Apr 272011
 

Most consumer grade laser pointers come with a momentary switch. Some people might want to have a conventional on/off switch instead, say for photography. Here’s a quick and easy modification that requires no switch replacement or re-wiring.

Start by wrapping tape around the barrel of the pointer right next to the button switch. Build up the tape to a height of about one millimeter. Don’t wrap with a lot of tension, or you may experience the dreaded “tape creep.” Wrap two bands which will act as retainers to keep the modified switch from sliding up or down the barrel.

Find a zip tie that’s roughly the same width as the momentary switch button. The zip tie I’m using is about 5mm wide. If you use a wider zip tie, your tape retaining bands will have to be moved aside to the same width as the zip tie. Encircle the zip tie over the barrel in between the tape retaining bands. Contract the zip tie until you come near the button, positioning the zip tie locking lug over the button. As the zip tie contracts, it will form a teardrop shape, with the locking lug forming the pointed end. Carefully contract the ratchets of the zip tie until the lug almost touches the button but does not turn it on. This is the new “off” position, and should look like this:

Rotating the tie will remove the slack under the locking lug and depress the momentary switch. This is the new “on” position, and looks like this:

Cut off the excess “tail” of the zip tie, and you now have a reasonably elegant on/off switch.

I was able to use my modified laser to capture this image, which is a green glass sculpture in Seward Park here in Seattle:

 Posted by on 04/27/2011 Art, Science

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