Now that the Internet has made it easy for just about anyone to get their hands on laser diodes, the DIY laser scene has exploded in the past few years. You wouldn’t believe the beams that people build in their garages these days. Sure, they’re probably dangerous as hell, but there’s just something so appealing about a beam of coherent, monochromatic light — especially if it’s powerful enough to light stuff on fire.
Case in point? This insane 40-watt “laser shotgun” built by laser aficionado, modder, and YouTube personality styropyro. As the inventor readily admits, “there’s no, no good reason for anybody to own something this powerful, but because it wasn’t illegal for me to build, I decided to build it anyway.”
To produce such a ridiculously powerful beam of energy, the “shotgun” uses a 40-watt blue laser diode array. This array doesn’t actually produce a single 40-watt beam at first. Instead, it actually takes eight parallel beams and sends them through a lens, which focuses everything into a single beam — similar to how the choke on a shotgun focuses the pellets into a tighter pattern.
The result is pretty epic. In the video, styropyro shows off how powerful his beam is by pointing it at various objects (balloons, flash paper, a ping pong balls, etc.) — all of which burst into flames after a second or two.
To put the beam’s energy in perspective for you, most conventional laser pointers (the ones people use for to highlight stuff during presentations) usually boast about 2 milliwatts, whereas the highest power laser you can get from Wicked Lasers is just 2 watts. Styropryro’s beam is roughly 20 times as powerful.
If you’re looking for a way to spice up your next PowerPoint presentation, look no further!