View Full Version : My CNC router, mk 1

08-31-2007, 01:42 AM

I have been lurking on these forums for a few months now and, over the last month or so have finally built my first machine. It is mostly JGROish but was not built from any specific design.

My initial inspiration for the machine was looking at the frame of a computer rack I was dismantling. The front of this rack turned into the rails for the X axis of the machine.

The machine is 6' x 19" x 4" (or so). It is powered by three Keling Technology KL23H286-20-8B steppers driven by STMD drivers. The software is EMC2 running on an old p3 surplussed from work.

The main head is a Porter Cable router.

I have been experimenting with a laser head built from a DVD Burner laser diode. It is powerful enough to burn lines into darker woods and plastic, but that is all.

More pictures are here:


I want to thank everyone here for posting such a huge quantity of advise and just random information about everything CNC. This is a great forum!

08-31-2007, 09:35 AM
Hey audin, Welcome to the Zone.

Good to see you up and running. That laser burner has potential. I would like to see some more pictures of it (always nice to post pictures right here).

Good job,

08-31-2007, 10:03 AM

Cool work!

I have a few links about cd burner lasers that I've been looking at, none are connected to cnc. What I was planning on doing is burning an image on bluejean material, is their any chance that you have tried that yet? I don't want the laser to cut the material, just use a cnc machine & laser to draw on the fabric.

Any chance we could see some video, of the laser in action. :)


08-31-2007, 12:20 PM
How do you get the laser installed on your machine - what does it involve - and has anyone any idea on what power? laser you would need for cutting wood /aluminium without burning the wood

08-31-2007, 01:50 PM
Hmm, I will look around for some old bluejeans and see how that works today!

Supposedly the power is around 35mW. Certain materials will engrave and certain ones won't. It seems to mainly relate to color (darker colors are better) and moisture content (dryer is better). It doesn't seem to have any effect on light-colored skin, for instance, but will quite quickly turn painful if you aim it at a wound (hey, sometimes i do stupid experiments!). It also has no effect on any type of bread i have been able to try. But it will immediately melt a line in black plastic, or burn a line on MDF.

The laser is mounted (poorly) on the end of a piece of copper pipe in a mount i originally made to test the machine using a sharpie (the pen would just sit in the copper tube and therefore automatically adjust to the height of whatever it was writing on). It is friction fitted onto the end of the optics of a cheap laser pointer. The optics consist of just one plastic lens that coliminates the beam. As shown in some of the other images, the power supply consists of two AA batteries.

08-31-2007, 05:19 PM
That is really neat. Just a plug for eye safety, PLEASE get a pair of laser goggles if you work with lasers. As you noted, laser absorbtion varies a lot, and for some reason, the eyes are really good absorbers.

There are many cases of laser eye damage from stray reflections.

OK, off my soap box - that is really neat.