Laser Diode, Photodiode, and LED Can Opener

  • Remove Laser Diodes, Photodiodes, and LEDs from TO Cans
  • Opens Diode Package Sizes from Ø2 mm to Ø24 mm


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Rollers can be Installed in Two Positions to
Accommodate Cans of Different Sizes


  • Ideal for Ø2 mm through Ø24 mm Laser Diodes and Photodiodes
  • Compatible with Ø3.8 mm, Ø5.6 mm, Ø9 mm, and Ø9.5 mm Laser Diodes
  • Compatible with TO-3, TO-5, TO-8, TO-18, TO-39, and TO-46 Packages

The WR1 is a handheld device designed to remove the cans from standard laser diode packages. Many applications, such as fiber pigtailing, can be optimized by having closer access to the laser chip. The WR1 can also open photodiodes and LEDs in TO-can style (TO-3, TO-5, TO-8, TO-18, TO-39, or TO-46) packages.

Operation is as simple as placing a diode onto the two rollers at the front of the device, lightly applying pressure with the rubber covered grips, and turning the blade actuator (as shown in the image above). The precision ground, hardened steel blade will easily cut through the wall of the diode can, safely removing it. For packages greater than 20 mm (0.8") in diameter, the rollers must be removed and reinstalled in their outer mounting positions using a 5/64" (2 mm) hex key. The knurled knob can be removed or reinstalled using a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key. 

Posted Comments:
Peter Fuqua  (posted 2020-08-05 12:40:01.413)
I bought the WR1 to cut open TO-39 electronics cans. I'm having trouble. I expect the blade to make a circular score that deepens with every full rotation. What happens is I get a helical score that walks off the end of the device and I never cut through. If I rotate the knurled knob the opposite direction, the can pops away from me. The device I'm cutting is cylindrical. I'm wondering if there is something else I should be doing? Or is the tool misaligned (It looks fine to me.) Any help would be appreciated.
llamb  (posted 2020-08-12 04:40:24.0)
Thank you for contacting Thorlabs. For a TO-39 package, can you ensure that the WR1 is assembled like Position A in its Auto CAD PDF drawing, with the two roller screws closer to each other? Otherwise, perhaps the cutter/knob assembly is loose and you may need to tighten the small setscrew holding the knob in place, using a 0.05" (1.3 mm) hex key. I have reached out to you directly to troubleshoot further as well.
andres  (posted 2018-03-29 12:49:35.417)
I have one diode cutter ref 973/759-7227 from Thorlabs and I'm trying to open T038 CAN but is no possible. According to this page, it is possible. What is the problem? maybe this tool is not the same that I have? Thaks
llamb  (posted 2018-04-12 08:07:16.0)
Hello, thank you for your feedback. The number is Thorlabs' old phone number. The WR1 can opener should still work with TO-38 packages, though it may be more difficult with the smaller size. By installing the rollers in the position closest together, you should be able to cut cans down to Ø2 mm in diameter. I will reach out to you directly to troubleshoot.
dcourage  (posted 2018-02-06 15:07:31.4)
Thanks very much for providing this useful, hard to find tool for the semiconductor industry. Our former, local supplier has long since ceased operation and it was great to see that these are still available in what appears to be a more robust version. I recall using a benchtop, motorized version of a TO-5 Can Opener. Do you offer anything similar?
llamb  (posted 2018-02-16 12:35:01.0)
Hello, thank you for your feedback. We do not have a benchtop, motorized version of this product unfortunately, but I will add this product idea to our internal knowledge-base for further discussion.
j.c.kuhlmann  (posted 2017-09-25 07:59:36.1)
Is it possible to obtain a replacement blade for this tool? It would be a pity if I need to buy a complete new can opener. Best regards
tfrisch  (posted 2017-09-26 05:46:46.0)
Hello, thank you for contacting Thorlabs. I will have one of our administrators reach out to you with a quote for the component blade.
rswafford  (posted 2016-07-20 15:24:41.207)
Good afternoon, I have been using these "can openers" for many years for laser diodes, VCSELs, APDs, etc. I have recently bought a new one as old one had become too dull and took a while to cut into the can. I was wondering if you offered a replacement blade so that I could fix the old one and have a spare? Thanks, Ralph
lgtngstk  (posted 2014-06-18 15:10:57.587)
This pertains to the WR1 diode can opener. I noticed that it has an insulated handgrip. This may not be the best idea since the rubber may generate static charges. It would be okay if there was a ground point somewhere on the tool, but I don't see one. Maybe it is an ESD safe rubber? I don't know. Just my thoughts. It would be very useful in my toolbox. Unfortunately, I cannot afford it. Thanks, Robert
jlow  (posted 2014-08-01 04:29:36.0)
Response from Jeremy at Thorlabs: The user should be grounded when handling laser diodes so this is typically not an issue.
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+1 Qty Docs Part Number - Universal Price Available
WR1 Support Documentation
WR1Can Opener for Laser Diodes
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