Raspi Mini Laser Engraver


If you’ve got a lot of spare parts lying around, you may be able to cobble together your own laser engraver without too much trouble. We’ve already seen small engraver builds that use an Arduino, but [Jeremy] tipped us off to [Xiang Zhai's] version, which provides an in-depth guide to building one with a Raspberry Pi.

[Xiang] began by opening up two spare DVD writeable drives, salvaging not only their laser diodes but the stepper motors and their accompanying hardware, as well as a handful of small magnets near each diode. To assemble the laser, he sourced an inexpensive laser diode module from eBay and used a vise to push the diode into the head of the housing. With the laser snugly in place and the appropriate connecting wires soldered on, [Xiang] whipped up a laser driver circuit, which the Raspi will later control. [Xiang] worked out the stepper motors’ configuration by following [Groover's] engraver build-(we featured it a few years back)-attaching the plate that holds the material to be engraved onto one axis and the laser assembly to the other.

Check out [Xiang's] project blog for details explaining the h-bridge circuits as well as the Python code for the Raspi. As always, if you’re attempting any build involving a laser, please use all necessary precautions! And if you need more information on using DVD burners for their diodes, check out this hack from earlier in the summer


  1. Mgingerich says:

    This is the best CNC tutorial I’ve ever seen on the web, and it’s going to help me enormously. Thanks :)

  2. fartface says:

    This is the best one shown here yet because ANYONE can build this in a weekend from less than $100 in parts even if you had to go and buy 2 new DVD burning drives. This one puts to shame all the others showcased here.

    Looks like my weekend will be building an engraver.

  3. t-bone says:

    He’s put together an excellent writeup. Learned a lot just about DVD drives (which he calls ‘drivers’).

  4. cplamb says:

    “To assemble the laser, he sourced an inexpensive laser diode module from eBay and used a vice to push the diode into the head of the housing. ” I’m struggling to imagine how a vice could be used to do this without coming up with something really perverted. I’m hoping you meant “vise”.

  5. Lyle Bjornson says:

    I love projects like this. Made an arduino version like everyone else, but I fricken hate that laser driver circuit. I know its pretty standard and reliable but a purchased switching regulator is just so much more efficient and more compact.

  6. ian says:

    Very cool!

  7. maxine bouchard says:

    great work thanks.

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