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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richlang2 days ago

I have everything working thinks to your software suggestions thanks, but have a question. It seems when I print it will go to the extreme X position and click for a while then appear to go through the motions of the image, then the laser comes on and it starts engraving. It does print some pretty cool images but just wondering if it is trying to set 0,0 or what is going on? Also tried PIC engrave and it did not work, have you tried that for photos? I have not been successful at doing any photos yet just what I have drawn in Inkscape.

drluffy7 days ago

The settings I occupy in GRBL are as follows hopefully serve them :

$0=53.333 (x, step/mm)
$1=53.333 (y, step/mm)
$2=250.000 (z, step/mm)
$3=10 (step pulse, usec)
$4=600.000 (default feed, mm/min)
$5=500.000 (default seek, mm/min)
$6=192 (step port invert mask, int:11000000)
$7=5 (step idle delay, msec)
$8=80.000 (acceleration, mm/sec^2)
$9=0.050 (junction deviation, mm)
$10=0.100 (arc, mm/segment)
$11=25 (n-arc correction, int)
$12=3 (n-decimals, int)
$13=0 (report inches, bool)
$14=1 (auto start, bool)
$15=0 (invert step enable, bool)
$16=0 (hard limits, bool)
$17=0 (homing cycle, bool)
$18=0 (homing dir invert mask, int:00000000)
$19=25.000 (homing feed, mm/min)
$20=250.000 (homing seek, mm/min)
$21=100 (homing debounce, msec)
$22=1.000 (homing pull-off, mm)

lspee18 days ago

Hey, Grover i was wondering what demensions the lazer is because im trying to find a housin gbut i wont be able to purchase (10) because thats alot of extra parts? 45MM, 54mm 32mm?

JasonM1111 days ago

Have you tried cutting canvas or fabric with this?

HarshitS17 days ago

Nice project sir. I am building one and not able to get easy driver and want to use L293D.I have controlled CD/DVD stepper with L293D before.Can you help me building mie and simple laser driver circuit.

Kutluhan19 days ago

I will use high power laser diode and driver from my other project and i don't want to plug my laser, fans, relay etc.. to my arduino. They must be powered from external source. So can i use his readymade hex file with only easy driver modules and steppers only? I see some codes for laser on the hex. Will it be a problem? I am very sorry for my bad english. And this is a very good project. 3 years later, thank you groover. :)

mjawed22 days ago

Hi Groover,

Really cool project. I am also trying to get this done! already slavaged CDROm drives parts, but still lokking for DVD ROM laser diode. wish me luck..

mjawed22 days ago

Hi Groover,

Really cool project. I am also trying to get this done! already slavaged CDROm drives parts, but still lokking for DVD ROM laser diode. wish me luck..

Dzony993323 days ago

Can this arduino replica do the job?

Dzony993323 days ago

Can this arduino replica do the job?

haoman200324 days ago

if i have this:

step driver how i connect it?

Mj_monsion27 days ago
Does anyone know how he came up with 53.333 steps/mm?
JosefM21 month ago

Hello, cool project! Do you think it would be possible to etch Zippo lighter with this engraver?

bosko901 month ago

Thank you very much for instructions on how to build a mini cnc laser. Here is my laser engraver from the dvd drive. I have a problem with the laser. It burns only black paper. May be I have a too low voltage to the driver (5V in the instructions that I have found to build it says 7,2V).

bosko90 bosko901 month ago

Of course, the speed is set much lower than in the video, about 30 to 50 mm / min

wgriffith2 months ago

have you tried this on glass?

davidbarcomb2 months ago

Wow I'm impressed. I need to make this too. Thanks

anasuino2 months ago

Hello there,

i'm trying to find some information about these stepper motors like how many phases it contains and the number of teeth on both the rotor and the stator. can someone help me please?

keytapperman3 months ago

hello, I am wondering if i can use the adafruit motor driver board instead of the easydrive boards. this is simply because that is what i have on hand...thanks for your efforts. Also, i am wondering if the internal hardware of most all the DVD-RW drives are about the same or do i have to keep within the same manufacturer family.thanks for sharing you ideas and for your help! mark z near lowell indiana

droopel3 months ago

I repeated your instructions Grbl settings as you. But I have a bad risuetEsli not connect (Ms1, Ms2, 5v) picture better, but a complex pattern strays.

Make it BIG made it!3 months ago

I remixed your project and added a third axis. It's not a laser anymore, but you can mill small PCB's. Very nice Instructions. It helped me a lot!

fthebunny14 months ago

Where did you find your lasermount ?

The only one I found is to adafruit, and with the shipcost, it's a bit expensive.

Menneset4 months ago

This is so going to be my next project! I guess I need to put some shoes on so I can go out to the shop and start digging out old computer parts...

Mohamed ALIT4 months ago

Which pin in Arduino is used to control the laser?

jan.wouter.54 months ago

Real cool project. I do need to take a lot of time reading is and than duplicating.

jduffy542 years ago
Cool project! I'm trying to do the same, but with a scanner and printer instead of DVD drive parts.

I'm attempting to do the same. Did you end up getting anywhere with it?

Unfortunatealy, no. I never got a laser that worked (I smashed one and over volted another), so I tried making a 3D printer with a "frostruder" style extruder instead using the same base, but because I tried using my own software instead of something like grbl or teacup, if failed miserably. Now I'm working on a much larger CNC that I plan to (at some point) make a laser attachment for, but I have yet to actually cut anything, so that will be a while.

Is your machine still half assembled? it's never too late to finish off a shelved project.

Actually, the new CNC is fully built and has done a little engraving (with a dremel), but it still binds on X, the Z isn't quite as stiff as I'd like, and the tool holder is angle brackets and zip ties. I've had some other things going on, and haven't had much time to put into it recently. I've got something MUCH bigger that I'm finishing right now, and I'll probably get back to this once that is done.

Sorry to hear that.. The new project sounds awesome, though!

arnab3217 months ago

can i use L293D instead of easydrivers (cause they are damn expensive)?

look on banggood, there is cheap clones of easydriver
Olek4105 months ago

Could you tell me the cutting area in milimeters

IBH6 months ago
IBH6 months ago

I was thinking of doing something similar, but the worm gear style drives didn't seem like they would have enough resolution. Now you've got me rethinking this assumption.

onecell7 months ago

hello, i have arduino uno and Adafruit_Motor_Shield_V1 . Do think is it possible make this project? what kind frimware i should use? Thanks

Tuckoguy8 months ago

what is RR1A coming out of 5V on the arduino? The symbol looks like a thermistor, but I cannot tell. Also, is SV1 a female header?

Jdukate8 months ago

I was also needing the parts list for the laser module please. Thank you in advance.

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