Instructables
Picture of The MicroSlice V1 | A tiny Arduino laser cutter
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A few years ago I saw an Instructable where Groover had used a pair of DVD-RW drives to make a pocket laser engraver. Inspired by the idea, driven by the recent purchase of a full-sized 50 watt CO2 laser cutter, and roused by the launch of the Microcontroller contest I took the decision to have a crack at making my own mini laser engraver.


I have called the project the MicroSlice.

What are the features of the MicroSlice?

  • The MicroSlice has a work area of 50mm x 50mm (2" x 2").
  • It can cut paper and engrave wood & plastic.
  • Open Hardware.
  • Uses the Arduino UNO R3.
  • All the software used by the MicroSlice, including the graphics program, is Open Source, and free to use!
  • There is a 300mw 635nm Red Laser Diode, like you'd find inside a DVD-RW drive, which does the cutting & engraving.
  • It comes as a kit to build at home, at a Hackspace, or with your local Maker group.
  • There are 97 Laser-Cut parts in the kit!
  • It will work with your Raspberry Pi.






The MicroSlice won the Grand Prize in the 2013 RadioShack Microcontroller Contest!

Massive thanks to everyone who voted, and of course to Radioshack for the super prizes :)

The MicroSlice V2.0 is now available from The LittleBox Company | http://thelittlebox.co/theshop

 
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wenoptics12 days ago

Why can neodymium magnets do anything to keep paper secure while engraving?Do you mean while engraving a paper? And sorry about my English...

SilverJimny (author)  wenoptics12 days ago

used with something magnetic they can clamp the paper down. They will not of course attract the paper.

Thanks really for your reply, Jimny.Gotcha! And it's really a great work! ;p
jiajunwang7 months ago

Hello, inspired by your project and thanks to your help, I build mine. I am using a 100MW blue laser.

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Great build! I would love to see a couple more pictures of your rig... side and back, maybe bottom?

Sorry mate, I disassembled it already. If you are building one, I strongly recommend you utilizing the DVD drive to the maximum, i.e. using the linear bearing on the drive. I built mine from scratch, and the accuracy suffers sometimes.

OK, Thanks for the reply! :)

Lighter colour materials are more difficult to work on than darker materials. As having a broader spectrum tends to reflect more energy back rather than letting it get in and do the trick. Just my experience...
SilverJimny (author)  jiajunwang6 months ago

wow that's great!

jiajunwang8 months ago

Hi, does the color of the laser influence the performance/efficiency? or the power output is the only thing that matters?

SilverJimny (author)  jiajunwang8 months ago

Yes, you'll get more power in a blue ray diode than you will from an equivilent red diode.

As a follow up question, does the color of the laser make a difference in what materials and/or color of material that can be cut?

Thanks!

cnludwig1 month ago

Hi,

Could this cut shapes out of adhesive backed paper? I would like to use something like this to make stencils for spray painting and etching. It would not need to be super accurate, but I don't want to have to use a knife or scissors to cut the shapes. Thanks, great instructable.

SilverJimny (author)  cnludwig1 month ago

I would expect so. It cuts paper without issue. There is a new blue laser for the MicroSlice which gives very good cut-lines too.

http://thelittlebox.co

megadarkwood2 months ago

Is it possible that you can use a stronger laser, and cut wood?

SilverJimny (author)  megadarkwood2 months ago

it is possible to add a higher rated diode. It will cut some types of wood but it will depend on thickness, and the laser diode you are using.

yakeen4u3 months ago

wiring diagrams plzzz

yakeen4u3 months ago

nice

IBH3 months ago

Can i use http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__46905__...

instead of the Easy drivers??

SilverJimny (author)  IBH3 months ago

Yes.

IBH SilverJimny3 months ago
Sir how can use it can give me a schemetic or something like that?Actually I am new to Electronics!!! Sorry to trouble you.
SilverJimny (author)  IBH3 months ago

Hi,

I don't have a schematic for those stepper motor drivers. You will have to figure it out yourself.

You could always get some EasyDrivers from http://thelittlebox.co

Greg

oldsmarracin8 months ago

hey do you know how to make it move faster i am using a pen for now but would like it to move faster cant tell witch command it is

SilverJimny (author)  oldsmarracin7 months ago

Increase the feed speed, and when you create the g-code increase the mm speed in Inkscape.

thanks so much now to just use a pen for now :/

Maybe try a pen knife as well. If you can't cut with laser, at least you can still cut. Add a z-axis to push the knife down and maybe a rotational element to direct the blade direction or else only program the g-code to draw in horizontal lines (if that is the direction of the knife blade)

abhilesh4 months ago

hey can we use arduino Atmega8 instead of UNO R3

oldsmarracin5 months ago
Would a 808nm 500mw ir laser diode be good for this?
SilverJimny (author)  oldsmarracin5 months ago

Not really. It would be very hard to focus and quite dangerous to use an IR diode as you cannot see the beam.

Ah but is that the only down side? Cause I am about to upgrade to scanners and would like it to burn a little faster. What would you recomend in the 500mw range? Cause the red ones is a little out of bugget. I had one from the DVD drive and it died so I guess my lm317 driver circuit was bad so I'm going to get a adjustable one from eBay. Just wondering if it will even burn as much stuff as a red one would
Jdukate5 months ago

Hi I was wondering do you connect the relay to the voltage regulator for the laser?Or how does the relay connect to the laser, I am still kinda new to this.

SilverJimny (author)  Jdukate5 months ago

There is a wiring diagram here | http://thelittlebox.co/theforum/viewtopic.php?f=8&...

Make sure you read through the thread as tehre are a few mistakes in the diagram which are corrected later.

casvandegoor5 months ago

Hey, another question: Is the LDO absolutely necessary for powering the fan. I know that laser diodes are particularly prone to current fluctuations, but can't the fan be connected directly to the relay?

SilverJimny (author)  casvandegoor5 months ago

Hi,

The fan is connected directly to the relay, presumably you mean can it be connected directly to the LDO, which it can. However you would of course lose the option to power it on and off via the software.

No I mean: does the voltage of the fan need to be regulated by an LDO?

SilverJimny (author)  casvandegoor5 months ago

Ahh I see. Nope it doesn't.

casvandegoor5 months ago

Thanks for the nice instructable! I was wondering: what are 4 endstops for? I read that endstops are used to determine the home position. Why is 1 for each axis not enough? Sorry if this is a noob question :D

SilverJimny (author)  casvandegoor5 months ago

hi,

1 is enough if you only want to use it for the homing cycle. By having an end-stop at each end of the axis you prevent any potential damage to equipment which could be caused by over-run.

Okay, thanks!
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