CNC Laser Light Painting

laser-pacmanSo what do you get when you combine lasers with a CNC router?  More CNC light painting, except this time it can be projected on a distant surface.  The laser can be projected anywhere, and thus create a light painting remotely.

As in my originial CNC light painting experiments, a light source, now a laser, is attached to the router’s spindle then moved around corresponding to a drawing.  This uses GCODE as if it were cutting something.  The Y and Z axes are reversed so the drawing is put on a vertical surface instead of the router bed.  If you’re wondering how to do this with Mach3, here’s a tutorial I made up for this purpose.

I don’t yet have a cutoff switch as with the LED setup, but this may come soon enough if I keep playing with it (which seems likely).  I also have another completely different idea for how to do this.  For now though, check out the pictures of some simple drawings I did on my car and my “gutter-hack-style” laser setup.

The laser is taken from an old level, so had an on-off switch built into it.  A little 3 volt coin cell battery powers it, with a hard drive magnet keeping everything attached to the spindle.  A nail, electrical tape, and rubber band round out this highly “hackish” build.  I may build something better eventually, possibly involving the mount I normally use for my CNC router shop vac.  It holds a hose well, so why not a laser?

On the other hand, as much as I hate to admit it, this guy’s “LaserShark” setup is light-years ahead of mine.  It’s designed as a laser projector, so it does a different purpose, but still pretty cool and worth checking out.


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  2. Hi Jeremy,
    I have been trying to do something like this for abour 12mths now with no luck until I saw your Laser Painting Project. If you get a chance I would love to discuss it further and maybe get some help with something similar I am trying to build. It’s a simple project but lenghty to explain. MAny thanks Mark

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