A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: UPDATED - Video of homemade 3 watt handheld laser gains attention

A YouTube video published May 22 2013 shows a homemade 3 watt handheld laser burning various objects. The laser uses a 9mm 450 nanometer diode, and is powered by two 18650 Li-ion batteries. Drake Anthony, known on YouTube and laser forums as “styropyro” notes “This is the most powerful handheld laser that I’ve ever used! …. To be honest, I don’t even like handheld lasers this strong, but I knew my subscribers would like this. This laser is legal to own in the US, and I wore goggles while shooting this video.”

Lasers in the 1 watt range have been widely available since the mid-2010 introduction of the Wicked Laser Spyder III Arctic blue laser. This is the first handheld 3 watt laser that LaserPointerSafety.com has been aware of.
The video shows the blue laser beam burning objects placed within a few inches of the output aperture, including: paper, cardboard, wooden splint, flash paper, black electrical tape, a ping-pong ball, photoflash powder, and a flammable liquid.

Various Internet gadget blogs linked to the video, referencing Anthony’s description of the device as a “homemade lightsaber.”

UPDATE, June 7 2013: On June 5 2013, CNN’s morning show Starting Point aired a short report about the video. The reporters called it “the ultimate collector’s item” for Star Wars fans and said “Every boy in America wants one of these things.” At the end, the reporter did note that “Clearly it’s probably not a great toy for the young ones.” Also, styropyro uploaded two additional YouTube videos. One shows the 3-watt handheld laser burning more objects, the other shows how to build a small 155 mW pen laser, emitting 455 nm blue light, which can burn objects. In a discussion about this laser at Laser Pointer Forums, Styropyro wrote “To be honest, I don’t really care for the class IV handheld lasers cuz they are so dangerous.”

From YouTube; referenced by Mashable, Gizmodo, The Blaze, and the Huffington Post among others. Additional styropyro videos are at his “DIY Laser Guy” YouTube channel. Thanks to many people including Donna Colona and Joshua Hadler for bringing the CNN video to our attention.