A DIY project to help with your DIY projects? This edition of Gadget Freak is going meta with a CNC laser engraver made by Amy Kippen and her team of fellow students at Colorado State University.
The CNC laser engraver consists of a user-controlled laser mounted to the Y axis and an engraving plate mounted to the X axis. Motion of the laser and engraving plate are controlled using G-code, which allows the laser to engrave two dimensional designs or images into wood.
A user can input G-code through an SD card on the back of the LCD display. Using the push-button/dial to control the LCD screen, the user selects the correct G-code. The LCD also provides users with visualization and control over the laser casing temperature via alteration of fan speeds. The X and Y axes are each controlled by a stepper motor, and proximity switches are used to limit the motion of each axis past structure walls.
The engraver is also equipped with a safety feature that turns off the laser when the door is open and a program is running. A green LED is lit while the engraver is running. If the door is opened a limit switch inside the door is disengaged and a signal is sent to turn off the green LED and turn on the safety feature, which includes a red LED and an alert buzzer. Disengaging the limit switch also triggers a relay that turns off the laser. Once the door is closed the laser resumes engraving.
Click the image below for a slideshow of the build instructions.
And click here to download the full build instructions including schematics, diagrams, and code.
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2W 445nm M140 Blue Diode in Copper Module W/Leads & Three Element Glass Lens
voltage and current regulator display
DC-DC Voltage Buck Converter Volt Regulator Display
Aluminum mount and heat sink for 12mm modules
13 ft of 1 x 1-inch alumium tube
2 ft 2 x 2-inch aluminum angle
Hex machine screw nut, 8-32
Truss combo head machine screw, 8-32 x 1-½”
HDE laser eye protection safety glasses for green and blue lasers
Do you have a cool, original, homemade gadget collecting dust in your garage? Give us the details at DesignNews.com/GF, and you may receive $500 and automatic entry into our $6000 Gadget Freak of the Year contest!
[All images courtesy Amy Kippen]
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The project is nicely made. It's good that you included safety features. I wonder if you could replace the LM317 linear voltage regulator with a buck converter. Buck converters are far more efficient and dissipate less heat. You could even regulate the output voltage with an MCU. Can the cutter actually cut through thin hobby plywood to make intricate parts? If not, what would it take to increase cutting power? Maybe I missed it in the article but are you making the 3D printed parts available on any 3D sharing sites? Some people might like to build the frame with aluminum extrusions from robot supply stores (including the sponsor) and get corner connectors ready to go.
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