It used to be that lasers were big bulky expensive things that required a laboratory to run and an entire factory to build. I remember the first He-Ne laser I saw two decades ago, the size of a small telescope and probably not more powerful than the laser pointer I carry on the keychain nowadays. Well, not anymore. It's pretty easy to build a laser today, on the kitchen table or in the garage, for a surprisingly small investment. The goal is to make a laser capable of burning small objects, such as a piece of paper, a balloon, etc, while keeping the whole project cheap - even as cheap as $35 if you don't make any mistakes. Here's how.