There’s been quite a trend recently for self build laser cutters. Fuelled mainly by Instructables laser cutter contest run back in late 2010, where participants were invited to build a laser machine from scratch with the pick of the bunch winning an Epilog Zing. The contest is rumoured to be given a second wind this year, so keep a look out!
The basic components required (such as a tube, basic plotter and optics) are also much more accessible these days and the costs are dropping year on year. Of course, these self build machines don’t really compare to the professional laser manufacturers market in terms of precision and quality, nevertheless they are interesting from a concept point of view. None more so than the Sun Cutter by Markus Kayser, a low tech, low energy laser cutter that harnesses sunlight as a laser source.
I recently re-discovered this video which was first published last year. It uses pure sunlight, focused by a ball lens, to repeatedly cut shapes in up to 0.4mm thick plywood as well as paper and card.
The project also explores the merit of analogue mechanised production that draws on the machine technology found in pre-digital machinery and automaton.
More of the best self build laser cutters to come…