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I'm making this instructable to help others with how to get started with a cheap laser engraver. Because the model I'm using is a newer engraver from outside the US, there is just about no information on how to use/set up. Hopefully by the end of this instructable you will be able to start engraving/burning words and designs for less than $100.

Step 1: Where to Get the Engraver

The engraver I am using is the NEJE 300mW Laser Engraver Machine, model number DK-8. I bought mine from GearBest for just under $85 with free shipping.

***** Now I do not remember where it shipped from, but if shipping to the US be ready to wait a long time. I have seen plenty of bad reviews for GearBest's website, yet I feel that the reviews were written by ill patient people. Once bought, it took about 2-3 business days to process. After that it had to find its way to a shipping container to travel to the US in, that process took about a week and a half to two weeks in itself. Then once in the US it has to ship to you. It took a month for me to receive my engraver, but I had working tracking numbers since it shipped so I knew where it was almost the whole time.

It arrived very well packed with foam blocks and securing tape all over to make sure it was shipped safely. Remove all tape and foam and you are ready for the next step.

Step 2: Hardware (The Engraver) Set Up

Once you have everything unpacked you should have the Engraver, measuring 5.75"x6.25"x7.5", with two usb cables coming out of the back, a microSD card, a usb wall adapter, glasses and instructions(not so great).

Plug the USB wall adapter into a near socket, and plug the thinner/smaller of the two USB cables into it. That is your power cord. There should be three red LEDs that light up near the back that can be seen from looking down on the engraver. One LED is on the Arduino board, and the two are on the stepper motor drivers.

The other USB cable is your data cable, you plug this into your computer.

That is it for initial set up. Nice that its all self contained and comes assembled to limit errors by the end user.

Step 3: Software SetUp

To begin the software set up, first power up your engraver (plug both USB's into their proper slots). The laser should be on, but it is not at burn power so don't worry about it, act like it doesn't exist. No install the software from the MicroSD card and follow all steps (not many at all).

If your package did not include a MicroSD card, you can download the software here. The webpage is not in English. In the text box, type the password: 3477 and hit enter. The next page will be the download screen, click the blue button with the down arrow. Once downloaded, unzip the folder and follow the installation procedure.

By now you have the Engraver ready and hooked up, and you should have the software installed. Now lets figure out the software a little in the next step.

Step 4: Software Intro

Now that you have installed the software, find the shortcut on you desktop, or where ever you placed it, and open it. The second picture is what the program looks like when you open it.

If the driver installed properly, the port name in the upper left area of the program should default to the port your printer is plugged into and the Y+ X- X+ Y- buttons should be clickable.

IF NOT: try plugging the USB into a different port and re install the program (the drivers install with the program for the port the engraver is plugged into). Mine didn't work until I tried my last USB port. Not quite sure why that is, but it works so I'm happy.

Before you do anything Home your laser. The home position is with the laser all the way to the left and front of the engraver. Refer to the pictures. To Home the laser click the X- until you hear slight clicking, which is the sound of the bracket that connects the laser to the gear slipping. Then do the same clicking Y-.

So now you know the upper left corner, lets move down. You will see a check box below the X Y jog buttons, this is to power the laser to burn intensity. I don't find it to be much of any use except for if you don't know if what you want to engrave/burn will work with the laser. So I just ignore it.

Next going down is a button labeled "Font". Click that to bring up the fonts option box where you can change the font type, style, and size. That open box just under the Font button is your text box. As you type you will see the text show up in the print preview window which is located in the middle of the program.

That big box in the middle is your print preview window. This will show what the engraver with engrave/burn when you send over to the engraver. The red lines that make a smaller box in the print preview window is the parameters of the engraver. I will later explain how to change the size of that.

Now on bottom you have a selection of images that come with the program that you can engrave/burn. Nothing fancy and you can load your own images.

Next is the right side column. Selecting to Load Picture will bring up a browse window where you can upload any of your photos to engrave/burn. You can paste pictures too if you have one copied as well. Next is your gray style, which just gives you a few different looks for your print with different gray scales. Invert and Flip also let you change how your image looks.

That button labeled "start" is your print button. The laser will start your design once your hit start. From there you can also pause and stop. When your print is done, or stopped, the laser will auto home.

Remember when I said you can change the size of your print area. Hopefully you weren't expecting that you can print bigger than the 38mmx38mm print area advertised. When you move the slider you will see the red box enlarge or shrink respectively. Use this when you upload an image but doesn't show as big as you would like.

You can also change the burn time, since all objects engrave/burn at different speeds for different results.

And lastly there is a clock that shows actual time your print has been going for.

You probably noticed another tab all the way at the top left next to "Print Picture" called "NC Sender". I am not experienced with this area yet so I can't help to much. If you select Create NC File it will open Inkscape to make your paths file. Just keep in mind your build area is only 38mmx38mm. If you make a file to large, you will just get en error message. I will add a section on this when I learn how to use it better.

**** The Print Picture tab is for Engraving/Burning not by following a path but by pixel. The program starts from top to bottom, burning each pixel one at a time. A simple Transformers logo that the software comes with printed as big as the program allowed took about 2 hours! It is not to easy to cut with this tab. When cutting craft foam or paper, you should use the "NC Sender" tab. That just takes more work to get your cuts.

Step 5: Burning/Engraving

Load your material on the yellow print table, securing it with the supplied rubber bands. Load your file or picture in the software and start your print.

I have yet to engrave/burn anything all to useful, but I have engraved/burned a few items to show some quality.

Thing I have engraved/burned: Scrap underfloor 1/8 wood, tooth picks, carboard, foam, wooden golf tees, and plexi glass.

Yes you can engrave plexiglass/acrylic. When you purchase acrylic it has a protective sheet on both sides, leave them on. Black out the area you want to engrave with sharpie. Place it on the burn plate, and for your engrave burn time, select the longest burn time. This might work better with NC Sender but again I am not experienced with that section yet. Once your engraving is done, remove the protective plastic(which the laser burned through) and there you are.

I can see using this to customize your wooden cooking utensils, or making some as gifts.

If you have another ideas or questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will try and answer.

Thanks! And happy Engraving/Burning!!

Mine wont work, laser doesnt want to turn on :(
My first client. ( Picture.)<br>I have use my neje just 4 hours.<br>And is not burning any more.<br>I will look tomorrow, nice machine anyway
<p>Did you use it more than a hour continuous? You are supposed to give it some rest after an hour because the laser gets very hot and can't get the heat away in time so it needs to cool down.</p>
When I first got it I ran it about 2 hours straight, only cool down time was when switching materialsmaterials(was pretty excited haha). I haven't ran it more than 30min continuously since then though.
If you figure it out please share. I only have about 9 working hours on mine and it's still going strong.
<p>We are 11 months later, how's it doing? Still working?</p>
Yes it is still working. Just used it the other day though I didn't spend time focusing so I hope that's why it didn't turn out in some spots.
<p>You are describing a different software than what I received with mine. I have the NEJE 5 Pro 500, I don't appear to be able to alter the size, I have a picture of my own that is approx 40 x 40 [512 x 275 pixels] but it only actually burns @ 15mm x 15mm? I tried burning my name, to no avail, it wouldn't even 'colour' the plastic? There's no proper direction for the 'focus' and the 'settings' button doesn't give much instruction?</p><p>Any help would be most welcome!</p>
Maybe try re installing the program not from the chip but from gearbests website, www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-kits/pp_242557.html. I downloaded straight from their website since I don't have that model and when I opened the program, under image settings mine says zoom in where yours says clear. After loading a picture in, the zoom works.<br><br>Hope this helps
<p>What version of the software do you use?</p>
<p>setting the focus is trial and error. if you want to increase the size of the image to maximum, you could try resizing the original image in an image processing app such as GIMP. I use Paint Shop Pro. If your image is colour or greyscale, I'd advise using your image processor to clean the image and convert to 2 tone before loading it onto the Neje software.</p>
<p>i have a DK-8-KZ but the software don't have NC Tab :|<br>where is the correct download of software?<br>thanks<br>the tile of my software is &quot;Neje miniature laser carver DK300&quot; <br>Laser_Carver_V3.5.2.exe</p>
<p>I doubt that software will work for your device. I have the same as you have (with the 1000mW laser) and I have the same software as you have.</p><p>According to the website where I bought it, this printer does not accept grbl files. So the features he mentions in that tab are not there for this device.</p><p>Did you actually find/try it? If it worked anyway, I would like to know (maybe the website I bought it from is wrong?)!</p>
Wow it's been almost a year since I have messed with this thing. A link to the software I used is in step 3. It's not in English but that's where I got my software.
<p>I have just learned by sad experience that you do not want to buy <br>this or anything from GREARBEST. I bought one of these and it burned <br>once and stopped. After quite the struggle of getting them to <br>understand that the laser does not work (them asking the exact same <br>question every time- can't they read prior communications?) they finally<br> told me I can return it for refund where the cost would be about the <br>same as if I bought this again.</p><p>This has great potential, but you need to find a reliable source before you ebmark on this project.</p>
This is very true. It's a crap shoot on this purchase. I was expecting a none working machine or a not long working machine. You kind of have to have the $ to waste and hope you get lucky. Luckily I got a good one. It uses the same lasers as found in old DVD burners, so I scrapped 2 just in case my laser goes out I can just solder in another and keep going, but a year later it is still working. I did stop using it slightly after this instructable, but have just brought it back to life and everything still works as out of the box.
<p>I did buy one, and the software finally is working. however, the engraver doesn't engrave!? it just shows lazer and scan the area and stops without printing nothing! Do you have an idea how to fix it?</p>
It is a weak laser. Slow the burn time all the way down. This will keep the laser over one area the longest giving it time to burn in. This laser really only burns, not so much engraves. Also make sure the laser is focused. Use scrap the same size as your piece and use the &quot;Test Laser&quot; option/check box. That will turn the laser on at operation power. From there turn the focus ring on the end of the laser till it shines a needle point size light on your object( the smallest point you can make). Youll know when you are close because your material will burn quickly causing you to move it around to continue calibrating it in. This laser has a small focal area and you need the top of your piece to be in it, possibly causing you to re calibrate laser focus each time you use it.
<p>Same thing for me :(( :((</p>
<p>Bonsoir, j'ai le NEJE laser engraver mais mon ordi ne poss&egrave;de pas de lecteur pour mini usb... que faire ? o&ugrave; puis-je t&eacute;l&eacute;charger le logiciel d'installation svp ? Merci d'avance</p>
<p>I don't suppose you have any links to forums or discussions about this particular laser do you? <br>I make custom pens and I'm interested in a budget laser engraver for putting logos and names on the wooden pen bodies, do you reckon it could do something like that? currently they are running a &quot;flash sale&quot; till tomorrow evening, and I'm very tempted to, as they say, pull the trigger on this.</p>
<p>Yes if the pens have a wooden body this will work. Everyone I got Christmas gifts for this past year had custom golf tees as the name tag. I just secured the tee down with the rubber bands and entered the text I wanted and hit start. It takes a couple tries to find placement since it does not have the feature that shows the print area. If you pay a little extra (I believe $10) you can get the DK-8 pro, which has the preview mode so it outlines where the laser will work for better positioning.</p>
<p>It's only about 5 dollars more for the 500mw version. <a href="http://www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-kits/pp_242560.html">http://www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-kit...</a><br>I'm tempted to try it. I will admit, it's a bit daunting to order these sorts of things, that one has a longer &quot;flash sale&quot; time frame, so I'm going to give it a lot of thought, and as much research as I can.<br>Was that a &quot;no&quot; to forums or discussion groups about this laser?</p>
<p>I actually wish I went with that engraver. For a little more it is a little more powerful and has the print preview to help center the pen in your case. As for any forums, I could not find any, that is why I made this instructable, to help ones who have this and are confused or to help make your decision when buying one. Now if only the work area could be bigger than 38mmx38mm.</p>
<p>Well, I ended up ordering that laser, I am somewhat hopeful it'll be here in time for me to use it for customization of stuff for valentines day sales. I did a bunch of digging around on the lasers, nothing overly informative, other than 2 bits of info.<br>first, the laser control board is maxed out at half a watt, so upgrading the diode for me will be impossible, but you might be able to upgrade your laser at some point.<br>second, the bed movement is just a cd/dvd drive that's been adapted to use for the laser, so increasing area of engraving is pretty impossible without some serious work.</p>
<p>Very interesting comment about the board being maxed out at a half watt, where did you get that info from? <br><br>The adoption for the CD drive for the laser (and the bed) (at least on mine) seem to be limited to large quantities of hot glue!</p>
<p>I have honestly forgotten where I got my information. I read a lot of stuff when I was first preparing to buy the laser.<br>From what I read, you could theoretically upgrade the laser and control board, but by that time you finish you might as well have purchased a &quot;better&quot; or bigger chinese laser to tinker with, after all the engraving area on these is tiny</p>
Yeah the CD drives make it hard to upgrade. As for the Laser, that would be easy to upgrade, you will just have to take the back off and put in a new diode driver. Having a laser more powerful than 500mW seams unnecessary for the small build area though in my opinion.
<p>Hi, would that imply that the laser driver is inside the laser module? I would have asumed it was on the PCB</p>
<p>With the higher power it's possible to burn through fairly thick wood as well as burn out a design fairly deep for doing inlay work, even with such a small work area, a higher power laser would greatly increase the variety of things I could do with my pens and other small objects. <br>however, I hope to recoup the costs of this laser fairly quickly, and I intend to put the extra money I make with it towards a bigger, more versatile, and powerful laser engraver.</p>
<p>Amazing</p>
<p>I got the NEJE DK-5 Pro-5 just before Christmas -- also from Gearbest (shipped via a REALLY slow boat!). It is essentially the same but an open frame. No micro SD but the website now has a link to the SW. I &quot;installed&quot; it on Win10 and it worked OK at least the for my initial test run. Then on my next boot of that system, Win10's antimalware REMOVED the laser interface EXE program (it never asked me if it was OK and never identified what malware it was! Thanks Microsoft!). I scanned it after downloading (and it scans it automatically when I download anything) so I don't know why Win10 complained. I haven't noticed anything weird yet and its been a couple of weeks. What I found out was that this is a stand-alone EXE program that does not require installation. The only thing that needs to be installed is the USB-serial I/O driver for the &quot;non-standard&quot; CH340 IC (e.g. not an FTDI nor even a Silicon Labs CP2101/02/03 USB-serial I/O) -- and that's it. So the EXE program can be placed on a flash drive and run from there. The program was pretty decent. I wants to scale everything to 500 by 500 pixels (even though the spec said 512 square). Printing wasn't super fast, but fast enough. I just verified it works fine on Win10 from a flash drive.</p><p>Just thought I would pass that info along.</p>
Thanks! maybe I will upgrade to Windows 10. Been avoiding it because of this laser.
<p>If you do upgrade to Win 10, don't forget to remove all the 'Spy-Ware'!</p><p>http://linkis.com/bgr.com/2015/07/31/n4tyS</p>
<p>Baam! I got my laser this past Saturday, set it up and ran it for a bit Monday. I am incredibly, and pleasantly, surprised by the speed, and most important, the resolution. that's a pen barrel in the foreground, visible are my 5th and 6th attempts at engraving pen bodies. <br>Mine arrived fairly quickly, I selected a slightly faster, but still free, shipping method that didn't have tracking.<br>Thank you so much <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/super_kool_dude29/" style="">super_kool_dude29</a> for posting this instructable, and for replying to my comments on here. <br></p>
How can I get in contact with you? I'm curious about the pens and the making of.<br><br>Thanks,<br>Jake
oh, sorry, I'd meant to share with you a the stuff I've done thus far. <br>Scrivenerfinecrafts is my user name for Instagram, twitter, and gmail.<br>If you've got questions about pens I am happy to answer what I can
No problem. Glad you are happy with it. Send some pictures of completed pens, I'm curious how it will all look.
Working o.k. so far.<br>All ready making little money.
Nice! Still trying to come up with how I can make a little from this.
<p>there is no way to detect the w10 leave in xp and got neither. some clue,</p>
Windows does not like this DK5 exe file. Kepps eraising part of the driver. Have to try on different computer.<br>One more pic for you. Kool dude29.<br>
That detail looks great! Have you tried different usb ports? I had to try many before it worked. When you change ports also re install so the driver installs on the correct port. Otherwise if to have another computer to try, try that as well.
Hi, I just got my DK 5.<br>I will post some pictures later.<br>Thanks for your good info and time.
Thanks! Glad you found the information helpful. Post pictures of some of your burning/engravings once you get use to it.
<p>Nice run-through :-)</p><p>I've just been given one of the DK-8 Pro for Xmas (it was ordered literally just before Xmas, so just arrived yesterday). I had a tiny little play with it last night, and a bit more tonight.<br>I have just 2 gripes - one is that the software is NOT Win10 compatible (but they do state XP/7/8, so I can't fault them for it) which meant I'm running it on an old laptop, and the second is that it's so good I want one for bigger pictures!!</p><p>For ease I plugged both USB's and the memory card into a small, cheap dock I have. Win7 detected it and installed the drivers without issue, and the program ran no problem. First attempt on a bit of leather I had the laser time setting on the default 60 so had a blurred image - cutting it to 15 was looking as though it would be fine before I pulled the plug around 1am. Have to say it was a LOT easier than I anticipated after initially seeing the instructions.</p><p>Tonight, another quick play, this time using the back of my phone. Results as per attached (pretty bad) photo, which I'm really happy with. Focussing was a bit of a faff, I'm pleased I've got small hands!</p><p>I'm now planning making custom leather bookmarks for the family :-)<br>Oh, the one thing I'd add, is that the smoke does smell a little (the leather smelt awful!) so if you can do it under a cooker hood or out of the way of sensitive people it's a plus.</p><p>I'd be happy to recommend it, but you may quickly want something bigger.<br>(Sorry, this ended up longer than I thought. Hope you don't feel I'm hijacking :-s )</p>
haha no I felt the same way. It is quite easy to use. Haven't tried leather yet, been experimenting with plexi, but haven't quite figured out a deeper burn. I'll add pictures later as to how it turns out.

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