Since the last post about my laser pointer endeavors, I've done a few (minor) things. Well, minor in actual work involved, but major in the grand scheme of things.
Soon after I broke open the last laser pointer and played around with it, trying to get it to work again, I realized that I may have overestimated the complexity in trying to remove the unessential parts to a basic laser pointer. Apparently, the metal housing that the small piece of circuit board connects to is essential in making the laser work and preventing it from breaking into several much smaller, more useless pieces.
Pictured Left: DOING IT WRONG----------------------Pictured Right: Doing it right :)
About a week after the first failed attempt to isolate the usable part of the laser, I stumbled upon another crappy key chain laser pointer (~$2 including tax) while getting a few things from Micro Center. After a few careful minutes I freed the laser (intact) from its original case and to my delight, it actually still worked when hooked up to its recommended 4.5 volts.
I'm hoping to try and make some light graffiti with my digital camera at some point so my plan for the laser is to replace the current press-button with one of less physical resistance and to remount the laser in a more comfortable, easy-t0-handle casing that will allow me to use AAA batteries so it will basically last forever (at least compared to the LR44 batteries that it came with).