Introducing L-CHEAPOGot a 3D printer? Want to work with something you can't melt? Burn through it! With a friggin' laser. L-CHEAPO is a low cost laser cutter that can cut 3/16" wood and plastic, and engrave most nonmetallic materials. It lives on top of a 3D printer or CNC mill, and does not get in the way of using the tool normally -- you can switch from laser to printer mode and vice versa in less than two minutes with no tools. Any hobby grade 3D printer will work, as will most CNC mills. The diode operates at 445nm so protection equipment is readily available - I will provide a pair of protection goggles on request if you do not have them already.
What We Need & What You Get
- THIS IS ALREADY A WORKING SYSTEM. No vaporware. I've already sold a few to friends.
OPEN SOURCE! We've reached our goal, so the working drawings and schematics are published at http://robots-everywhere.com/re_wiki/index.php?n=Main.LCheapo If you want to buy one but didn't make the funding window, my contact information is mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- You will not need an extra power supply, or even new software - just create a special extrusion profile for the software you already use (Slic3r / skeinforge /etc). Any 3D printer will work, if it doesn't, I'm going to design a custom unit just for yours.
- If I have enough pre-orders, I will put the schematics, wiring diagrams, and mechanical drawings on my website and open the design under a noncommercial open license.
- If I reach the goal early, I will ship early: this is a finished and tested design already! UPDATE: The goal has been reached, so I've started shipping. This will happen on a first-ordered-first-get basis, unless you have an emergency. If you do, email me.
- You can get a laser cutter module from me, or have me use it to engrave or cut something for you, so you can see how well it works.
- Once this succeeds, there will be bigger lasers...
Laser cutting requires a significant initial investment, but opens up a lot of making possibilities -- laser-cut parts are tougher than 3D printer parts, for example. With this device, the initial dollar investment goes from thousands to hundreds. The module also requires very little space.
I hope that this allows high school shop classes, small universities and local hackerspaces to be able to work with a wider variety of materials and techniques.
Other Ways You Can HelpShow this to people who may have a use for it! (Remember to never look into laser aperture with remaining eye).
I have been building autonomous drones, data loggers, and telemetry equipment since 2007. The L-CHEAPO is my first foray into directed energy devices - you can decide for yourself whether I'm building an army of laser robots or not. I do, however, have a laser shark.