How do I Make a Burning Laser?

G. Wiesen

There are a number of different ways to make a burning laser, and regardless of the method used, it will produce a handheld laser that can produce enough heat to burn through objects and ignite materials like paper. The two most common methods used are by modifying, or “modding,” a green laser pointer to produce a stronger laser and building a handheld laser using a flashlight case and the laser diode from something like a digital versatile disc (DVD) burner. Whichever method is used, the resulting burning laser is potentially quite dangerous and extreme caution should be taken whenever handling such an item.

One way to make a burning laser is by modifying a handheld laser pointer.
One way to make a burning laser is by modifying a handheld laser pointer.

A burning laser is a type of laser that produces enough energy to actually burn something, and can be used to do things like light paper on fire, light a match, and even potentially burn through objects such as string or thin plastic. These are usually handheld and should be considered as potentially harmful as a weapon. While standard laser pointers should never be aimed at a living creature, especially a person's or animal’s eyes, this is even truer of a burning laser. Even brief interaction between someone’s eyes and such a laser could easily result in permanent retinal damage resulting in blindness.

Lasers, especially burning laser, can cause blindness if pointed at the eyes.
Lasers, especially burning laser, can cause blindness if pointed at the eyes.

One of the easiest ways to make a burning laser is to modify a standard handheld laser pointer. A green laser pointer is usually used, as these tend to already be fairly powerful. The modifications can potentially break the laser pointer, and even if done properly the resulting product will usually go through batteries quite quickly and may burn out the laser itself fairly rapidly. You should consider this before attempting to alter your own laser pointer, and this should not be done with expensive pointers.

The basic process needed to modify a laser pointer in this way is to open the casing of the pointer and remove the laser diode and the small circuit board connected to it. This process can easily break the components, so it must be done with great care and patience. Once the diode and board are removed, one of the resistors on the board can be destroyed by applying heat through a soldering iron or similar heat source. The laser is then put back together and will effectively be a burning laser, since the power going into the diode will be greater and create a laser that produces heat.

Another way to create a handheld burning laser is to remove the laser diode from a DVD burner — not just a reader but a disc drive that can burn DVDs — and place it inside a flashlight housing. This is a somewhat more complicated procedure, and requires more tools and basic engineering knowledge than the first process. The resulting laser is typically quite powerful, however, and can be used in much the same way to heat up objects and burn through certain materials.

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Discussion Comments


Does anyone know if there are any other uses for burning lasers? These are some great uses, but I'm sure there's more variety than this. After all, technology can work wonders, and people are always finding new ways of using equipment.

On another note, I agree with you guys...this stuff is rather dangerous! Unless you have years of experience, always handle equipment with careful supervision. You never know what might happen.


@Viranty - I agree. Also, in my opinion, sometimes, even when we're inexperienced, we may feel that we have everything under control, and that we know how to handle things we don't have experience with. As much as I hate to admit it, it's often only through the consequences of our actions that we learn that adult supervision is the most recommended choice.


This is a great article. I had no idea that you could make a laser from common household items, as Logicfest also said. These are some interesting ideas, but I feel that they're also very dangerous. Unless you're at the right age, or unless you have adult supervision, it's generally best to avoid these things.


Good grief! I had no idea it was possible to make a burning laser from items that are so common. I'm glad my little brother (now an engineer) didn't know about these things when he was a teenager with time on his hands. Be careful, folks!

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