How-To: Add a Laser Head to a CNC Mini Mill

3D Printing & Imaging Science Workshop
How-To:  Add a Laser Head to a CNC Mini Mill
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David Prutchi, whose surplus plutonium probe shenanigans we covered last week, received Micro-Mark’s branded version of the popular Sieg X2 mini mill for a recent birthday, then retrofitted it with a CNC kit from CNC Fusion, and then retrofitted it again with a CO2 laser head he built himself from a surplus tube. David writes:

I built the laser head from a surplus 18 W sealed-tube, RF-excited laser tube originally used in a Domino Laser coder…I made the base and ends of the head out of 1/2″ Delrin. The top is 1/4″ Plexyglass, and the sides are made of thick nylon mesh to provide sufficient ventilation. Four 12 V fans are mounted on the mesh to help cool the laser tube. I mounted the laser head onto a 1″ x 1″ aluminum profile by 80/20…, and constructed a rigid stand from 2″ x 1″ profile. I linked the two using 80/20 components in such a way that I can easily move the head up/down to focus the beam…I mounted two laser-line generators …on the stand so that a cross-hair is projected on the workpiece where the invisible CO2 laser is focused…The RF exciter for the laser tube is a surplus unit, also widely available on eBay…

[Thanks, David!]

6 thoughts on “How-To: Add a Laser Head to a CNC Mini Mill

  1. Lenore says:

    Remember kids, always wear laser safety glasses and keep an fire extinguisher handy. Unshielded invisible lasers don’t always point where you think they’re going to point, and replacement eyeballs are hard to get.

    1. David Prutchi says:

      Thank you very much Lenore. I completely agree with you. Lasers, especially Class IV lasers, are very dangerous and should not be treated casually. I added a warning to the post, which I encourage fellow makers to take very seriously. Thank you very much for pointing this out.



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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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