CNC Laser Engraver




Introduction: CNC Laser Engraver

Hello there,

Tory at MYDIYCNC again.

Today I want to show you all how you can SIMPLY do laser engraving on your CNC machine. Having a laser head is a BLAST to use. You can engrave anything from wood, plastics, cardboard, etc.... Of course what you engrave or burn in with your laser head is entirely up to you and what you can create. Follow these steps and you will know how to do laser engraving as well.

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

Alright so first off just get everything all set up and ready to go.

You will need:

1. Your CNC machine, here we are using the MYDIYCNC Machine.

2. Your Laser head.

3. Safety Glasses.

4. The material you will be engraving on, we are using basic balsa wood today.

Step 2: Create Your Engraving Image

Now you need to create the image you want to engrave with your laser head. First you will need to download the program called Inkscape. In Inkscape it is very simple, just clink the add text button and create the space you want to fill with your text. I typed in CALIFORNIA, since that is where we are located :). Then you can choose the type of font that you would like to use, you will see the drop down font menu up towards the top left corner. Once you have created your text, then go ahead and save the SVG file.

Next go to, from here you will generate the Gcode for your Text. Go ahead and open your saved SVG file, click on the CAM option and select follow path operation, as you see in the photo I have just basic settings to create the tool path. Once you have that done, under CAM click calculate all, and then click CAM again and select export Gcode.

Your Gcode file is now created.

You must do one more thing, edit the Gcode file in notepad, swap out all of the Z commands with L (Laser) commands. I used L0 to turn off the laser, and L50 to turn on the laser at 50%. Once this is done, you can move on.

Step 3: Set Up Engraving

Now the start of the fun part!

Fire up your CNC software, I am using FabCam with the MYDIYCNC machine. Load your Gcode file in that you have just created. Place your material on the bed of your CNC machine. Now you will want to jog the machine over to a good Home Position, place the home position in a place adequate for the engraving space needed for your project.

Once everything is all loaded, turned on and set to go. Process your Gcode!

Step 4: Watch That Amazing Machine Go!

Now you can just sit back for a brief amount of time, grab a drink, have a snack, listen to some tunes, your CNC will be done in no time :D. Also as you can see we have rigged up a special little piece on our machine to eliminate to need to wear glasses, same type of lens material that prevents any harmful rays from harming your eyes.

Step 5: Your Done, What a Great Job!

You have successfully created a laser engraved piece in just a few steps! As I said before, what you engrave is ENTIRELY up to YOU. You can do anything from Text to full blown photos or images! Thank you for checking out my Laser Engraving instructable. Be sure to check out my other instructable on acrylic engraving, and check out, if you have an acount, submit your creations, we would LOVE to see what you have done :)


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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I have developed LaserGRBL, a new software for grbl expecially designed for laser CNC.

    Last version could be found here:

    Existing feature:

    - Load gcode file and stream to arduino grbl board via COM port
    - Image import (jpg, bmp...) with line by line GCode generation (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal).
    - Image import (jpg, bmp...) with Vectorization! [Experimental]
    - Job preview (with alpha blending for grayscale engraving)
    - Configuration Import/Export
    - Configuration, Alarm and Error codes decoding for Grbl v1.1 (with description tooltip)
    - Homing button, Feed Hold button, Resume button and Grbl Reset button
    - Job time preview and realtime projection
    - Jogging (for any Grbl version)
    - Feed overrides (for Grbl > v1.1) with easy-to-use interface

    Comments, bugreport and suggestion are appreciated!


    3 years ago

    Take a look at my new Engraving software

    Robot Laser Project page :

    At the moment the software is WORK IN PROGRESS currently, in ALPHA testing.

    ALPHA and BETA Versions are totally free.

    Please send an email at with your opinion, thanks.



    4 years ago

    Hi, nice project!!

    Where you bought the laser head?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, i'm interested about laser head, what type is it? Do you know a reference number, i would like to buy one. Thx and congratulations for your project.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hello dflo1, thanks for checking out my projects. Follow this link and it will take you exactly where you are trying to go.
    Don't hesitate to contact customer support on the site as well if you have any questions.


    Reply 4 years ago

    What driver board are you using for the 445nm? I am looking at models like the one you sell, but I do need a little more power, so I wanted to see how the driver board matches up to my test models. (Just the diode, not the axis)


    5 years ago

    Great project. Planning on building one myself. Where did you find the protective tube? From a safety standpoint, that's a very important component of your build.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    That's a clever little CNC you've got there. I dig the hamster tube look of the laser enclosure.