Hi everybody, my name is Michiel and I am going to show you how to make an awesome looking laser engraver!

A couple of months ago, there was a CNC challenge here at instructables, while checking out the entries of that contest, I saw some pretty cool engraving machines and I thought: "Why shouldn't I make my own?". And so I did, but I didn't want to make someone else's project, I wanted to make my own. And so my story began... :)

This laser engraver uses a 1.8W 445nm laser module, of course, this is nothing compared to the industrial laser cutters who use lasers of (a lot) more than 50W. But this laser will do well for us. It can cut through paper and cardboard and it can engrave all kinds of wood. I haven't tested other materials yet, but I'm sure it can engrave many other materials. l will let you know! It has a large engraving surface of about 500x380mm.

Who can make this laser engraver? Everybody, if you are an engineer, a lawyer, a teacher or a student like me, you can build this thing! All you have to do is follow this instructable.

It took me about three months to design and build this engraving machine, including waiting for about a month for parts. I said three months, but, I'm only 16 years old, so I could only work in weekends.

++ As you may already know, this 'machine' uses a 1.8W laser with a wavelength of 445nm, the radiation of this laser is very dangerous for your eyes, even a reflection of it! So I strongly advise you to use safety goggles with the wavelength of the laser you use! ++

Step 1: Bill of Materials

You can't make a laser engraver without the parts, so I made a BOM-list with almost everything you need to make it. Almost everything in the BOM is bought from Aliexpress.com because it's cheap and it has free shipping for most items. Other parts like the threated rods and the wooden sheets were purchased at my local DIY company. I ordered the laser and the laser driver on ebay.

UPDATE: I've uploaded the BOM in two formats: one .pdf and one .xlsx since not everybody could open the BOM.

I tried to find the cheapest products for all the parts (shipping not included).

<p>I have a question about the shaft couplers. You are using flexibel ones<br> but unfortunately my axes dont run very smooth. I am worried that the <br>couplers will introduce a lot of slack when the screws have to apply a <br>decent amount of force. My motor controllers have not arrived yet, so I <br>cant test it.</p>
<p>I use Flex couplers in all my motors because they allow for slack. The rotational tortion remains the same since they use a high grade medal but the tortion on the side of the motor wont cause it to stall like the solid ones do.</p>
<p>Anyone used TB6600 instead??? Need help wiring</p>
<p>Not in this project but the problem i had was all negatives (enable, step, dir) have all to be connected to the controller negative</p>
<p>Just saw this as part of the best of 2016. I have most of the parts to make this already...leftovers from an abandoned CNC project. This is very intriguing to me. Thanks for all the detail and the drawings. Anyone know if a 10w laser would cut through acrylic? Or what size would cut through 1/4&quot; acrylic or there about.</p>
<p>Try Multiple passes</p>
<p>diverdale: I'm actually thinking of getting this one... 12 watts.</p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I69U2OK/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3BBJQR6FS3OZY&coliid=I3IGK1GXO3X2MV&psc=1" rel="nofollow">12 W LASER</a></p>
<p>Yikes! That's a little pricey for now. Think I'll get the little diode for starters and move up to that one later. Thanks for the link. I'll add it to my list of a million things I want ;)</p>
<p>Does anyone have a better wiring diagram? This is hard to follow.</p>
<p>In case anyone is looking for a version of Grbl Controller 3.6.1, I found a link here: </p><p><a href="https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6233134/GrblController-3.6.1.dmg" rel="nofollow">https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/6233134/GrblCo...</a></p><p>The links posted to Grbl Controller 3.0 found here seem to be broken. Note, this is for Mac. I found the link on this page, so you may be able to find a .exe file there too.</p><p>https://github.com/zapmaker/GrblHoming/issues/86</p>
<p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/ORIG/FB2/DINI/IJWWLYZ7/FB2DINIIJWWLYZ7.mov" rel="nofollow">Video.MOV</a> doesn't seem to be working</p>
<p>Just a quick question about the lead screws as I am confused, what are the lengths and sizes of the 2 lead screws.</p><p>Confusion partially arises as you use 5mm to 10mm couplings but seem to use 12mm screw. OR am I just being silly?<br>Thanks ever so much.</p>
<p>I have found my own answer, you are using 10mm screws.</p><p>Thanks anyway.<br><br>New question: I can see you say buy the linear support rods from a local store, I cannot find any DIY store that carries them in my country (England, UK), has anyone any experience of buying them from China (ebay) and will they arrived bent?</p><p>Thanks ever so much.</p>
<p>Theres loads of ebay sellers that sell the linear support rods in the uk(and actually ship from the uk), just search for linear shaft.</p><p>Alternatively you could probably go to a local engineering workshop, they're dotted all over the place and are usually pretty oldschool so the yellow pages will probably work better than google.</p>
<p>Thanks, I have now ordered from banggood.</p><p>I am concerned that they will arrive bent and unusable which is one of the reasons I wanted to buy from a local store. As for a local workshop, I tried and they were far too expensive.</p><p>Again, thanks.</p>
<p>A good source for these kinds of linear motion parts and pieces is banggood.com. They're known for low prices and international shipping to anywhere. They have straight rods from 4mm to 16mm diameter and 100mm to 1000mm lengths. Also acme lead screws in the same range of lengths, bearings, and brass nuts of various sorts.</p>
<p>Great job, nice to see youngsters getting into engineering you will go far. You remind me of me at 16. LOL Your idea of cheap is a bit different from mine though, some of the stuff in your BOM like UNO for $20 is high a clone can be bought for &lt; $5 including P&amp;P (I'm real cheap) anyway Great Job</p>
<p>minus the wood how much did this cost you?</p>
<p>From the BOM on the first page, he totalled it up to 207.80 Euros ($222.11 US)</p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>Nicely done! Looking like a commercial product.</p>
<p>Great machine!!!</p><p>But I can't understand the laser stage wiring, there's a relay that doesn't appear in the bom list. </p><p>Someone linked this relay <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TGTX23I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2KO6CXG6UXMU3&psc=1" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TGTX23I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&amp;coliid=I2KO6CXG6UXMU3&amp;psc=1</a></p><br><p>Anyone can post the pinout of this stage???</p><p>How to connect the driver, the relay to the Arduino?</p><p>Thank you very much!</p>
So far this is what has been built. Notice the Translucent Orange PETG printer contraption attached to my Laser. It's designed to allow me to monitor the Engraving without glasses as long as I do not look directly into the laser focal point. It has vents built in to allow fumes and smoke to escape without venting directly around laser module and fan. Slide on and off easily.
<p>Doug, what kind of stuff can you cut with that 10w laser? I'd eventually like to cut reasonably thick acrylic. Not sure if that needs something like the 50w ones commercial cutters use.</p>
<p>Hi Doug! Awesome build! It loors really nice with that 10W laser on it. It is really awesome to see that someone has built my engraver, thank you. I will soon post an update on how to upgrade the engraver to engrave with better quality and how to convert it to a cnc router.</p>
<p>Please do! I am extremely interested in seeing this project through. There are soooo many things I would do with this....</p>
<p>Wow, nice idea man congratulations :) I am definetely going to make that orange thing :D</p>
Really cool that you built it. Do you have pics of stuff you did with it? Also did you use it also as a router?
<p>No plans to use it as a CNC machine, strictly for engraving projects.</p>
Tury70, <br>All materials were primarily cut with a table saw. A couple smaller pieces was done on bandsaw. I have many photos taken throughout the build, but I'm not satisfied with the end result of my X axis portion. So I plan to present more on it when I receive the X axis V channel unit which will be flushed into the framework when it arrives. <br><br>The issue is the 10mm rod flexes and it's causing an irrating screech and a slight jerkiness motion which is messing up the printing process. <br><br>The track drive system will eliminate that problem but bumped up my build cost a bit. <br><br>Lessons learned. <br><br>More to follow soon.
So the x portion was bad on where you got it or bad from the material list that was given to make the engraver? I'm planing to get the parts little by little and want to be sure it's the rights parts..... and thanks for the fast reply.
<p>So to clarify some details on my last post.</p><p>The 100mm shafts I purchased works, but are not designed for this purpose therefore I ran into issues with the nut squealing on the shaft. So I have ordered a 1000mm V-slot setup from Openbuilds.com and will have to cut it down to size to fit existing dimensions. More to follow on that when parts arrive. I also would strongly recommend prior to assembly using something like lithium grease in the journals of the slides to keep the cylindrical bearing from whining when they roll back and forth on the shafts. </p>
What changes did you do from MichielD99 work? I really want to start building it but but want a 10watt and have big work space say around 500mm of room to engrave. what are your thoughts? I appreciate it.
<p>How much would it cost to make one for me?</p><p>I am a woodworker and need one of these but I couldn't tell an amp from a volt.</p><p>I am quite serious.</p>
Ive not looked at the BOM on great deyail but you can get arduino uno clones for &pound;4, stepper drivers &pound;2 each, motors &pound;8 each, laser diode &pound;15 MATCHED laser driver &pound;10, linear bearings and slides &pound;10, limit switches &pound;2 each, PSU &pound;15.<br><br>Honestly not looked at the BOMor buying these recently, but the main cost will be the Laser diode and driver, go for as powerful as you can get, and get googles to protect from that frequency / wavelength.
<p>Michiel,</p><p>Could you please update the links to AliExpress? At least 6 BOM items cannot be found at Ali. Thanks a lot.</p><p>J Hong</p>
<p>just copy and paste the names of the parts fro amazon to ebay, and done !</p>
<p>just type it in the search bar, its logic that sellers are sold out, there.</p><p>links are always the same problem. i personal would use the search string as links.</p><p>WannaDuino!!!</p>
<p>It doesn't matter how old you are. This is a real achievement. Congratulations. I have a question. I noticed that you had engraved a design on a couple of wooden keychains. Have you experimented with how deep you can engrave into the wood (for example, 1/16 inch) ? Thanks.</p>
<p>does this laser cut or just engrave</p>
<p>Beautiful design! Looking at the early Dremel work I am amazed by how flawless the final assembly is. My experience from assembling a small CNC mill was lots of issues with the bearings binding / getting stuck on the rods. I am surprised that was not a problem here.</p>
<p>Hey bro, which one to upload in to the arduino. The first image or third image</p>
<p>Could someone please post and update BOM list some of the links are broken and I would like to build this for a Christmas project. Has anyone also tried using a Dremel with this as a CNC machine?</p>
<p>Uno power plug <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CP1QLSC/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=IGMARLKASSOK3" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CP1QLSC/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>Knock off uno <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SF28U7A/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=IP9VDYA3EOV9V" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SF28U7A/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a> </p><p>Voltage Regulator <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TGTX23I/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2KO6CXG6UXMU3&psc=1" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TGTX23I/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>700mm rod <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F9HJ186/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2TUZ4TQ68C1KK" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F9HJ186/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>bearings <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K86H46Y/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I14XJBYKK3H0WZ" rel="nofollow"> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K86H46Y/ref=wl_it_dp...</a></p><p>500mm rod <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TSGLXFS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I282U5BOFFH5UK&psc=1" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TSGLXFS/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>Power supply <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G6W32W8/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2I5SC6U4DIOR9&psc=1" rel="nofollow"> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G6W32W8/ref=wl_it_dp...</a></p><p>Stepper Motor <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PNEQKC0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I13OUPMXZYOEHZ" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PNEQKC0/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>Laser <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S4OSDL2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I26VG83IB7SYQQ" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S4OSDL2/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>stepper drivers <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014IYULPC/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2K32J17T6KH5D" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014IYULPC/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>laser driver <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V5CF0MU/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I3SFTG1FZNQ4VN" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V5CF0MU/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>laser heat sink <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3Y9EFD/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2SLN4NG9VPZCJ" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3Y9EFD/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>slide bushings <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGR8WUU/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I1GOKGTS160D2E" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGR8WUU/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>Rail shafts <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JEIL7ZA/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I37J7P9GSO1CD4&psc=1" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JEIL7ZA/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p><p>Glasses <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050YOOA8/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=23DVFGO61YUCZ&coliid=I2E49J7JVTJLBQ" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050YOOA8/ref=wl_it_dp_...</a></p>
<p>Heloo MichielD99.</p><p>First, Thank you so so much for your sharing.</p><p>Second thing is: if I want to increase the X,Y travel up to 1000mm (bigger frame), where can I edit it? Or just use the Limit Switch to set it limits?</p><p>- And could you upload your Hex file to dropbox? I can not download your hex file.</p><p>Appreciated for your help.</p>
<p>it can cut MDF 6 or 4 mm panel?very good work</p>
<p>Hi MichielD99</p><p>I finish your project so far so good , you have nice job.</p><p>So i have lilt problem, with control buttons , not working and limits bottoms X-Y still not responding on arduino </p><p>may i have problem with programming arduino or anything else </p><p>Thanks </p><p>jim <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/MichielD99/" rel="nofollow"><br></a></p>
<p>After reprogramming arduino the problem sold</p><p>thanks</p>
<p>i cant understand what should i replace in this step <br>When you've downloaded grbl, search for the config.h file in the folder named 'grbl' and replace that file with the file I uploaded here somewhere in this step.<br><br>please guide me </p>
Thanks michiel for sharing your project.I made it for my college but i didn't focus on the beauty.<br>It took me teo months to make it.

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