Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Build a Paper-burning Flashlight


A paper-burning flashlight is really known as a laser flashlight, because it emits a laser beam. Most people use laser flashlights for fun. It's fun to burn a hole in paper, in a credit card or even in clothing, and it's fun to project a beam that goes for miles. Laser pointers can cause injury, so never point it at anyone. Building a laser flashlight can be rather expensive. So get ready for some expensive fun.

Here's what you need:

  • A small tin casing A small tin casing, such as a mini flashlight or tin can, will hold your laser.
  • A laser diodeAlthough you can buy one online, it's better to take one from an old DVD burner. Simply remove the drive from the housing, which is attached with tiny screws. Once it's disassembled, you'll expose the laser diode assembly which moves back and forth on two tracks. Remove it from the rails and unscrew the tiny screws to extract the diode.
  • A laser diode casing This will hold the laser diode, and will help you build it into the laser pointer.
  • One dry-cell-battery pack

Here's what to do:

  1. Drill a small hole in the top of the casing for the switch. Drill another hole on the side for the laser. If you're using a small flashlight, you can skip this step.
  2. Remove the diode that came with the casing. Replace it with the stronger one from the DVD burner. You may have to solder new, longer pins to connect the diode with the batteries.
  3. Put in the batteries. If you used a mini flashlight, simply put the batteries in correctly and enjoy your laser, paper-burning flashlight. If you used a tin can, place a switch in the hole on top. Solder the switch to the two pins coming from the diode. Attach your dry-cell-battery pack to the switch.
  4. Your paper-burning flashlight is ready.[sources: Life123, Instructables]

More to Explore