Let's Make Robots!

DIY laser cutter

Reading about all those lucky people that have access to a laser cutter, i was wondering: can we make one? I mean, build a custom (cheap) laser cutter?

I think it should be something like a plotter, so with a couple of fine-grained steppers and a frame structure (maybe some old scanner) that should be ok.

The problem is the cutting :P where can one find a good laser? i thought about CD-Writer but they have about 100 mW.. I don't know, maybe it's enought for a small dark acrylic sheet.. But i think the optical stuff won't fit :)

Another idea that almost surely wouldn't work is using some kind of hot needle :Pi mean, putting a needle on the head of the plotter, making it red hot in some whay and then slowly moving it throu the plastic..


Any idea ? :P

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You would need something in the range of 75 watts to be an affective laser cutter (steel, acrylic, lexan, delrim, etc).
you could have told me with some more touch :)

You might consider a Dremel head - so in effect you could build a 3 axis CNC machine with a dremel a 3 stepper motors.

Here is an example.  This would be significantly less cost and complexity than a laser CNC machine.

I've read about some diy lasers that can cut through a balloon no prob....but thats about all...they were also made using dvd burners for the components...

It's also quite dangerous as you can't see the laser beam...so looking directly at it to see if it's working can be a blinding expirience.... 


I think the URL might give you an idea of what its all about

"Laser cutter, start slicing stuff for under 50 dollars

There are many out there that are making things to win a laser cutter. Here is a project for those 500 that don't win, but still want a laser cutter for simple stencil cutting needs.

This project was conceived during a chat with Alex where we wished we had a laser cutter and thought we could make one out of an etchasketch. Alex, this instructable is for you. Keep on inspiring me. "

Nifty project, but for making robot components it seems a bit weak, unless your making your robots out of paper (which is possible)

Here is a link for higher power potentially very dangerous lasers - The gist of it is to build a power supply in the kW range - get a pyrex tube of evacuated CO2 with a brewsters window at one end.

I'd still recommend the dremel 3 axis table instead.

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Time seems to have changed. Does somebody have experience with this affordable kit? http://www.3ders.org/articles/20131104-turn-your-3d-printer-into-an-instant-laser-cutter.html . You can upgrade your 3d printer into a laser cutter.

I have no experience with laser cutting, but I would like to build my own machine!

http://reprapmagazine.com Issue 2 that covered various laser diodes. They had mentioned/suggested that they would get more in depth, but, the 3rd issue is out with no mention of the laser diodes. I am hoping they get back to it in the 4th issue.

I would really suggest you DON'T build a laser cutter.  I think it would be WAY more trouble than what it is worth.  Buy one of these for 500 bucks, thats what I did. 


Cuts wood and acryllic,  Won't work on metal.  If you want metal cut, then you are getting into big bucks and a lot of watts.