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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:

materials:

(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)

assembly:

(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:

materials:

(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)

assembly:

(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:

materials:

(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

assembly:

(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:

materials:

(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

assembly:

(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:

materials:

(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

assembly:

(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:

materials:

(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

assembly:

(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: http://zapmaker.org/projects/grbl-controller-3-0/

(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


<p>Do you know if this can cut paper/cardboard?<br>Or perhaps foam? 2mm craft foam... 10mm EVA?</p><p>Thanks in advance!</p>
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 :)<br>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.
<p>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 &quot; USB SERIAL CH340 (COM3)&quot; 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 &quot;find serial ports failed, please make sure you are already connect Eleksmaker CNC device then click refresh.&quot; The engraver is connected to the laptop via the USB cable. Any help would be very much appreciated. </p>
<p>Hello </p><p>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?</p><p>Best regards and thanks in advance.</p>
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.<br><br>Regards,<br>Makerbox
Hi - sorry for this late reply. I appreciate your help!<br><br>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.<br><br>I'm a little uncertain what a gcode executor is. There's hardly no information regarding software on the webpage (eleksmaker.com), 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 :-).<br><br>I've also flashed the driver with success.<br><br>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. <br><br>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. <br>
<p>try rescaling your image... from the screenshot it seems that you have a file that is totally off scale to the machines cutting area.</p>
And a screendump.
<p>&quot;both the benbox and the GRBL controllers seem to have broken&quot; - No, Gearbest simply never added it. Nor did they add instructions to build this device. Talk about poor customer service.</p>
Yeah, I'm not affiliated with them at all, they just sent me this and I made the instructions in the hope that maybe people would actually be able to build the damn thing, there's a better piece of software I think it's called: newlydraw, open source and i got it to work, if not, try laser script.<br>P.s. I'll update the i'ble and hopefully help others.<br>Good luck!<br>Regards,<br>Erynn from makerbox
<p>hi guys! I had a problem on deciding what power will I use in a blue laser diode for engraving wood and acrylic. could you help me??</p>
I don't understand? the unit i covered already has a power supply.... can you elaborate upon your issue?
i just wanted to know what would be suited power of for cuttingang engravei g
<p>Thank you for the step-by-step. I had no problems with the physical assembly. My problem is that as an Apple user, trying to remember how to get anything to work in windows is problematic. The one piece of information I really need is the drivers for the plotter in windows. I can't find them in the software package.</p>
if you purchased from Gearbest you can download the software pack from them that has drivers, guides, Etc, Etc.
<p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/imcp1024">imcp1024 </a>In point of fact, they (Gearbest) do not produce the machines or the software nor do they host the download. They merely provide a link to software in an offsite cloud account. The Eleks Maker people are nearly impossible to find, and do not support what they manufacture. Gearbest is a re-seller, they neither make the machine nor the software.<br><br>When I made my purchase of this unit, they did NOT offer a link to software, it took 4 weeks of pleading through email to get a link to what I did get. And what I did get had viruses embedded in the Benbox software. The instructional video was sped up to 4 times (400%) of it's normal speed. It used to have the world's worst music in the backgroudn and no English narration at all.</p>
I never saw them as anything more than a &quot;mail order&quot; outfit, never expected more than delivery of the product. I'll probably avoid them going forward just because an email saying free delivery of any of their products to anywhere in the world.. I read that as I could get any of their products delivered to me free. having to pay 30+ USD for it to take just over 3 weeks didn't change my mind about that. love having a laser etcher.
<p>I tried to return mine, and found the cheapest method of return to China was $119.00 by USPS. It wasn't even worth it. They &quot;apologized&quot; with a $40.00 refund. Which was nowhere near woirth the heartburn and hassle of making it work with no substanive help from Gearbest.</p>
<p>SEE WWW.bencutlaser.us. All the help you need for these machines</p>
You should be able to use the arduino drivers, you can download the arduino ide from: www.arduino.cc, this should come with the drivers.
<p>there is a company called bang wood that has an engraver that ranges from 300 mew and up for about 120.00 and up that is assembled with good software. If I remember correctly. Might want to check it out.</p>
<p>It's BANGGOOD.</p>
<p>great, though if you have already bought this machine you can use the software that banggoods machine uses. </p>
<p>http://www.banggood.com/ Not BANG WOOD . tee hee thats what she said .</p>
<p>good idea, the price of these things fluctuates, so try looking around for the best deal.</p>
<p>Do you do this step twice? Once for each carriage?<br>Where's picture 7?<br>Also when you say long bolts.... can you clarify which bolts as there's 5 different lengths of bolts</p>
<p>1. what step?</p><p>2. you can press see more for all the pictures</p><p>3. i did provide photos of the bolts.............</p>
<p>I also labeled the photos...</p>
<p>Step 3, there is no reference that you need to construct two x carriages until step 4 says &quot;both x carriages&quot;.</p><p>Your photos of the bolts are a photo that has no size reference so there's no way to tell which ones you were referring to as the 'long bolts' . No worries, I found another tutorial that shows that it was the second longest bolts in the kit.</p><p>Photo 7 has no nuts on the bolts so it doesn't match up to the </p><p>'(3.) push one bearing onto each bolt and add a nut to hold it in place (picture 7)&quot; so that's why I thought there should be another picture but it's cool my mistake</p>
<p>I have assembled the Banggood laser and have tried both Benbox and the grbl software, while both have their merits the Benbox is probably the most simple to use once you understand it, the Grbl software with the G-Code sender is ok but it only works with Gcode while benbox can work with normal picture formats.</p>
<p>This is more on how to assemble .</p>
<p>I guess so, but how to: laser describes it fine and sounds good.</p>
<p>Fine job sir!</p>
<p>This is way better than the COMPLETELY MISSING instructions I got when I actually bought this very same unit. GearBest was absolutely the worst to deal with I have ever had the displeasure to work with.<br><br>Kudos to <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/MakerBox">MakerBox </a>for making such a fine instruction set on the build and suggesting better software, as well as those other gents who chimed in with better ideas too!</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/MakerBox"><br></a></p>
<p>For additional help and information, I would suggest you go to http://benboxlaser.us and participate in the forum. There are a lot of helpful people that will answer your questions, and they have some custom software written by one of the members. The T2laser software really makes life much easier and I highly recommend it.</p>
The kit has arrived! I fired up your Instructable, on the tablet, and got down to business. <br> Your Instructable has been a great help. Thanks!
<p>thanks! i always aim to help!</p>
<p>Just FYI, I've expanded on this excellent hardware tutorial with more detail on the wiring and software setup, as well as a few hints I found while building my Eleks Laser from Gearbest... https://www.instructables.com/id/Benbox-With-Eleks-Laser-Engraver-GearBest-Banggood/</p>
<p>thank you very much for putting in the effort to make an instructable for those amendments, i will correct them in my instructable but i shall credit you for realising my mistakes, i'll also link to your 'ible. </p>
<p>One small clarification, on<br>Step 2. Frame Assembly, I think you meant:</p><p>(2.) Medium bolts ( 1cm length) <br><br>Picture 3 label shows the 1.5cm medium bolts that go into the ends of the<br>aluminum struts. The other medium bolts (1cm) are in the upper middle of picture 3. </p>
<p>So I can't seem to download the software. I go to the link and click the download link but i get an error &quot;403 forbidden&quot;</p>
<p>It also does not help that the download page is in Chinese and you have to guess where to put the password in, and which button is for download. (Using Google Chrome helps a little, but the buttons do not translate as they are a graphic, not actual Chinese charachters.</p>
<p>There's a password that you have to enter to download it, you may have <br>missed seeing that and failure to enter that (it was four characters <br>when I last tried to update mine.)</p>
<p>How did you all manage to vent out the smoke and ash this thing would generate?</p>
<p>i currently put it next to my fume extractor, i assume that anyone who is into stuff like this is a maker and therefore solders, but if not you can just put it on a windowsill somewhere.</p>
<p>I found in use, you can use a small spray bottle of water to minimize the soot, smoke, and ash on the work piece, dampen only do not wet, wipe excess water with a paper towel. You'll find it handy. </p>
For some reason that sheet does not come with the kit, I used a larger laser cutter to make one for myself.
<p>I had to do the same with sheet of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Luaun&redirect=no">Luaun </a>plywood and painted it white. I should have used engine paint to make it a little resistant to burning, and may remove it and paint it with heat resistant paint later.</p>

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