Picture of Pocket laser engraver.
I have been trying to get my hands on a laser cutter for some time but they always seem out of reach. All the great things that can be done with a real laser cutter tickle the imagination.

I feel it's time to share my latest project - a low cost laser engraver,. The workspace is a bit small but none the less it works and comes so cheap that most will be able to replicate the result. I did take a few shortcuts, as I feel I don't have the knowledge to do all the electronics I opted for readymade but low cost in favor of trying to make my own (and most likely fail). All parts used are however easy to find.

I am pleased with the end result even if there is room for improvements. The small size and low power is a bit limiting but I have made allot of fun things already. Paper cutouts, plant markers and stamps among some. The engraver itself might not fit in a pocket but the workspace limits what you can do with it to fit in the pocket.

A word of warning is in place . This instructable is using a ~200mW red laser. It might nut cut through chunks of wood but it will make you go blind if you are not careful. Never look into the beam, even reflections can be dangerous if focused. Please be careful.

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chintans19 days ago

Can any1 describe the parts in the circuit layout please?

I'm a total newbie to electronics and don't know the codes.

As a electronic newbie myself, I bought a laser driver on ebay.

works fine.

can this work?

It is wierd. It looks like an average power supply.

Plus, you won't be able to drive it via the arduino. What I have is a PCB laser diode driver.

laser driver big2.JPG

check this DIY laser driver :

I do have the driver but it does't have the relay.

Can u suggest anything?

There is no relay on mine.

(see pic) 2 power in, and 2 power out.

laser driver big2.JPG

Please which pins of the arduino did you connect the laser driver power input (+ve and -ve) to?


For the laser connection, I set the + to the pin 12 of arduino, and negative ti GND.

Alright, I'll do it your way! One more question though, my ready made laser driver has an input rating of 4.2V, please how do I make pin 12 give out 4V or less, this is my first arduino project


Can u please upload the pic of your pcb?

I mean how you wired it to pin 12 of arduino with GND and VIN.

I have nearly completed the assembly of whole unit except the laser driver :(
I have attached the picture for reference of my assembly.


In the Groover's diagram there is a relay from the arduino data pin#12.

You are using a ready to use board on your own.

You can help other newbies like me on how does your arduino turn the laser on off without the relay.

Did u modified any code and using +5v pin from arduino itself?

I guess the relay on the schema is for the Fan not for the laser.

JaunS14 days ago

Hello, I have built all the hardware: physical structure, and have completed in entering the GRBLtoArduino and all the software. I have used the Universal GCodeSender and has successfully interpreted the software for is says " Grbl 0.8c ['$' for help] ". I've soldered the stepper motors (for I'm using steppers from dvd roms) to some salvages wire from a printer I took apart. I installed some female sockets in order to connect to the male pins on the CNC Shield ver. 2.01 . The orange light from the arduino flashes and in the Universal GCodeSender ver. 0.8 completes the operation b/c is says " ok " . I have no idea whats wrong. I know the steppers work b/c ive used a 9v battery to pulse the motors and they do indeed pulse. Ive used a multimeter to check its resistance and it works. I've checked the current on the motors once connected to the cnc shield and there's current. I have tested if the drivers are in fact getting power and they are. I've attempted the code " x=100 " , " $7=225 " but no motor movement. Can ANYONE help me ?

chintans JaunS11 days ago

Check your cnc shield for your step and direction wire are the correctly connected or not.
Also check for current stepper will need atleast 500mA to work correctly.

9v battery loose its current very fast while driving a motor.

Grab an adaptor/charger with atleast output power of 5v@500mA.

JaunS chintans10 days ago
Everything is wired correctly . I have a supply of 12 v and 1 amp. What else could be the problem?
chintans JaunS10 days ago

you will need to config it as groove said

upload the grbl from above

config its steps



and finally to move it

X10 Y10

both axis will move 10mm exactly from base

grev11 days ago

I've tried to use the laser engraver extension in inkscape and I've followed the video of workflow Groover put in his instructions, but I keep getting an error message "Inkscape has received additional data from the script executed. The script did not return an error, but this may indicate the results will not be as expected." and that's where I get stuck. what am I missing?


grev11 days ago
_bose16 days ago

I'm going to build a laser engraver using PIC16f or PIC18f series. Could you please help me how can i interpret G-Code to this microcontroller?

buckhebb made it!3 months ago
Thank you so much for this tututorial, I started this project several years ago and finally got motivated and finish. Now I want to go bigger!
zacker buckhebb1 month ago

is that jeep engraved in metal? I wanna engrave the slide on my Glock G19 and laser engraving looks better to me than rotary (Mechanical?) engraving. I just don't know if this would go deep enough. thanks!

"probably not. you can with a 40w laser if you use a special compound on the metal. but engraving bare metal needs about 120w . perhaps if you have a makerspace or fablab near you you can ask them. they'll be happy to help"

Yeah, we don't have any of that type of cool place to do this stuff near by yet.. at least not as of the last time I Thanks for the input though. Perhaps I can send it out but id much rather do stuff like this myself.

hey buck,

congrats on your project completion can you please share the lm317 or the power supply for laser?

I'm not really getting that part properly in the diagram.

Here I'm attaching, I have LM317T based power supply.

andreas.log.borge made it!24 days ago



Nice. I like the little Einstein !

You made the shield by yourself. For documentation, can set the B.O.M. (Bill of Material) ? For all the people who are not experts.


FredL223 days ago

I am having a weird problem. I created a file. Using a program called All To G-Code Converter, I created G-Code. Then, sending the file to the engraver, it moves in X-Y axis but later doesn't engrave. I ca't make it work using Laser Engraver software at all. Help!

Did your laser ever light up? Is it connected correctly ?

Can i use arduino uno with same circuit and code?

yes, grbl is design for it. (

IT-Wizard19 days ago

GRBL update : Compile-able via Arduino IDE!

In the grbl zip file there is an .ino file (...\grbl-master\grbl\examples\grblUpload\grblUpload.ino)

tvarghese220 days ago

I got the lens from the dvd drive, can i use it to focus the laser to a point?

taipale made it!26 days ago

Finally I made this, that it is now :)

taipale taipale26 days ago

Here is also my redesigned laser mount for this pocket laser engraver


Good morning, I made this project in my laser not to do this recording and could not intender why.

DipB28 days ago

I have a machine but can not use the acan program displays the error xj2 stopped working, what should I do?

mario591 month ago

This project doesn't work for me at all!
The first problem, is the first time connection of arduino to the pc. The simulated RS-232 is correctly seen by the pc but WON'T work with GRBL controller pgm. I have to use WINTERM, prior to connect to the simulated port (in my pc is COM3) and ONLY AFTER that, I issue a "$$" command, I get the prompt.

THEN I can use the Crbl controller program ... and here starts the mess.

After I can see the correct communication with arduino, I try to make simple movements:forth-back; left-right, etc. I always get: "Error: undefined feed rate.

Needless to say that there's nothing wrong with it, so after various temptatives, here and there, I get it moving.But cannot say what was wrong with it.

Can somebody give me a step-by-step istruction to get it at work?

Please help me!!!

You will need to do the provide the proper hex file to connect and use arduino and move the axis.

Also you will need to provide the external power to the easydriver.

And you will have to use the proper software for the purpose like EFL's CNC.

If you use EFL CNC you will need to upload it's own grbl to use with it.

I made this and this works fine.

Now my only problem is with laser mount.

alexgavru made it!1 month ago

Very nice and detailed tutorial. I've managed to make a similar one, by following this post. Thanks!

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