Introduction: Laser Engraving Machine CNC (Producing Laser Engraving Machine by Using Wasted CD-Drive or Printer)

Picture of Laser Engraving Machine CNC (Producing Laser Engraving Machine by Using Wasted CD-Drive or Printer)

Are you still worried about what gifts are best suited for your friends? Do you want to choose something creative to express your sincere wishes? With the advancement of the economy, higher requirements on presents become more necessary. Gifts with innovative ideas are coming into our sights.

Some people want to print their favourite pictures or cartoon characters on some small ornaments. People who are keen about DIY wish to make pcb at home to make their own electronic works. Based on these requirements, I sprouted the idea of making a laser-engraving machine. The machine is made from discarded materials, which saves the money and put the concept of “recycling resources ” into practice as well. However, the first generation of laser-engraving machine can only satisfy the want of printing pictures. Thus, I expand the framework in my second version and propose the innovative method of circuit-board-etching in order to broaden the uses of the machine.

The machine is basically made from unwanted materials that you can easily find in second-hand markets. I use the old CD driver and printer to make this machine and it is shown later in my article.

Step 1: Demo Video

This is a demonstration of the process of carving

Step 2: (first Generation) Using the CD-ROM Production -- Get Laser and Stepper Motor

Picture of (first Generation) Using the CD-ROM Production -- Get Laser and Stepper Motor

I took two wasted CD-drives apart because we need the steppers and lasers from them.

Step 3: (first Generation) Assemble the Circuits and the Drive Frames

Picture of (first Generation) Assemble the Circuits and the Drive Frames

This is my first-generation product, using the wasted CD drives and Arduino.

Let’s start assembling! This is the specific making process: solder the circuit board by Arduino Nano and a4988 stepper driver; use the waste wood slats and the disassembled drives’ stepping motors. Wood is not only easy for making changes, even with a saw or utility knife, but also environment-friendly. Always remember to keep the stepping motors on the x and y axes perpendicular to avoid printing crooked or skewed pictures.

Step 4: (first Generation) the Design and Improvement of Machine Frame

Picture of (first Generation) the Design and Improvement of Machine Frame

Here is the process of designing and optimizing the machine frame, though many of my attempts failed. But these trials were to let more people make simple and interesting laser engraving machines using their discarded CD drives more conveniently and economically. I will attach a design sheet in the next section.

Step 5: (first Generation) the Design Sheet of Machine Frame

Picture of (first Generation) the Design Sheet of Machine Frame

Below is my design sheet of the optimized machine frame. There are 3 different designs.

Step 6: (second Generation) Dissemble Printers – Take the Cam Block and the Motor

Picture of (second Generation) Dissemble Printers – Take the Cam Block and the Motor

The inkjet printers we usually use are very cheap – only about 300-500 RMB. But replacing a print head costs a few hundred. Therefore, there are many unusable inkjet printers around us because of the print head clogging. So I took the cam block from the discarded inkjet printer (picture 2), belt (picture 3) and the motor (picture 4 and 5) to make the second-generation machine.

Step 7: (second Generation) My Second-generation Product – Using a Discarded Printer

Picture of  (second Generation) My Second-generation Product – Using a Discarded Printer

Because I was the only one making this machine, I did not keep that many pictures of the making process when I made the second-generation one. This one was made from a wasted printer and discarded acrylics with the same controlled circuits from the first generation, but it has a bigger machine frame and motor, which enables it to print bigger things.

Step 8: Engraving Software

In order to enable more people to make their own engraving machines, I created specially-made engraving software. No virus! You can download it freely. But the anti-virus software might report the virus probably because it was written on one's own (QQ328993914 Publisher)

Step 9: Final Products

Picture of Final Products

The machine can engrave many things like plastic, wood, paper, etc.

In the first picture, it is printing pictures on a piece of paper. Compared to a printer, it has no requirement for the paper’s size, shape or texture, and it is more convenient. The second picture shows it printing on the wood. The third picture – on the shell of a pen.

Step 10: Using the Laser Engraving Machine and Electrical Etching to Engrave Metallic Material

Picture of Using the Laser Engraving Machine and Electrical Etching to Engrave Metallic Material

Besides wood and paper, with some etching techniques, this engraver could also engrave metals. It is also possible to engrave PCB circuits.

Step 11: Using Laser Engraving Machine to Engrave All Kinds of Stickers

Picture of Using Laser Engraving Machine to Engrave All Kinds of Stickers

It can also engrave patterns onto all kinds of stickers like wall posters, window decorations and stickers for light-switch decoration. This is the engraving process of one of the stickers.


JacieT (author)2016-06-13

My grandma loves engraving things. He literally engraves his name on everything so that people will know it's his. I'm sure he would absolutely love having a laser engraving machine! I'll look into getting him one. Thanks for sharing.

StuartB44 (author)2016-03-27

Hi 344185151.

I just tried your software but it is unsuable because it has random characters and symbols everywhere.

Eldglay (author)2015-03-08

Very good, could make a circuit tutorial PCB?

344185151 (author)Eldglay2015-09-28

of course

344185151 (author)Eldglay2015-03-10

yes But it doesn't very useful because it too slowly

dandrews1138 (author)2015-07-03

So the laser from a cd player is powerful enough to engrave metals?

344185151 (author)dandrews11382015-09-28

oh. if you use the cd laser you can only cavy the wood

salar naser (author)2015-06-16


thank foryuo

but the software wasnt install

pjaupoe (author)2015-04-21

Very cool

Brunomaster (author)2015-03-22

que raro, tenia que ser un chino...

0penbook (author)2015-03-08

I would like to know exactly how this was made, please, so that this can be reproducible by others and myself. And please list the exact components used, which printer motors, which model's lasers, etc. It's great that you made this. But an instructable should tell the reader how to duplicate your results on their own.

344185151 (author)0penbook2015-03-10

I have already relize this problem .I will add the steps soon .(I will have some exams ,But I will add them as quickly as I could)

GWSC (author)2015-03-08

Great project, a great pity it cannot be made with the instructions supplied. I'm not sure how this became a featured project without full instructions being made available.

tisaconundrum (author)GWSC2015-03-09

I'm glad I'm not the only one that felt this

GWSC (author)tisaconundrum2015-03-09

In its current state it's informative, but without instructions it isn't an instructable!

344185151 (author)GWSC2015-03-10

I will change it into a good instructables.Thanks to you let me know what we need to share with(I am a Chinese student,and not good at English.I didn't really understand what'sthe mean of instructables before.I know we need let everybody DIY instead of share my DIY now)

344185151 (author)GWSC2015-03-09

I will improve it in the near future

DarkDecko (author)GWSC2015-03-09

Have you tried turning the page at the bottom before the replies can't miss it... where it says "(View all steps) (Next>>)

The Lightning Stalker (author)2015-03-08

Good day,
Do you still have model numbers of the CD-ROM drives?
We are thankful for such information.

All kinds of CD-ROM drives which use the Stepper motor is OK

I see now that you are using the 435nm laser diode and not the original CD-ROM diode.
Thank you for providing the information.
It will help a lot of people.

the CD-ROM laser only can carve deep color's things.But it doesn't means we couldn't use it.If you doesn't have enough money, you can also use it.

jocman (author)2015-03-10

Great project. I tried to download the Desktop.RAR file, but it just opens a web page full of characters. Can you fix the link someway?

344185151 (author)jocman2015-03-10

I am sorry about that.I am a Chinese student.So I cannot use this network well.I will solve this problem.

ysokolov (author)2015-03-10

When I try to dowload it, my kaspersky antivirus found HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generi. Could you check your archive? I read your message about antivirus, but I can`t download (

344185151 (author)ysokolov2015-03-10

let me have a look

Raitis (author)2015-03-07

Hi, it's nice to see what you've done and I appreciate, but more details would be so great, especially since I'm looking into making a similar machine. :)

What is the power of the laser? What is the working surface size?

344185151 (author)Raitis2015-03-09

working surface size is A4, the power of the laser is 200 mw 435mm

angelhut (author)2015-03-08

That is a Singapore $1 Coin. Are you studying in Singapore. Great work.

344185151 (author)angelhut2015-03-09

I am a chinese high middle student.And I'm not good at English (laugh)

akn1 (author)2015-03-08

everything you said there but you didn't explained the procedure of building the device using lasers and motors... I want to build this for myself... please tell the procedure of building step by step

344185151 (author)akn12015-03-09

I am so sorry about that.I write it so quickly so that I didn't do it well.

I will improve it in the near future

raypsi (author)2015-03-08

Despite the nay sayers gr8 job merci beaucoupe for sharing

That laser must get mighty hot, even with a fan cooling the laser head.

344185151 (author)raypsi2015-03-09

a fan can solve this problem

U_eriksen (author)2015-03-08

And by the way, the author here did not use the laser from a CD-ROM drive. Some 16+ speed DVD burner drives have red or UV lasers that are powerful enough to be focused into a burning beam, but CD-ROM drives do not.

Not sure about the laser actually used.... From the pictures it looks to be UV, which would be invisible to the eye (but picked up by digital cameras). PLEASE be careful with these lasers! You don't have to see the beam to ruin your eyes.

344185151 (author)U_eriksen2015-03-09

my laser is 200mw 435mm.I have not use the cd laser because it too low power .

Pay attention to the protection is important

rkrishnan7 (author)2015-03-08

Thank you for a fine 'ible!

One of the most important problems with designing a system like this is to be able to focus the laser diode to a fine point. Most scavenged laser diodes need special optics to achieve this. Can you explain what you have done?

344185151 (author)rkrishnan72015-03-09

it is only a Magnifier which made by plastic

ftuesday (author)rkrishnan72015-03-09

He can't because he didn't use the laser from the CD. I would find his .rar download very suspicious also. I call this project half-baked. And I'm being constructive!

U_eriksen (author)2015-03-08

For those wanting more details, you can probably find some in a more original 'ible from 2011:

344185151 (author)U_eriksen2015-03-09

You are righe,I did this after reading it

manohar (author)2015-03-08

Circuit around arduino plus code and driver circuit of laser lens recovered from CD drive needs to be given to understand the project.Please provide.

Darkangeel_hd (author)2015-03-08

Rar file here

this instructable:
but in original form:

video here

TexomaEV (author)2015-03-08

How does an incomplete, instructable become a featured item? I applaud this fellows success at making a functional machine, but in no way can an individual make one from what is published here. This comment is mostly for INSTRUCTABLE in which I curious to know HOW it became a featured item?

Yeah, wow, just WOW!
High power infrared laseres and not so much as a word about safety.
Pardon me, Instructables, but what the hell were you thinking?
Flagged as incomplete

jarts1 (author)2015-03-08

Nice, positive reply. I agree with you on all points. Would love to re-create this project but, indeed, cause of the lack of information this is nearly impossible based on this instructable alone. If you don`t have the opportunity (read: time) to rewrite the article with more info. Could you at least provide some links where you`ve found the information needed to build this one?

stannickel (author)jarts12015-03-08

jarts1 Your reply is much better than mine. I really appreciate the positive nature of this forum and do not want to detract from that atmosphere by anything that could be construed as negative. This is a fantastic place to visit!

johnnyl33 (author)2015-03-08

This is not a HOW-TO make that. I would like to know everything about it
to make one of my own, not simply see that you made it.

57thcork (author)2015-03-08

Great ible and ideas, however the link to the .rar file reports no file !

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