Pen plotter? Laser engraver? This DIY machine gives you both!
October 30th, 2019—
If you find yourself debating between a pen plotter or laser engraver, this project by Patrick Panikulam lets you have the best of both worlds in style. The DIY device pulls a writing instrument in the X-axis using a belt-driven overhead system, while the base itself moves in the Y direction.
Motion is handled by an Arduino Uno, along with a CNC shield and two A4988 drivers that actuate modified 28BYJ-48 steppers. The shield also outputs laser control signals, which are converted into PWM signals for the lifting servo when in pen mode.
It’s an extremely clean build, and even features a Bluetooth module for wireless communication with your computer. Panikulam provides more details here if you’d like to create your own!
A couple of months back while checking out a few laser engravers on aliexpress, I came across some USB powered laser engravers. It was awesome that these could engrave on a variety of materials and also cut out shapes and designs from sticker sheets and paper and doing all this powered by a 5V USB supply. But the downside of these engravers was that they had a small work area, in most cases just 40mm X 40mm which is definitely way too small for my needs.
So I thought why not design and 3D print my own laser engraver from scratch. I started the designing process in Fusion 360 while keeping in mind all the 3D printing tolerances. And finally came up with something really cool. Along the way, I decided to make the laser holder modular so that I can easily replace the laser with a pen or marker for pen plotting. I also added a Bluetooth connectivity feature so that wired connection between your PC and the engraver can be eliminated while transmitting G-codes.