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How to Build a Homemade CNC Laser Engraver

Article-How to Build a Homemade CNC Laser Engraver

Laser engravers can be great tools for DIY projects. But they can also be pricey. Gadget Freak shows you how to build your own CNC laser engraver using an Arduino board.

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.

Do you have a cool, original, homemade gadget you'd like to share with the world? Give us the details at, and you may receive $500 and automatic entry into our $6000 Gadget Freak of the Year contest!

Parts List      
Amount Part Description Allied Part # Notes
1 Arduino Mega    
1 voltage regulator 70099596 LM317T Adjustable 2.2-3.7 Voltage Regulator
1 glass lens   405-G-2 Glass Lens for Aixiz Laser Module 405nm
1 diode   Cassio- 2W 445nm M140 Blue Diode
1 mechanical endstop   Signwise 3 pack endstop
2 stepper motor   ZJchao 57-ox-in 1Nm Nema 17 Stepper Motor 1.3A 40mm
1 power supply   NEWSTYLE 12V 30A DC Universal Power Supply 360W
1 controller kit   OSOYOO Printer kit controller RAMPS 1.4
Mega 2560 R3
Stepper Motor Driver
LCD 1286 Graphic display
8 linear bearing   Sprite Science 12LM8U Linear bearings
4 linear rods   Linear motion 8mm shaft 406mm length chrome plated case hardened
1 cooling fan   Uxcell 92 x 25mm DC 12V
2 terminal
65.01 CFM
2 belt and pulley   Aluminum GT2 16T Pulley and 2M Belt
2 PIC16F88 70045634 18-Pin PDIP, SOIC
1 transparent wall   250nm to 520 nm laser shielding - 12” X 12”
1 alert buzzer   12mm Dia. DC 5V 2 Terminals Electronic Continuous Sound Buzzer
1 3D-printed parts 70369255 3mm ABS filament
1 laser   2W 445nm M140 Blue Diode in Copper Module W/Leads & Three Element Glass Lens
1 voltage and current regulator display   DC-DC Voltage Buck Converter Volt Regulator Display
1 thermocouople   Aluminum mount and heat sink for 12mm modules
1 13 ft of 1 x 1-inch alumium tube    
1 2 ft  2 x 2-inch aluminum angle    
100 nuts   Hex machine screw nut, 8-32
100 bolts   Truss combo head machine screw, 8-32 x 1-½”
4 laser glasses   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, and you may receive $500 and automatic entry into our $6000 Gadget Freak of the Year contest!

[All images courtesy Amy Kippen]

ESC Minn logoEmbedded Hardware at Work. Get into the weeds on FPGA dev, modularization with system-on-modules & COTS, test bench technique, Verilog for hardware design & simulation, Arduino for pros, plus common design mistakes to avoid and more in the Embedded Hardware Design & Verification track at the Embedded Systems Conference. Sept. 21-22, 2016 in Minneapolis. Register here for the event, hosted by Design News’ parent company UBM.

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