A savvy developer has demonstrated how to reconfigure a Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer into a powerful laser engraver.
“Yes, your 3D printer is totally capable of making awesome laser engravings. Follow along to see how I did it. Hint: it’s not complicated (well, probably just a manageable amount), and I created tools to make it easy for beginners and advanced skill levels to jump in and laser away.” This comes from Marzsolt, a user on instructables.com. He has reconfigured his Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer to laser engrave.
Before you head on over to follow his detailed instructions, here’s a breakdown of what it would entail the currently best desktop 3D printer to turn into a laser engraver. It is absolutely important to have proper safety glasses that are paired with the wavelength of the laser! Otherwise, you might lose your eyesight. Also, please be aware that you void any warranty and this mod is not officially endorsed by Prusa Research.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the modification process.
Unsurprisingly, the first step involves acquiring a laser module with TTL capabilities. These are available fairly cheap at just around £50 each for a 500mW model.
Marzsolt also provided the files to 3D print a mount, which can be attached to the MK3 motor. It lets users quickly swap the laser for the printer when moving between the two options.
The step-by-step protocol then takes users through attaching the soldering iron and hooking up the fan, power supply, and laser modules.
Laser mount design for the 3D printer. (Image: instructables.com)
Once all is set, users are advised to check the new module using software such as OctoPrint.
For laser etching, two options exist: raster-etching and vector-etching. With raster-etching, users can turn images into scan lines and the printer moves along these lines. Alternatively, the vector-etching allows a laser to move along a 2D path, making it more precise.
Marzsolt isn’t the first to reconstruct a 3D printer into a laser engraving machine. Indeed, 3Dprint.com have previously presented their own L-Cheapo laser unit. This can be installed with any 3D printer or CNC machine and even enables engraving on glass. However, at almost $400 for the diode laser attachment, you may prefer to make your own using the instructions provided by Marzsolt.
Check out his full instructions here.
Laser designs by Marzsolt. (Image: instructables.com)
License: The text of "Turn Your Prusa i3 MK3 into a Laser Engraver" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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