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turn a old plotter printer into a laser cutter? Answered

Awhile back my wife and I bought an old plotter @ a yard sale, unfortunately the pens are dry and i'm unable to purchase new. I thought about turning it into a laser cutter. Can anybody help me with this. thaks to all.



Best Answer 7 years ago

1. you need to get it working
2. you need software to drive it
3. you need a laser powerful enough to cut
4. your pen plotter was designed to carry pens - in general the pen is replaced with a mirror or prism to reflect the stationary laser down to the material
5. You need to arrange for some kind of movable bed to focus the laser beam
6. You need to be able to house the entire thing to remove fumes
7. ideally you need a charcoal bed filter to absorb the fumes.
8. The resolution needs to be fine enough to move the laser beam about 1 diameter of the beam each step (a bit less than a pen nib I think)

A big task although not impossible - It has been done before.

>>>>>>>>Look right>>>>>>>>>>>


4 months ago

Yes it can be done (I did it with an old HP 24 inch wide unit)Heres the problem are you or your wife an electronics tech with engineering experience...Yes ----solve the problem No ...go to ebay and purchase a suitable ready to run machine kit form will save you some money and be cheaper in the long run...take your time follow instructions and you will be rewarded.


2 years ago

Yes it can be done, I can see it. I turned a broken Canon Pixma IP2810 into a laser cutter successfully and you can see pictures here


the printer is designed to print using print heads and nozzles, this means the movement of the print head is not useful for your pen, I replaced everything with Arduino based stuff.

The problem? if your printer or plotter is NOT flatbed style. Why? printing goes horizontally while the device just feeds the paper, this involves going backwards and this way any material already cut can cause problems. But if your device is flatbed style then this is not an issue. Trying to solve the issue I tested with transparent plastic with the paper inside, it surely worked cutting the paper but the heat melted some plastic ending up glued to the paper, so it's not an option.

I switched back to the classic CNC style (with screws and flatbed). It's working just fine.


Answer 1 year ago

This is not what he's talking about. He has a plotter already that does x-y plotting, complete with motors. I think it would be easy to put a laser onto where the pen goes. He (and I) would like to know how to control it and in a sense , slow the plotter down so it cans etch or cut.


7 years ago

Can you connect it to a PC and get it to work?