How To: Laser Engraver!




Posted in WorkshopLaser-cutting

Introduction: How To: Laser Engraver!

About: i am an inventor/mad scientist who likes to mess about with electronics

We've all seen videos or instructables showing off laser cut objects and projects, and i'm also sure that those of us who are makers have wondered how much one of those machine would cost. Sadly any sort of powerful cutter would be way out of my budget, but as I was only looking for a machine that can cut thin materials like paper, card and thin leather, I stumbled upon this engraver, it is a kit bought from Gearbest in china.

you can buy the laser here:Gearbest - laser engraver

IMPORTANT: This is not sponsored, Gearbest sent me an item to review, they did not pay me additionally and i only express my own views, this instructable is not to promote the machine, it is to let people use it as there are no other instructions.

update: both the benbox and the GRBL controllers seem to have broken download links, there are two alternate programs that i can suggest: lite fire laser: this is a different piece of software that i find that works with this machine, but make sure that you have a machine running windows 7 or higher. that can be found here: (i will find this link soon) Another alternative that is harder to use but works is the universal gcode sender, watch tinkernuts video on how to use it. it can be found here: LINK - gcode sender

Step 1: Gather Your Materials:

in the kit you should get:

(1.) 5 aluminium extrusions (2 small, 3 large)

(2.) 3 nema17 stepper motors

(3.) a box of screws, timing belt, pulleys and washers

(4.) various 4mm acrylic panels

(5.) 3 stepper control cables

(6.) a Grbl controller board

(7.) safety goggles

(8.) a laser!

(9.) a usb cable

(10.) some aluminium connectors

Step 2: Frame Assembly:

we will start the assembly by building the bottom rails that x carriage will roll upon:


(1.) aluminium bracket (picture 7)

(2.) medium bolts (labeled in picture 3)

(3.) 2 small aluminium extrusion (labeled in picture 6)

(4.) 2 large aluminium extrusions (labeled in picture 6)

(5.) nuts (labeled in picture 3)


(1.) push a nut into the groove on one of the grooves of the smaller bar, keep it about 1cm in.

(2.) put a bolt into one of the holes in the brackets.

(3.) screw the bracket onto the bolt in the recessed channel (picture 1)

(4.) repeat steps 1-3 for the other end and on both ends of the other small aluminium rod.

(5.) do step 1 on both ends of the larger extrusions and bolt the smaller extrusions onto them.

Step 3: Building the X Carriage

now that we have built the main frame we need to build the carriage that will run on it:


(1.) acrylic plates (picture 1)

(2.) long screws (picture 2)

(3.) 8 bearings

(4.) nuts ( labeled in picture 2)

(5.) 8 nylon washers (picture 3)

(6.) 2 nema17 stepper motors (picture 1)


(1.) push 4 of the long bolts into one of the acrylic plates (picture 5)

(2.) slide on one nylon washer onto each of the bolts (picture 6)

(3.) push one bearing onto each bolt and add a nut to hold it in place (picture 7)

(4.) bolt on a stepper motor using 4 small bolts

Step 4: Building the Laser Assembly

now we are going to build the laser assembly, this gets attaches to the two carriages we built in the last step:


(1.) 8 nylon washers (picture 2)

(2.) long bolts (picture 3)

(3.) 4 washers (labeled in picture 4)

(4.) 4 nuts (labeled in picture 2)

(5.) laser module (labeled in picture 7)

(6.) the two acrylic laser gantry plates


(1.) grab the long screws and push them into the 4 holes in the acrylic plate (picture 5)

(2.) insert a nylon spacer onto each of these rods (picture 5)

(3.) push a washer over the spacer (picture 6)

(4.) finally, add a spacer on each and push on the second acrylic plate along with some nuts (picture 4)

(5.) screw in 3 of the smaller bolts into the back of the laser and slide it on through the provided holes

Step 5: Bolting It All Together!

we have all of the main parts built, now all we have to do is combine them:


(1.) laser assembly (step 3)

(2.) 2 gantries (step 2)

(3.) some medium bolts (labeled in picture 3)

(4.) frame (step 1)

(5.) the remaining aluminium extrusion


(1.) slide the two gantries onto the frame (picture 1)

(2.) slide the laser assembly onto the remaining aluminium extrusion (picture 2) (ignore the belt for now)

(3.) bolt the laser slide onto both of the gantries (picture 4)

Step 6: Belts and Pulleys

now for the hardest bit: putting on and tightening the timing belts:


(1.) 6 acrylic belt fasteners ( picture 3+4)

(2.) 6 small bolts (labeled in picture 4)

(3.) 6 small nuts (labeled in picture 4)

(4.) timing belt


(1.) put the small bolt and nut through the small holes on all of the acrylic fasteners

(2.) slide a nut into the recess on the ends of all of the large aluminium extrusions.

(3.) push the timing belt up through one of the fasteners and using a medium bolt fasten it to the nut inside the recess. (picture 6)

(4.) push the belt under the washers on the laser assembly and feed it up and over the gear. (picture 6)

(5.) repeat step 3 on the other end, making sure that the belt is tight over the gear, then trim off the excess belt.

(6.) do this for both the y gantries.

Step 7: Finishing Up:

to finish the physical build of the laser we just need to add the end stops and the control board:


(1.) control board (picture 5)

(2.) acrylic end plates (picture 2)

(3.) medium bolts (labeled in picture 6)

(4.) acrylic face plate for the control board (picture 7)

(5.) small bolts and nuts for fastening the control board

(6.) stepper motor cables


(1.) screw the end plates onto the ends of the frame (picture 9)

(2.) bolt the control board onto the end plate (picture 3)

(3.) bolt on the faceplate to the standoffs on the control board

(4.) wire the steppers to the control board, plug the two gantry motors into the two sockets labeled y and plug the laser assembly motor into the socket marked x

(5.) plug the wire from the laser into the socket marked laser

(6.) be pleased with yourself that you built it! (picture 1)

Step 8: Software and Lasering:

all of the physical construction is done now, the final step is to configure and download the software;

the software can be found here: Benbox 3.0

update: benbox software seems to be unavailable try this, it is the open source GRBL software:

(1.) plug the laser in

(2.) go into the blue menu in the software and press connect (labeled in picture 1)

(3.) find an image you want to laser, open it (labeled in picture 1)

(4.) press play

(5.) let the lasering commence!

note: you may need to adjust the speed, power and cut type to optimise you engravings (these can be found in the blue menu)

picture 2: a stamp i engraved for stamping stuff. :)

picture 3: an ending for my video on this (sadly i never put this in)

picture 4: one of my tests of the outline feature in the benbox software



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    Hello.i wonder if i can get some help here.i havr 5.5w laser.i try to can 1 mm carton and its not working for me after many repeats.the laser can ingrave but not cut.engrave in very low speed.try fucosing.try near or far from the carton.yry few speeds and the same cutting.hope to get some regards.

    1 reply

    My 7 64 bit.board diy8000.grbl j.arduino nano.ttl board.

    I am sorry to bother you with such trivial questions, I thought that this site had folks willing to help less knowledgable folks like me, again sorry for the bother

    looking for the templates for the plexi glass parts for this laser engraver.


    3 replies

    Its cheaper to buy the kit than to source parts and drivers individually, the designs are not available online.

    I really need assistance in securing the GRLB programming and download also how to flash the Arduino.

    There are many tutorials, please, just Google it, I do not have the time to explain the entire process, not can I with the current information you have given me

    I have the same 500mw laser you are using on this build. How do I hook it up so I can regulate the power. I have the Arduino and stepper board to match.


    1 reply

    There are many YouTube videos on the subject, try looking it up

    anyone know where I can purchase the two plastic containers with all the hardware for assembly?


    2 replies

    The whole thing comes as a kit... so no need to buy or laser templates.

    I just need the parts so I can build MY laser.


    Do you know if this can cut paper/cardboard?
    Or perhaps foam? 2mm craft foam... 10mm EVA?

    Thanks in advance!

    2 replies

    depends on how powerful the laser is, i have the 300mw version, mine can cut paper and cardboard, but somrthing more powerful would easily cut all those and more.

    Thanks for the speedy response :)
    Much appreciated!

    Thank you for your latest answer. The scaling might be a problem in the screenshot uploaded. But I have also tried other sizes. I've also tried only 'printing' letters from the text function. I cant figure see any more parameters to adjust as I have been through every possible combination of factors. So I might have to return the machine and make use of the satisfaction guarantee. But many thanks for your kind advice and help.

    hi wonder if you can help. I've purchased the A3 5.5 Eleksmaker laser engraver. I've downloaded the EleksCAM software as instructed and followed all the steps with no problems. When advised to open device manager to check if can see " USB SERIAL CH340 (COM3)" it is there, but when reopening the software in the control area COM3 only shows as a drop down and will not populate the port area even when refreshing. It constantly shows an error "find serial ports failed, please make sure you are already connect Eleksmaker CNC device then click refresh." The engraver is connected to the laptop via the USB cable. Any help would be very much appreciated.


    I've got this problem I hope you could help me solve. I've bought the A3 laser engraver from GearBest/Eleksamaker. I can control laser on and off, I can move the laser head on the X and Y grid. But every timer I try to start a print it will not move the laser position. The laser lights up and it even switches off when the process is completed. So I really can't understand why it doesn't move when I am able to move the laser by the arrow keys and set zero position. Any ideas?

    Best regards and thanks in advance.

    2 replies

    Hi, I'm gonna need a little more info before I can help you, operating system, progrsm used to slice the gcode, the gcode executor, and the file type used, screen caps would be good too.


    Hi - sorry for this late reply. I appreciate your help!

    Actually I'm so new to laser engraving that even your questions is a little too advanced for me :-). Well, the operating system is both Windows 7 and 10 (64 bit versions). I've tried on two machines. Same problem.

    I'm a little uncertain what a gcode executor is. There's hardly no information regarding software on the webpage (, or else I can't find it. However I was informed to download EleksCAM which I did. Almost everything seems to work properly in there - I've connected to COM3 - but COM4 also seems to do the same. I can switch the laser on and off from there. I can control the movement on the X and Y axis. I can load an image to print. I even can start the print process. The laser turns on and flashes as if it actually prints the image. The only thing my device can't do is to move the laser head while 'printing'. As you can image, the images engraved are quite small and intense :-).

    I've also flashed the driver with success.

    I don't know if EleksCAM is the same as a gcode executor, but the way I se it, one can paste a gcode to the program and 'print' it. However this doesn't work either.

    All in all it seems to me some minor detail is missing and it might be me because of my lack of knowledge. And maybe some more information might be good. Simply can't figure out why this machine will not work.