The handheld laser pointers you can buy at office supplies stores are legally required to be no powerful than 0.005-watts, and most fall well below that threshold so they’re relatively safe to use. With that as a reference, you have a better understanding of just how terrifying this 100-watt handheld laser pointer really is.
The last time we checked in on Drake Anthony, who’s best known ‘round YouTube parts as Styropyro, he was demonstrating his latest toy: a professional (and extremely sketchy) laser tattoo remover he found on eBay that maxed out at around 30 million watts. However, unlike a laser pointer, the tattoo remover’s beam could only be triggered in pulses just 10 billionths of a second long.
For his latest creation, Drake got his hands on an engineering sample of a blue laser diode array. The diodes are designed to be used individually in devices like laser-based projectors for large movie theatres, so, pushing safety aside for a few hours, Drake turned an old microwave radar gun into a handheld housing that allows all 20 of the blue laser diodes to be fired simultaneously with over 100-watts of power.
Battery life is limited to roughly seven minutes, but that’s not much of an issue as it takes less than a second for the laser pointer to instantly set paper bags and wooden two-by-fours aflame, and that’s with the 20 beams all firing in parallel. Drake further upgrades his laser pointer with a lens on the front that focuses all 20 beams into a single concentrated point. Glass melts at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and with the beam focused Drake’s laser pointer starts to melt a glass bottle just seconds after it’s been turned on.
If you’re inspired to build one of your own at home: Don’t! Drake is well versed in not only the technology and physics of lasers, but he’s also familiar with the extreme safety risks involved with custom creations like this. At 100-watts, it’s 200 times more powerful than the rating of an already dangerous Class-4 laser. Safety glasses with an extremely high optical density are a must—as is having a fire extinguisher close at hand every time this thing is powered up.