Open Source Laser Cutter (v2)

The Buildlog.net 2.x Laser is a second generation open source laser cutter that definitely improves the design of the first model. The 2 axis machine (optional vertical axis is manual or an upgrade is available) boasts a large 12” x 20” x 4” workspace while being smaller than its predecessor, fitting a table top design.

The older model had a goal of being self replicating, which limited the types of materials used, the new 2.x model drops that goal and uses stronger metal parts. Electronics are now modularized that allow easier and cleaner wiring, though you will still need a controller board.

There is an XMOS based controller provided on the main page of BuildLog.net, along with mechanical drawings, schematics, gerbers, instructions for both machines, and kit parts (for the first model) along with resources for the heavy items like laser tubes and power supplies.

23 thoughts on “Open Source Laser Cutter (v2)

  1. I’m currently almost finished building the original version which has a larger work area.

    Considering how useful a laser cutter is, slapping together a v2 build for 1000$ or so is something everyone should consider.

    If you are willing to buy a software solution you can get controllers with plugins or print drivers and just plug in.

  2. cost?

    I managed to get to the site before it gave out HTTP errors, but I did not see anything about cost or estimated cost.

    Anyone know?

  3. You can do the mechanical and laser side for around 800$.
    Stepper motors and related electronics will run another 200$ or so.

    At this point you can control your laser with a parallel port and mach3 or emc2.

    If you are willing to pay another 400ish $ you can get a USB print driver or coreldraw/cad plugins to make it easy to use.

  4. Very nice. Self-replication is a neat concept, but definitely better to be a good tool on it’s own! I’d love to have one of these.

  5. Tube can be had on eBay for $120 + about $230 for a power supply. Be sure to compare shipping costs on the tubes that can add a lot. They last well over a year with hard use and longer with light use. They do have a shelf life, but mine is close to two years old and going strong.

  6. Spuds: Yes you can fit this in your apartment if you convert to a bunk bed and sleep above the rig. :-D

    Seriously, I’d look into a maker club which will have a workshop. Every major city has one (or could use one).

  7. “If you are willing to pay another 400ish $ you can get a USB print driver or coreldraw/cad plugins to make it easy to use.”

    Ryan,

    seriously? holy shit. granted, i haven’t looked closely at the project, but how the hell could it take 400 bucks to add usb?

  8. How hard would it be to add the laser system to a existing CNC Mill? I can’t seem to find any info on the laser system they use.

  9. It’s not 400 for the driver, it’s 400 for the super-expensive software (coreldraw, autocad, that sort of thing) that comes with a driver

  10. The $400 dollar USB/Software is for a commercial proprietary controller board. It is not required.

    It adds the feature that the laser cutter looks like a printer, so any non tech person can simply print from any program to the laser.

  11. @tim

    I just recieved my 40 watt tube and power supply yesterday. Got it from ColeTech off ebay for $388 shipped.

    The lasers are a soft seal tube so they will loose helium over time just like the very old HeNe lasers. I am willing to be that storing the tube in a bag of helium might extend its life. It out to mitigate the diffusion of helium through the mirror seals.

    @synth

    They are referring to the RetinaEngrave board from Full Spectrum Engineering. It is a XMOS based controller board and software package that makes your laser cutter behave more like an Epilog or Universal laser cutter. Looks very promising. Also supposed to talk to Mach3 so you can use it to control a CNC machine.

  12. really nice work!

    anybody know where i could get (for cheap) some of the v-groove delrin bearings/wheels (and runners) used in this build here in the u.k.?

  13. So, buildlog.net got v2 of the their DIY laser cutter out the door. What the hell have the lasersaur people been doing with the $20K that people donated to them? That project seems to be stalled. I think lasersaur should just give the $20K to buildlog and give up.

  14. The work area of those is tiny. Also most people who have bought those are not happy with them until they total rebuild and realign them.

    Several people have actually used them as donor machines to build DIY machines.

  15. @Kevin
    Good post.

    @Buildlog
    Amazing machine. I have been torn between CNC mill and laser cutter for a long time and while I’m still not sure which way to go, I know which build to use if I choose the laser route.

    Anyone notice that they cut the acrylic/abs/etc with a CNC router and not a laser cutter? Any reason for that? Won’t a 40watt laser cut those materials? I’m not bashing or anything, just curious why you wouldn’t run parts on a laser cutter and get clean cuts (with potentially less material wasted).

  16. The original laser was self replicating, cutting most of it’s own custom parts.

    Lasers cut acrylic extremely well but acrylic is expensive and not ideal for some of the parts. This laser drops that goal and uses more sheet metal and HDPE. HDPE is inexpensive, but does not cut well on lasers. It burns a little and often re-welds the cut line.

  17. @bdring
    Thanks for the quick response! I didn’t realize it was HDPE. Nice work on the laser, looks very professional. :]

  18. Does anybody know the capabilities of Buildlog.net 2.x Laser in terms of type of material it can cut and what maximum thickness ????

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