I wanted to make an easily portable, fairly cheap, but still decent sized laser engraver for full 8-bit grey scale engraving. The problem I saw with the other laser builds is they all needed special parts made, cut, or 3d printed. I wanted something that was simple and used all stock parts. I am a fan of the Lazerblade but it is way too expensive for it's size. Using laser V and Laserblade for inspiration. I simplified this design as much as possible without sacrificing stability and accuracy and make sure it was easily portable. It's overall size is 21" x 31". The full build cost is around $550 depending on what you have laying around. Openbuilds parts are just over $300.
The controller for this is an Arduino Uno w/ the 4 axis CNC shield v3.
(Originally a Ramps 1.4 but ran into too many issues trying to make it work. I will probably move back to it eventually but I wanted to get up and running.)
I wasn't able to make it as cheaply as I wanted but for it's size and ability I am very happy. I had to add a second motor to the Y axis because I was getting a little bit of racking. That added some cost to the project.
I finally got the coding figured out for the ramps board and it is moving. I wanted to use an altered version of the laser mendal firmware but I couldn't get it to talk to repitier host software. I ended up just using repitier host firmware. I might have to go to GRBL because picengrave requires it but I hope I can get it to work with repitier host.
It took me some time to figure out how to mount the laser / heat sink / fans / driver on an assembly that could move up and down and I could tighten. I finally got it figure out and built.
I can't stand the case I am using and I am designing a new one.
I have designed, and cutout the new case and decided on a theme for it. Very Very Cool. Black Plexi looks awesome.
The new case is made and I am getting everything mounted inside the case and wiring run, and leds mounted.
I finished the BOM with prices, and locations.
My renders don't have all of the bolts in it. I was having issues and I didn't want to take the time to put them in right now. The gray square on the laser assembly there to take up the space for the laser driver circuit.
Added Updated Render Pics
Added Actual Pics
Finished laser assembly and black plexi cover for it. I etched a pic of the Death Star on it and EL wire which will act as the shooting Laser. I will post pics soon.
Finished rewiring my new custom case at my local maker space in Indianapolis - Club Cyberia. Posted pics
I have been working on the laser marlins firmware but not sure what I will be able to use to make it work with pic engrave. Posted some new pics of my case fully wired.
Post pics of the etched cover with EL wire
Finally got the Laser Marlins to talk to pronterface. I also ran my gcode file. I was having issues with generating a gcode file that ponterface wouldn't error on. I have been trying to make them with Inkscape and some of the gcode plugins. The one plugin that finally worked was the JTG Laser plugin.
I got the laser fully functional and burning. I added 2 more fans to the laser housing for a total of 4. The laser driver is also housed in there as well. The extra fans will also help with blowing the smoke away from the laser lens which is very important.
I have been having lots of issues with trying to use the lansing makers laser marlins firmware for this. It has some issues that don't make sense. After spending two weeks trying to figure out the issue and emailing everyone associated with this firmware (No Response). I did manage to find a work around. I was burning some cool stuff and the laser works very well. I am getting some syntax errors from pronterface during the burn. The amount of them I am getting changes with the burn speed. Also the JTG Laser plugin for inkscape only does outlines. It will not do shading.
Even with help from a bunch of friends at club cyberia there are still several issues. I have come to the decision to get away from the ramps board and just go with the Arduino CNC shield V3. The good thing is V3 has a 4th axis that is slave-able to another axis and this board has spots for min and max limits on all axis. I will loose my display and have to use GRBL...... which is terrible but all of the software I need to use is written for GRBL. I will continue to try to work on Marlins.
I got the new arduino CNC V3 board and got it installed. I am working on the firmware and hopefully should have the machine up and running again very soon.
Everything is working very well. I am burning gray scale images. I still have to get things dialed in. I purchased picengrave pro 5 and picsender. I tried using the open source versions 3dpBurner and I had issues with both of them working consistently. Picengrave pro is worth the money. I am very cheap and will save money where ever I can but it was worth it.
Project Death Star - DistortedDesigns Laser Engraver
2 watt Laser Engraver, Simple, Fairly Low Cost, and Portable
- Build License:
- CC - Attribution NonCommercial - Share Alike - CC BY NC SA
Inspired byLazerblade & Laser V