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Photon Printer - Micro Laser Engraver

by Isolt Jul 6, 2015
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Also, where should you get the 3mm corrugated plastic. Can you use cardboard instead? Do you need endstops for the drives or will they work without?

A craft or singage shop should have it. cardboard would be fine though.
The end stops only help with repeatability you can just manually set it to zero with a Gcode command.

Thank you for responding! This is quite helpful as I couldn't find 3mm corrugated plastic anywhere online.

No problem. If you have no end stops I think you'll need to comment them out of the code like I've done for the Z end stop.

What type of gage should the Y Plate be? These files are amazing!

Anything should work within reason. I cut mine from the case of the DVD drive I used.

Is it an issue that the A4988 outputs 8V (min) when the motors are 5V?

EDIT: Nevermind, the FAQ page on the Pololu page answers me question.

"I want to control a 3.9 V, 600 mA bipolar stepper motor like this, but your A4988 stepper motor driver carrier has a minimum operating voltage of 8 V. Can I use this driver without damaging the stepper motor?

Yes. To avoid damaging your stepper motor, you want to avoid exceeding the rated current, which is 600 mA in this instance. The A4988 stepper motor drivers let you limit the maximum current, so as long as you set the limit below the rated current, you will be within spec for your motor, even if the voltage exceeds the rated voltage. The voltage rating is just the voltage at which each coil draws the rated current, so the coils of your stepper motor will draw 600 mA at 3.9 V. By using a higher voltage along with active current limiting, the current is able to ramp up faster, which lets you achieve higher step rates than you could using the rated voltage."

Does anyone have a link to where I could find DVD drives online? Thanks!

That's a neat board, I haven't seen one before.

A possible issue I can see with this board is it doesn't seem to have anywhere to connect limit switches?

Great project btw, I'm ordering a few parts to build one sometime in the next month or two.

You're right. You don't need end stops unless you want to do homing or repeatability with some sort of jig. You could just zero each job as you go.

yeah and i just stumbled upon it by chance.
(was looking for a stepper driver breakout board for someone else)

for myself i am using the anet mainboard that i had left over.
had to do some soldering on the board though.
the anet board does not have adjustable stepper drivers. so i had to remove the fixed resistor and replace it with a trimpot.
this project has woken up my inner mad scientist.
i have learned some things that were always this wall i had to climb over. and now that i am over it the maker mind has free range

i'm deffinatly making this tonight.

Cool post a picture when you're done!

it's finished. and by now i have run out of things to engrave XD

i have officially started. sorry about the heat i have you about the instructions.
the instructions i was going off were the ones on the readme. and from the pocket laser engraver instructables.
i was just too overwhelmed to understand this new world i was entering.
(note. before i started i didn't even know ohm's law) that should show how little i knew about electronics.

so my brain shut off and i didn't realise there was a pdf with verry detailed instructions.

i made an adjustable lm317 circuit and it works fine. (learned alot)

the reason i am commenting is that i noticed my dvd drives do not fit.
so i need to redesign the thing.
the hole distance for the drives for example.
the width is exactly the same. 83. something.
but the lenght on one of my drives is 108. instead of 101. and there is a 2.4 mm depth diffrence of the holes.
and the other is a wopping 125mm. long. but atleast this one is perfectly flat.
i am therefore editing the files making the thing slightly larger to accomodate for my drives.

do you want me to send you these files for you to ad as alternative drive options? or should i just reupload them as a remix or something.
it pretty much requires me changing most of the files.

i will also be using an old anet a8 motherboard. (hoping the steppers drivers don't overheat the motors since they are tuned for nema17)
so i will be changing up the mounting for that aswel.

i have seriously underestimated the amount of changes i have to make. i see no reason to upload this at all. it's basicly a custom remake by the time i'm finished.

a little comparion

still need to get rid of the arduino mounting points.
and adjust the mounting points for my diy laser driver.
it's also a dual color print now. the text and symbols are a diffrent color.

like seriously. the drives i have do not fit in every way possible XD

the smallest size on my drives in that dimention is 11mm that's twice as much as the space that's there.
meaning it would block the door. (and just simply not fit to begin with)

do i really have such freakish dvd drives?

That's surprising. I made it fit all the DVD's I disassembled, there were quite a few.
In regards to the length discrepancy the bottom axis has slots to allow for this as well as rails for the mounts to slide on.
The depth distance can be solves by packing them with washers.
Sounds like you've learnt a bit about electronics.

i'm beginning to realise that back in the day. drives were really really weird.

(the drive is run by a dc motor with a little encoder on it. notice the 3 little magnets on that gear above the little circuit board. http://prntscr.com/n2e1qx)

i feel like this thing should be in a museum

Oh man that one isn't even parallel to the sides of the frame, that wont work :P

i finished redesigning it.
it's longer now to make room for the anet a8 board in the back.
and as a result there is now also room for those giant drives of mine.
(it's also slightly wider)

i have a diy laser driver with a potentiometer so it's adjustable. (that's the thing sticking out the side on the far side in the picture)

the only things i edited are the 2 sides.

Great, looks like it's going well!

the long one isn't a total freak. i have atleast one other that is that long

i'll just make a larger scale one for those.
much easyer to scale everything up and just adjust the sizes of the holes and slots

yeah the total size of the drive is 135. i could cut off the end off and use the holes already present for a metal piece (red arrow). and then it would be the same as the drive you drew up in cad. but as it is. there is not enoegh physical space it longer then the internal cavity of the design in cad.
the other one is just a weird one though.
2 of the holes are closer together. 80mm instead of 83.5
and the ones with the white rubbers are 2.4 mm deeper.

both are REALLY old drives though. and i have about 5 more drives i can sacrifice.
but i have to start over with redesigning the models.
i put the anet a8 board below the thing because i thought it would not fit behind my drive. but it does.

so i haven't really figured out how to do it yet.
since i have to start over i am just going to disassemble every drive i can find and see if there are a few that just straight up fit.
and then make some room for the anet board.

Comments deleted.

Hello, two tips for people who want to make new builds:

LaserGRBL is a GRBL controller that can take a picture (raster) and generate G-code for a laser engraver (requires PWM laser driver).

Also, GRBL v1.1 has better support for laser engravers. It will modulate the power to the laser to compensate for changes in travel speed. It apparently reduces excessive burning in corners.

when using a homemade constant current circuit to drive the laser, grbl can modulate power all it wants. it's not going to change something at the laser.
unless it switches it off and on really fast instead of simply dimming.

Hello, great project. I am having issue figuring out first step of assembly. Do I take laser off and use what it came with to put parts on? Here is picture https://www.dropbox.com/s/kkvs07s0htpnxkd/2018-11-07%2019.48.59.jpg?dl=0 and https://www.dropbox.com/s/3t7u0cf14uc9pf0/2018-11-07%2019.49.06.jpg?dl=0 , do I take this part off?

Hi, thank you for making your project public. The documentation quality is exceptional.
I want to point out a small mistake. In the exploded view on p.8 you forgot to move the stepper driver daughterboards with the CNC shield.

I scrounged up some useful parts from a disk drive that was in a mac mini made in 2007, do you think anything in there can be used for this? I'm not sure if it has the red diode i'm looking for but I did end up cashing in on a couple of tiny motors along with the disk reader.

Without seeing it I not sure. If it's got 4 holes and an end stops them sure

Will this work to driver the laser
Seems like it would be easier so I can just hook it right to the CnC shield and be done with that part

I think that's ok. Looks like you need to set the amperage to match your diode

if i want to buy your printer, what will be the price bro.??

where to find the safty sutter that u used in this project..

Read page 13 of the instructions on how to make it. Try art supply shops or hardware stores

Thanks For Reply :)

Comments deleted.

Love this tiny little thing.Just built a big laser for DIN A4 and little bit bigger. But have some 0.5WLaser still here for something like that.
All the DVD Engravers on Thingiverse aren´t able to engrave by "lay it on top and start". So the tiny lasers couldn´t be used to engrave a cover of a book or tupperware.
Therefore the axes have to be mounted without being under the laser... Someone knows a project like this? only thing nearly the same is the DVD Plotter Project which has not all the parts listed i´m interested in.

Really nice thing this version but not that easy to redesign for my needs

I have though about making what you describe. The mechanisms get a lot more complex as you can't was easily use the existing DVD Internals. I'm interested but it's not at the top of my list at the moment.

What if you Inverted the design? Instead of moving the object to be engraved you put that axis on the top, and move the whole laser carriage that way? It would have to be a little bigger than this I think but it could work.

Yep that's what we're discussing above.

For the life of me I can't figure out the proper wiring of the laser diode. I have no clue where the third pin should be connecting or how to properly identify which pin is which.

Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated,

The third pin isn't used. Quick and dirty - you can use a button cell battery to identify the polarity of the pins. Wear your safety glasses and point it away from your eyes, then stick it between alternating pins until you see it light up. Use a resistor in series to protect the diode. Safer would to be attach it to a proper driver and identify the pins that way.

Thank you again.

But, it looks like I must have damaged the diode while extracting it because I'm not seeing any light. Guess I've got to buy one directly. I'm seeing a lot of different nm and W values, what would be the ideal kind of diode to buy for this project?

This one looks promising but I wanted to be sure: https://www.ebay.com/itm/M140-M-Type-Laser-Diode-JAPAN-445nm-5-6mm-2W-Engraving-Burning/323126355662?hash=item4b3bd4e6ce:g:TGoAAOSwdA9aoL6W
I don't even know whether or not that's a good price.

Sorry to keep bugging you with questions.

Did you use a DVD or a CD drive? The CD drive laser will be invisible. The DVD one will have 2 lasers - one invisible and one that is red.
nm is the colour of light it puts out. 390-700 is visible, don't get anything outside this or you wont be able to see it.
W is Watts, mW is 1/1000 of a Watt. They're also sometimes measures in A for Amps. Both are a measure of how powerful they are.
In this case bigger is better. The wood engraving pictures above are about 200mW (0.2W) that laser struggled to cut light coloured wood.
The solder stencil was cut with 0.5W. That seemed a lot more useful.
Hope the project goes well

I used DVD RW drives. I tested both of the lasers just to be sure But, looking at the various replacement options on eBay, I think I must have broken off the top of it not realizing it wasn't part of the enclosure because they looked different than expected.

I was familiar with the units, just not how they translated to the real world. I'm mainly doing this for solder stencils so, it's good to have a point of reference. Thank you again. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out with what I imagine is super basic stuff to you.

That laser you linked looks pretty powerful! Remember you will need some optics, a housing to cool it and a laser driver to power it (it's way too big for the simple driver design I linked).
If you're not too confident I'd go for a pre assembled one with optics and a matched driver. But if you want a challenge go for the linked one.

After your explanation, I'm going to try to find one with a bit less kick than that one. But, still just the diode. I picked up the laser housing you recommended for someone else from Alibaba and I've got some thermal paste on hand for when it comes in.

Great. Keep in mind diodes come on different sizes, get one to match the housing you bought. I still think the bigger the better. But if you're only cutting black masking material you probably don't need that much power.

How much does this cost to make?

If you have access to a 3D printer, 2 broken DVD drives and use the laser from the DVD drives $20?

I don't have any, so are there any you would recommend?

I used LG ones. But most should be fine. CD drives as well, but the laser won't be as useful.

Naa it has to be a 3.5" internal one to have the correct components.
Like this. I can't guarantee the internals of that one are correct though.
Or get some cheap second hand ones

Actually I'd recommend second hand ones as some of the newer drives don't have laser diodes in a usable package.

Thanks for putting together such an awesome project!
I've got everything printed out but, before I pass a point of no return, I had one question.
What's the ideal output I should be looking for in a power adapter?

I'm terrified of finishing this whole thing and then frying it the first time I turn it on.

Thanks again,

I'm running mine off a 2A 12V supply based on no science.
Those steppers are pretty small, I don't imagine they draw a lot.
I'll try measure them tonight to get an idea of what they use.
You'll also have to add any draw from your laser driver and a safety margin.

Oh wow. I thought I was looking at less than 1A. Thanks again!

You probably are, 2A is just what I had on hand. I'll try measure it tonight

OK moving full speed in both directions at once mine draws 560mA.
So 0.75A to be safe?
Remember to add the draw from any driver you're using.

Hello and thank you for this great project.
What kind of laser module should I order?
I have this one https://www.aliexpress.com/item/12-35mm-405nm-Dot-Line-Cross-5mW-10mW-20mW-50mW-100mW-150mW-Violet-Blue-Laser-Diode/32623747510.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.744a4c4dcWj7Ae
20mW dot version

Is it enough?

Thank you

20mW wouldn't be enough to engrave anything.
The image above are about 200mW. I've since added a 500mW and it's much more effective at engraving light coloured materials.

I have to say it: your project is wonderfully made ! How many iterations before the final product ?

Thanks! I built 3 entire ones with a few revisions to parts along the way. Lots of paper and CAD concepts before printing though.

I'm working my way through this awesome project, but the one part I can't seem to find is the right sized DC power jack to fit the casing. If anyone has bought one that fits and can supply a link I'll be very grateful. The closest I've found are 8mm cutout bulkheads, and a 7.8mm free-hanging with only 1mm panel thickness support.

I got these.
You can always drill the hole out larger if its too small. or drill a smaller one next to it.

Im nearly finished with this project but im having problems with the gcode generation and the grbl. Im getting alot of errors in grbl especially with the grbl controller.

and when i try to enter some pieces of gcode manually i'm getting some crazy errors, this is what inkscape gives me:
G2 X29.56 Y2.9637 I0.263 J0.4252
G2 X28.2931 Y4.3055 I77.9787 J74.8951
G3 X27.0353 Y5.6586 I-936.1856 J-868.9404
G3 X26.8547 Y5.8508 I-19.0331 J-17.7173

It would be very cool if you could provide some example gcodes you have generated.

Yep, what Isolt said. I went through the same issue as yourself and the workaround I found was to use the GCode utility to send 'G92X40Y40' before each job. This sets an offset in the workspace so your negative coordinates shift to positive space. You can then use InkScape as you'd expect, although I have found you need to flip the image (which may be another setting I haven't worked out yet).
Try G92X40Y40 in a macro (if you're using something like Universal GCode Sender) and if it works for you write it as a startup block with '$N0=G92X40Y40'. This will then be sent automatically before each job.

Yep 92 would be a good solution as well.
Sounds like your x axis is installed the wrong way around. Does it home to the right?
You could reverse your stepper motor plug but you'd also need to invert your homing direction in the firmware.

Very good point - I said in my comment further down that I'd gone my own way with the limit switches, and mine homes to the left. I've now reversed the X stepper, set $23 (homing direction invert mask) to 1 and changed my startup block to '$N0=G92X0Y40' and print orientation is now correct. Thanks for the pointer.
(Apologies Surrbradl, hijacked your thread a bit ;¬)

I saw you'd done your own switches but i wasn't sure how it would effect your homing. I suppose you could have rotated the drive 180 degrees and still had the end stop at the right. But reversing the homing works just as well.
Good to see you got it working!
I might add your G92 suggestion to the instructions. Might be less confusing than drawing everything off the page.

Hi. The GRBL default is to home to the top right corner so that's 0.0.
all your Gcode needs to be in the negative.
i just checked my template and it doesn't work.start a new inkscape document. Unfortunately inkscapes default is bottom left, so anything you draw on the page will be outside the limits of the machine. Treat the bottom left of the page as the top right of the machine and draw everything there. Some guide lines will help I'll try fix my template.
Try adding negatives after all your x and y's. You don't seem to have a laser on command though, or a power setting if you're using ttl.

Here's my code for finding 0 at a low laser intensity on a TTL driver

M05 S0

G1 F3000
G1 X0 Y0
M03 S50
G4 P0
G1 F1
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
G1 X-0.1
G1 X-0
M05 S0

I'm building a Photon and decided to use other u-switches for the X and Y endstops rather than retain the DVD drive ones. I've posted a mounting plate for these which fit the fairly common DVD drive chassis I'm using. Might be useful to someone : https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2629941

Photon Engraver - Mounting plate for microswitch endstop

What do you use as a laser diode housing?
I've seen this at other makes also, but have no idea where to found such a thing.

Many thanks! Not only for sharing your work, also for the very comprehensive description and drawings. Great work !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm trying to make this as accessible as possible. If I have some more time I'll document GRBL a bit more

Can I by a pre-built one off you by any chance? I love this Idea but I don't think I have anywhere near the skills of building you have

I think the shipping would cost too much sorry

First: Greate Design!

But i´ve one question, ow did you connect the laser to the CNC Shield V3 ?

You'll need a laser driver to power the diode. Connect the driver to the spindle engage pin on the shield. I think newer versions of GRBL come with TTL as the default output. So if your driver doesn't do TTL you'll need to configure grbl

Tank you! today my Laser-Driver arrived.

I am having issues with homing X and Y axis!
built it and wired it all up but, i am having issues with homing my x and y axis. When i set pull-off($27) greater than zero the carriage is crashing into the endstop. I disable the Z axis, that worked. I tried it on grbl 1.1, 0.9, 0.8.
but i couldnt get it working. I am using normally open switches, i checked that. I was also playing around with the invert settings($2,$3,$23) and $5.
I would appreciate help

Hi. I'm got a grbl expert, if this doesn't help there are some good forums to try.
does it work if you don't change the pull off?
if you $h does it home toward the correct end stops?
if you send $10=16 it should report the limit switch state. press them manually and see if it changes. If not maybe they're plugged into the wrong pins?

When i try $H it home to xmax and ymax. If $27=0 it stops as it should, but when i try different positive numbers it crashes into the endstops. I set $10=16 but it didnt get any more output. I also tried swapping max and min pins but that didnt work too.

Here is my configuration:

What drives did you design the model around?

This designed to work with almost any DVD or CD drive. The lugs are adjustable to fit a wide range of drives. One person has found a drive that doesn't work but most people seem to have no trouble.

All I have is a 3D printer. Do You possibly have an amazon parts list or something. Im not sure if I even have the skills to make this but it looks sooo cool

I don't really have time to look then up individually sorry. If you look at the bill of materials and post links I could check then for you

How much time do you think it would take to build. I am not super skilled but up to the challenge

Most of it is just assembly. You will need to do a little soldering or crimping though. Buying a laser and driver would also make it easier and more powerful.

Could you make a version of the side where the slide lug mounting rails are full length, please?
I have a drive tray with only 3 screw holes!

Not right now sorry. I am working on am update though.
I'd just glue/acetone weld the lug in place. should be good enough.

Comments deleted.

That should work fine. You'll still need some circuitry to switch it on and off though.
It's a smaller diameter than mine so it won't fit easily into the holder. I've designed a new more universal holder and I'll publish it soon.

Comments deleted.

Hi, would you suggest having a second power source for the laser? If not, I was wondering on how to connect that laser to the circuitry that you provided plans for (I'm in Year 9 (Grade 8) and I haven't had to much experience in circuitry)? Thanks!

The wattage is small enough to run off the 5V pin on the CNC board.
You'll want a separate supply for the stepper motor though.
Check this out on how to make a transistor switch

The laser and motors are powered from separate power supplies? Is a 1a power supply plugged into the the arduino 12v jack not enough to power the motors and laser? Thanks for the work on this by the way. I've spent the last few days putting one of these together and powering the laser is the last thing I need to figure out. Right now I can switch the laser on from the pins on the cnc board but it doesnt have enough current to burn. Can I just use a transistor switch and get power straight from the 5v regulator on the arduino?

There are a few ways to go about this.
The arduino is powered by usb because it's already plugged into the computer.
If you're using the diode out of a DVD drive the 5V on the arduino board should be sufficient. You shouldn't be running the laser off pin the "SpnEn" pin though, this should just trigger the transistor. If it's not burning then either the material you are trying to burn is too lightly coloured, the laser isn't focused, or the variable resistor is set too low to give the diode enough power.

If you are using a bought laser with it's own power supply then run it off the 12V.
the 12V should ideally plug only into the screw terminals of the CNC shield, not the arduino. It should also power the fans.

Thank's for the reply! That makes sense. I have my laser connected directly to the SpnEn pin which is my problem.

In the files is a simple driver circuit you can use.

Comments deleted.
Comments deleted.

Is there a price list for this, or is it simply just dvd writing lasers? Can you use old cd writables?

If you have some electrical components, screws, DVD drives and a 3D printer the only real cost is the arduino and CNC board for about $12
Like it says in the instructions CD drives will probably work. They may not have end stops though. I wouldn't recommend using the laser in them as it's invisible and not that usefull but still really dangerous.

Cordial saludo. instale servo de dvd en el eje Z, como puedo desactivarlo cuando no está usando para evitar que se caliente?

I'm not to sure what you're saying sorry. Are you thinking of installing a servo in the Z axis to adjust the laser focus?

Thanks for the great design and verry helpful instructions!
I finaly found the time to build my own Photon Printer and get it running!

I made some extra parts as i couldn't get my hands on the corflute and had to adjust some small things to my needs.

Keep up the good work :)

Accesoires for Photon Printer

Glad you enjoyed it. Post a pic, I'd love to see it

Can I use those sun/tanning bed googles for a T018? what googles should be used if I use a T018 laser? Finally what is the name of your laser and the goggles you use called?

I doubt that suntanning goggles would be rated to protect you from a 300mW laser. the laser I used was out of the DVD drive I disassembled, sadly it didn't have any part number. Also the Diode you've liked is an infrared laser. That means it will be invisible making it much more dangerous for a first time laser user. I'd really recommend a laser you can see.

Thanks for your reply ( : I have bought the TO18 housing. What laser diode would you reccomend? If you could please send a link for me to order as well, if possible?

I don't really have time to troll through ali express sorry. Just look for something visible that is in a TO18 format. The brighter the better, I think the ones from DVD drives are 150-250mW. I have no idea what your budget is but I've heard good things about blue/purple ones.

Thank you so much for all your help. I would just like to say that a great project on thingiverse is not only one that is well designed but one supported by a great creater such as Isolt and this thing on thingiverse ticks both those boxes, So thank you very much, for all your help. ( :

how do i set up the cnc board? which jumpers are needed? how should the pololu be placed(rotated?) what about the little "screw" on the pololu's?


Is it possible to get the STEP-File for the Laser mount? This one is not in the Zip-Folder

Oops, I've updated the step files now. Thinking of modifying it?

FYI it's a good idea to not look at this while running, ever. You're using a class III laser outside of its enclosure, it's visible so all the damage will be on the retina as your cornea and inter-ocular lens will not block much of the light. Since the power output is enough to burn wood you're looking at a few hundred milliwatts of optical energy, and the wrong kind of back scatter can still deliver enough power to damage your retina.
This is a neat little device, but so few people understand how lasers can really screw up your eyesight permanently that it should be noted that this device requires some caution there. Using lasers with higher photon energies (blue) with the same total energy output is even more hazardous. The shield or other kind of beam blocker or attenuator needs to be between the user and the laser when on.
Ok, laser safety rant over.

Great points. That's what I've tried to address with this model. All the other designs are unshielded.
If you read the description you'll notice that this one features a door with an interlock that only allows the laser to active when the door is closed, making it a laser with an enclosure.
Safety glasses are still recommended though, better safe than sorry.

Hello , this is arduino model should I buy?

4 x A4988 Stepper Motor Driver with Heat Sink + UNO R3 Board + CNC Shield Expansion Board for Arduino 3D Printer Diy kit

At first thanks for the amazing Project and I have two questions at first do I need easydrive stepperdriver if I use the Arduino UNO with CNC Shield or does the Shield the Job ? and second One witch safety Glasses do you recomand thanks ;)

If you use the CNC shield it should come with some drivers, or you'll need to buy 2 Pololu type Drivers.
I'd recommend safety glasses from a trusted supplier that match the laser wavelength you're using.

And what kind of laser driver do I need?

There's a simple driver schematic included in the instructions or explore off the shelf TTL laser drivers recommended by Bernardo

I have problem using GBRL 0.9j it doesn't home at all, it just seizes up and stop responding to commands when sending homing command. What version of GBRL are you using? I'm able to move everything around, my endstops work right, I have the laser diode driver hooked up (even burnt some stuff already) but I Didn't run any G-code yet and I can't get homing going. On top of that, where did you get your corflute from? mine is a little too thick

I got my corflute from warehouse stationary in New Zealand, I suppose that wont help much though. You could carefully cut the the back edges off to the right depth? It'll run a bit rougher in the channel though.

Ohh I've updated the instructions to include a link to this. Sorry had the wrong link up.
"During testing I found that Grbl would hang on the $H (homing) command. I suspected this was a problem with the Z Axis as the MicroSlice does not have one.

To fix the probem we must remove the Z Axis options from the Homing Cycle. The commands are contained within the config.h file in the source code.

1 | Download the source code from Grbl (link).

2 | Unpack the archive.

3 | Open config.h in your favourite text editor.

4 | Locate the following code

"#define HOMING_SEARCH_CYCLE_0 (1< #define HOMING_SEARCH_CYCLE_1 ((1<"

5 | Replace the code the following, Remove the quotation marks "

"// #define HOMING_SEARCH_CYCLE_0 (1<"
"#define HOMING_SEARCH_CYCLE_0 ((1<"

6 | Locate the following code

"#define HOMING_LOCATE_CYCLE ((1<"

7 | Replace the code with

"#define HOMING_LOCATE_CYCLE ((1<"

6 | Save

7 | Recompile the grbl.hex file. I used my Raspberry Pi to recompile the hex. In case things go wrong I have included the modified hex file for you below. You'll need to flash your Arduino with the new hex.

If everything has worked, and all the settings are configured correctly you should be able to run the homing cycle ($H) and see the MicroSlice zero itself and then you should be ready to go create!"

Love to see a photo when it's done

yes! this is exactly what the problem was, I found out after reading almost entire GRBL Wiki. I didn't alter the firmware yet though, to skip that problem I hooked up an additional switch and imitated the probing using the switch. I will modify the firmware just now, thank you very much! I have another issue though.. my limit switched are on left of the X axis and closer to me on Y axis. No matter how would I configure the probing and invert the axis directions when I start engraving it wants to go in to positive direction from X0/Y0 (the new GRBL uses all negative). Supposedly this is how most advanced and professional CNC machines operate. The G-code created tells the engraver to go in the opposite direction then what is desired.

I have the same issue. I haven't seriously looked into it but did come up with a couple of work arounds, tell me if you find a better solution.
1: add some start commands to your gcode. Home then set X and Y to 40 with "G92 x40 y40" now all your work area will be in positive space.
2: Draw all your stuff in negative space in inkscape. I use guide lines to draw a box off the "page" the shift my lines into it.

For now I move X axis all the way to the right and the Y axis as close to me and reset the zeros. It prints upside down with a 0/0 at right far corner and work it's way back to me and left. I reverted only Y axis. At least I don't have to invert (mirror) the picture.

The config.h file doesn't have the pieces of code that you quoted, I'm using 0.9j is that what You use too?

will ya make a tiny
3d printer?

Did you use 1/16th microstepping for the drivers?

My original one used easydrivers which only did 1/8. The CNC shield will do 1/16 http://blog.protoneer.co.nz/arduino-cnc-shield-v3-00-assembly-guide/#MicroStep
You'll need to set the steps/mm to 106.67 though

I get it! Thank you for pointing it out. Otherwise the arduino would send the same amount of pulses and get only half of the motion

It seems that every part that I print doesn't fit. Did you have to file any of the parts up? I printed many calibration prints before to make sure my printer is tuned in and it appears that the printer runs fine.

Which parts exactly? If you mean the X and Y Brackets they have a 0.1mm clearance all around and a 0.5mm at the top in the CAD model. Mine fitted together nicely with no filing. I could upload ones with a larger clearance? 0.2mm? 0.5mm?

Pretty much every part. I filed most of them but I still didn't touch the bed mounting bracket. The 3 m4 nuts won't fit in the slots. It needs very little clearance but few parts are just hard to file. I think I will manage to file it up wherever I have to and get it working. Great work though!

Thanks! How wide are your nuts?

Should be 7mm by the standard, but I will measure it when I get home.

it turns out that my printer was not as accurately tuned in as I thought!! the larger distances ie. (hole to hole) were spot on, but the shell thickness was too high and even though my calibration cube was 20mm as it should, the openings and tolerances were smaller. This much filing because of a few lousy numbers!

I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were trying to do it without the DVD carriages. Personally I don't think it's possible to do it without the carriages. The carriages are what is moving the laser and the platform on the X and Y axis. You need the motion so the laser wouldn't burn in just one spot. Unless you plan on using some other way to move the laser around (which will not be as easy as using DVD drives).

Hi, I would like to build this but using Laser diodes purchased together with holder and heatsinks not from DVD drives. What do I need to do to make sure it fits without the DVD carriage? Thanks.

I'm trying to do the same thing. I bought a TTL driver that will work with a diode that I purchased. You'd need to make sure that the diode maintains steady current for which it is designed. Did you buy an entire module with the diode already installed in the holder and heatsink? I bought suggested holder to avoid problems with mounting the holder

I bought a suggested holder mount and heatsink which came with instructions to assemble unit, but did't say how to solder diodes "after installed in holder" - an impossible task, wires need to be soldered to diode before insertion into holder.
But how to mount the whole without the dvd carriage?

CD Drives should also work if they are easier for you to get.

Could you send me one?

I really want to build this, however do you know any drives that you KNOW will work/be easy to disassemble and reassemble?

I used light scribe drives out of old HP workstations, model GSA-H60L. Anything pre 2008 should work though. I tried to make the design as universal as possible, I've tested it with about 5 different drives. Even CD drives and post 2008 DVD drives should work, but you wont get a usable laser out of them. Cheers

​hi, i made the engraver but i am facing a problem, the motion is working fine just needs some calibration but the laser is not burning anything. it is being turned on and off but it just doesn't burn anything what can be the issue

OK that'd be a laser focus issue. Are you using the same laser holder as in the instructions? If so wind the lens all the way in to get the shortest throw. Get a piece of black Paper or plastic then move the laser slowly closer until the laser dot is the smallest. Use the fine adjust screw to adjust the laser until you see smoke. If the laser seems very bright and focused but still doest burn then it's either not powerful enough (not a DVD burner) or it's not receiving enough amperage and the variable resistor needs to be adjusted.

thanks for your reply, yes i am using the same laser holder will try as suggested, how much should be the external power supply to the system like 12v (n)A

The external supply only drives the motors and fans. 500mA should be OK.

Hey, I love the design, I'm halfway through competing it!!

On to my question, on the PDF it showes the four tabs on the bottom that attach the four corners of the Y axis, why did you decide to remove the back two from the STL?

Thank you!

Look at page 6 of the instructions. You need to print the Y lugs and slide them on. They allow for adjustment depending on the size of your DVD drive

Couple of comments:

  1. this rocks i am making one. but having some printing issues... i could use some materials/slice setting recommendations. i am using a flashforge creator pro and have access to ABS, PLA, PLA+ PetG the sides are not sturdy enough in PLA and keep coming apart where the rails and mounts join the case.

second there are alot of typos and numbering mismatches in the otherwise beautiful blueprint PDF. take them with a grain of salt. especially when it comes to grub screw lengths. your sled may require longer ones.

third, while i too LOVE Nyloc Nuts and would prefer to use them just about anywhere, the nut traps and mounts will just strip or break unless your nyloc nuts are broken in or lubricated in some way there is just too much torque. pre assemble with standard nuts, then add loctite, fix with hotmelt glue or replace them with nylocs when you have everything just so.

Coreflute is a trade name for Plastic cardboard panels. its available in colors at kinkos and sign printing shops or in white as a lawn sign kit in the mailbox isle at home depot. some office depot and staples locations also cary large sheets as "Presentation boards" for kids science projects etc.

InkScape and the G-Code sender plugin are something you will want to download for your OS to use it. I cant seem to find a good predefined Sketch for this to upload in Arduino with all the correct settings, if anyone has one please share.

I have no hidt for cad, but would love to see a couple of additional mounts for common laser tubes and heatsink/driver packages.

I have a laser tube that have an OD of 12.04 mm. they came with a heatsink that is 22.10mm x 58.32mm (with a 5 hole pattern in the back 4 3mm threaded spaced 40mm High x 16mm Wide and one in the center threaded m6

another that has a mount 35x30 with non threaded m4 holes in a 5mm High and 12mm wide pattern

the ever popular 50mm high 33mm wide heatsink/driver/laser combo with fan hole pattern 6 x 3mm threaded holes.
40mm tall x 16mm wide plus center holes between them at same height.

perhaps a mount customizer? i have no cad experience or i would make the additions myself.

this is one of my favorite things here, and understand, EVERYONE who is a maker should have one, just trying to help steer folks in the right direction.

Thanks for the feedback!
Do you have any pictures of the failures? It may help me improve the deesign. I printed them in ABS 0.5W 0.25H at the temperature that gave me the best interlayer strength. Try these for calibration http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:35088

Any chance of proofing the PDF for me? It was a rather rushed job, but I'd be happy to improve it. I really want to give back to the community but I'm finding life a little overwhelming at the moment.
The length some of the screws is very dependant on your DVD Drive, I should make more of a note of that.

Hmm yeah the nylocks can be problematic. I made a note about supporting the nut traps when tightening. They may be better off replaced with standard nuts. I could redesign it to suit.

I spent quite a lot of time trying to come up with a universal DVD mounting solution. I haven't really looked into a universal Laser mount. Maybe something with cable ties would be good? I haven't learnt OpenSCAD so unfortunately I can't make a customiser yet.

Print Temperature Calibration Piece

Would the blue laser diodes from lightscribe dvds work for this?

I don't see why not. You may need a better driver though, I'm unsure of the mW draw of them or if the USB output would be sufficient.

Looks good.
The mounting holes on the board won't line up though, might need to glue it in or figure something else out.
Same goes for the laser driver heatsink, it's square not round.

Hi Isolt,

I'm very interesting in making your project, I've studied all your docs, but I saw that main schemes were designed for the V1.1 version, I understood the great lines of the transfer on an arduino UNO +CNC shield, but I still have some doubts about the way to mount it. So I made a scheme that figures the CNC shield and the way I understood we have to mount the project. Cause I'm a real beginner in electronic I'm sure I made some mistakes So could you kindly take a look at my scheme and eventually make some comments to correct it. thanks for your help.

Super now it's clear for me, thank you very much Isolt.

Hi Picolorigolo.
The schematics are the same but connect to different places on the new board.
I've corrected it here.
Post a picture when you're done!

it was instruction, where you used Arduino Nano and prototype board, can you give me it, pls? i have prototype board, that was in old instruction, arduino nano and arduino uno.

Check the "Photon_Printer_V1_Legacy_Files.zip" under thing files. All the old parts and instructions are there

Would you nice little laser guy here be able to make a pcb? I have seen a method in which black spray paint covers a pcb, and then a laser cutter is then used to burn it off in the desired pattern. Do you think this diode would be capable of this? Or would you recommend getting a better diode? Have you ever tried it?

Thanks a bunch!

Sorry I've been meaning to try this but just haven't had time.
I haven't figured out how to make inkscape do solid infill. There may be a way buy I imagine it'd be slow
This guy is doing something similar http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-PCBs-using-a-DIY-Laser-Engraver/

I have experience with this. If you would like I could send you some gcode files of a simple test board.

What's the line spacing on the solid infill? I imagine that'd need some tweaking depending on the power of the laser. I can give it a go.


Awesome project

I have all parts needed for Your first version without laser driver with nano arduino, I have no experience with electronics so I was wondered can You send me some pictures how to wire everything I would really appreciate it.

I am starting to learn electronics and I wanted to this be my first Arduino project for learning.

Thx in advance

Hi luxemate.
Did you download the original electronic schematics? if not they're still available in the legacy zip file.
It's pretty much a point to point soldering job, just follow the connections on the schematic.
Here's a pic of the final board.

Hi Isolt,
Been following your Photon Printer for some time, quite an amazing project! It caught my son's eye and was exactly what he needed to get him interested in electronics and learn how to solder (LOL, which is how I got involved). I've got an electronics and programming background but never played with the Audrino and had been looking for an excuse, so this also worked out perfect for me too, but don't tell him that.... The one challenge I am having being a noob to the Arduino is in figuring out what product to use. In your latest update you mention "Arduino Uno with CNC shield". How do you figure out which Arduino model? For example, there is this 3 or 4 driver on eBay: http://m.ebay.com/itm/261865186324
Or off Amazon I found this:
Arduino UNO R3 board with DIP ATmega328P

Or this
IEIK UNO R3 Board ATmega328P with USB Cable for Arduino - Compatible With Arduino...


And for the CNC board do you go with something like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0157ZZ33Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?qid=1443532265&sr=8-7&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=arduino+uno+cnc+shield&dpPl=1&dpID=513eaaT2%2BGL&ref=plSrch

I figure I have to start somewhere so any help yourself or anyone else can offer will give me the stepping off point I need to get started.

Hi Azimuth45.
I'm glad people are enjoying my design! Hope you two have fun!
I haven't got around to updating the bill of materials yet.
I'm not an arduino expert but it looks like any of those options will work fine.
The Uno R3 is an official Arduino, so if you buy it the money will help support the Arduino foundation (sounds like some sellers sell fakes though, comments below say Mp3Car and Canakit are OK)
You don't need to buy a genuine Arduino though, the design is open source so as long as they're not claiming it's genuine that's no problem.
Anything UNO compatible will work. "R3" is revision 3 I believe, but is forwards and backwards compatible.
The ebay one has a smaller USB connector so there will be a bit of a gap in the case, but not the end of the world.
You only need 2 stepper drivers but a spare or 2 wont hurt. especially if you plug them in backward/

Hi there,

Thanks again for that new build.

I just got a stupid question regarding the new electronic build.
I allready got that GRBL shield for another project, and I feel there is no "laser diode driver" build in.
How did you managed to power that diode ?

Hi Skoup.
You'll still need to build your own driver, there's a schematic in the files. There is a 5V pin on the top of the CNC board to power it and the spindle pin turns it on and off.
Or you could buy a driver and connect it. You could even get a fancy TTL one

And my next stupid question is : is there a place in your build to place it properly ?

The DIY one would just be a small rectangle of protoboard. 6 male headers that plugged into the SPnEn/SpnDir/CoolEn should support it pretty well. I'll post a picture when done.
If you bought a driver I'd mount it to the left hand side wall. I haven't make any attachment points as they're bound to have a variety of shapes and holes spacings.

Hi Isolt.
First thing congratulation ! Very well shape design you've shared to us.

Second thing, I just wonder when your v2 design will be ready ?
Cause I'm that kind of unlucky guy that killed 4 dvd burner without having one really compatible...

So depending on your release date, I will wait or create my own fork / remix :)

Hi skoup. Sorry life's been busy recently. I've printed a couple of prototypes of version 2. I'm pretty happy with where it's at but want to print one last piece. I'll upload the files this weekend, the documentation may lag behind quite a bit though.

New files are up!

Sorry for the late answer,

Will try to print it this weekend and I'll let you know ;)

I did start by making the electronic part, e did respect the schematic, and i start to test the laser to check if can burn something before proceed, but did not work, :( i have review and replace the components twice and the problem is the same, laser activate but don't have power to burn nothing :(

I did confirm and the diode is the correct one is red, ( GSA-H60L 16x DVD-RW DL )

I did measure the power that get's to the diode, and i think that is very low ( between 2V with diode in place / if i remove the diode and measure i can get up to 3.32V )
The external power adapter i'm using is 5v 500mA
I'm sure i'm making something wrong, i just can't find the problem, if any electronic friend can help me i appreciate.

I let here some links of my test PCB:

Looking good! From the looks of it everything is correct.
With a DVD laser you're never going to be able to cut white paper, it just doesn't have the power.
A 16x drive will probably be safe run at 200-250mA. So connect a multimeter and gently turn that variable resistor. If you see a sudden jump in brightness back it off immediately!
Once you're happy with amperage put a piece of black cardboard/plastic in front of it and move it back and forward until you find the focal point, you should see some smoke! remember your safety glasses!
If you want to push it further read up online about it. Apparently you can visually see the output change when it nears it's maximum wattage.

This is my list of questions, please endeavour to answer them all:
What software can I use? I would like to export from vectorworks.
I don't have stop switches on mine and don't want to put them on, are they necessary?
How can I be sure the platform is level enough for prints?
Are heat sinks necessary?


You could manually push the X and Y to 0 then send a gcode command "G92 x0 y0" to set the machine to 0. You'd have to disable homing in GRBL though.
Use a square to square the 2 axis. Use a vernier or ruler to level the bed against the DVD Drive frame
Heatsinks don't seem to be necessary but I'd recommend them.

Could you add a BOM to the downloads? would be much appreciated for me when i make my own,

Check page 1 of the instructions PDF for a BOM. Electronics BOM is in the instructions page.

Great Job!
I'd like to build this thing!!!
Unfortunately, my DVD drives aren't compatible to your design.
The Solidworks files don't work. I don't think that it's a problem of older or newer file versions.
I work with SW2014 and I can't open any file. Same error " Error trying open your File. Please contact technical support".
What is your version? Could you open the files by downloading them?

Thanks a lot!

Just tested the uploaded files, they all seem fine. They were saved in 2015 though, so 2014 wont be able to open them because of a frustrating lack of forwards compatibility.
I'm about a week away from uploading version 2 that will work for almost any DVD drive. I just want to print it and confirm it works first.

That is really frustrating! Maybe you can upload the files in parasolid or step format.
I'm looking forward on Version 2.


That's a god idea, they'll be more editable than STL's

Does also old CD-ROM contains all parts?

Some that I've looked at didn't have end stops, you could always add a microswitches though.
A CD drive won't have a red laser. If it's a CD writer it will have an infra-red laser, but these are more dangerous to use as you can't see them. I wouldn't recommend using a CD laser if you don't know what you;re doing.

Comments deleted.

I have the mechanical parts assembled, one of my disk drives was slightly larger, so had to do some working around. I'll upload photos soon. Thanks for the upload :)

Is it capable of making a pcb?

I would like to know the same

What are the specifications for the laser diode I think I might buy one online because I'm having trouble getting the diodes out.

5.6mm TO18 package.
150-250mW depending on the DVD drive.
A higher powered diode would be better if you;re buying one rather than harvesting one.

Could you give me a link to a higher powered diode if you can?

I can't find it anywhere

How the heck did you find orange coreflute!!

What is this engraver capable of cutting

Dark coloured paper, or dark thin cardboard/plastic.It'd be capable of more with a more powerful laser.
Please edit your comments and add to them rather than spamming multiple questions.
Got the corflute at a stationary shop

Could this be adapted to laser engrave metal?

Yes, but you'd need a much more powerful laser.

What would you suggest?

Hello, Isolt.
Can I use L298N modules instead of EasyDriver? In this case I must rework arduino code or something else?
Thank you.

Ok. Now I started to build your Engraver with some modifications. 3 DVD's gone to heaven :)
I must to rebuild almost all in X_Mount and X_Laser_Mount.

Comments deleted.

Sorry to bother you with all of the questions but what is that component on the bottom right
The one withe the thick line and three wire connecting to it

It's listed next to it.
2N2222 NPN Transistor.

Also how did you hook up the dc power component Is it in the circuit graphing?

Top right of the diagram shows the 9-12v input.
Top left shows the 5v output from the arduino

Are all of the ground wires connected to each other or the one heat sink

All ground are hooked together. They shouldn't be connected to any heat sinks

How would you hook up an lcd screen to the laser engraver also were did you get the heat sinks for the stepper driver

I don't think GRBL currently supports LCD's. You could try looking for an alternative gcode interpreter.
One option could be Reprap electronics, lots of those support LCD screens.
The heatsinks came from a graphics card.

What's a graphics card?
And do you need the heat sinks when you have the fans (I'm a kid so I have very little experience in electronics

Comments deleted.

Article about Endurance diode laser cutter 2.1 Watt L-Cheapo BY MICHAEL MOLITCH-HOU how to convert 3D Printer into Laser Cutter / engraving machine

Love the project! I had been collecting dvd drives to attempt to make a small 3d printer, but you sold me on the idea of turning a couple of them into a laser engraver. As expected, my DVD drives need completely different mounts and attachments than your files provide, Furthermore I discovered (sadly) that your SW files were likely saved in a newer version of Soldiworks than I have (2013 here), I have basically rebuilt all the files for my specific make, short of the lid handles, tightener knob and vent.

Waiting on a laser housing and a couple of fans to come in to finish this up.

Thanks for the inspiration and great instructions

Yeah it's annoying how solidworks isn't forward (backward?) compatible.
Sounds like you're on top of it though.
Did the sides not work either? I was hoping that the frame holes were at least consistent.

Tell me about it, compatibility between versions of SW is annoying. As for the sides, unfortunately no they weren’t usable for me. One of my drives looks as if it would have lined up, but the other did not and it even had mounting pads that weren’t on the same plane. Just luck of the draw I suppose. Either way it was a fun project for me to do the modeling on.

Great design, looking forward to trying this myself. I love that you actually made it look like a commercial-grade product, rather than what normal DIY projects look like, e.g. a bunch of scrap parts bolted together.

Two questions:

  1. If I'm not mistaken (which I might be, don't have too much experience in electronics) you made your own laser diode driver out of the various electronic parts. Would I be able to replace that with a commercial laser diode driver?

  2. Is there anything actively cooling the diode housing? DVD burners seem to have ~150mW diodes from the info I've gathered, but I was hoping I could try to replace that with a 1W diode for a bit of extra power. That would generate quite a bit more heat, so I imagined it would need something to actively cool the housing.

Thanks karlzhao314!

  1. Yes I made a very simple driver. There's no reason you couldn't buy one to match your diode. Just make sure it fits in the enclosure.

  2. There are two 40mm fans that are primarily for cooling the drivers and smoke extraction. Looks like there should be enough room for an additional 40mm fan on the left side of the enclosure to cool the diode.

Thanks for the quick reply. I'm going to try to build one, as soon as I can get all the parts in.

I look forward to seeing this project develop. Something tells me it could be something huge :)

If you want a fan hole cut in the model just message me.

How much is it cost to make the hole thing

If you get the DVD drives free $10-20 depending on how good a laser lens you want. Maybe even cheaper if you shop around a little. Check down a few comments for where I listed some parts links.

There have been a few requests for easier electronics. I'm working on a new design for an arduino uno and a CNC shield. I've ordered both but it could be a while till they turn up. Anyone interested in trying the design?

I'd definitely be interested in giving this a shot. If the total bill of materials can be kept under $50-$75, I'm game for attempting to follow your instructions.

The Uno arrived today so I should be able to prototype a bit.
Still looking cheap
Even cheaper if you buy all the pieces separately.

i would be interested in trying the design once you get it figured out

OK it'll probably be a few weeks until the parts arrive.

Thankyou so much!!!!!!!!!!
Your the man.

is there anyway I can get the right side stl file with no photon printer text on it. having a heck of a time printing this part. too many short moves for my printer.

OK uploaded as an option. Hope it helps!

Other than printed plastic, about how much is the actual parts cost in the US?

If you get the DVD drives free $10-20 depending on how good a laser lens you want. Maybe even cheaper if you shop around a little.
Check down a few comments for where I listed some parts links.

I'm in the process of making this right now! I have all my parts printed and am just waiting on additional parts from China.

Which nm of safety glasses did you buy?

That's great to hear, post some pics when you're done I'd love to see it!
If you're using the red laser out of the DVD drive it's 650nm.
If you're using the IR laser it's 780nm. I'd advise against the IR one though as it's invisible.

So that new schematic...is there a beginners one that's easier to interpret?

I find this one easier.
Just get some protoboard and connected all the pins that are connected on the drawing. The green rectangles are male headers for connecting things to. I used female headers for the arduino and drivers to plug into.
The other option would be buying a ready made CNC shield
I'm still working on a good way to mount it though

with this you light up at night?

It's so bright I have to wear special light reducing safety glasses, even during the day!

This is way beyond cool!

Cheers! Glad people are enjoying it.

I have drawn a schematic of the electronics that I think you are using, how can I get it onto these comments?

Have you seen my schematic pdf I uploaded with the part files? Might be useful
You'd need to upload it and link it. Maybe http://tinypic.com/ or dropbox/gdrive if you have one of those.


Please grab this file and stick it in your "thing files" if it is any use for you. It wont be shared for too long I suspect...

One note on the electronics
Question 12 http://www.schmalzhaus.com/EasyDriver/
"The Easy Driver is able to operate in 1/8th, 1/4, half, and full step (2 phase) modes. These four modes are selected by the logic levels on the MS1 and MS2 input pins. Normally, the pull-up resistors on the Easy Driver hold MS1 and MS2 high, which results in a default setting of 1/8th microstep mode."
So I think you can do away with those connections MS1 & MS2. I don't have them connected on mine and the microstepping seems to work fine.
As you pointed out that diode is probably superfluous.
VIN on the arduino nano can go unconnected as it's powered by USB.
Any chance you could update it?

Cheers, uploaded here now.

Thanks pepperm, much more professional! I'm working on part files that will suit an arduino uno if that's something you'd be interested in. Should make things more standardised and suit CNC shields.

Yes I have seen, and have ordered a CNC shield. I have also ordered the HAT for a raspberry pi to play with. This has the drivers and an arduino on board.

Do you have a link to the CNC shield you got? I want to make sure it'll fit. New files will be up as an alternative option when I'm happy with the way the uno is mounted. Cheers

Try looking around here http://blog.protoneer.co.nz/arduino-cnc-shield/. I ordered mine on eBay for u dear £5 the raspi version comes with an arduino nano and is more expensive. Also from eBay and from New Zealand.

What voltage are you using for the Vin and hence the motor drives please?

The Drivers take 6-30V. I'm using 12V because my fans also run off the Vin. The fans are a little noisy though, so less than 12V would be fine.

Hell yeah! Nice work!

Lovely design and very makable... I'm giving it a go, but... where do the end stops connect to on the Arduino please? I can't figure it out from any of the pictures and they don't seem to be included in the schematic for that other project that you refer to.

End stops are pin D9 (X) and pin D10 (Y) on the arduino. You're right I can't see that in hi schematic, it may be part of his eagle file though.

Also, what is the reasoning for the diode in the Emitter circuit of the 2N2222 Laser Diode switch circuitry? And...what have you been using the connections to A0, A1 and A2 for? Are they just there for future expansion or are they actually connected to something?

The diode is to stop the 12V feeding back into the arduino 5V regulated output, I'm not exactly an electrical engineer though...
Ahh good spotting on those pins, I haven't documented that yet. They're for future expansion, but I haven't used them so far.
A0 reset/abort
A1 Feed hold
A2 Cycle start/resume

The transistor will stop the current passing back. I suspect the diode is superfluous I am afraid. It is just upping the emitter voltage on the transistor for no real reason at all. The laser diode connects to 5V anyway and not 12V...

Nope, it's not in the Eagle file either. Thanks for the pointers to D9 and D10.

It's absolutely beautiful, both visually and engineering.
Sir that is just masterpiece!!

Thank you! It was quite a fun project and I learnt a bit more about electronics along the way

couple questions,

  1. do you have a list of where i can buy the parts? (i need to ship to the netherlands)
  2. how expierinced do you have to be to be able to make something like this (and let it work)? we had to work with diodes, wired and resistors on school sometime, making a small flashlight onto a board. but never somethig big and i am not really good at all this.
  3. for the slideable lit, i only have abs plastic, do you think that will still work, even though it's not a plastic that will really bend.

I got most of my parts from Ali express, they're sometimes slow but they offer worldwide shipping and have a good range of stuff.
Laser holder http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1845-House-Housing-Case-w-Glass-Lens-for-5-6mm-TO18-Coated-650nm-Red-Laser-Diode/32247650886.html
I go this cheaper one but the lens isn't that great http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-1PC-New-5-6mm-T018-16x50mm-Industrial-Laser-Diode-House-Housing-Case-Lens/1890957182.html

Easydriver http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1Set-EasyDriver-Shield-stepping-Stepper-Motor-Driver-V44-A3967-For-Arduino-Brand-New/1988274102.html

Arduino http://www.aliexpress.com/item/A96-Free-Shipping-Nano-3-0-Controller-Board-Compatible-with-Arduino-Nano-CH340-USB-Driver/1942774368.html

A stupid amount of transistors http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-Shipping-100pcs-2N2222-NPN-40V-0-8A-Transistor-TO-92/664923114.html

This project is surprisingly plug and play. the arduino is all ready to go, the stepper drivers are pre-packaged, the only thing you'll need to build is the laser driver. My simple driver design is only 3 resistors and a diode, you could build a better one or buy one though. You'll need some soldering experience, but it sounds like you have that.

I'm sure that you could find some corftute, it may be called something different though. Try a stationary store, it's sold here for mounting paper on as a display board. Failing that corrugated cardboard or just thin cardboard should work

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wahou !!
very good job , thanks .

but where is your electronic shema please ?

I've put my simple schematics up now. A much better design is here though http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-laser-engraver/step5/Electronics/

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This design has no end stops, well none that I can see and the veroboard layout in the design is very difficult to read. Is there a better circuit diagram for this particular build please?

Sorry I didn't realise it had been compressed so badly. I've uploaded a better quality one in the thing files.
End stops are pin D9 (X) and pin D10 (Y) on the arduino.

what part did u use for the door that slides down?

Corflute corrugated plastic, it's used for signs. I slit the back of the door piece so that it would bend.

Brilliant use of corflute! What's a good source for the laser goggles? ebay?

I can't reply with any links form some reason .
Make sure you get something certified, a pair i got off the internet appears to do nothing...

Do you think that an arduino uno and a stepper shield could replace the stepper drivers? Or even some pololu drivers from an old reprap?

Easily. You'll still need a laser driver though. There's even a board designed for GRBLhttp://blog.protoneer.co.nz/arduino-cnc-shield/