The Photon Printer is a 3D printable laser engraver made from recycled DVD Drives. Software and build instructons are available in the downloads. A list of necessary components is in the instructions.
Legacy file are available at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2277397
The Photon Printer started out as a quick weekend project then quickly escalated when I saw that there was room for improvement in the current designs. Designing the components was a fun exercise and the end result was satisfying.
Safety - None of the designs I have seen have any sort of shielding around the laser. Given that even a 5mW diode can be dangerous any sort of engraver should have safety features. These include
• A full enclosure to block reflected laser light
• Roller door access
• Safety cut off switch on door
• Angled ventilation to prevent light leakage
3D print-ability – Printing allows for a lot of features that are not included in other versions.
• Accurate positioning of components
• Fits a wide range of DVD Drives
• Z axis fine tuning adjuster
• Built in roller door guides
• Custom axis mounts
• Low part count
• Ease of assembly
• Buildable by people without access to machining tools
• All parts have one large flat surface to aid in printing
• Coarse laser height adjust for material thickness compensation
• Fine laser adjust for focusing
• Spring tensioned Z adjust to reduce vibration
• Sliding lugs to fit a range of DVD Plates
• Fits a wide range of laser housings
• Suits an Arduino Uno and CNC shield for an easy build
• Low parts count
• Low cost
2017-10-04 Updated instructions. Software added.
2017-07-07 Corrected PPV3 X Laser Mount
2017-05-06 Parts strengthened. Laser holder modified to hold a variety of heat sinks. Laser driver bracket added. DC jack hole added. Instructions expanded. Legacy files moved to another page.
2015-10-01 Instructions updated, Solidworks and STEP files added
2015-09-27 A small gap added to top of nut traps to compensate for sagging during bridging.
2015-09-27 V2 uploaded - Now suits an Arduino uno with CNC shield. Sliding mounting lugs support a wider variety of DVD Drives. Springs are now printed, no need to tap the parts.
2015-07-17 Improved electronics schematic by pepperm
2015-07-15 Electronics Schematic updated in better quality.
2016-05-24 Step files updated
First off get some safety glasses! The laser cutter is fully enclosed while running but you’ll need safety glasses for testing and focusing the laser.
A lot of inspiration and knowledge came from this tutorial
I’ll reference it a lot as I go.
You’ll need 2 x DVD Drives – They must be capable of writing DVD’s if you want to use the diode out of them. CD Drives will also work but won't have useful laser diodes inside. They will also need end stops inside them. The newer the drive the more powerful the diode will be. After about 2009 they changed the diode package making it harder to use, so aim for something before that.
Here is a link on disassembling them.
2 x linear axes with everything stripped off the sled
1 x red laser diode from the sled (keep both in case you break one)
4 x magnets from the lens assembly on the sled
1 x metal rectangle cut from drive case 100x80mm
I’ve provided a simple schematic for the electronics that can be soldered into a prototype board. The laser driver relies on the regulation of the 5V USB supply. It’s not the best solution but it seems to work. For a better solution see below.
Or explore off the shelf TTL laser drivers recommended by Bernardo
The 12V to power the fans and CNC board is from an external 12v source plugged intot eh DC jack.
For a DIY driver you’ll need
1 x 2N2222 NPN Transistor (or equivalent)
1 x 100 OHM resistor
1 x 4.7 OHM resistor 1W
1 x 22 OHM resistor 1W
1 x 100 OHM Trim pot 0.5W
Print the parts on thingiverse.
Once all the parts are printed follow the instructions in the PDF.
Page 1 has a list of all the fastenings you’ll need
I use GRBL - You'll need to recompile it as below or it wont home properly without a z axis
Never versions also have TTL as the standard laser output. f you aren't using a TTL driver you will need to change this.