DIY Long Distance Laser Telescope Does Some Damage

DIY laser rifle doing damage long distance

Here’s a DIY laser rifle which can explode a balloon at around 150 feet (45 meters) as well as some angry chemicals at a similar distance. Since there are plenty of videos of lasers doing that at around a meter, why shouldn’t doing so farther away be easy? Despite what many expect, laser beams don’t remain as straight lines forever. All light diverges over a distance. This makes it hard to create a laser which can do damage from more than around a meter and is why most demonstrations on YouTube are that distance or less.

Galilean telescope and laser idea[Styropyro’s] handheld, DIY laser rifle, or Laser Telescope Blaster as he calls it, works for long distances. His solution lies in some surprising physics: the larger the diameter of the beam, the more slowly it will diverge. So he used the opposite of a Galilean telescope to take the small beam of his 405-nanometer laser and increase its diameter. His best result was to explode a balloon at 150 feet (45 meters).

He did run into another issue first though. Anyone who’s tried to keep a camera aimed at a target through a telephoto lens while holding the camera in their hands knows that even a tiny movement will throw the camera off target. For a laser beam to sufficiently heat up the balloon in order to make it explode, the beam has to stay on it for a short period of time. But at a long distance, small movements of his rifle made the beam wander. Putting the rifle on a tripod fixed that. In the video below you can see him work through his design and these issues to finally get his big success.

We can guess what spurred on this interest in long-distance laser rifles. Back in July, a Chinese company made bold claims to building one which could do damage at 800 meters.

44 thoughts on “DIY Long Distance Laser Telescope Does Some Damage

  1. Hmm, nice idea for next camping trip. Put balloon over hot water electrolysis, fill balloon with H2 and O2, release then fire with lasers, best done at night of course. This posting along with recent posting on green lasers and their dangers makes for interesting musing for next camping trips, thanks :-)

    1. Exactly my thought, and then the article top image says “don’t try it at home”… it should have stated “don’t try this in the woods/forest or near bushes.

      Why should we care if a person trying to do something stupid with a potential fire hazard burns down their own house. The main threat is in the fact that they might burn something else that belongs to others. The real “disclaimer” here should simply have been “don’t do this!”

      Thankfully the videos does show some interesting explanations regarding the technical issues involved.

    2. I’m the maker of this video. The ground was wet from recent rains when I shot the exploding targets, in fact I couldn’t have lit the forest on fire even if I wanted to. This isn’t California where it doesn’t rain for months on end and the trees are filled with flammable oil. And for the record, I have nearly 15 years experience making fireworks and have never caused an unintentional fire. I always have copious amounts of water nearby.

      1. Fluid head tripod or mount for video cameras will help stabilize also as well as felt tape for the telescoping/focusing tube slides helps. I made a comment on your youtube video also. Way neat, thanks for sharing with such details also and advocating awareness of such systems! Really scares me on some days how people want to deprive our rights under color of law and act like there is no need for forensics or examples of systems capabilities like everyone in the World is Mother Theresa (an we all know how poisonous, perv and murdering some in that network have been).

      2. I just picked up a RadioShack RST-84V video camera fluid head tripod from the Goodwill store that is missing the quick release part and hand crank with pinion gear for the height adjustment. All the other parts are there. I can send it to you for shipping and the $3.99 if you want.

      3. Don’t listen to these dumb mouth breathing idiots you are smart enough to design and build things like this I’m sure you have enough common sense to not burn the woods down next time you do this experiment have one of these tree hugging mouth breathing idiots hold the target on top of there head 😉

  2. Wow very impressive.Wen this video gets posted on YouTube it would be great if a link was added for the size lenses that were used from I believe the company is Esco Object. Or if someone from would be nice enough to email the Lens sizes or a link to Esco Objects with Len sizes attached.
    Thank you for the great video

  3. HaD should have known better than to post such a dangerous video. Even the kid’s YouTube comments from supposedly like-minded people jokingly thank him for giving them the chance to see his work “before YouTube sensors take it down” suggesting strongly that they all know it is dangerous and beyond the limits of social acceptability. Whether you choose to admit it or not, this video gives people who wish to do anonymous harm to other people a silent and almost untraceable means of doing so from a distance. It is appallingly poor taste! Please take it down immediately!

    1. You think I’m the first person to stick two lenses in front of a laser and burn things with it? This device is garbage for remotely setting fires. It took a long time to set the focus, which including running up to the target and back to dial down the spot size. Plus I used unstable chemicals to make the targets easy to ignite. I hope you realize that anybody with a paypal account can just BUY a completely built laser that’s 5x stronger than what’s in my video.

      As for the comments on YouTube’s censors taking the video down, that’s in response to a video of mine that was flagged recently for just TALKING about the “Chinese Laser AK47” and how it is unlikely to be real. No crazy experiments in the video, mainly just a bunch of math, but the video still got hit by the censors.

      1. So you think that you needn’t be socially responsible because other people have done it before with a bigger badder devices? You may not be the first to burn things with lasers but you are the first to do it from 150 feet using toys and easily available parts. What’s to keep a kid from starting a forest fire using an “unstable chemical” and that peculiar long distance match yours? What’s to keep an unstable person, someone who just happened to have read your internet post, from shining the thing into crowds, into airplane cockpits or vehicles driven by emergency responders? That can even happen unintentionally, all the beam has to do is fall onto any shiny flat surface. If you showed your video to your mother, your teacher, your principal, a policeman or public official what would they say?

        Given your obvious audience and the volatile nature of today’s society devices such as yours do not enhance public security, they put it in ever greater jeopardy. You cannot predict who will abuse the information you put on the internet. All I’m saying is that it’s time people took more responsibility for their actions.

        1. I dunno, I live out in the country and I propel a lot of lead big enough and fast enough to take big game down. A laser that can hardly pop a balloon at 150 feet seems pretty tame to me. I will grant you that it all depends on where you are playing, but it sounds like he is playing on his own property and it has been wet out. I am sorry if you don’t own a place to play with toys like this safely, but some of us do. Hell, the way some people drive cars on the road is more dangerous than his laser. If you think it is unsafe, don’t do it, but don’t make that decision for the rest of us.

          1. Understood. I appreciate the fact that he is probably doing it on his country property and not causing any real harm. I just object to him posting it on the internet where very impressionable people, including children, can view it and copy his actions. There are all kinds of ways to cause mayhem. My question is, do we want to inspire that kind of behavior or do we want to help prevent it? The simplest way to prevent it is to simply not publish it for the whole world to see.

        2. Concerned Citizen:
          Why the paranoid delusion leading on illegal activities? There is a reason there are conspiracy facts and theories since the acts only take two or more people to premeditate, attempt and/or act out intentionally illegal acts… acts that you can keep in mind that even government actors have in fact been proven to commit and even train to commit intentionally.

          Maybe your concern can be focused on making sure tragedies are avoided by not conspiring against our rights, in particular our U.S. Jurisdiction Constitutional Rights, because you forgot to worry about the pedo incest homo groomed pandering law enforcement overly competitive informants and illegals they hire and traffic to manufacture their crime ring operations for their courts and prisons as well as health care operations. Then focus on the educational system reforms to teach U.S. Jurisdictional law like the Ten Commandments were taught to me in Christian School. Then the causing harm criminal thoughts wouldn’t even cross into anyone’s mind.

          We have the right to know science and how science can be used for our self defense whether weaponized or not.

          Maybe target those ill systems people first and there will not be a concern for foul and ill, illegal activities that harm people mentally and physically.

          1. If being a responsible concerned citizen is “paranoid” and “delusional” then I’m guilty as charged, and proud of it! However, I think publishing descriptions of devices that children can use to harm others is much more paranoid and delusional, so, you win.

        3. I would HOPE that those “authority” figures would offer words of praise and encouragement for taking such an obviously lifelong passion for science and math and putting it to good use. I would hope that those same people would be encouraging and GRATEFUL that people like this guy have the capacity and laser focus (punny, I know) to learn about advanced concepts in laser and systems research at the bleeding edge of modern science and engineering, so that new technologies can be developed and studied. Because if it weren’t for enterprising, interested, highly intelligent kids like this one, modern amenities that you take for granted, like being able to pop a frozen meal into a box and 3 minutes later enjoy a meal, or any of the mind-numbing number of things that we interact with or that influence modern life today that were likely the result of someone being interested in science, math, technology, or engineering, and being willing and encouraged to try and fail. Sure, safety is important, while the guy does things that would likely kill the average human on a nearly daily basis I’m sure, he makes sure to inform viewers that he is actually an expert with advanced level degrees and loads of experience in the field. The most important thing about this expert making such an “irresponsible, dangerous” video, though, is that he makes these REALLY high level advanced concepts and makes it tangible, interesting, and fun for future generations. Fortunately for humanity, kids like this exist, who have a passion for learning, and take the time to further our collective knowledge, and have also taken it upon themselves to educate and engage those who will come after them. The police officer might take exception and would likely shoot first and ask questions later, but we don’t hold our cops up to the same standards in this society as our scientists or even our teachers. His mother is clearly a most patient and SUPPORTIVE person, and enabled this young person to find something which he loves, and to which his keen mind can contribute much toward. I doubt very much that she’d shame him for sharing his passions. His teachers and principal should equally be acknowledged and thanked for allowing this gifted young man to explore his passions in a safe environment without fear of reprisal (within reason I’m sure). Maybe instead of shaming people for developing their areas of interest and having the courage to EXPERIMENT and fail, we should encourage some more of it. The people in my life sure did, and I’m infinitely better for it. Likely, without supportive and encouraging people around him, this young guy would have probably found or manufactured a world of trouble and possibly would have been relegated to the care of some institution. But instead, he was encouraged and supported to learn about the things which he had interests in, dangerous though they may be. And I imagine that as a result, this guy has probably inspired countless young people (and old) to pursue educations. After all, if someone can grasp the concepts outlined by some of his videos, that level of intelligence ought to be fostered and nurtured, not restricted and repressed. I literally thought that’s what HaD was all about! Imagine my surprise when I read some of these shameful comments attacking this guy. He may enjoy making eye melting nuclear powered laser cannons, but he’s not just the future, but he’s INSPIRING the future generations, and ought to be celebrated. Tbh I was shocked to see so MANY articles that refer to [styropyro], and while thrilled as I’ve followed his exploits for a long time and see his endeavors as more than just spectacle and explosion. The guy is HIGHLY educated, and HIGHLY regarded amongst his peers I’m sure, because he’s obviously some sort of genius. Whether that genius is used for the betterment or destruction of mankind is sort of left to the rest of us. If we celebrate learning and encourage experimentation and don’t shy away from the things that we ought better face, there’s a good chance that minds like his will find some positive direction, and who could possibly imagine the contribution or impact the future generations could make, being inspired by some dude learning how to turn his microwave into a class IV death ray and teaching us the principals behind it on Yt? But seriously, stop discouraging advancement because you’re afraid someone is going to take the time to learn advanced concepts so that they can melt your eyeballs out of your head at 300 yards. That’s ridiculous, there are literally hundreds of easier ways to inflict pain or death, and none of them involve learning advanced concepts like this guy teaches. Your time would be much better spent exploring why someone would be so hellbent on inflicting so much pain, and then exploring how they got that way, rather than trying to restrict the free flow of knowledge and science out of irrational fears of mentally Ill, hyper intelligent, blood thirsty, pyromaniacs coming to burn your house down. You should be ashamed for trying to shame this kid. Seriously. A car can inflict for more damage than a laser beam, but we aren’t banning those. Because the benefits outweigh the risk. Same concept. Fear mongering and shaming are not how you avoid bad outcomes, dude. Educating yourself and others, accepting, and celebrating people don’t lead to violent outcomes. Styro, keep rocking dude, you’re an inspiration to a lot of people, and I’m grateful that your mother, teacher, and principal encouraged you to pursue your passions in a healthy and productive manner, and I have no doubt that your contribution to humanity will likely be enormous thanks to that. If everyone were like these naysaying bozos, people like you, and people like me, would see no reason to waste our energy and time pursuing the betterment of humanity; I reckon I’d properly direct my energies towards watching the world burn, instead. Fortunately that’s not the case, and they’re in the overwhelming minority. Cheers

    2. Consider that if no one knows that such devices exist… no one will believe such devices exist. There is a reason for the controversy with incidents at the Embassies since the 50’s starting with controversy regarding microwaves and their effects. There still is today. Laser’s have been demonstrated doing similar by professors at leading universities and can be found on youtube also.

      Our present and future needs to be aware of the effects of such devices and even their capabilities of just existing.

      Without disclosure and demonstrations… people will think they’re seriously mentally ill or having conditions that are natural like we still find with the even Diplomats in Cuba, China, Israel/Palestine, Moscow, Uzbekistan and I’m thinking other places.

      These demonstrations are a great inspiration of awareness of the capabilities and performance of systems that can even be made with commercial off the shelf materials. Think about if a sniper is shooting people. Wouldn’t the people want to know the sniper can have a weapon, where the sniper is and how the weapons operates so they can defend themselves??? Demonstrations of systems and their capabilities that exist need to be allowed to be known to exist. Otherwise systems like LRAD’s, Active Denial systems and LASER/MASER systems will just be considered not real and just someones imaginary device and forensically clean kills that look like natural causes will exist more and more in a worse case scenario… which appears to be happening since no one believe they exist or existed.

      Way to go Mr. Anthony!

    3. Try combining different focal lenses(add more) to increase density of the beams and bringing them together into a single beam. It should be manageable. Set them in an aperture that holds them all with equal spacing. Give each one a lens. In front of that place a larger lens to gather them. Then add a smaller on from of that to recapture. Then a larger one to break it down (decrease the actual number of beams but keep power) followed by a smaller lens to re focus. Repeat until desired distance is achieved. Also note…the lasers used will require an appropriate power source to for the distance and effect desired.

      1. You should check your computer for malware or time desyncronization because otherwise your connection is being tampered with as it has a valid certificate when I go there.

        As for the ratings site it sounds like a supply chain issue around 20q5 not that they switched to scanning after a decade of business. I’d assume they have since been sorted as I haven’t had any issues with my purchases from 2016-2018.

    1. A wider beam delivers less power per square mm so is often more safe to the eye. Although if harmful it is likely the whole eye is taken out instead of just a small spot.

      At this distance your are also not going to hit someone in the eye by accident for any amount of time. Think of trying to make a photo with a handheld camera with a high zoom factor. It would be more like the rapidly scanned beams in a lasershow.

  4. diode lasers don’t have a very good beam, gas lasers take a greater distance to diverge.
    even the tiny laser pointer tube was too bad.
    I’ve seen 30 and 60 watt HeNe and Ar lasers “pop” ballons a few hundred metres away and char wood at 50 to 70 metres.

    back in the early 80’s the local laser guru, Stan Astoya built this really “cool” maser that could blow a hole in 5mm aluminium from about 20 metres away.
    he died from cancer and I’ve always wondered if the two were connected…

    1. You’ve never seen a 30 or 60 W HeNe, as no such thing exists. I have used 20W Argon lasers. They are 8 feet long and require 8KW of 3-phase power to run, along with a massive supply of cooling water.

      1. these WERE about 8′ long, had liquid cooling and Stan used them for public laser light shows

        they gave a really bright, clear display on a big outdoor projection screen from 20 – 30 metres away
        Stan used red and green lasers in his light shows

        when ELO played at Football park, they afternoon before the concert the stage hands were letting helium balloons go and “popping” them a few hundred feet up, they also used great big, at least 8′ long HeNe and Ar lasers

        1. There is no such thing as a 30W HeNe. I own a 200mW HeNe, and it is 6 feet long. The gain of HeNe (as a lasing media) is poor, An 8 foot long 20W Argon is realistic. The red beam you are thinking of, If it had that kind of power, would be one lasing line of a Krypton Ion laser, which would be of similar size to an Argon Ion laser.

  5. Some fancy DSLR lenses have standalone stabilization mechanisms. Accelerometer, servos, floating prisms. Just provide power, and maybe whisper some SPI messages to wake the lens up. Not sure about that last part.

    1. If you’re asking about the quantum mechanics of it then I can’t answer. But the idea is that somehow a wider beam doesn’t spread out as much as a narrower beam. So by the time it gets to the target, it’s still concentrated enough to burst the balloon.

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