by OliviersHappyCreations Apr 17, 2017
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Can you give more detail on how you powered the laser through the rails? What software are you using? Looking forward to lasering my first toast.

The electronic parts are the following:
-12 Power supply
-Arduino UNO+cnc shield
-5V relais
-1W 5V laser
-12V to 5V usb converter (buck) (I used a car charger)

The system works by the following:
The Arduino (with GRBL firmware) controls the CNC shield and the stepper drivers. The shield also controls the relays that switch the power to the linear rails. These rails conduct the electricity through the linear bearings (lm8uu) which powers the 12V to 5V buck converter. This converter powers the laser.
Software can vary on personal preference. For making the G-code files (.NC files) I like to use Inkscape with a laser extension. You could use Adobe Illustrator with an extension or even some open-source laser cutting software if you google far enough.

Do the bearings carry the current through the housings without modification? Did you solder your leads to the bearing housings? I'm trying to replicate your setup with a 15W laser module.

Nice! I would love to see the results when you're done!
The current does indeed go through the bearings. I don't have experience with having more than 7Watt trough a set of bearings. There might be a chance that the bearings will wear quite quickly.
I stripped the wires and fitted them between the bearing and the bearing holder. This worked out quite well for me.
Soldering wires seems not an easy solution since the bearings can't handle much heat & tin doesn't like to flow on hardened steel.

I think I'm going to go with a wired head and do a cable chain. How do you set the motors to run in unison, as I see you are only using 2 stepper drivers?

I'll happily post my results when I get her up and going.

Oh nice!
I've wired the y-axis motors in parallel, using 2 x-axis motors is optional. Mine worked okay with 2 x-axis motors, but one motor draws less current and makes it run more smoothly.

With a 1watt laser what will this actually cut? Or is it more of an engraver? The laser cutters I have seen use a 40-60 watt CO2 gas laser, not the little laser diodes.
Nice design though.

1watt is plenty to cut paper for stencils. It's not powerfull enough to be able to cut woods or acrylics. You can mount a more powerful laser, but you will need a shop vacuum or an equivalent to keep the fumes away.

This lasercutter is ment to be used for engraving woods and cutting some papers.