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Published On: Wed, Jun 24th, 2015

Fun Things to Do with a Laser Pointer

photo/ tesla down under

photo/ tesla down under

If you have a green laser pointer, there are lots of experiments that you could try out. These can be a lot of fun, as well as being educational.

However, you do have to make sure that you keep safety in mind at all times. Laser pointers can be dangerous, particularly due to their heat.

Burning Plastic

This is one of the easiest experiments, but perhaps also one of the most dangerous. This is because burning plastic can release toxic fumes that you must be aware of. Additionally, it is vital that you ensure nothing catches fire.

A few tips:

  • Use thin black bags.
  • Keep the beam steady and close to the plastic.
  • Stop as soon as you see smoke coming out.

If you stop when smoke appears, you should be able to see little pin pricks holes wherever you burnt it.

Popping Balloons

If you have a laser pointer of at least 75mW, you can use it to pop balloons that are black or of another dark color. This is a lot less dangerous an experiment, although some people may be bothered by the noise of popping balloons.

A few tips:

  • Always use dark colored balloons as they can absorb the light of the laser. If you don’t have any, you can use a marker to color an area of the balloon.
  • Make sure the balloon has enough tension to be popped with ease.

Lighting Matches

This is another slightly dangerous one due to the risk of fire. Hence, make sure you only do this with proper supervision and fire extinguishing tools near you. Furthermore, you need a laser pointer of at least 95mW.

A few tips:

  • Try to find a match with a dark head, such as black or red. Again, you can use a magic marker if the head is not dark enough.
  • Make sure that the match and the laser pointer are both fixed so that they don’t move.
  • Keep a reasonable distance between the match and the laser pointer so that you don’t get ash on the lens.

Cutting Electrical Tape

This is one of the more difficult experiments, and you will need a laser pointer that is at least 95mW in power. It is also again a dangerous experiment due to the risk of fire. Always remember to make sure the electrical wire is not connected to anything before conducting this experiment.

A few tips:

  • Make sure the tape is attached to a fixed point and suspend the tape roll at the end to create enough tensions.
  • Aim your laser to the edge of the tape.
  • Have patience.

Laser Accordion

This is a fantastic visual piece that can entertain crowds, including at parties.

A few tips:

  • Line up two mirrors in parallel lines
  • Experiment with the angle of the beam to create different effects.

Measuring Your Pulse

This is a lot easier than it actually sounds.

A few tips:

  • Attach a mirror of no more than 4cm in diameter over your wrist at the point of pulse measurement. Stick it in place with something like blue tack.
  • Reflect the beam of the laser pointer through the mirror onto a completely smooth surface that is at least 4 meters away. A wall will do just fine.
  • If everything is held steady, you should be able to see rhythmic movements on the wall, which is your pulse.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

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