Homebrew Nintendo laser zapper is powerful, awesome

"The plan was simple. Take a nostalgic NES "duck hunt" Zapper, and retrofit it with a ridiculously powerful laser."

A project from North Street Labs. In case it's not obvious, this is dangerous, and could lead to death or blindness without safety precautions.

Components: "2.1A input buck driver, 2x 750mAh 35-70c Lipo batteries, M140 445nm diode, G2 lens. homemade custom heat-sink, turn key safety switch."

Learn how to build your own, here. But remember, kids, always wear protective safety goggles. And, wear the right kind for the laser you're working with. [Video Link].


  1. This is an idiotically reckless thing to do.  Make a dangerous tool look like a toy.  What’s next, a circular saw built into an Elmo doll?

    The key switch doesn’t work properly either; you shouldn’t be able to pull the keys out like that. Also, there should be an interface for a safety interlock.  This guy knows nothing about laser safety.  “Always wear your goggles.” Idiot. That’s like a gun instructor saying, “always wear your bullet-proof vest” and leaving the safety instruction at that. These are last-resort safety measures, not first-line precautions.

    1.  Is this actually likely to kill you or even seriously injury you so long as you were eye protection? (I honestly don’t know how well the eye protection they recommend would help against this)

      I’d imagine the only real danger beyond that would be starting a fire, so I guess maybe have a fire extinguisher at hand as well and… you should be pretty much good, right? Maybe I’m just not understanding the severity of the danger here. (Closing the windows would be a good idea as well, thinking about it)

      1. It can injure the eyes of people far from the room after inadvertent reflections from specular surfaces, which are not obvious to the user. It will injure some who replicate parts of this without understanding all of the dangers involved.

        1.  So… additional needed precautions are “lock door, cover windows”? And tell the kids not to try this at home?

          1. The typical precautions would be to:
            1. Fix the laser to a mount, so that it can’t be pointed at random objects, surfaces, and people.
            2. Use a closed optical path between the source and the target so that nothing can interrupt and reflect the beam. 
            3. Install an interlock so that the beam can only fire when the optical path is closed. If the optical path is open, the interlock can go to the door of the room so that the laser cuts out when the door is open.

            A 2 W hand-held free-space laser being swung around a room is pretty dangerous.  It’s a powerful tool with the potential to do harm, and like any similar tool, it should be treated with respect.

          2. Sorry, but that’s kind of dumb. You wouldn’t be able to have any fun with it at all like that – it would be like going to a firing range with your bow, fixing it to a mount, and then pressing a button to fire it – it sort of defeats the whole point of the exercise to begin with!

            You say pretty dangerous, but assuming covered windows/no guests (i.e. a safe location) and the mentioned goggles, it seems like the worst you could get is a minor burn.

          3. 1) The user would need to have Parkinson’s disease to have any concern about lack of control in the video.
            2) A lot of laboratory equipment uses open optical paths, reflecting the beam without external cover.
            3) You are completely fabricating what actually happened in the video.  The laser was not “swung around the room.”  It was carefully turned on via key-lock, with everyone wearing protective eye-wear in the room, then fired.  I know, because I was the one pulling the trigger.

            By the way, I have seen many completely legal gun ranges with way shittier safety standards involving live projectiles that can actually kill people.  This laser can cause severe eye injury and 1st degree burns at worst.  I am by no means trying to downplay the danger; I’m simply make a reasonable comparison.

          4. Without understanding most of what’s in this page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_safety, there will and have been safety problems. Often the problem is simply not understanding what device has what power, and what that means in practical terms. And who could resist showing off to less knowlegeable friends, and which friend can resist having a go at swinging it around?

    2. I’m with you dude. Normally I’d consider this kind of concern a great example of concern trolling but you are clearly someone who understands the dangers of strong lasers.

      Lasers can badly injure people – even without immediate symptoms or pain. Putting them in a fun, gun-looking thing is asking for trouble. You ever see kids shine a laser pointer in their eye? They do this, even though it’s dumb. If a kid was given this they would eventually fire it into their own or someone else’s eyes, guaranteed. Blue lasers are not toys and are even less of a toy when built into a toy.

  2. I HATE people playing with lasers like toys. I was at a campfire and someone’s teenage kid was waving around this green laser, lighting up spots in the trees above. He was also waving it carelessly at eye-level.

    1. But lasers ARE toys! Potentially dangerous toys, though, yes, and sucks to see people grossly irresponsible with them. Just like RC planes and helicopters, or dirtbikes, or skateboards, or jetskis, or potato cannons or chemistry kits. Fun, but dangerous if you act like a moron.

      Although “most” commercially laser pointers require concerted effort to do eye damage, not just brief exposure (to my knowledge), there ARE some nasty commercially available lasers that can do much worse and require higher precautions.

    2. My friends and I always wear safety glasses at campfires.  Yes, it’s a bit nerdy but you can’t be too safe!

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