DIY Laser Cutter:
LASER stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”. A laser cutter, as the name suggests uses a laser to cut materials typically in manufacturing applications. Nowadays, laser cutter is also being used by schools, small businesses and hobbyists. The laser cutter is the newest to enter the DIY kingdom…. It is a challenging thing to make and has caught the attention of DIY enthusiasts. A DIY laser cutter is a dream come true for many hobbyists.
A laser cutter works when a beam of high powered laser is focused down to a point which is miniscule of an inch and can burn down, melt or vaporize the material it hits. Owing to the high costs of Laser cutters, DIY is set to change all of that. Here is how you can make your own DIY laser cutter:
- Aluminum frames / Sticks (2 small, 3 large)
- Aluminum Corner Fittings ( 4 Nos )
- Acrylic panels (6 Nos)
- Stepper Motors ( 3 Nos )
- Stepper Motors cables ( 3 Nos )
- Stepper Motor Controller Board ( L1 )
- Parts Box : 6 small acrylic frames, Screws, timing belt, pulleys,washers and spacers
- Safety Goggles
- 5W Laser Module
- USB cable
- 12V Power Adapter
- The laser cutter has 4 main parts: laser module, stepper motor, controller and surface. The design pattern is loaded to the controller software which guides the laser beam through stepper motor to traverse a path onto the material surface.
- Start with building of the bottom rectangular platform with 4 aluminum rails and 4 corner fittings.
- Connect the cables to the corresponding connector. The Motors cable have two headers, one is 6 pins and other is 4 pin. Connect the 6 pin header to the motors. Connect all the cables to the driver board.
- Software installation: plug in the USB cable and the 12v power adaptor and install a software solution from the internet. You can download Benbox software for the laser cutter. Install the driver and confirm the driver is installed successfully. Open benbox and select the language and select the board to “NANO(328p)/ LX-NANO. Update the firmware and set the COM PORT.
- Choose the parameters as per your choice like speed, intensity, time, step, carve mode, discrete, continuous, direction, ppm, min and max, laser, servo and feed rate.
- Wear safety google before you start the laser cutter. The laser beam can permanently damage your eyesight. Keep the room well ventilated when using the DIY laser cutter. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Make a suitable platform to place the engraving /cut materials. Use a thick card board slightly larger than the laser cutter’s base surface for the base platform.
- Place the material to be cut/engraved on the base platform and adjust the laser head position to align it on to the material by pressing left-right button in the software.
- Focus the laser beam, turn on the laser switch on the driver board and slowly rotate the focusing ring to focus the beam.
- Load an image you want to cut/engrave. Go to the menu in the software and press connect. Find what design you want to cut and set the parameters and hit the play button to cut the materials of choice like paper, foam or leather to perfection.
The DIY Laser cutter has to be handled carefully as it can lead to severe burns and injuries. Use proper safety equipment and handling too.