I got the thing a few weeks ago, but didn't have the time or energy to play with it. Today, I had at. I quickly dissected the drive and removed the laser diode assembly and its mounting bracket. There are actually 3 laser diodes inside, an infrared one (for CDs), a red one (for DVDs), and a blue one for Blu-Ray discs. There's also a photodiode for monitoring and controlling laser output. First, I wanted a look at the guts of the thing, so I put it under a microscope.
Looks to be a stack of little electro-optical chips sitting on a heatsink with some flying leads. Time to carefully give it some juice. I hooked the blue laser diode up to 5V via a 2200Ω current limiting resistor. This should keep the current well below the maximum, but give enough energy to at least glow, if not lase.
Sure enough, there was a tiny dot of purplish light! While there are some 473nm blue lasers out there that are a lovely shade of blue, this puppy verges on some serious purple beauty! Yum!
That was at the maximum magnification of my binocular zoom boom microscope, so I switched to a more powerful one. Here are the guts again: idle, with the red laser going, and with the violet laser going:
Okay, time to ramp up the power and collimate output into a beam. There are several lenses and various optical components in the assembly, so I played with them a bit before settling on the objective lense as a likely candidate. I had to (somewhat rudely) remove the focussing assembly to get it close enough to the laser diode, but I managed it. And, voila!
A lovely purple dot on the far wall! ( randomdreams, note the three large capacitors on the floor? Yep, those are for the tack welder. Unfortunately, the pair of Kepco 75V@1.5A power supplies behind them are both broken, so I'll have to either hack on those or just build a 24VAC driven tripler as a charging source)
Here's a view nearly into the beam:
And here's a closeup of the laser itself:
There's more information on the PS3 laser here. If you want to buy a ready-made laser pointer, you can get one for $2000 here. Leslie is also selling the ones he builds on eBay (this is a link to the auction current as of this post, the link on his page is a more general search one).