A 3-Axis Paper Cutting Mini Laser

LaserCutter

Laser are awesome, and so are projects that use lasers. A recent Instructable by [kokpat] gives an overview of how to create a fully functional laser paper cutter using CDROM stepper motors and an Arduino.

What is special about this build, is that it showcases how easy it can be to build a 3-axis mechanical system used for laser cutters, CNC machines, and 3D printers. Using a stepper stage that consist of a motor screw with a nut slider based carriage, the mechanical system can be put together quite easily and cost effectively. Luckily, from an electronics and software perspective, everything is quite standardized with the proliferation of the RepRap and similar machines. Simply pick any three stepper drivers, find the most pertinent firmware, and voilà! You’re done! Well, almost. Don’t forget a 100mW violet laser!

We have seen a ton of really cool laser cutters before, but this has to be one of the cheapest. See the laser cutter in action after the break.

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Help Ithaca Generator Get A Laser Cutter

laser-cutter

Ithaca Generator, a hackerspace in upstate New York, is running an indiegogo campaign for a laser cutter. With the recent stories of fires, and landlord problems hitting hackerspaces lately, we thought it would be good be to mention a space that is doing well and working to expand their tools. The Generator is looking to purchase a 60 Watt laser cutter. The flexible funding campaign is set for $3000 US, and they are within striking distance of just passed their goal! As any laser veteran will tell you, $3000 isn’t nearly enough for a 60 Watt model from a reputable company. The group already has a donor who will match the campaign final funding amount up to $4000. If the campaign exceeds Now that the campaign has exceeded their goal, the extra funds will go toward a fume extraction systems for the new laser, as well as spare lenses and parts. The group has also added stretch goals for an extended warranty and an upgrade to 90 Watts of laser power.

Many of the donation perks include free membership to the hackerspace. [Vic Aprea], a member of The Generator board told us that out-of-town donors can gift these memberships to anyone local to the hackerspace. A membership would be a great gift for a Cornell or Ithaca college student. For more information on the generator and the campaign check out their website and the video after the break.

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axCut: An Open Source Laser Cutter

axCutopensourceLaserCutter

If you’ve always wanted a laser cutter and you have £1500 lying around (approx. $2500 as of today) — and you have access to a 3D printer — then you’ll want to take a look at [Damian's] open source laser cutter: axCut. The project has evolved over the last few months from some mockups in OpenSCAD to a working prototype.

You’ll want to dig through his blog posts as well as his YouTube channel for all the juicy details, but from what we can gather, [Damian] is on the home stretch. The current implementation includes a 40W CO2 laser with functioning laser control and an impressively quiet watercooling system. Although the build’s wiring remains a bit of a tangle, the prototype cuts (almost) as expected. His next hurdle is ironing out the air assist, which should prevent some fire hazard issues and keep the lens free of debris.

Check out a couple of videos after the break, and if you’re interested in getting into laser cutting but want to start smaller, have a look at the MicroSlice from a few months ago.

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Direct, Wall-Mounted Storage with Lasers and Polymorph

parts-storage-brackets

We’re sure everyone could use some more storage and organization in their workshop. [Nixie] is no exception, though he also hates sacrificing tabletop space for boxes. His solution was to attach them to the wall directly by hacking together some brackets. This hack allowed him to hang everything without using internal screws which were a pain to get at if he need to removed the boxes from the wall to take with him.

[Nixie] started by laser-cutting a negative pattern for a mounting bracket that would fit the dovetail rails already on the sides of the boxes. He then pressed a piece of polymorph into this mold, slid the bracket along the side of the box…and realized it wouldn’t work. The piece wiggled around too much because it did not sit firmly in the rail. Back at the drawing board, [Nixie] split the project into two steps. He cast the screw-hole portion of the bracket in its own separate mold, then cast the railing part of the bracket directly in the dovetail section of the box, providing him a much higher degree of accuracy. After joining the two pieces, [Nixie] had a sturdy support bracket that he duplicated and attached around the rest of the bins.

Constructable: Interactive Laser Cutting

constructable-interactive-lasercutting

Do you miss the old days of making things by hand, without the aid of a computer? Do you remember actually drafting drawings by hand? Well, the folks over at the Human-Computer Interaction group from the Hasso Plattner Institute have come up with a rather novel idea, combining manual input via laser pointers, to cut designs with a laser cutter. Sound familiar? A few days ago we shared another cool project on Laser Origami from the same people.

So what exactly is it? It’s an interactive drafting table which can produce very precise physical outputs from a rather imprecise input method. By using specific laser pointers, the user can instruct the laser cutter to cut, trace, or etch designs into the workpiece. A camera picks up the laser pointer and then the software cleans it up, by straightening lines, connecting the dots, etc. While only so much can be determined by the included video, it’s pretty impressive to see what the software comes up with while cutting the design… We can’t really imagine the programming behind it!

Between this and PACCAM: Interactive 2D Part Packing, it looks like laser cutting is going to get a whole lot more user friendly! Stick around after the break to see it in action, the results are quite impressive!

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Hackaday Logo Projector from a single LED

LED-low

Here’s another Trinket Contest entry that was interesting enough for its own feature. [Adam] made his own Hackaday version of the Bat signal. It’s not nearly as big, but the concept is the same. Using this single modified LED he’s able to project a 12″ image that seems quite well-defined (more pictures below).

The LED is one he pulled from an old flashlight. After sanding the dome flat he made a jig which positioned it inside of his laser cutter. From there he etched the 0.1″ logo and filled the negative space with some ink. The remaining surface was polished to help the light shine through, then positioned in front of a jeweler’s loupe to magnify the image.

There’s just a couple of hours left before the Trinket Contest draws to a close. Get your entry in for a chance to win!

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Microslice: The Tiny Arduino Laser Cutter

microslice

[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.

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