How to Build a High-Power Laser Cut

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Lasers were once the stuff of science fiction, but now anybody can build one if they have a minimal amount of electrical skill and can use a soldering iron. Building a high-power laser cutter can be done using parts from a green laser pointer and some tools from around the house. The laser will be powerful enough to burn a hole in paper, and can be used as a science project to demonstrate how powerful the laser light is.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Green laser pointer
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Phillips jeweler's screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Electric wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Bonding glue
  • Spray bottle
  • Put the newspaper down on a table. Fill the spray bottle with tap water and put it on the newspaper. Remove the battery cap and the batteries from the green laser pointer. Twist the green laser pointer between your hands till the seam between the top and bottom halves crack. Separate the top from the bottom half using the needle-nose pliers. Discard the top half.

  • Pull the laser assembly from out of the bottom half using the needle-nose pliers. Put the laser assembly down on the newspaper. Cut two 6-inch strips of electric wire using the wire cutters. Strip the insulation off of both ends of the two electric wires using the wire strippers.

  • Solder one end of an electric wire to one of the contacts at the bottom of the laser assembly. Solder one end of the other electric wire to the other contact at the bottom of the laser assembly. Let the solder cool.

  • Solder the free end of one of the electric wires to one of the two contacts inside of the bottom half of the green laser pointer. Solder the free end of the other electric wire to the other contact inside of the bottom half of the green laser pointer. Let the solder cool.

  • Turn the small screw at the center of the laser assembly a half turn counter-clockwise using the Phillips jeweler's screwdriver. Heat up the soldering iron. Touch the soldering iron to the small square chip that resides directly above the screw on the laser assembly. Remove the soldering iron from the chip after 6-7 seconds have passed.

  • Glue the end of the pencil to the back side of the laser pointer where the wires are with bonding glue. Let the bonding glue set. Replace the batteries into the bottom half of the green laser pointer and put the battery cap on. Pick up the pencil and aim the end of the laser assembly at the newspaper. Wait as the high-powered laser cutter you have built now burns a hole in the newspaper. Remove the battery cap and eject the batteries to turn off the laser. Use the spray bottle to put out the fire that the laser has started in the newspaper.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a fine tip on the soldering iron to avoid damaging any of the components on the laser assembly.
  • Making a cutting laser should always be done with adult supervision.
  • Never allow the light from the laser to hit anyone's eyes, as it could damage their retinas.

References

  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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