Build a cutting laser from an old PC

[Drake Anthony] makes building a cutting laser from a PC look easy, and it seems like it actually is. Almost everything you need can be found in a dead desktop unit. The diode is pulled from a DVD writer (16x or faster), with the power supply unit, and heat sinks from the processor and GPU being used as well. You’ll also need a focusing lens (just a few dollars), some thermal glue, an LM317, a resistor, and a pair of protective goggles matching the laser diode’s wavelength.

He fits the diode into the lens, then glues the assembly into a hole drilled through the processor heat sink. A driver is built using the LM317 variable regulator, resistor, power supply, and the GPU heat sink to keep things cool. Check out the video after the break to see the laser cutting tape, burning plastic, and lighting matches.


  1. Travis says:

    Ok I talked to him on youtube it is around 350mW laser, and when he put his hand in the laser beam it did not burn him due to the wavelength you can get more information at

  2. Travis says:

    YeaSeb, you can ask him at youtube

  3. Dylan says:

    Hey mate few questions how many watts is that 5 oms resistor? and LM316 what type? there are 2 differnt sorts.

  4. keith says:

    I like this laser is there any plane’s or drawings

  5. dan says:

    Hey styropyro.
    love the concept. Can you make a basic drawing of this design. I am electronics junk collector. I have enough transformers and power supplies to make quite a few lasers. I have lenses from old projectors. I have an old projection TV. I want the most powerful diode laser. I want to make a pulsing gatlin laser cooled by the rotation of the gatlin mechanism.

  6. ben says:

    Be sure to write it somewhere when you work on your gatling laser :)

    But as far as i see, noone answered on how much power would be survived by the laser by pulsing it (build something like a camera flash device).

  7. glenmxtq6 says:

    man. you are good, i love your experiment.

  8. orenbeck says:

    The reason this Hack warrants periodic review is that each bump in “Optical Burner Drives” performance raises their power and other “Burn Factors” useful for Hacking. Including the fact of focus and optics getting Kaizen improvements. But, we’re not exploiting all we can of those improvements.

    We’ve pun intentional- failed to focus- on USING the focus mechs in these lasers!

    That’s been a background exploration of mine several years. Having a life, and several family deaths etc has sort of poleaxed my progress. Though- often the knowing that a Hack’s being explored can be an epiphany for other Hackers. Focus, my friends- is that dimension of applying coherent photon energies to their target with accuracy and in a smaller energy transfer zone. Each milliwatt diffused over a millimeter’s fuzz, or focused to the lower limit of practical beam shaping. That last concept is the direction I’m flogging on. That and adding Oxygen for burn enhancement.

  9. Ben says:

    Does anybody know if you could use a PSU from anything else? I have everything done and ready to build the laser, but I don’t have a PSU.

    • robmobz says:

      I run mine of a golf buggy battery. A car battery would also do the job. For red you could even power it from USB on a laptop at that power. Almost any ~5-40VDC supply that can provide at least 200mA would do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 97,543 other followers