Introduction: Convert Any 3D Printer to Laser Engraver
What is up guys, In this instructable I am gonna show you how to conver any 3d printer into a powerful 2.5 w laser engraver capable of cutting wood and engraving into almost every material(except metals).
Step 1: Laser and Equipment
So, We are gonna start this project by firstly choosing the right laser module for our needs.
Starting with 500mw laser you will be only able to engrave some shapes into wood, plastic or leather and you can get that one really cheap for 35 €.
Furthermore, With higher power output lasers you are able to engrave deeper, quicker and also cut some plywood , and that is the reason why I chose a 2.5W laser which is just strong enough to cut 4mm plywood with multiple passes.
Here is the list of a few different lasers and a 5v regulator:
►1W Laser: https://goo.gl/P55uD9
►2W Laser: https://goo.gl/P55uD9
►2.5W Laser: https://goo.gl/P55uD9
►5.5W Laser: https://goo.gl/P55uD9
►10W Laser: https://goo.gl/P55uD9
► 5V regulator: https://goo.gl/TVSTJW
And when handling with laser dont forget to put on some safety glasses!!
Step 2: Preparing Printer for Laser
SO, I firstly detach a fan and extruder and remove the mainholder so I can drill 2 holes for the screws that are gonna secure a laser to the printer.
Secondly, we are gonna need 12v to 5v voltage regulator which is necesarray to control the power output of the laser.
3d printer fan port provides 12v at full power but Laser ttl modul only accepts a voltage up to 5v, so that is why we need a voltage step down regulator.
So, after soldering that together, I connect laserd diode, fan, ttl port and main power input to the smal motherboard that you receive with the laser.
For the main power source I am gonna use this regulated dc power supply but you can use any 12V power adaptor capable of providin at least 2 amps.
Step 3: Installing Laser
Autohome all axes and try to turn on the fan somewhere from 1-255.
As you can see the laser is turned off at 0 and outputing the maximum power at 255.
Now I would suggest you place a piece of paper on the bed and reduce the power to a minimum so we can better see if our point is in focus or not. You can simply adjust that with a small knob on the laser itself.
After you manage to do that, lets hop to the computer and download the needed software for engraving.
Step 4: Full Image/infill Engraving
Firstly, download an inkscape software and two plugins for laser engraving.
► Outline/cutting plugin: https://jtechphotonics.com/?page_id=2012
After installing the inkscape, extract both plugins and copy the content to the written location.
Now, simply open the inkscape and firstly define the workspace of your printer.
After that import your favorite logo and vectorise it by clicking trace bitmat command.
Also, dont forget to resize the image to the final dimensions and place it in the left bottom corner.
So now, the first plugin we are gonna use is the one that are going to fully engrave the whole image on our material. Set the speed around 1000 and click apply.
The g-code will be generated in the txt file so open it and replace txt ending with .gcode and that is it.
As you can see that method is pretty slow but it can engrave some really nice logos and also greyscale images but I will cover that up in the next tutorial
Step 5: Outline Engraving/cutting
So the second methond is almost the same, you need to set the right engraving speed and how many passes you want which is very practical if you want to cut some plywood.
I managed to cut balsa wood with only few passes but that is not the most amaizing part.
2.5 w laser is also capable of cutting some 4mm plywood but it takes a bit more time and much more passes but all in all, it is very practical equipment for all tech and diy enthusiasts.
And yea if you are into electronics you would also be able to create your own circuits and many other things...
If you have any questions about the build, I would love to answer them and help you with problems that occored during the build process.
Thank you for reading this instructable, I also made a video tutorial on youtube, so you are welcome to check it out.