Awesome! I've always wanted to actually build a diode laser. Was just about to spring for some components too, but I found a pump for my dye laser project, and it was an opportunity I just couldn't miss. So I'm depleted for now.
Also, this looks like a great place to start, not too complicated, and yet complicated enough to be considered a "build" (by me anyway ).
One last thing, you said conditions weren't right for a beamshot. My advice: Invest in a fog machine. I'll admit, I was skeptical of a machine that would just recreate something nature would do for me, but I was soooo wrong. With a fog machine you don't have to wait for those elusive foggy nights to see your laser's beam. And it just makes your lasers (and posts) look just that much more awesome. Happy lasing, and good luck with future builds!
Hey H2O! Im actually pretty sure I have a fog machine kicking around somewhere, I just don't have a real good place to set it up. My garage would really be the best place, but I would need to clean it out a bit so I could move around. On the 'to do' list it goes!