Building Your Own Laser Engraving Machine with Arduino
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Who doesn't love a bit of laser engraving? Unfortunately, most of us need to hire the services of a professional to get the job done.
Thankfully, with this great little DIY project, you can make your own out of some common electrical components, some old DVD writers, and some 3D printed parts!
Like any project of this nature, you are going to need a few bits and bobs. For this build, you will need:
- Arduino Nano
- 2 no. old DVD writers (you want the stepper mechanisms within)
- 4 no. small neodymium magnets (or salvage from the DVD unit's lens mechanism).
- 250mW laser engraver
- 1 no. A4988-stepper motor driver module with heat sink
- 1 no. IRFZ44N MOSFET
- Soldering kit
- Screwdriver set
- Electrical wires, resistors, and soldering gear.
- Assorted PCB wire female connectors and male pins.
- A 3D printer, or ask a friend with one to help out
- Various 3D parts. The models for these are available here.
- Custom PCB board.
- Custom app
With all the materials needed in hand, it is time to get on with the build.
The first step is to begin to dismantle your old redundant DVD writers. You are after the stepper motor mechanism and rods within. Everything else can be disposed of kept for future salvage -- the choice is yours.
Cut off any remaining flex-PCBs and put them aside ready for later.
Next, print out all the 3D parts needed. You can find these here (we have also included a link in the list of materials needed above). For added "coolness", print the various parts in different colors -- though this is completely optional.
With the 3D parts printed off, grab the rail holder parts and affix the DVD stepper motors to them, as shown in the video. Next, assemble the bracket pieces that will hold, and move, the platform and laser once complete.
With that complete, grab the base piece. Secure into place one of the DVD rod assemblies using the salvaged rods, as shown in the video.
Test the movement of the bracket along the rail, it should move freely. Now, grab the arm pieces, and screw these to the base as shown.
Now, grab the other slider assembly, and affix it to the arms of the laser engraver. Once again, use the salvaged rods to do this.
Next, grab some jumper cables, and wire up one end of the wires to the base, and arm, slider units. With that complete, grab the laser holder 3D printed piece.
Using some super glue, or similar adhesive, affix to the bracket on the arm-mounted slider assembly. This, obviously, will hold the laser engraver later.
Next, grab the X-plate, glue on some neodymium magnets, and affix it to the base slider unit, as shown in the video.
Now, insert the laser into its holder on the laser engraving machine. Make sure it is snuggly, and firmly, held in place.
Now, grab your Arduino Nano and the backplate 3D part. Affix the Arduino Nano board to the backplate.
Next, grab the motor shield and connect it to the Arduino Nano, as shown in the video. Take your super glue again, and affix the backplate, well, to the back of the laser engraving device.
Now, grab your MOSFET, 10K, and 47ohm resistors. Solder them to the MOSFET as shown in the video, and also wire them up.
Superglue to the back of the laser engraver, as shown.
With that completed, connect the various wires to the Arduino Nano and driver module. The circuity diagram is as follows:
With that, the laser engraving machine is basically complete. Now all you need is the all-important code to get the machine working.
You can find further instructions on this step on the project's Instructables page here.
Now, just connect a power supply, find some images to engrave, and some stuff to engrave the images on! Happy laser engraving!