Introduction: Diy Arduino Laser Engraver

Picture of Diy Arduino Laser Engraver

I started this project because first time I wanted to build something like what I found on the Internet does not contain all information had to look for more projects to put them together to understand something and I wanted to be as simple and cheaper for a draft wekend.
SAFETY WARNING - Please Be Safe When Using lasers. The Laser Used in this machine of can cause permanent eyesight damage, and probably Even blindness. When working with powerful lasers (> 5 mW), always wear a pair of laser safety glasses designed to block your laser's wavelength.

Step 1: The Frame

Picture of The Frame

The frame is constructed of rectangular 15x15 mm, height being 275 mm, width 375 mm and length of 345mm.
Must take into account all inbinarile be 90 degrees, for if these are not the y axis will not work properly and will lock and can not do the whole race. All pipes must be cut accurately.

Round 8 mm pipes to be installed in four holes at 125mm from below. On 8 mm round pipe will introduce two pieces of 8mm round pipe inside. On pieces of pipe 8mm x axis will weld nuts and under them two 5 mm. All details are displayed in pictures. After the pieces were welded cleaned of rust and paint but first we will protect the nuts and 8mm pipe is not painted.

Step 2: X and Y Axes

Picture of X and Y Axes

We'll use threaded rod to 5 mm and will give 4 holes at 114 mm from the bottom.
The rod will be 365 mm and we will fix the frame with nuts in the following order in the rear with auto lock nut, 15 mm pipe sauiba with two nuts locked together, coming just two tipsy with washer inside the frame. Now if you rotate the threaded rod to rotate but it will not get out of the frame. X we use 5mm threaded rod will give two holes in and we use the same technique as the Y fixing.

Step 3: Mounting the Motor

Picture of Mounting the Motor

I used 28byj-48 5V motor first need to hack, disassemble the blue cap and cut the red wire, because we will not folosi.Pe circuit board, we see the connection between coils, circuit scratch as I did.
If you want to know why I did that search the Internet and find out the answer for sure. Th motors fixed to the chassis with a screw of 3 mm and nuts, the connection between the motor and the threaded rod, is made of a piece of rubber with a through-hole of 4 mm.

For cheap motors by from here

3 stepper motor 2.12 buy from here
or 30$ 5 big stepper motor from here

Step 4: Electronics .Stepper Motors, Drivers ,Laser Diode

Picture of Electronics .Stepper Motors, Drivers ,Laser Diode

Step 5: Software

Picture of  Software

The machine is controlled by an Arduino Uno running grbl, and I'm using Universal Gcode Sender to stream gcode commands. To actually turn vector images into gcode, I'm using Inkscape with the gcodetools plugin. I used the spindle direction pin to turn the laser on and off, since that was easy to do with gcodetools.


RobotEyes (author)2016-09-03

Some time ago I built a Laser Engraver with this GearBest Kit.

Unfortunately I have not found a software acceptable and easy to use, so I wrote my own.

My software allows to load a picture and send it to the laser engraver quickly and easily.

My software is written in a generic way for almost all machines with standard GCode firmawre.

At the moment the software is WORK IN PROGRESS currently, in ALPHA testing.

As I needed to modulate the laser power (I have a 5500 mW one) I used GRBL firmware version 0.9 (other versions are ON / OFF, 0.9 is PWM)

Here the Robot Laser Project page :

I will update soon the page (for now very rough).

Please send an email at with your opinion, thanks.

kid_boy (author)RobotEyes2016-11-16

what is the board you use for Robot Laser software? Thanks

RobotEyes (author)kid_boy2016-11-17

BenBox Laser arrive with ELEKS L7 integrated board.
But I tested and works with Arduino Uno with CNC Shield V2 and V3,
works with IntegratedCNC (Arduino Nano) by keyestudio
(these 2 needs MOSFET Decoupler for Laser)
Also works with Arduino uno/due/mega/duemilanove with RAMPS 1.4
(In this case needs Marlin firmware instead of GRBL)
But this solution is deprecated,
useful only if you want to convert a 3D printer to laser engraver.

kid_boy (author)RobotEyes2016-11-17

Thank you Sir so much.
And i saw everyone uploaded only the Hex file, could you please upload the Sketch folder of GRBL? Because i want define the limit for the frame. If i want to increase the X,Y travel, i have to define in sketch library, can not re-define in Hex file. Is it correct?
Appreciated for you help.

RobotEyes (author)kid_boy2016-11-17

GRBL uses the followings pins

D02 Step X -
D05 Dir X

D03 Step Y -
D06 Dir Y

D08 Motor

D11 PWN Laser

No matter if is CNC Shield, Eleks or IntegratedCNC or other GRBL boards .

I suppose i've already send response here:,985.msg13644...

You don't need to compile GRBL to define area, homing, speed, resolution etc. You can (better.. MUST) insert this data in GRBL Parameters.

This is GitHub page for GRBL : - (yes, contains source code) but I do not recommend you change it unless you have VERY CLEAR ideas. You can do almost any configuration online.

Look at:,51.0.html


kid_boy (author)RobotEyes2016-11-19

Thanks a lot RobotEyes. And with basic Uno board, if we use pin D11 for PWM Laser , we have to use one Transistor and relay to control the laser diode? Is it correct? And I saw the "2 axis laser engraving board" selling on eBay, banggood, Ali..(cost 21$) .they connect 12V laser direct on the board. Is it have onboard mostfet or relay? Thank you Sir.

RobotEyes (author)kid_boy2016-11-20

If the objects are and are Eleks L7 boards, so are OK !!! Exacly the board I use on BenBox Laser machine.

At the moment there is a pre-release of GRBL ver 1.1, but developers are not shure it works in Arduino Nano hardware. From my first test (today) seems designed for Arduino due (32 bit CPU) wich is not compatible with standard shields. (use 3.3V interface instead of 5V).

So.... don't worry, and use Eleks board, the best Cost/Benefit ratio.


kid_boy (author)RobotEyes2016-11-17

And all the pins out of Arduino CNC Shield is the same with Eleks board, or Arduino Nano, is it correct, RobotEyes? I am so confusing with thease boards. The author just uploaded the Hex file only. So, all ARDUINO board for CNC projects they will defind the pins out (out put for signal) the same with all boards, right???

bmiller91 (author)2016-08-16

Would love to see video of project in action or at least comment on speed. I have small engraver which will do 2x2" but it takes FOREVER! Wondering what laser wattage is needed to get to something like "Printer" speed?

crodaddie. (author)2016-02-21

How deep would this laser be able to cut into hardened steel or SS for serial number applications?

Most solid state (diode lasers) can't engrave directly into metals, but you can make a resist mask with adhesive vinyl sticker material apply the resist with the number or image you want with Ferric Chloride 50%/ Water 50%. (Safety goggles and a breather mask for fumes and good ventilation are a VERY good idea.)

Some etches require immersion, but a serial number should do OK by using a Q-Tip to apply only on the zones uncovered by the vinyl, and let stand for a few minutes, rinse, check progress, and etch more if needed.Disposal of used solution should not be necessary for several etches, but when you do, an auto supply house may be able to dispose of it in an eco-friendly way (as in it's very much like battery acid) once mixed it forms hydrochloric acid. Car batteries use sulphuric acid. Neutralizing with baking soda until the bubbling stops is a good safety measure.


Would this etching method create at least a .003" depth ?

rjkorn (author)crodaddie.2016-05-09

Someone posted the instructable earlier about etching a brew pot. That was my inspiration. I wanted to try it for Knives so I bought a couple of cheapies in the dollar store to test with.

Almost ate halfway through one. I salvaged it by filling with colored epoxy and then sanding and buffing the blade back to life....

Shameless plug here:

rjkorn (author)rjkorn2016-05-09

BTW, if you can immerse the part a foam brush works too. Just shove a wire into the foam 1/4 inch from the end. Don't short it. That's why I used a 12V lamp in series. If I did short it it wouldn't gouge it. Even a Q-tip with a couple of turns of wire near the end works for small marks.

Pretty sure it would, the lonnger the mertal is exposed, the deeper it goes.


English or Chinese, not gibberish, please. I cannot understand your comment, HuynhQuangtoan.


once masked, you can use a less toxic method of etching using last water and a battery.

You'd require also an electrolyte to allow passage of current through the water, distilled water does not conduct well. Some table salt will do the trick.

And some workpeices can't stand submersion well.

This was the instructable I was actually thinking of, just couldn't find it. Doesn't require immersion.

However, I've watched "How it's Made" episodes where they demonstrate laser engraving of brand and serial numbers and, yeah they use MUCH more powerful lasers, because it's essentially FLASH and it's done.

I saw some of those too. (LOVE "How It's Made"!) and the lasers appeared to be 50 to 150 watt CO2 lasers. REALLY EXPENSIVE! Safety interlocks and venting are standard on most of them, and the laser tube has to be water cooled, much like your internal cuombustion car's engine. They dropped $4K or more on those.

bmiller91 (author)crodaddie.2016-02-21

Just thinking out loud. What if you replaced laser with stylus to apply high voltage to etch metal?

I haven't tried it, but I would theorize from my experience with metal and high voltage, it can cut right through SOME resists, and you'd lose your pattern. As well, electricity arcing can splatter bits of extremely hot metal that will kind of ruin your design, and weld itself to the piece you're working on. Lots of clean up with a wire brush, and I don't think it would make fine designs well.

It depends on how long you leave the etchant on the metal. If left on thin sheet steel long enough, it will eat right through.

The deeper you go with it, the less defined the edges will look, but the etched surface very likely would. That's about the thickness of a PCB layer in some cases and it eats all the unprotected copper.

The water and electricity method works too, but many metal objects are hard to waterproof entirely in order to do that, say like the slide on a semi-auto or a magazine (clip) for one. Can't really submerge those.

bmiller91 (author)crodaddie.2016-02-21

I have very similar OTS engraver and it will not do metal. Anything that powerful is getting in to industrial territory and no way I'd make something that powerful without cover and safety switches. I like my eyesight to much.

Coffeinated (author)2016-02-21

That laser driver is a really bad circuit. Two concerns:

1) You will need a poti that can handle the high currents going to a laser (1 A for me)

2) When the transistor is switched off (no current flowing), the LM317 is now "floating" on 12 V, with no connection to ground. When you switch the transistor on, a connection to ground will be made, thus connecting your laser diode to 12 V directly - for a very short time, but that will degrade your laser over time or pretty fast. Always try to switch off the circuit above the LM317, so it is not connected to 12 Volts anymore. This way, you can ensure that the LM317 is working before it applies 12 Volts to the laser diode. A capacitor in parallel is no bad idea either, so that it can take any current / voltage spikes.

DaveB98 (author)Coffeinated2016-02-22

The power supply circuit does have some problems. The components are all there, it's just the connections that got a little messed up. The current for the laser diode should not run through the voltage divider. It should be connected directly to the output of the voltage regulator. The voltage divider should be connected between the output and ground (-V). The ADJ pin of the voltage regulator should then be connected to the junction between the fixed and variable resistor of the divider.That way the voltage regulator is not switched and is constantly outputting the required voltage, Depending on what you use for the laser diode you may also need to add a current limiting resistor in the current path of the diode. A quick search for LM317 will get you a data sheet that will give you information on component values. The 317 will supply up to 1.5 amps but will need a heatsink to do so. Bypass capacitors are not absolutely needed but will improve transient response. (voltage dips and spikes caused by switching the diode off and on).

Coffeinated (author)DaveB982016-02-23

The idea behind the circuit is that it acts like a current regulator here. What you have described is the LM317 as a voltage regulator, and correctly so, bad that is a bad idea for laser diodes - most often, the U-I-curve isn't known and choosing a correct resistor is complicated, to say the least. Generally, a current source is considered best for Laser Diodes and normal high power LEDs, this circuit just doesn't cut it completely.

DaveB98 (author)Coffeinated2016-02-25

Thanks, In all the years I never came across using the 317 as a constant current source and to top it all off when I google it it's a very common practice! Going to go take all the DVD burner diodes I've saved and give this a try.

primosanch (author)2016-02-22

So awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Czarcharles (author)2016-02-22

I have a laser engraver I got on line from China, but could never get the software. The assembled product looks much like yours. Any idea what I could do about software to drive it short of going to China?

grbl controller sofware

Thank you.

dapiguy (author)2016-02-22

bCNC is a free and open source control software that provides many other control and CAD/CAM options. It's something you may wish to take a look at.

Czarcharles (author)dapiguy2016-02-22

Thanks. I'll take a look. Would be great to get it going.

ZacharyH4 (author)2016-02-21

What type of laser did you use?

stll whait for the laser from china

kodfarki (author)2016-02-21

Can you tell me why you cut the red wire of the stepper motor?

pdcpdc (author)kodfarki2016-02-21

Simply to turn 4-phase motor into 2-phase bipolar

calincostelcoty (author)pdcpdc2016-02-22

yes tanks

PaulF88 (author)2016-02-14

I'm not an inventor but want to know more about low output laser. I want to make a laser lawnmower or weed eater. What kind of laser will cut through grass and weed and not metal.?

tomcam (author)PaulF882016-02-22

Sadly, your laser lawnmower won't work without hundreds of thousands of dollars (at least) in equipment and millions of dollars in tooling--plus, it would eat vast amounts of energy. Cutting a lawn takes a lot more energy than you might think, and you'd need at least dozens of lasers much more powerful than the one in this Instructable for it to be done in a reasonable amount of time.

calincostelcoty (author)PaulF882016-02-14

I think green grass will work only with dry grass will ignite you can test a laser diode 1w

If he's looking to build something as fast as a normal lawn mower forget it! Might be possible to build a Roomba style device to SLOWLY mow the entire yard but that's a vastly more complex project.

mrgw98 (author)PaulF882016-02-14

Not much will cut through grass fast enough to be a lawn mower. If you want to make a one that cuts grass and not metal, that would be hard to find. If you could, very smart idea, the quietest lawn mower ever! Grass is wet and it makes it harder to cut through without cutting metal. Really even with a laser that does cut grass, over time, it would eventually cut through the metal or at least eat away at it slowly. It would be a bit dangerous. Sorry to bring you bad news. Then again, I am one person, others might be able to help you more.

CurtR (author)2016-02-21

What wattage is the laser that you used with the circuit shown?

LawrenceT4 (author)2016-02-21

You should always emphasize that when using a laser cutter, there are hazardous fumes that can be generated as well as harmful laser light. Most leather, for example, is "chrome tanned." When using a laser cutter or engraver, this leather will give off haxavalent chrome fumes, which are extremely hazardous carcinogens. Laser cutters should ONLY be used in well-ventilated areas. There are no masks that will remove hexavalent chrome fumes.

WOW!!!! I NEVER would have thought that! THANK YOU! I deal with Hexavalent here at work (power plant) when contractors are welding. We have to go through a 21 PAGE procedure ANYTIME Hexavalent chromium is a threat. Although Ive never worked with leather, I CERTAINLY APPRECIATE you giving us a heads up! God Bless.

...and when Lawrence says "extremely hazardous" folks. HE IS NOT JOKING! THAT STUFF IS BAD NEWS!!!

That sort of stuff is SUPER DANGEROUS, so AMEN!~ You are spot on about venting gases with chrome tanned leather.

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