An Arduino-Powered Laser Engraver That You Can Build

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4022 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4022 Articles

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MichielD99 is a 16 year old Belgian teenage maker. It is amazing that, with the tools and materials available today, a young person, really any person, can create something as sophisticated and professional-looking as this laser engraver.

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It took Michiel about three months to plan and construct the machine. He created templates of all of the structural components, transferred them onto MDF, and then used a jigsaw to cut everything out.

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To drive the machine, he used an Arduino UNO with two NEMA-17 stepper motors and stepper motor drivers he got from AliEXpress. By using AliExpress, he was able to keep the component costs down, with the entire thing costing about US$220. The laser is a 1.8W 445nm module.

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To keep all of the hardware cool inside of its enclosure, he drilled out vent holes on one side and installed a computer fan. He also installed a heat sink on the laser head as well as a smaller fan that travels with the head.

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Michiel designed the device in such a way that he can also install a Dremel tool as the head. This will allow him to turn it into a CNC router when he wants to.

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Instructables is running a contest, sponsored by Full Spectrum Laser. The grand prize is a H-Series 20×12 laser cutter (complete with lens, exhaust fan, and air compressor). Michiel entered his engraver and we think he’s got a good shot. He not only executed a pretty impressive project, but he also did a great job of documenting it, in a second language. These kids today!

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You can see the complete plans for his build on this Instructables page. There he also includes a Bill of Materials with links to all of the parts available online and PDF and STL versions of all of the template files used to create his engraver.