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Home Made CNC/Laser Cutter

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Geoff Gardiner27/09/2019 12:00:58
563 forum posts
945 photos

I am currently building myself a CNC/Laser Cutter combined. It is made from parts that I printed on my 3d printer.

The other bits were sourced cheaply form eBay, Bangood and AliExpress.

It is based around an Arduino processor and controlled from my Mac.

Here are some pics of the build so far:












As you can see, in CNC mode it uses my Dremel to cut. The last picture shows me cutting some control horns for my Harvard build. I will post the video shortly.

I am currently designing the holder for the 5w laser module that I have. I also plan to build in some form of air assist.

More later...

Geoff Gardiner27/09/2019 12:05:50
563 forum posts
945 photos

Here is the video:

I forgot to mention that the size is 1000mm x 500mm.
More later...
Stuphedd27/09/2019 12:19:30
721 forum posts
376 photos

Interesting !

any idea of the ball park total cost less the Dremel??


Piers Bowlan27/09/2019 12:30:09
2168 forum posts
53 photos

Impressive stuff Geoff - Respect! Have you designed it yourself?

Geoff Gardiner27/09/2019 15:15:13
563 forum posts
945 photos

I would think it's cost me about £250 ish including the 5w laser module (which was about £70). The advantage over a pre-built or kit laser 'engraver' is that it is bigger, has a more powerful laser and has Z-axis control so can also be used as a CNC cutter.

It is adapted from a design that I found on Thingiverse.

alan p27/09/2019 15:21:51
289 forum posts
25 photos

Well impressed, first class example of ingenuity.yes

ROBERT BURLACE27/09/2019 16:27:27
37 forum posts
14 photos

Nice one Geoff.

It shouldn’t be an issue with screw drive steppers, and your corners look pretty solid, but might be worth considering that some flexing of the frame may take place with the cnc router.

I have seen some people do similar with belt drive and it hasn’t worked brilliantly- the bit wonders quite a lot resulting in wobbly straights.

FlyinFlynn28/09/2019 12:38:43
158 forum posts
95 photos

SNAP!! thingverse cnc routerp9280089.jpg

These things are addictive....MostlyPrintedCNC


and another. This one is for pcbs


All three are made from adapted files freely available off t'internet. The green one (MPCNC) is a real beast with an 500 watt spindle.

The first item produced from the thingverse cnc router


also made a laser cnc


which I used to engrave and cut facias for my flight sim home cockpit



and this from a photo



I agree with may run into problems with the unsupported length of your x axis - especially when routing with a spindle


In fact, after watching the router cutting out the f/g horn you can see the cutter flexing as it cuts, it probably wont matter for the horns but it might matter for larger items. That is the trade off when making the axes' longer....

Edited By FlyinFlynn on 28/09/2019 13:31:14

FlyinFlynn28/09/2019 13:39:55
158 forum posts
95 photos

mmmmmm....I see that there is a drag knife to fit the mpcnc.....could be easily adapted to any other cnc router too. i might just have to splash out!!


Edited By FlyinFlynn on 28/09/2019 13:41:32

Geoff Gardiner24/10/2019 12:52:14
563 forum posts
945 photos

I have now fitted the laser to my CNC machine. Works a treat - just need to tidy up the cabling.


Geoff Gardiner05/11/2019 20:40:34
563 forum posts
945 photos

In Action.

adrian garnham22/11/2019 12:40:11
24 forum posts


I am seriously thinking of building a laser cutter along similar lines to yours. Just a couple of questions before I get too excited by the prospect:

1. Do you need programming knowledge or does the software do it all ?

2. Are you using Nema 17 steppers or something larger ?

3. Do you think this laser would cut 3mm birch ply **LINK** ?

thanks in advance

Geoff Gardiner22/11/2019 16:26:45
563 forum posts
945 photos

Hi Adrian.

In answer to your questions:

1. No real programming knowledge needed however, there is lots of info on the web about G Code should you wish to find something out. I use Inkscape for creating designs and producing the G Code and CNCjs for controlling the cutter. Both are free to download. I have gone into a bit more detail about using these on my Oodalally build here.

2.Yes - Nema 17's.

3. That looks like the same laser I use and I have cut 3mm Birch Ply. The beauty of this design is that you can cut much thicker ply by swapping the laser for a dremel.

Hope that has made your mind up for you and if you get stuck with anything, I would be happy to help out if I can.


adrian garnham22/11/2019 18:16:04
24 forum posts

thanks for the detailed reply. That's made my mind up .... definitely going to go for it. I've had a go at Inkscape and it's very similar to the CAD package I used at work before I retired (Creo by PTC) so quite easy to use.

FlyinFlynn23/11/2019 13:14:53
158 forum posts
95 photos

There are better value laser modules out there this 6W laser is $42.36 delivered. you feed it with 12 volts and a 3v3 PWM signal. there is also a temperature output but i didn't use it. It has its regulator built inside so doesn't need the huge external PSU/step down regulator. As the output from your controller board PWM will be 0-5v (assuming it is arduino based) I suggest using a level converter like this one to drop it to 0 - 3v3.

If anybody is interested in building a simple cantilevered laser engraver/cutter I can supply a set of stl's. It requires just two steppers, eight 3d printed parts, a simple two axis controller and two extruded ali shafts (one 20x20 and one 40x20)of whatever length you want to make it (within reason!)

(While under construction)


klingon warbird.jpg

Edited By FlyinFlynn on 23/11/2019 13:20:48

Joshua Henderson 130/11/2019 10:28:20
5 forum posts

Hi Geoff

Do you have a full list of bits used and what files you downloaded for printing?

Also what mods did you do on the design?

Geoff Gardiner30/11/2019 18:24:45
563 forum posts
945 photos

Hi Joshua.

My one was based on this.

I Just increased the length of the extrusion, rod and lead screws.

I designed an adapter for mounting the laser unit, which I can let you have if required.

adrian garnham05/12/2019 17:42:36
24 forum posts

Hi Geoff

I'm having trouble finding 12mm rod and lead screws in 1000 mm lengths. Where did you get yours from? I'm assuming china but didn't really want to wait too long for delivery.

Geoff Gardiner05/12/2019 17:55:01
563 forum posts
945 photos

Hi Adrian.

The lead screws where from either Banggood or Aliexpress - can't remember which.

The rod was from ebay - this one I think.

Hope that helps.


adrian garnham05/12/2019 18:12:29
24 forum posts


thank you. I wasn't sure if the tolerance of the shaft would be good enough for the bearings.

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