I started experimenting and working with lasers in 2016. It has been a long yet educational journey. Here is a walk through my journey. Enjoy!

My initial learning about lasers. This is a 445nm blue laser diode with a driver board that provides a constant voltage to the laser.
I experimented a lot with various optics. Didn't really come up with anything new.
I was using a 12v power supply that plugged into the wall. I wanted to go mobile so I started looking for batter options. It needed to be a strong battery with the necessary amperage.
I ended up finding and using these rechargeable scooter batteries. They can push the amps required.
Fire the laser
Firing the laser through a prism will bounce the beam back.
The laser driver board has a TTL that allows me to control the laser on/off with a computer. So I added in an Arduino.
I also figured I'd play with more than one laser at a time using the Arduino to control them. There are 3 lasers here.
Firing 3 lasers at once. Ultimately I had burn marks on my wall.
Here is my first hand held dual laser.
Here is my first hand held dual laser.
Lasers are very dangerous to the eyes. Safety goggles are a must. And the goggles have to be tuned to the frequency of your laser. I have 2 pair so I can share.
Starting a campfire with the laser.
Pointing out constellations in the night sky with the laser.
You know those glow in the dark stars you get for your kids room. The laser super charges them for at least an hour.
The old laser has been decommissioned for a new and improved laser.
I've put in a lot of planning around the new laser. It will have some controls to have different firing modes. Here are the schematics.
Here are the schematics for just the power.
I also decided to do some 3d mockups.
3d mockups.
3d mockups.
Doing Arduino testing with the new control knob and readout.
Building the handle was fun, working the wiring into the middle of the handle.
Building the handle.
Building the handle.
With the handle connected.
Planning the laser mounts. This one will have 3 lasers.
The laser mount will be in a triangular configuration. The on on the bottom will be focused very wide. It will be bright, but not burn..
This is the backend. There is a connection to make programming changes to the Arduino and the power will come in and out here. I will still use a backpack to carry the batteries.
Still a work in process 01-14-2021. BTW. I really hate wood working.
I hinged on the front laser arms and added super magnets to hold it closed.
Here is the front with the magnets holding it closed
Here is the top control panel. I've been learning a lot about woodworking lately.
Building the box around the wiring.
Looking at mounting the lasers and laser driver boards.
Laser boards mounted and holes drilled for wiring.
Laser wiring.
Laser wiring bundled.
Adding the wiring to the controls and readout.
Things are coming together.
The "mostly" finished unit with the cabling and batteries. One battery for the Arduino, the other for the lasers.
My box for working on the laser and testing it. I had to add an emergency on/off switch for the lasers. Mostly for when making programming errors on the Arduino.
When you turn on the laser it is at setting 0 which is "safety". The laser will not fire on this setting. Setting 4 fires all three lasers at once.