Microslice: The Tiny Arduino Laser Cutter


[SilverJimmy] already had a full-sized 50 watt laser cutter, but he decided to try his hand at putting together something smaller and microcontroller-driven. The result is this adorable little engraver: the MicroSlice.

To keep the design simple, [SilverJimmy] opted for a fixed cutting table, which meant moving the cutting head and the X-Axis as a unit along the Y-Axis. The solution was to take inspiration from gantry cranes. He snagged a couple of stepper motors with threaded shafts, designed the parts in Inkscape, then fired up his full-size cutter to carve out the pieces. An Arduino Uno and the relays for the laser and fans sit on the MicroSlice’s bottom platform, and two EasyDriver motor controllers sit above them on the next layer.

Swing by the Instructables for more details including the source code, and to see a video of the engraver below. [SilverJimmy] sourced his laser from eBay, but check out the engraver from earlier this year that used a DVD diode.


  1. cde says:
  2. Josh Martin says:

    That’s sweet! I always wanted to do a tiny CNC machine by using my big one to make a smaller one. But I’ve always wanted to fart around with a laser setup, and this idea seems like a good idea.

  3. Mike says:

    Nice box. How deep can it cut?

  4. Hack Man says:

    No enclosure?

  5. Solenoid says:

    I think it’s just an engraver, a cutter would cut through. Very impressive and well finished project nevertheless, you usually do not see such quality for a first version.

  6. fdsa says:

    Wow, very inspiring. Only thing holding me back from making this project is that I have 4 80% finished projects. ^ ^
    I hope I’m not the only one with the “finish it 80% starts different project, moves on” syndrome am I?

    • Matt says:

      That’s me too :p it’s usually more like 60% though :p

    • K!P says:

      I tend to get stuck in the proof of concept stage. After that i wander off to a new puzzle :)

      • spider says:

        So im not the only one that does that

      • 0xfred says:

        Me too. I found that you have to take a look at your definition of a successful project.

        If you wanted to produce a finished item then it’s a fail. However, if making things is your hobby and you’ve enjoyed the process of getting it to 80%, then you can honestly call it a success and move on. You’ve achieved your goal of having fun and perhaps learning something new.

        I must admit it’s still nice to complete some things – just don’t stress over the ones that don’t quite make it all the way to the end.

    • sneakypoo says:

      Nope, you’re not alone. I finish maybe 2/10 projects. The rest just sort of die out just on the finish line. For some reason I hate that last bit of polish. I have 3 projects within arms reach now that I started over a year ago *sigh*

  7. CB4 says:

    wow, what a wonderfull base for a tiny 3d printer :)

  8. ejonesss says:

    Solenoid i think an engraver can cut if you keep making passes over the same line eventually you will cut all the way through.

    also if you have a piece that is coated in a resist coating like used for etching pcb boards you could then engrave the design and put it in a strong acid that will eat all the way through and then wash off the piece to stop any more etching you can get the same thing.

    • Tony says:

      Not always, sometimes the residue from the first cut blocks the second.

      Ok, it’s not going to happen with this laser, but it happens when cutting wood. The nicely charred black edges are really good at absorbing the energy on the second pass, so not much happens. Using air to blow away the soot can help.

  9. Tyler Bules says:

    i had planed to do this exact thing for so long, however it simply got lost in the list of to-do projects. regardless kudos to him.

  10. fartface says:

    He needs to sell these as kits. I’d gladly pay $500 for a ready to assemble kit for a tiny laser cutter that can do wood or thin aluminum.

  11. Nick says:

    In my DVD-scrapyard lasercutter i use 2 TIP120 to switch the laser and fan, i wonder why he is using relays? A TIP120 is much faster and survives mor switching cycles than a relay.

  12. Daid says:

    Open laser that can burn? Screws up your eyes, for sure. Laser safety is no joke people. Anyone running one of these near me would have their power unplugged, a nice talk with me, and if you do not understand the problem, I will destroy your machine. I kid you not, eye damage is irreversible.

  13. jason brewer says:

    where do i get a schematic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 94,655 other followers