Introduction: Portable Engraver/cutter Laser

In the summer of 2018, just for fun and a new challenge, I designed a mini LASER burner. It took me exactly 3 months to get there.

See my blog.
The basic idea was that he had to be able to engrave anything, in any position. That is to say, engraving on a t-shorts, the tapestry of the living room, the telephone, a book and as well placed on the wall as on the ceiling, on the hood of a car, etc ... So a device TOTALLY portable. I'm almost there. Today we can say that it can burn on walls, cars, etc ... but not on the ceiling. Internal mechanics do not allow it. It can also cut paper and even 5mm thick honeycomb in one pass (but at 1mm / s). The cutting speed is at most 3mm / s. The drawing file formats used are in GCODE or PNG, JPG, BMP. Yes, you read correctly. It can burn images .... but it's very long. To get a GCODE file, I go through INKSCAPE and GCODE generation extensions. The site J-Tech Photonics explains the steps of creation. A small graphical interface makes it possible to use the burner in a simple and fast way.


  • Power supply: 220Vac / 12Vdc
  • Laser power: 500mW - 405nm - 12V (can be adapted up to 1.5W)
  • Max etching / cutting speed: 3 mm / s
  • Effective area: 95 x 95 mm
  • Accepted files: GCODE, JPG, BMP, PNG
  • Overall dimensions: 203 x 185 x 66.5 mm
  • Interface: Backlit LCD display 26 x 40 mm
  • Port: USB 2.0
  • Filter: activated carbon
  • Resolution: 1750 nm
  • Accuracy: ~ 50 μm

Step 1: LASER 500mw / 12V - 405 Nm

I use a LASER 500mw / 12V - 405 nm, bought on Aliexpress.

I removed the radiator for space issues.

The LASER is however cooled by the original fan, positioned on the side.

Step 2: The Stepper Motor

The choice of drive motor X and Y axes I have some concerns. I wanted to use floppy drives (small stepper motor) but their power and use was not meeting my expectations. I decided to buy two more standard stepper motors. A type NEMA 8, type 8HS11-0204S.The motor is mounted with 4 screws on the structure of the machine.

The coupling between the M4 threaded rod and the motor is made by a piece of compressed air pipe 1 cm long. To have a perfect centering, I widened the air hose with successively rods diameter 3, 3.5 and 4mm in diameter. Each time, I heated the pipe so that it widens. Then I waited for him to cool down before removing the rod.

Step 3: The Controler

To control the machine, I use a Raspberry Pi Zero equipped with Wifi. He is small and powerful enough to do what I want. See my blog on the subject.
I designed the program in python 3.x under Eclipse IDE on my PC and debuged by ssh link (Wifi) between my PC and the Raspberry Pi Zero .... I know, for novices in computer science, it's gibberish.
The Raspberry Pi works under Rasbian. I optimized its startup so that it is done in 20 seconds instead of almost 1 minute.

Find here all schematics, firmware,...

Send me an email if you want printed parts or PCB.

I adapted a small screen LCD 128x64 pixels.

Three buttons control the machine. The three buttons are soldered on a mini PCB and connected to the Raspberry PI.

The menu is quite simple.The menu consists of three functions: Burn, Configure and Test.

Step 4: Power Supply

The drive is powered by a 12V 220V / 12V 2.5 amp power supply.
A 12V / 5V converter is installed inside to power the Raspberry Pi Zero.

Step 5: Printed Parts

The case is printed in PLA by my large printer (capacity 500x500x500mm) homemade. There is a total of 9 pieces to print.

Find here all schematics, firmware,...
Send me an email if you want printed parts or PCB.

Step 6: Inside

Nomenclature (quantity):

  • NEMA 8 Stepper Motor (2)
  • Driver L293B (2)
  • PLA Parts by 3D Printing (9)
  • Plexiglass plate 1.30 x 130mm (1)
  • Raspberry pi zero (1)
  • SD card 16 GB (1)
  • USB cable (1)
  • Micro USB angled male to USB female,
  • 10 cm Power supply 220v / 12v 2.5A,
  • output jack 3.5mm (1)
  • 500mw / 12V Laser + Control Board (1)
  • Mini mirror (1)
  • 12vdc to 5vdc converter (1)
  • 3.5mm jack socket (1)
  • Fan 40mm x 10mm (1)
  • Fan 30mm x 10mm (1)
  • Activated carbon (a handful) Wiring (1)
  • LCD screen 128 X 64 spinnaker (1)
  • Button (3)
  • PCB for buttons (1)
  • PCB driver (1)
  • PCB connector WR-FCC (2)
  • L293B Engine Driver (2)
  • Screws (1)
  • Ventilation grid (2)
  • Steel shafts 5 x 150 mm (2)
  • Brass spindles 2 x 160 mm (1)
  • Brass spindles 3 x 160 mm (1)
  • Tube compressed air inner diameter 3mm (2 x 10mm)
  • Threaded rod M4 x 145 mm (X axis) (1)
  • Threaded rod M4 x 130mm (y-axis) (1)
  • Soft WR-FCC Tablets (3)
  • Micro switch D2FC 7 FN(2)
  • Spring 5x8x0.5 (2)
  • Hot glue
  • sellotape

Step 7: Electrical Diagrams

Find here schematics:

Step 8: PCB

There are only 3 PCBs in the machine:

  • To control the motors, the LCD, the end of course and the laser
  • For control buttons
  • For connectors

Step 9: Converting Images to GCODE

I made a short guide explaining how to convert an image to GCODE.

It is inspired by the J-Tech Photonics site guide.

Step 10: The Results

Thanks to this little machine, I can:

  • Burn wood.
  • Cut out balsa after many pass.
  • Cut out honeycombed cardboard 5mm thick.
  • Burn / cut white and colored paper.
  • Burn / cut plastic.

Step 11: DIY

You want to do it, no worries, I propose several kits possible depending on the budget you want to put.

Visit my blog here.