Laser Etching an iPhone 5

Laser Etched iPhone 5

CrashBangLabs in Regina recently got their hands on a laser cutter. The Full Spectrum cutter was donated by a local company, who were upgrading to a larger machine.

With no laser cutting experience, [Brett] decided that his first project would be laser engraving his iPhone 5. This is a bit of an ambitious first project, since the power and speed would have to be set correctly to get a good contrast level, and you only have one try to get it right. Also, using too much power might have turn the phone into a laser etched brick.

[Brett] used an older aluminium iPod for testing. Once the laser speed and power was dialed in, he loaded up the artwork for the real thing. The cutter did a pretty good job at etching the art, but as the etching started it became clear that an alignment error had occurred. Fortunately [Brett] decided to not interrupt the cutter, and ended up with a good looking phone, with a slight alignment issue.

After the break, check out a time lapse of the laser cutter doing its thing.

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Laser etched PCB production

Like most of us, [reonarudo] isn’t satisfied with the current methods of homebrew PCBs, so he put a laser on a reprap and started burning some boards.

The basic procedure is to cover a copper clad board with matte black spray paint. A laser was installed on the X carriage of the reprap. [reonarudo] used cad.py to convert the board files into g-code and fired up his laser. The quality of the boards is highly dependent on the accuracy of the laser so after working through some mechanical problems [reonarudo] managed to make some passable boards.

We’ve seen just about every manufacturing method imaginable applied to PCB production. Etch resist and toner transfer do the job and a reprap milling machine is pretty neat, but lasers are so much cooler. While it may not be perfect (yet), printing PCBs with a laser shows a lot of potential. Check out a video of [reonarudo]‘s bot burning some copper after the break.

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DIY DS Lite RumblePak


This one’s been making the blog rounds, but it really fits us. Nintendo makes one, but this instructables tells you how to make your own for a DS lite. It uses a PIC 12F675 to read the input line and activate a vibration motor from an old nokia cell phone.

Oh, speaking of instructables, I forgot to mention that they finally picked a winner for their laser etching machine. Of course, if you lack the budget, you can make your own for $60.