Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Thingiverse User Brings You Open-Source 3D Printed Laser Cutter and Engraver

ST Medical Devices

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design 2Thingiverse user villamany, of Spain, used the open-source inspiration of the RepRap community, and parts from his own RepRap 3D printer, to create his 3DP Laser Cutter and Engraver, the 3dpBurner.

It’s quite common that individuals who are interested in 3D design and 3D printing also need these tools as workshop staples in terms of machinery. The laser cutter is responsible for being able to delicately slice through a variety of materials like wood, fabrics, plastics, and more. Engraving allows the user to accentuate his work for his own satisfaction, or at the specific request of a client.

Laser cutters are usually available in a variety of systems and allow for added creativity combined with structure and great precision. They can often be the profitable center of businesses involved in customization, design, and marketing. Laser cutters and engravers are also relied on in manufacturing to mark specific products.

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Villamany offers you a design that you can download and customize for your own needs, but it’s also important to note that if you do so, this is a technology that can come with some hazards. Villamany stresses the need for protecting the eyes and self from the laser rays, as well as toxic fumes. Not to be taken lightly, dangerous fumes can be emitted as a byproduct of laser engraving, leading to respiratory issues. Measures should be taken with glasses, and both fumes and dust need to be eliminated.

BasesTransp_preview_featuredThe 3dpBurner laser printer and engraver demonstrates the true force 3D printing technology has in helping and inspiring makers, tinkerers, and innovators to think of the 3D printer as a tool that allows for them to make other tools, propagating both more technology and progress. We rely on the printer/engraver for a number of applications, traditionally, especially in helping to personalize items for events like weddings, sports functions, and awards, and special occasions we like to commemorate with keepsakes.

The laser printer is a useful tool in that it works so powerfully and efficiently to turn light into heat. It produces highly focused energy which allows the user to manipulate different materials in the desired fashion. For villamany’s intents and purposes, he wanted to do several things: 3D print his own laser cutter and engraver, make it a fully customizable, open-source design, and do it cheaply.

Villamany turned to Arduino software to control two NEMA17 stepper motors. With an Arduino UNO board in place, he also set up an inexpensive CNC shield with two pololu based drivers.

laser cutterThe laser diode is the part of the tool that sears into the material, manipulating it with the desired effect for cutting and engraving. Villamany chose the 1.6W blue laser diode, which is commonly used. Built with nearly all 3D printed parts, villamany also used (with most of this coming from his old RepRap printer):

  • M8 and M3 size hardware to include rods, nuts, washers, and bolts
  • Small bearings
  • GT2 pulleys and belts

The design is fully functioning and available for download here. He also lays out more details in a blog on the project.

Is this design one that you are interesting in downloading and 3D printing? Do you find the laser cutting and engraving necessary in your career or hobby? Tell us about it in the 3D Printed Laser Cutter and Engraver forum over at 3DPB.com.

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