Let’s Make: a DIY Laser-Engraving Robot

When you think of “laser engraving,” what comes to mind?

Maybe it’s a personalized gift you received – or made for someone else – during the holidays last year. Perhaps there’s a sign in your apartment or house that features some laser engraving. Or, maybe a cutting board?

Dejan of How to Mechatronics actually made a laser engraver. And if you have never watched a laser engraver at work, please: do yourself a favor, and watch this.

So, how did How to Mechatronics bring this to life?

Well, in this video, How to Mechatronics can be seen using 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Professional, a cloud-connected version of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD that is included in the low-priced 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Makers offer (and sold for commercial use cases as well). You may remember, if you are an avid reader of the SOLIDWORKS Blog, that Dejan designed the first version of the SCARA robot to perform pick and place commands.

How to Mechatronics plugged back in to make a branch off version of the pick and place SCARA robot this time around, adding the laser engraving capabilities. If you’re familiar with the original SCARA build, you likely recall many of the components are 3D printed, and there’s lots of belt/pulley work to get the robot to move appropriately within its degrees of freedom.

As is custom on the channel, Dejan does the programming in Arduino, and they delve deeply into the wiring and kinematics within the video.

From a CAD standpoint, having the ability to branch off with different types of designs is a continued hallmark of SOLIDWORKS design tools. With 3DEXPERIENCE connected apps, there are easy ways to make this happen, as we discussed recently on “Exploring 3DEXPERIENCE Works” here.

Typically, on our own webcasts, blogs, etc., we talk about this more often than not in an industry-specific context. Think about if you were an automotive manufacturer, with trucks that were of the same model, but with varying bed types. You might want to acknowledge these as altogether ‘different’ products in your connected systems across business units. And changes you make to each respective bed ‘type’ might be things you wish to keep separate in a way SOLIDWORKS configurations wouldn’t be so great at (though, configurations are awesome for many other things!)

As Dejan shows, this is an approach you might want to take with personal projects as well. It doesn’t have to be a SCARA robot. Think of how many items you’ve seen – or even made yourself – that are strikingly similar to other designs, but remarkably ‘different’ enough to where they should have their own individual history trees and criterion. For instance: what if you were into making custom arcade cabinets? Perhaps the dimensions remain the same, but the exterior aesthetic is designed to match the game it ultimately is being made to house.

Or, what about about masks or helmets? Lots of times, the ‘base’ design may be uniform, but many of the downstream features can vary wildly.

All of this to say: there’s lots to take from a video like this one, even if you aren’t looking to make your own laser engraver. But if you’re looking to get inspired, How to Mechatronics surely delivers here. And if you’re really, really inspired, be sure to check out the description of the video embedded above. You will find a special 20% off  link for 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS for Makers. This means you’ll get 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Professional, 3D Sculptor, and 3D Creator for 20% off the $99USD/year price for use with maker/hobbyist projects!


Sean O'Neill

Sean O'Neill

As an Industry Process Consultant, Sean's role is to help amplify the 'best of' both our products and our community, via the stories we showcase on our livestreaming programs (like SOLIDWORKS LIVE) and other digital outlets. Sean is also the creator of both the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program and the SOLIDWORKS Influencer Program.