Building Your Own Laser Engraving Machine with Arduino

Laser engrave to your heart's content with this handy DIY project.
Christopher McFadden

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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! 

doy laser engraver complete
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

Like any project of this nature, you are going to need a few bits and bobs. For this build, you will need:

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.

diy laser engraver dvd motor
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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. 

diy laser engraver motor brackets
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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. 

diy laser engraver base
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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. 

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diy laser engraver arms
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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.

diy laser engraver arms and motor
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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.

diy laser engraver laser holder
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

Next, grab the X-plate, glue on some neodymium magnets, and affix it to the base slider unit, as shown in the video. 

diy laser engraver platform
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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.

diy laser engraver arduino
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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. 

diy laser engraver backoplate
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

Now, grab your MOSFET, 10K, and 47ohm resistors. Solder them to the MOSFET as shown in the video, and also wire them up. 

diy laser engraver mosfet
Source: The Wrench/YouTube

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: 

laser engaver circuit
Source: The Wrench/Instructables

With that, the laser engraving machine is basically complete. Now all you need is the all-important code to get the machine working.