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8 DIY Laser Pointer Ideas You Can Make Today (With Videos & Pictures)

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hand with laser pointer

As kids, we used to love attending concerts with laser lighting displays. These shows were cool because they projected laser beams of different colors, with some really awesome music in the background.

If you are keen to create your own version of a laser display at home, check out one of these ideas.

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The 8 DIY Laser Pointer Ideas

1. Mini-Laser Pointer

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

Is lack of time the reason why you are always procrastinating on your DIY projects? Well, if that is the case, try this easy one—the mini-laser pointer. We promise you won’t have to invest a lot of time or effort into it, seeing as it’s the smallest and simplest of them all.

Also, you’ll be glad to hear that it doesn’t require any switch installed, as it uses plastic wrap to connect and disconnect the wires.

2. Laser Pen Pointer

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

Edward Bulwer-Lytton once said, “A pen’s mightier than a sword.” Once the ink in your pen runs out, you don’t have to throw away the pen’s casing.

Look for a wire, a small switch, a pair of scissors, glue, and a laser diode. These laser pen pointer DIY instructions are short and simple. Just follow the steps and in less than 30 minutes, you and your cats will be having a good time.

3. DVD Laser Pointer

  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Did you know the DVD burners that we used back in the day have laser diodes? These diodes could emit not only visible but invisible laser radiation as well. You’ve got to be careful when dealing with them, though, because medical experts speculate that their lights could permanently damage your eyes.

From what we’ve heard, that beam is strong enough to burn your skin and even cause a fire. But away from all that. If you have a player that no longer serves you, and you’d like to make a DIY laser pointer, just give it a shot.

4. Homemade Laser Pointer

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

Instead of money on an outdated DVD player if you don’t have one at home, look for some pocket change and go buy a push button, a few wires, springs, button cell batteries, and more importantly, the laser diode. You’ll also need a small tube, like one that contains lip moisturizer.

Depending on where you’ve bought them, they should cost you less than $2 or slightly over. These are the only materials you need to make a powerful homemade laser pointer.

5. Green Laser Pointer

  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate

In comparison to the traditional red laser, we believe the green laser has an incredible degree of visibility in a wider range of lighting. So, if you were given the option to choose, we say go green. It’s much more accurate and precise, even in the worst lighting conditions.

We also learned that the green laser pointer generates some amount of infrared. While it’s not visible, it could still cause a painless thermal injury. Luckily that can be taken care of with the help of a filter.

6. Blue/Violet Laser Pointer

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

You don’t have to build a green pointer or the conventional red one if you want your pointer to stand out. Nowadays, we have laser diodes that output several other colors. You could go blue if you wanted to, violet, or even yellow. However, there’s a caveat.

You see, since some of these outputs are relatively new to the market, our medical experts haven’t gotten enough time to establish whether or not they are harmful to us. The research that has been conducted thus far, has revealed that they are safe but findings take time. So, once you’re done building your blue/violet laser pointer, try not to expose yourself or anyone to the beam.

7. USB-Rechargeable Laser Pointer

diy usb-rechargeable laser pointer
Image Credit: Instructables
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate

If you’re the kind of person who considers him/herself a tech-savvy individual, you’ll like this one. And the good news is that it also doesn’t consume much time or demand too many resources. The laser diode used in this project is the usual two-dollar diode. As for the power source, we’ll be relying on a power bank, computer, or anything that can be connected to a USB-A connector.

Quick Disclaimer: building a USB laser pointer could be challenging for someone who’s never built a pointer before. Especially when it comes to wiring.

A small mistake or a wrong wire connection is all it takes to fry the motherboard of your computer.

8. Laser Pointer Ring

diy laser pointer ring
Image Credit: Instructables
  • Difficulty Level: Advanced

The USB laser pointer is a slightly complicated project, but not as complicated as this laser pointer ring. For starters, you’ll need a 3D printer because that’s the only way this ring can be made. If you’re a resourceful person, you could improvise and work something out, but it’s not going to be that easy. The design has to be exactly like this one, or the components are not going to fit.

You’ll also need some Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files for the ring, an electronic wire cutter, a soldering iron, a laser pointer pen, a few tiny screws, a screwdriver, and wire. The screws should be 4mm long and not too long.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Determines a Laser Pointer’s Burning Ability?

Many people seem to think that it’s the color of the beam, but that’s not it. It’s actually the power output. Any laser that has a power output of 100mW or less won’t have the strength required to start a fire or burn anything. But if the unit has a power output that’s more than 100mW, that’s an entirely different conversation.

Are Green Lasers Illegal?

Green lasers are not illegal in the United States. However, if the laser has an output that’s above 5 milliwatts (mW), as a brand, you’re obligated to let the consumer know. According to experts, any laser that generates a beam with an output higher than 5mW can cause an irreversible eye injury and even blindness. Green lasers tend to fall under this category.

Why Do We Have Different Classes Of Lasers?

Lasers have to be classified for safety purposes. In general, we have four classes of lasers: Class 2, Class 3R, Class 3, and Class 4. Optometrists believe Class 2 and 3R are relatively harmless to the human eye, but Class 3 and 4 can cause irreversible damage. But this doesn’t give you the green light to intentionally expose your eyes to the beams generated by Class 2 and 3R. You can never be too sure about these things.

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A laser pointer is one of those things that’s easy to make at home. Be careful while playing with them, though. They can permanently damage your eyes, burn your skin, or even harm your pet. If you’re not sure how strong the laser is, keep it away from the kids, and don’t point it at anyone.

Featured Image Credit: I.Dr, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.