DaVinci 1.0 – Conversion To Laser Etcher

With my DaVinci 1.0 3D printer proving to be useless as a printer I was looking for a way to repurpose the machine. After creating a few electronics enclosures I needed a way to label the terminal connections and that got me thinking about converting the old printer to a laser engraver. A quick google search gave me this Instructable which I referenced for the installation and software. I purchased this laser module from Amazon: Laser Head for DIY CNC 3 Axis Engraver Machine.

Installation

Since the printer would no longer continue life as a printer I removed the hot end and extruder and was left with the y carriage. To mount the module I printed up a quick mounting bracket that utilizes the original mounting holes on the y carriage. Some modification was needed to make clearance for the mounting bolts on the laser module, of course the Dremel and cutoff wheel made quick work of that.

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The only connection on the laser was 12VDC power, I will be able to control the laser by turning on and off the power. The Instuctable I was loosely following uses the cooling fan to control the laser but that particular printer has a 12VDC cooling fan, the DaVinci 1.0 uses a 5VDC cooling fan. I threw together a quick circuit that allows the 5VDC fan signal to control 12VDC power to the laser.

laser_circuit

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Laser Control Circuit

Software

Again the Instructable I was following suggest to use Inkscape with a svg to laser gcode extension from J-Tech. This works great for engraving outlines of text or cutting shapes but I wanted to be able to etch filled in images and words so because of that I purchased Laser Etch B/W from the makers of the Inkscape extension. The Inkscape extension and the purchased software so far is easy to use and works for everything I want to do.

The Results

This turned out to be an easy conversion and I am happy with the results. I have some settings to tweak for getting the perfect marking in 3D prints but that is all software related.

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Ok laser marking, looks like I need to move a little faster to avoid excessive melting
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Testing the setup on paper
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Etching PLA
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The final marking for my cycle counter enclosure
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Safety is a must have.
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