Introduction: Turn Your 3d Printers Into CNC and Laser Cutters!

Okay guys, today we will be looking at my standard for modular print, CNC, and laser heads for modifying printers. First of all I would like to point out that this is not a build for a particular printer, but rather a guide to help you mod your own printer whatever it may be. Also, I understand that not everyone who has a 3D printer has the know-how to design their own parts so if you are struggling to design a connector mount for your printer leave a comment and I'll see what I can do to help.

Why did I design this? I scoured the internet for other opensource modular print heads but I couldn't find anything as diverse as what I wanted. Because of the lack of modular standardsI researched for weeks to find the best suited parts. My hope for this project is to make a popular modular standard so people can design and share their own print heads more easily and with less complications.


-using this at 3D printer meetups for people to try each other's print heads

-Using this at maker spaces to get the maximum use out of a single printer

If you do use my standard (CR Standard) make sure to print out some CR Standard stickers to show others!

Step 1: How I Designed It.

Now lets look at how I chose the parts. First of all, because I want this to be able to use a diverse number of parts, I decided to integrate a solid state relay so you could use a secondary power supply (up to 5 amps at 30v). If you were to need an even larger amount of power you could always use this relay to drive a larger one connected to the larger PSU but for most scenarios 150 watts should be enough. (specific design in the next step)

After I decided on the solid state relay all I had left to figure out was the connector. I ended up going with the RP17-13PA-12PC (second picture). I chose this because it has 12 pins (how many you need for a print head with a hotend fan and a cooling fan). Also, the connector operates by being pressed in but won't come out unless you pull it by the plug. This is great because you can be confident that it can't pop off during a print. After I saw that it was rated for 5 amps I was sold.

This is pretty much all of the parts. Below is a list of every specific part that you will need. (not including wire and whatever connectors your control board uses)

x1 - 10k resistor


x1 - Plug

x1 - Socket

x12 - Pins

Step 2: The Specs

Now that you have the parts, you just need to wire everything as it is shown in the first picture. Keep in mind however that the DC relay circuit (3rd picture) needs the "ground" pin connected to pin 6 of the connector and pin 10 needs to go to a 12v rail straight from your PSU. The cooing fan wires coming from your control board should be connected to the "fan pins" of the relay circuit. POLARITY MATTERS! Once you have everything wired correctly you should be able to wire your print head to the plug with the same wiring diagram. If you're using a CNC or Laser head, wire them as shown in the second picture and use this potentiometer:

After everything is wired, plug your print head into the connector and give everything a test to make sure everything is wired correctly. Last you will need to print out a mount for your connector. You can see mine in picture 4 on my acrylic Prusa i3. As stated in step one, if you need help designing a mount for your connector go ahead and comment, I'm more than happy to help! XD

Step 3: Wrap Up

After you're done with this mod you are free to use your printer as a 3d printer, CNC and Laser cutter! (plus other odd things like syringe printing or a plotter) Make sure to check back soon! I am currently working on a CNC head and program mods to be able to control a 3d printer as a cnc from Repetier-Host. Also, if you have a Prusa i3 and want what may be the nicest print head, check out my other instructable:

My next step for this is (with help from others) to design reworks for many different 3d printers. This would allow a CRS printhead to work on a multitude of different printers, thereby allowing any CRS print head to be shared with and CRS modified printer. As I make reworks for various printers, you will be able to find them here.

As always, you can look me up on instagram as @chris_ray97 to see what other projects I'm up to.

Also, check out my youtube channel here.

Thanks for reading! I look forwards to hearing from you guys!


dan3008 (author)2017-07-22

This might seem like an obvious question, but how are you planning on tricking the printer into thinking that it still has a thermistor attached? Or would you need a thermister on the laser and CNC head too?

aronaxx (author)2016-12-13

THIS IS GENIUS, go forward with this this need more atantion ! I would recoment somthing Luke a byonett Mechanismus to hold the plug in Palace or a 3d printet enclosure it should be AS simple AS possible. A scruew Luke Mechanismus or a clamp.

About This Instructable




Bio: I love programming, 3d printing, and electrical design. I am about to start my 1st year at PennState.
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