Building a bigger, better laser engraver

[Bart] built a giant laser etcher from scratch. One of his first test engravings included the Hackaday skull-and-wrenches on a polished granite floor tile (we love it when people do that). He used an XMOS controller and Mach3 CNC software to handle the device. With just two axes to worry about this seem like an easy project. The difficult bit is controlling, cooling, and focusing the laser.  Oh, and if you screw up, you could be blinded, burned or horribly maimed. But if you start from the beginning you’ll see that [Bart] knows what he’s doing.

Comments

  1. markii says:

    me want one!

  2. Jentulman says:

    I’m confused, is it using lasers or axes?

    Maybe it’s both, perhaps it cuts roughs it with the axes and then fine tunes it with the laser?

    Sorry just jesting, I wouldn’t normally pick at spelling, but this one was fun.

    I’ll have to add room for this project to the ever enlarging barn I’m going to have to buy someday to hold the stuff I want to build. Any south east UK hackers want to join me in a hackerspace co-op?

  3. Jonathan May says:

    I want one.

    If anyone wants to build their own, ping me a message on twitter (jonathan_may) or http://www.xcore.com (jonathan). First person on each gets an XK-1.

  4. Slipster says:

    “…we love it when people to that”

    I love it when people DO that.

  5. Mike Szczys says:

    @jentulman: Axes is the plural form of Axis.

    @Slipster: Thanks, fixed.

  6. Jentulman says:

    @mike szczys Really? Bloody hell it is, sorry. Bugger, then I’ve been making a horrible mistake in documents for the last couple of years :p Still, no one pointed it out.

    You learn something everyday :)

  7. Fallen says:

    Bwahaha

    Axes fail…
    Although it is spelled the same as the plural of axe. It’s pronounced differently.
    Better luck next time Jentulman.

  8. andrew says:

    Contrary to the summary, the machine actually does have a 3rd axis. The bottom portion of the table moves up and down although, I’m not sure why it needs to do that.

  9. andrew says:

    Ok, I can see what the 3rd axis for now — to bring the material up to the focal length of the laser. Best build log ever?

  10. taylor says:

    This is awesome.
    I have access to real CNC mills at work, but they aren’t easy to use for thin parts, since the cutting tools deflect the material.
    I don’t want to build a rep-wrap because i can made 3d things on my mills, so really what I have always wanted is a cheap laser cutter.

    My question is: how much of this costs is the laser?

    I have a feel for how cheaply i could do the table, but I have no idea how much the laser costs.

    If I could at least cut like 1/8″ thick plastic, i could make a lot of neat stuff more easily than my big CNC machines let me.

    Thanks,
    -Taylor

  11. Tuckie says:

    Apparently they are only ~$250; He mentions that he bought the laser from love-happyshopping and got it in only 3 days.

    I have never had a more absurd desire to spend $250 on something.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-40W-CO2-LASER-TUBE-CUTTING-ENGRAVING-WATER-COOLED_W0QQitemZ230422012008QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxZ20100109?IMSfp=TL100109224001r1569

  12. too cool..love these lasers..how much will one cost me?

  13. Rostov says:

    @Jentulman – what are you jesting about? Axes is the plural of axis.

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