Introduction: Laser Cut DIY Crane

About: KEA is located in the Danish capital of Copenhagen where we teach more than 9000 students in the disciplines within design and technology. These instructables are created by students as documentation of their …

This crane is the result of a short school project to make a DIY laser cut crane using a 6 mm. MDF plate (600 mm. x 600 mm.).

We tried to use as few extra components as possible to build the crane (screws, bolts, strips etc.).

The assignment was to make it work using a homemade hydraulic system with two surringes and a plastic pipe.

Afterwards the task was to connect a DC motor to the system and active the the hydraulic system.

Step 1: List of Needs.


600x600x6mm MDF board

2 surringes. 20 ml. Latex-free

1 pipe. 8x500mm

1 bar 30x5mm (wood or metal)

1 bar 92x4mm (metal)

1 gear wheel



5 alligator clips

1 switch "SZM-V16-FA-61

1 battery 9V

DC engine "C9000-6005 1030048/3E293367"


Resistance 1,2 Ohm 5%

3 stranded wires

1 LED - Basic Yellow

Step 2: Laser Cutting

Use the added tolerance test file to make sure the tolerence of your laser is to your liking before cutting the entire crane. This can safe you material.

Cut the entire crane using a laser cutter.

Step 3: Assembling the Legs and Body of the Crane.

Use the small joinery blocks to assemble the legs and the body of the crane (see pictures).

Step 4: Putting It All Together.

Attach the legs to each other using the angled joint block (see picture).

Slide the body into the joint block.

Attach the arm to the body using the 30x5 mm bar.

Step 5: Connecting the Hydraulic System

Make sure the hydraulic circuit is tight sealed and install it to the crane as shown in the pictures.

This completes the first part of the project.

Step 6: Adding the DC Motor to the Crane.

Install the DC motor to the small motor setup as seen on the pictures, aligning the gear when with the motor.

Step 7: DC Motor Circuit Setup.

Make the circuit for the DC motor as shown in the picture.

Make sure to use the resistor before the power connects to the LED and the breadboard, to keep the circuit from short circuit.

To avoid confusion, concentrate only on the positive power from start to finish (we used the left side of our breadboard, along the full length). The resistance, LED and the switch (push button) go in and out only from the positive power.

Afterwards connect the negative power from start to finish (from battery to DC motor).

Important note: some breadboards divide each vertical column of holes, on the left and the right, into two separate upper and lower sections. Use your meter's continuity testing feature to find out if your breadboard conducts power along its full length, and add jumper wires to link the upper and the lower half of the breadboard if necessary.

Step 8: If We Had More Time - Reflexions.

Since this was a school project and we did not have a lot of time, we had to correct a lot of errors in the design. Because of the tolerance of the laser cutter and simple design mistakes, we learned along the way.

1. We would have attached the DC motor setup to the crane in order for the construction to be more stable when lifting.

2. We would work on a design where the DC motor controlled the hydraulic system instead using string.

3. We would work the design attachement of the surringe to make it fit better.

4. Make a box for the electrical circuit.


Rosa & Adam