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!]

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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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