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I remember those old wood burning kits growing up. i never was really good with them except for setting things on fire.... Well now with a laser its even easier to play with fire.

Check the video's at the end to see how easily it will burn through wood. It can cut balsa wood too but thats not why I built it....

There's a nice power supply inlet mod in step 2 that should be good for many other projects....

I had tried adding a laser to my printrbot but its small bed was a limitation. Thats when I saw these A8 clone kits for $150. Another $50 spent on the laser diode, housing and parts led to a dedicated engraver machine. I could always sell the extruder and heated bed on eBay and recoup some money but maybe someday I'll use it..

It's a nifty little build but it does like to make a lot of smoke. Thats what happens when you play with fire.....

Step 1: Unboxing

i wont go into details on the unboxing and assembly since their video was pretty good and I couldn't do better. just follow along on their website and do everything but the heated bed and extruder parts.....

Step 2: One Quick Mod

I didn't like the power code hanging off the power supply's terminal strip so I made this holder for a standard IEC computer fused power plug and switch.

It uses some holes that were unused in the original plan. Just get some self tapping screws and your set...

Step 3: Laser Head

This is where you get what you paid for. I went with the cheapest heatsink modules on eBay and bought a pair from the same seller. You can see from the pictures they are not well made. One was tapped much further down the barrel than the other and its rear opening would not fit the laser housing I had that perfectly fit the other one....

An hour with a Dremel "fixed" it but I shouldn't have had to do that....

I powered it up with a simple constant current source at about 3/4amp and tried to freehand write my name on a stick.

Don't forget your laser safety goggles or you can forget seeing anything ever again......

Be careful where you point it as it will set things on fire easily.....

I bought these diodes and they work well.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2W-445nm-M-Type-China-M140...

I also have the big boy 6W NUMB44...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/6W-NUBM44-450nm-Laser-Diod...

That takes much more care....

Step 4: Laser Mount W/ Air Assist Mod

Using an aquarium pump to keep the smoke out of the laser is an easy mod. This is always seen on the big boy CO2 lasers but is equally important on a diode laser.

I made the block in OpenScad and heres the source so you can modify it to suit your needs.

Step 5: Testing...

The easiest interface is to use the PWM fan output to control the laser.

In the first tests I switched the laser on manually so you can see the retrace lines where it should have been off.

I just finished the pwm driver board so I have to try a nicer image to engrave.

<p>Good bang for the buck!</p>

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