Laser cutter, start slicing stuff for under 50 dollars


Step 6: Follow me as I discover a laser cutter

This isn't so much of a step, but a story. This shows me discovering the stepping, the power of the laser and the first time I cut anything out. If you want a better view of how this actually works, or for more a different perspective on some difficult parts this might be a good place to get it:

Here we start with an overview of my lab, and also all the parts, a basic diagram of how things are set up. A close up view of the "print head" is here if you're curious:
I also get the stepper motors going here!

This is part two where I find out what it means that I have two stepping scanners connected:

This is the part where I take you to show you the power of the laser. You can see the beam outside, and also you can watch as I hold it to burn paper by hand:

Now you can watch as the entire setup is connected and hooked up. Hear my surprise when I actually get it to cut a diagonal line:

lastly hear me as i try out postscript sending for the first time, watch the scanner as it cuts, you get a nice close of up how it's all hooked up.

And that's it, I hope this extra story line helps. This is a fun project, and if anyone wants to improve it I'm sure it can be done. Show me your best!
All the best.
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jcasetnl1 year ago
This project looks like fun! Does it require a parallel interface, or can USB scanners also be used?
UQONYX3 years ago
You should be able to create classes in the files for different types of materials that will also control the speed of the cutter. That way you can have an even cut on the material. You should also focus several dvd or bluray diods at a central ppoint or even get a burning laser diode(link)----------> ( and magnify it with lenses. Either way, its an awesome project and it looks real cool.
BigTW3 years ago
gemguy4 years ago
cool ideas! my question is... what about using something like this to cut rocks?
yeah, i do cut rocks by hand but this idea would be so much easier and cooler.

any ideas on how powerful a laser must be to cut silica?

Thanx in advance!
rlimosenero4 years ago
hi, do you have another site that I can view all your works..coz I can't open all views here...I am really interested in these kind of stuff and would like to build bigger or in large scale...
perfo5 years ago
Could you use something like a Fresnel lens to concentrate say 20 of these things in to spot to get faster/deeper penetration? If Mr Lasermaster thinks you will need 20 watts to cut 1/8 " then as it seems you can buy 1w laser diodes on eBay, using 20 or 30 of the blighters in a matrix, concentrated with a Fresnel should do the trick. Should it not ?
solsed5 years ago
brownie points for playing 'that time' by regina spektor! :) love that girl! :)
cuaz646 years ago
Hi, Good work, What kink of lase I need to cut metal?
iBurn cuaz646 years ago
......One that's really big......and REALLY expensive........ expensive....

cuaz646 years ago
Great Work! Also, i'm interested in make one of this with enogh power to cut metal. What kind of lase recommend me?
jbwolf6 years ago
how do you make the program run faster or slower so that i can fine tune the laser exposure to a single spot for cutting? I have a low power red dvd burner diode that will need to go slow, and I also have a powerfull 808nm cutting diode that will be able to cut much easier and need a fast speed. (yes im fully prepared with safety equipment and experienced with powerfull laser diodes) how would you reccomend to control the speed? also, are you turning the laser on and off by hand? how do you control it to turn the laser on and off for it to jump to a new cut point?
This is one awesome tutorial; I'm very tempted to try it :) Question: Have you tried using this to cut thin plastic, or basically anything that would be suitable for a more re-usable stencil? Any success?
lamedust (author)  padawanspider6 years ago
Plastic might be too tough for this laser, the rest of the setup is good, maybe you can find a different kind of cutting utensil? Stronger laser, a dremel? (Also, plastic has poison fumes when you burn it, so not a great idea in that regard, just so you know) -BG
Oh yeah. Was going to ask, do you think a laser from a cd burner would work, or is it weaker than a DVD burner laser?
Ooh. Dremel... or flex-shaft. Must ponder over this. Basically an engraving machine... Aack! I'm drowning in ideas! (Thanks!)
artlcarr7 years ago
What type of laser are you useing? What sort of power is it and can you tell me a part number to find some info. It's awsome how well it cuts.
lamedust (author)  artlcarr7 years ago
It's just the same laser people are using to modify their laser pointers. You can get one by extracting it from a DVD-RW DVD burner, or you can get it where I get it from here:
It's supposed to be at 200mWs.
judobrian7 years ago
Can you provide more info on your 12v power supply you are using for your laser and for the motors? I've never seen those in any stores (even hobby stores) where can I pick one up? What should I look for? It looks adjustable and what not... Appreciate it!!
that's pretty sweet. u should wear your fur-collared nsync blazer in your next video.
recon5067 years ago
Dude, awesome Instructable! I am pretty confused on the whole driver/power supply/connections stuff. I'd love it if you could straighten out the following: 1)Where does the power supply come from? 2)How do you connect the circuit? 3)WHERE DO YOU COME UP WITH THIS STUFF???
Excellent project and great videos. I especially loved the last video where you were poking around and disconnected something and your comments about it, lol!
dewoller7 years ago
Bilal, you are an amazing guy. I so much want to have my lab look like yours. I really like your drive, and inspiration, and smartness. I like how you take a pile of junk and turn it into something beautiful, and show your good self at the same time. Your cheekiness took my breath away several times. Thanks. Dennis