Are you still worried about what gifts are best suited for your friends? Do you want to choose something creative to express your sincere wishes? With the advancement of the economy, higher requirements on presents become more necessary. Gifts with innovative ideas are coming into our sights.
Some people want to print their favourite pictures or cartoon characters on some small ornaments. People who are keen about DIY wish to make pcb at home to make their own electronic works. Based on these requirements, I sprouted the idea of making a laser-engraving machine. The machine is made from discarded materials, which saves the money and put the concept of “recycling resources ” into practice as well. However, the first generation of laser-engraving machine can only satisfy the want of printing pictures. Thus, I expand the framework in my second version and propose the innovative method of circuit-board-etching in order to broaden the uses of the machine.
The machine is basically made from unwanted materials that you can easily find in second-hand markets. I use the old CD driver and printer to make this machine and it is shown later in my article.
Step 1: Demo Video
This is a demonstration of the process of carving
Step 2: (first Generation) Using the CD-ROM Production -- Get Laser and Stepper Motor
I took two wasted CD-drives apart because we need the steppers and lasers from them.
Step 3: (first Generation) Assemble the Circuits and the Drive Frames
This is my first-generation product, using the wasted CD drives and Arduino.
Let’s start assembling! This is the specific making process: solder the circuit board by Arduino Nano and a4988 stepper driver; use the waste wood slats and the disassembled drives’ stepping motors. Wood is not only easy for making changes, even with a saw or utility knife, but also environment-friendly. Always remember to keep the stepping motors on the x and y axes perpendicular to avoid printing crooked or skewed pictures.
Step 4: (first Generation) the Design and Improvement of Machine Frame
Here is the process of designing and optimizing the machine frame, though many of my attempts failed. But these trials were to let more people make simple and interesting laser engraving machines using their discarded CD drives more conveniently and economically. I will attach a design sheet in the next section.
Step 5: (first Generation) the Design Sheet of Machine Frame
Below is my design sheet of the optimized machine frame. There are 3 different designs.
Step 6: (second Generation) Dissemble Printers – Take the Cam Block and the Motor
The inkjet printers we usually use are very cheap – only about 300-500 RMB. But replacing a print head costs a few hundred. Therefore, there are many unusable inkjet printers around us because of the print head clogging. So I took the cam block from the discarded inkjet printer (picture 2), belt (picture 3) and the motor (picture 4 and 5) to make the second-generation machine.
Step 7: (second Generation) My Second-generation Product – Using a Discarded Printer
Because I was the only one making this machine, I did not keep that many pictures of the making process when I made the second-generation one. This one was made from a wasted printer and discarded acrylics with the same controlled circuits from the first generation, but it has a bigger machine frame and motor, which enables it to print bigger things.
Step 8: Engraving Software
In order to enable more people to make their own engraving machines, I created specially-made engraving software. No virus! You can download it freely. But the anti-virus software might report the virus probably because it was written on one's own (QQ328993914 Publisher)
Step 9: Final Products
The machine can engrave many things like plastic, wood, paper, etc.
In the first picture, it is printing pictures on a piece of paper. Compared to a printer, it has no requirement for the paper’s size, shape or texture, and it is more convenient. The second picture shows it printing on the wood. The third picture – on the shell of a pen.
Step 10: Using the Laser Engraving Machine and Electrical Etching to Engrave Metallic Material
Besides wood and paper, with some etching techniques, this engraver could also engrave metals. It is also possible to engrave PCB circuits.
Step 11: Using Laser Engraving Machine to Engrave All Kinds of Stickers
It can also engrave patterns onto all kinds of stickers like wall posters, window decorations and stickers for light-switch decoration. This is the engraving process of one of the stickers.
First Prize in the