Laser Engraver is ALIVE!

by on Mar.14, 2009, under Projects

About two weeks ago Hacklab acquired a Universal Laser Systems ULS-25P laser engraver. Ted found it for sale used for a small sum. But it had broken, ancient electronics which was the reason the unit was sold. We decided that it might be fun to try building our own electronics to get the unit going again. Exactly one week ago Dan and I came into the lab in the evening and tested the laser. We made a little Arduino program to send the laser the correct control signal. Amazingly, it worked! We burned a hole quite successfully through a piece of paper. With a 25W CO2 laser it would be possible to etch and cut a lot of materials under computer control!

A bunch of us worked all last weekend and a few nights this week building electronics, learning to configure and use the emc2 CNC software, and install a place for the unit to sit and proper ventilation to extract smoke and fumes from the etched material. And I am happy to report that exactly one week after initially testing the laser we have a fully working system! Below is a video of the very first run with the laser on.

We still have more to do learning about g-code and the CNC software, calibrating laser power and so on. Also, the machine needs to be moved to its final home in the bathroom with proper ventilation. I’ll be writing a complete page about all the technical details, including schematics, firmware, photos, etc. soon. For now enjoy the video, and please check it out next time you’re at the lab or ask on IRC.



3 Comments for this entry

  • Marc R-N

    Fun stuff, I enjoyed helping you guys move it to the bathroom.

  • Kosta Grammatis

    Hi Hacklab! Sweet laser.

    I’m working on the eyeborg project, we’re trying to build a wireless video camera that will fit inside an eye prosthetic. The project has gotten a ton of press and we were hoping that perhaps the HackLab would like to collaborate with us– joining forces! I’ve been building this thing in Rob’s (the eyeborg in question) guest bedroom. The facilities aren’t exactly what I’d call adequate. Your expertise and space could be really helpful!

    We seem to be on the same wavelength– perhaps we could work something out. Shoot me an e-mail.

    -Kosta Grammatis

  • Philip


    That’s sweet! Good to see it running. I was going to go for it but I have no place for it :(


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