Picture of The MicroSlice V1 | A tiny Arduino laser cutter

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 |

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

SilverJimny (author)  megadarkwood1 month 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.

yakeen4u1 month ago

wiring diagrams plzzz

yakeen4u1 month ago


IBH1 month ago

Can i use

instead of the Easy drivers??

SilverJimny (author)  IBH1 month ago


IBH SilverJimny1 month 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)  IBH1 month ago


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


oldsmarracin6 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)  oldsmarracin6 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)

abhilesh2 months ago

hey can we use arduino Atmega8 instead of UNO R3

oldsmarracin4 months ago
Would a 808nm 500mw ir laser diode be good for this?
SilverJimny (author)  oldsmarracin4 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
Jdukate4 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)  Jdukate4 months ago

There is a wiring diagram here |

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

casvandegoor4 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)  casvandegoor4 months ago


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)  casvandegoor4 months ago

Ahh I see. Nope it doesn't.

casvandegoor4 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)  casvandegoor4 months ago


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!
fbappos4 months ago

My MicroSlice is finally done! While sourcing parts on ebay, I ordered twice as many to see if anyone else might want an easy kit, ready to ship.

Msg me if you are interested in a hardware kit with all parts except for the plastics, arduino, and laser diode.

fbappos fbappos4 months ago

Listed my kit here:

oldsmarracin7 months ago

cant find info on how to take pics and turn them into laserable files like you did with the robot any help would be awesome

SilverJimny (author)  oldsmarracin7 months ago

They are vector files. Search for .SVG or vector graphics. I've not been able to convert photographs for use on the MicroSlice.

i found a program called vector magic that works great it turns any pic to a plotable svg file it is fully changeable then open it in inkscape and shrink to size hope this helps

turned this to a 38x38mm laser file

I have used Vector Magic - Its Brilliant!
But for black and white vectors you can simply use InkScape.

Use Path - Trace bitmap - click Update - and you're done!
Also you can vary parameters to brighten/darken features in InkScape. In VG, you ll need to fiddle with the original raster to get the right results. Try it - it works.

here is the laser file
TheCamel5 months ago

Is it only a laser engraver or can it actually cut wood ?

aaron01275 months ago
Can I buy a kit?
SilverJimny (author)  aaron01275 months ago

yes at

pucksurfer5 months ago
How much did this project cost?
SilverJimny (author)  pucksurfer5 months ago

you can buy kits from £199 at

jiajunwang5 months ago

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

2014-03-23 17.53.02.jpg2014-03-23 17.52.23.jpg2014-03-23 01.24.40.jpg2014-03-23 01.24.46.jpg2014-03-10 23.00.12.jpg
SilverJimny (author)  jiajunwang5 months ago

wow that's great!

Rhayan Soares5 months ago
Muito bom, Parabéns .
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