Today I found myself needing a small laser to use in aligning my larger one, so I set about looking around my workbench to see what I had just laying around. Sure, I could have possibly went and actually purchased a laser pointer from any office supply store, but those have momentary switches and I wanted one that would stay on until switched off. Another option would have been to buy a laser level from the hardware store, but those cost money :P And neither of them have real focusing optics.
After some scrounging around I found a cheap axis laser housing with diode and driver board still intact! For me, this is a mirracle as most of the time, I usually disassemble things when I first get them.
After I scrounged up the rest of the parts I went to work. To cut the little dice box enclosure I used a drill that was slightly smaller than the laser housing and SLOWELY drilled it from each side until I had a nice smooth hole. Then, I used my hobby knife, flipped on my butane torch, heated up the blade and cut the hole for the switch. This took about 5 minutes time total, including taking the pictures.
I failed to take a picture of the holes after I cute them, sorry about that, but you get the idea. The next step was soldering all the connections up. I slipped in the switch and unscrewed the laser housing, they unscrew in the middle to allow access to the driver board, then I screwed it back in, as shown in the picture. I went to solder the switch, in retrospect, it would have been easier to run the lines through the hole, solder it, then snap the switch in… but I did it the hard way. No biggie, I have extremely steady hands and it was like playing that old board game “operation”;)
Be sure to heat shrink exposed wires as you are basically just cramming them all into the enclosure after it is done. To keep the battery compartment from rattling around I put a little double stick scotch tape on the bottom. No, I didn’t burn the heat shrink.. that is just soot from the bic lighter I used.
The next step was simply installing batteries, putting it all into the enclosure and adjusting the optics to get a proper beam :D
I did throw a warning sticker onto the side after, the one I peeled off the axis laser housing to get it apart. To remove those, a blow drier works wonders, just don’t get it too hot or you may damage the diode and internal electronics.