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DIY Laser cutter/engraver design advice

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This is a project that's been in the making for some time. I wanted a cutter/engraver which would handle up to 1 Metre long items plus the usual stuff. Looked at all the std chinese and other stuff but was less than impressed by the quality, especially of the tubes, normally no name, and likely short life.

So probably because I was fed up with looking I decided (in a moment of madness  :Doh:) to use the DIY approach.
I need a working area 1 metre long by ideally 500mm wide, but I could shrink the width a bit if needed.

I've ordered most of the laser specific parts, and a Leci W1 tube, but will try to leave enough room for a 1200mm tube for futureproofing.

The Controller
Most people seem to rave about Lightburn, so compatibility is would seem desireable. Lightburn will allegedly work with Marlin, so at the moment I'm thinking of using one of the 32bit budget boards as in my 3D printer, SKR v1.4.
I can then use the trinamic drivers (2209) and I have confidence it will work, but I'm not sure if this is the best approach ..
The alternative is to up the expense and use a ruida controller, but its difficult to know if this would offer any useful added features, also does it support corexy ???.

The laser head, mirror and lens are very low mass so I am considering using a corexy type motion. But I have never used one and have no experience of them. Not sure how good it will be over such distances. Reason for trying it is to get rid of moving the  stepper weight with its associated speed and ringing issues.

For the frame vslot extrusion, 40mm square, 20mm square for x,  with wheels for bearings as per my Ender printer.
A stepper on each side of the Y, plus a small stepper for the X., assuming cartesian.

I've sort of worked out the layout in my head, tube at back top, with psu's (laser and controller/motion), air pump and other stuff underneath at the back. Control panel on lid with laser safety switch.

I'd be very happy to hear any thoughts about these issues, especially if you have experience of Marlin
and lasers.
Best Regards


How fast does the laser head need to move?  Have you considered LinuxCNC?


Thanks for your interest.

I'm not sure how fast the movement needs to be. For engraving is likely the fastest use case, ignoring moves between firing, which can be as fast as possible.
I did look into linux cnc a while back but for this I'm thinking a dedicated controller which would integrate all the many needed functions (Fume extraction, water pump, nozzle air, laser power etc)  would be a better approach as its more compact, lower power consumption. I'm at the age where ease of use with minimum aggro is important to me  :wave:

Best Regards


Following along with interest.

I have a couple of 400mm linear motion assemblies . I'm thinking a small router or laser cutter would be useful. Maybe i could combine the two functions?

Where did you buy the tube and mirrors?

Hi Bill
Depending on what you want to cut or engrave a diode laser may work for you. No mirrors, water cooling or high voltage power supply. Co2 lasers are big, typically 1M plus long. Also they can make lots of smoke, which means a dedicated enclosure with fume extraction. 

Only reason I am doing mine is that I couldn't find a readymade with the correct footprint. Mine will sit on a dedicated bit of kitchentop  :med:, and I'll weld up a trolley with a shelf for the air pump/water cooler and reservoir. 

I also opted for a Ruida controller as it seemed the best fit.

Good luck with the router.

Best Regards



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