650nm 5mw Laser Build

650nm 5mw Laser build

Goal:  To build a small 5mw 650nm laser with a real on and off switch and focusing optics.

Today I found myself needing a small laser to use in aligning my larger one, so I set about looking around my workbench to see what I had just laying around.  Sure, I could have possibly went and actually purchased a laser pointer from any office supply store, but those have momentary switches and I wanted one that would stay on until switched off.  Another option would have been to buy a laser level from the hardware store, but those cost money 😛  And neither of them have real focusing optics.

After some scrounging around I found a cheap axis laser housing with diode and driver board still intact! For me, this is a mirracle as most of the time, I usually disassemble things when I first get them.

parts I used in this build

After I scrounged up the rest of the parts I went to work.  To cut the little dice box enclosure I used a drill that was slightly smaller than the laser housing and SLOWELY drilled it from each side until I had a nice smooth hole.  Then, I used my hobby knife, flipped on my butane torch, heated up the blade and cut the hole for the switch.  This took about 5 minutes time total, including taking the pictures.

heating knife

I failed to take a picture of the holes after I cute them, sorry about that, but you get the idea.   The next step was soldering all the connections up.  I slipped in the switch and unscrewed the laser housing, they unscrew in the middle to allow access to the driver board, then I screwed it back in, as shown in the picture.   I went to solder the switch, in retrospect, it would have been easier to run the lines through the hole, solder it, then snap the switch in… but I did it the hard way.  No biggie, I have extremely steady hands and it was like playing that old board game “operation” 😉

operation board game   soldered parts

Be sure to heat shrink exposed wires as you are basically just cramming them all into the enclosure after it is done.  To keep the battery compartment from rattling around I put a little double stick scotch tape on the bottom.  No, I didn’t burn the heat shrink.. that is just soot from the bic lighter I used.

The next step was simply installing batteries, putting it all into the enclosure and adjusting the optics to get a proper beam 😀

laser completed laser firing

I did throw a warning sticker onto the side after, the one I peeled off the axis laser housing to get it apart.  To remove those, a blow drier works wonders, just don’t get it too hot or you may damage the diode and internal electronics.

This project is finished!

Copyright © Jessie Tank

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