Building a Laser Cutter: Part 6 – Focus Aid

My laser cutter is working perfectly. However, depending on the thickness of the material being cut, the focus of the laser lens needs to be adjusted. This is done by turning the lens screw in front of the laser, which is both finicky and imprecise. To improve this situation, I 3D-printed a small focus-lever with…

A Paper Christmas Star

Just in time for the season, I designed and made a nice decorative christmas star from paper, using my laser cutter. First, as always, I drew the design in CAD. This time, Fusion 360. Then, I laser cut the design. Each body needed 3 DIN-A4 pages of paper. After everything was cut, I assembled the…

Laser Cutter Documentation is Online

I finally got around to document the build of my laser cutter! I will continue to update and refine the blog posts. Also, I dated them back in time, because the majority of work was done in 2016 and 2017. Building a Laser Cutter: Part 1 – Idea and Plan Building a Laser Cutter: Part…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 5 – Bearing Upgrades

After two years of usage, the x carriage of my laser cutter became rather wobbly. Wobbling! My old nemesis! What should I do? First, I tried to use different bearings. I bought some DryLin PTFE self-lubricating plastic bearings: https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01M328GIR ~5€ But they were no use in my configuration. They tended to bind, and what’s worse,…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 4 – Tests and Stability Improvements

The laser cutter is finally ready for testing! After securing the aluminium base plate (before that I had used carton) I powered up the system and sent my first gcode. Improving the Y Carriage Unfortunately, the lasered lines were rather wobbly. This was because the y carriage was only supported by one shaft. So, I…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 3 – Electronics and Control

After completing the machnical construction of the laser cutter, it was time for the control circuit. I used a perfboard PSB and soldered headers for the Arduino and stepper motor drivers to it. On the bottom, I connected everything up. The limit switches needed some simple debouncing and smoothing on their signals, because the cables…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 2 – Mechanical Build

After designing my laser cutter, the next step was to order the parts and assemble the machine. Because Actobotics parts are made and sold from USA, they are hard to come by in Europe (unless you want to pay high import taxes and shipping). In the end, I found an Italian shop (steplab.net / servocity.eu)…

Building a Laser Cutter: Part 1 – Idea and Plan

In 2016, I built a CNC laser cutter / engraver. I always wanted to document the whole process, but never got around to do so – until now. Enjoy a multi-part series on how my build went! Before I start, a word of warning: Lasers can be very dangerous to your health, eyes and general…