How to Build a REAL Laser gun with a Nintendo Zapper, Part 3

Laser Radiation Warning
We’re getting close to the point of needing this sign. Are you excited? I am.

How to Build a Real 100% working Laser Gun from a Nintendo Zapper, Part 3

Step 6: (Optional) Upgrade your lab.

Last time, we just finished rebuilding the trigger mechanism and soldered wires to our switch.

I decided to upgrade my lab area. Because something this cool couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be contained to a stool and a computer case side.

I cleared out a section of my basement, bought a $5 light and setup shop on an old table. To complete the professional polished look, I added my old dell and a spare monitor.

New setup for a lab
A mild upgrade. I’ll definitely add and probably move the setup. But it is nice to have my own space that isn’t on a step stool…

Step 7: Mount the batteries



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More like “put the batteries in the gun only to find that you have to out more plastic and cut a bigger space, so all the damn thingies fit.” But that won’t make a good step title.

Depending on the batteries you decide on, you may need to cut more, or less. The important thing is to provide the driver and the diode with a steady stream of power. I used Lithium Polymer battery packs (LiPo) intended for RC places, copters, and cars.

I trimmed the leads from the Li-Po battery packs. (2 of them)

Once I put the first pack in there, I was very pleasantly surprised – it fit perfectly… 

placing the batteries in the gun
Wow! The Li-Po batteries fit perfectly! Yeah, I totally planned that out. Measured and everything…ahem…

Until I put it on the other side…

Make sure the batteries fit on both sides
Shit. The batter doesn’t quite fit on the other side. Guess I should have measured?

No big deal, I guess. Use the Dremel and snips and cut away whatever won’t fit.

Step 8: Prepare the safety key switch

Worth it for $3.

Prevents accidental firing.

Plus, it is kind of cool in a way to have to “unlock” your laser gun.

So, yeah, its recommended.

Pre-tin the connections as usual using the soldering iron.

Use of the safety switch
The safety switch uses a key and is used to prevent accidental firing.

Next, use a Dremel or drill to chisel out a hole in the base of the handle to put the key switch.

Line it up, but don’t glue it or fasten it in place yet.

Step 9: Connect the batteries and key switch

Wire the batteries in series.

Connect the negative end of the series to the main power wire.

Connect the positive lead to the key switch.

Take another wire, run it under or around the trigger and into the barrel.

Solder the other end to the key switch.

Connecting the key switch to the batteries
By wiring the key switch to the batteries, we are ensuring the key must be switch to “on” for the current to flow and complete the circuit to the trigger, which will activate the laser driver and fire the laser.

Next we will glue the key switch and protect the leads with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape.

Gluing the key switch and securing the connections
Glue the key switch, remove more plastic if needed, and heat shrink the leads.

Step 10: Wire the laser driver

This is one of the more difficult parts. But it is essential if you want to build a real laser gun.

NOTE: Stronger laser guns, or extended use of this laser might require the use of a heat sink to prevent overheating or overloading the laser driver circuit.

It helps to have a magnifying glass handy. You will also need a very steady hand. The holes where you have to literally thread the leads for the power and laser diode on the board are incredibly small.

Before you connect the diode to the board, you might want to short the capacitors to drain any residual charge.

Laser driver wiring
The laser driver is small – but that’s perfect because it has to fit in our limited enclosure. Grab a magnifying glass to help see the small holes.

Twist and thread the red lead from the laser diode to the positive Laser Diode terminal, the black to negative.

solder the laser driver
Carefully solder the laser driver. Again, it helps if you have a magnifying glass to help you. Cut excess so it doesn’t short anything.

Now, you will need to repeat for the power leads.

You should have two of them, one coming from the trigger and the other from the key switch.

You can either work with the wires directly or use a more manageable length and cut later. That is what I did.

Connecting the leads to the laser driver
Connect the power leads to the laser driver.

Again, just twist and solder, then trim.

Be careful not to accidentally short any connections.

This is what the finished module should look like.

Finished Laser module
Here is the finished laser module, with the laser enclosure soldered to the laser driver, with 2 power leads connected. Don’t worry about excess wiring, we can trim when installing into the Zapper laser gun.

NOTE: If you have a white lead left over, put some electrical tape over it.

Next Steps for the “Build a Real Laser Gun” (Nintendo Zapper Edition) …

We’re in the home stretch!  Today we wired the batteries, installed the key switch and wired the laser driver to the laser diode. 

In the last part of this series, we will wire everything, install the lens, and reassemble the gun. It’s the exciting conclusion of our project – and we will finish the build of a real laser gun!

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