Printing Images With A Wood Burning CNC Machine


Just to clear up any confusion from the title, this wood burning CNC machine runs on electricity. The wood burner acts as the print head. It’s the thing in the upper right of the field that looks a bit like a soldering iron. In this case it’s being used like a dot matrix printer.

We suppose this is a form of halftone printing, although it doesn’t produce the uniformity we’ve seen with mill-based halftone techniques. [Random Sample] built the machine from wood, drawer sliders, and stepper motors with toothed belts. His Python script takes an image and transforms it into a file which can be used to guide each of the three axes of the machine. An Arduino receives these commands via the USB connection. Each image prints in a grid, with darker pixels created by leaving the hot tip in contact with the wood for a longer period of time.

Don’t miss the sample video embedded after the jump.

[Thanks Ian via Reddit]

16 thoughts on “Printing Images With A Wood Burning CNC Machine

    1. I would imagine (horrendeous fire danger aside) that the biggest issue would be the affected area for each movement. Your candle would heat a much larger spot than the soldering iron making it hard to do fine grained detail. However you could potentially use this for gradient effects that the iron couldn’t do.

  1. Certainly something I would not have thought of, but I rarely ponder CNC options. Mike sez “runs on electricity”, as opposed to what? Even that solar power unit requires electrical power. :)

  2. Butane oxigenated catalytic flame (a kitchen hand-burner will do). It has a small blue flame. But needs to work in vertical upright position and smooth movements (shaking gas container may affect to the stability of the flame). Air extraction and an extinguisher (or a pair of them) will facilitate success in accomplishment of that task. Perhaps a close look at policy insurance… :-)

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