end is the spring and module with a lot of space around it. Found a great way to make up for it and provide a centered spring is to take a grommet that fits around the spring and touches the inside of the host.




If you quit now this is basically what it would look like from the end depending upon how well you cut the hole for the module to stick thru. Just add a 14500 + to body/host or - to spring, screw it all together and you're done.


What I've done is dress them up with copper washers and grommets et...
I clean the copper that will show and then coat it with clear nail polish as it dries extremely quick
Play with different colored O-rings for whatever look you like.










This is a pic of the beam/flashlight look when you put the plastic lens back into the top cap. You will have to pull/lengthen the head of the unit to fit it back in or the lens will touch the end of the module. I didn't measure how wide this is but I was about 15' from the projector screen and I think it was probably 3' diameter...


I have accumulated quite a good collection of pieces/parts from Fasttech and harbor Freight. Harbor Freight is great for kits like springs and O-rings, grommets and washers, heat shrink tubing etc...
What I recommend is to save all the stuff you remove from hosts/flashlights and put them in different containers as you never know when they will come in handy.
Some of my building supplies that I've picked up over time.
 
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gismo

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Very informative & pictures rich step-by-step tutorial.

+1 and :gj:
 

Pman

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Much thanks. Sitting here waiting for some kind of word from the surgeon but it could be hours still.... My back is killing me from leaning over my netbook to put all this up.
 

Lazerbeak

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Thank you Pman, for an amazing post! Really an invaluable resource for building and modding. Love that you share your thought process and these are really some of the best tips on the forum. these are on par with some of the best high end lasers out there. You never fail to impress :beer: Your o-ring accents are some of my favorites!

Best wishes to you and your family.

~ LB
 

Pman

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Thanks LZB:)
The o-ring stuff is fun to mess with. Kind of get carried away with it LOL
 

Antharak

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Nice work Pman. I like how you are using parts from two flashlights.
I'm did the same with a C3 and a Smallsun ZY-C55 and I still ended up with a flashlight from the spares.
+1 when I can again, for really sharing.
Hope all went well for your dad.

Ed
 
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Lazerbeak

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That sounds like an Awesome build Antharak! Please post pictures sometime if you can :D

~ LB
 

KapHn8d

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Very descriptive post and step-through... +1 for an awesome share.

Cheers,
c
 

Livinloud

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PETE!!!!!!! OMG BUDDY YOU ARE THE FREAKIN MAN!!!!! These things look killer! At first I saw the rayovac light and was like oh he built that light into a laser and then say the sipik clone and was getting more interested and then BAAMMMMMM an absolute stuubing line up of beautiful laser!!!!! Those heat sink funs are perfect and the orings are ahhhhh sexy! I must drop everything and build one *looks in wallet* sigh, well add it to the list of things I want to do. Curse you new TV being on sale and killing all my hopes of lasers for a few months!!!!!!

Pete you are the budget laser god......can we get a mod to chnage his title from class 2 whatever to budget laser god?

I thibknits given but much rep given when I wake up (dumb phone is hard to give rep on)

-sean
 

n2stuff

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Very creative and awesome as always Pete. I love the copper washer look it looks like a copper heat sink. I need to get off my butt and post in your cheapy thread of what I have done and still building. This is the best therapy (mentally) for pain. I also have lower back problems at L3,4,5, but the fusion is off the table til I can't work any more. Getting old is not for wimps. LOL
 

Pman

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Thanks guys. I do this to encourage others that there's ways to get around spending big $ and to have fun at the same time.
I stick with the 532nm as it's so inexpensive and very impressive. Only took one simple 40mw pen laser with me to where the rest of my family is (they all live within 5 minutes of each other) for my dads operation (which went very well by the way:)) and none of them had ever seen anything like it before (blown away). The hardest part was who to give it too and of course now I've had to order a bunch more of those single AAA Fasttech pens and send them their way). I think that was one of the lowest output pens I ever got in that style but even 40mw of 532nm is no joke.
I'm very careful about only giving away units that anyone could buy themselves when dealing with people who don't understand or are new to proper laser etiquette.
All of those units are functioning except for the pic that I said were just flashlights running off of a couple of AA. I showed that pic because I thought of another way to put the o-rings on. You can see that they are criss-crossed.
Have a bunch more of the black hosts coming to make more of those plus I will be giving away 10 sets of the flashlights for others to mess with. It will be 5 in black and 5 in silver plus the Walmart lights.
The Walmart ones are 19lm and the Fasttechs are up to 240lm with a 14500 (can run a single AA also with a lot less output. They are all 3 mode version for low/hi/strobe and can zoom so you could just use them as lights if you want. Don't expect to have the Fasttech order for 2-3 weeks as the 3 mode black ones are a 4 day wait before sending.
I am not going to name the recipients at this moment but their initials so far are:
gismo
Lazerbeak
Antharak
KapHn8d
Livinloud
n2stuff
:)

Color choice is dependant upon who posted first etc... Fairest way I can think of. I will pay for everything including shipping.

Haven't followed what ended up happening with your stuff "c" but I sure hope it all worked out.

You know Livinloud, I've got the same problem with my Galaxy S3. Can't give REP. As soon as I try to type something in it takes me somewhere else....

n2stuff is exactly right. Best therapy for pain. Keeps you occupied instead of focusing on pain issues. Had one fusion done so far and although the recovery was long, it seems to have worked out OK. Think mine was C6-C7.
My chronic pain issues are mainly from neverending kidney stone problems. Unlike most people who have or had stones, I have lots of little ones in both kidneys that are a never ending source of discomfort. It is VERY unusual for anyone to have pain from stones just sitting in the kidneys and most physicians (who don't know any better) say it's impossible to have pain unless they are moving down or blocking the ureters.
Tough decision on the back surgery thing as there can be huge repercussions to having it done. My father had a bunch done with his a couple years ago (72 at the time and now 74) and he was in horrendous pain after the operation (much more than the open heart surgery). He did OK but did end up in about a 4/10 constant pain afterwords. Sorry if this doesn't sound too encouraging but it is reality. Everyones different.

K, now back to our regularly scheduled program:)

By the way, Fasttech has added a lot more lasers and now actually has one rated up to 2W (their info.). Very odd considering when we all asked for 532nm modules greater than the 50mw ones they used to sell they took those away for legality reasons and would only sell ones rated at 5mw or less.
The last order of 10 modules I bought from them (5 3V and 5 5V) I had 6 out of 10 output over 100mw peak after setting the pots to .43 amps with 3.2V (all of them run great with the 14500 batteries and 5 of those 6 were the 5V modules). I think last time it was equal concerning which version had more output (kind of a crap shoot). They are NOT the same length. The 5V version is longer so it is harder to work with in some cases. I would think that the 5V version would last longer since it is rated higher. Both modules work the same with lower voltages. Think of the 5V one as being more versatile for battery choice as the extra voltage doesn't really do anything for output.

Pete
 
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Livinloud

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Yeah I did notice those lasers a few days bback. They look like thenones lazerer had and not a bad price as well if they are like 1-1.5W

At work so skimmed your reaponse but ill read it in full on my break :)

EDIT: just read your post and man, thats sweet! glad everything went well for one and i know the feeling of showing family a laser and them going WTF! Did that to my GFs cousin and he was like dude, there is no way that is real!

Fingers crossed i am a recipient of the light but if not FT will be getting an order in a few weeks. Those Sipik clones are pretty powerful for their size and an easy mod host for flashlights or lasers. Alot of good mods for them over on BLF if any winner decides to keep it as a light.

Already got everything needed to mod it minus the module and the lights ;)

Pete +100 coming buddy :beer:
 
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Pman

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You are #5 on the list so you will have a choice of silver or black host plus the Walmart light Livinloud. Problem is waiting on the B68s to ship. The black ones take 4 days longer to ship and haven't gone out yet while the silver ones just got shipped.
 

Livinloud

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Well then, I wont order one and will wait for yours to show. Personally I like the black but if 1-4 take that then summer is fine. So how hard is this build compared the MXDL build we did this summer?
 

Javalin

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Pman,

My girlfriend makes jewelry and she uses some copper tape. It comes on a roll and is adhesive on one side. But it is only about 1/4 inch wide. But it's probably much cheaper than the 200' roll you'd get at the hardware store and maybe easier to work with. Might be worth looking into. Great tutorial, can't say enough about your ingenuity. I have a love for tinkering myself and so I find your tutorials inspiring.

+1
 
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Pman

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Well 5 are going to be black and 5 silver so you will get a black since you are #5 on the list no matter what if that's what you want;)
Javalin is now #7:)

List now in order of posting is:

gismo
Lazerbeak
Antharak
KapHn8d
Livinloud
n2stuff
Javalin

Copper solder... definately going to look into that. Thanks and +1 for the tip.

The MXDL build is VERY easy IF you use the longer version. The shorter version isn't bad IF you do it the way I ended up doing it with the single AAA pen modules silver head sticking out.
The tutorial is long just to show the steps but actually building one is easy enough with the parts I use. What I'm not saying is that I actually have 16 black ones coming and I'm keeping 11 of them to turn a bunch into lasers and some as flashlights. Oops, did I jsut say that LOL
So, 5 of the silver ones are also coming to give away. I didn't realize they sold the black ones at first so I had only ordered a couple of them in a different order and they were the last ones I made. What I currently have is 11 working units with 2 of them in black plus 4 units that look the same except they are just nice looking flashlights. All of those are in the pics I posted.

A VERY easy build that looks nice is the C3 and you can buy extension tubes to make it as long as you want. Once again, Fasttech stuff.



By the way, I bought 5 more of my favorite single AAA pens and every one of them was at least 70mw
 
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