A Raspberry Pi controlled mini CNC Laser engraver [last update Jan 18,2014]
Now here is the instruction.
1. A raspberry pi (running Raspbian or what ever supports GPIO)
To be able to engrave, you need 200mW laser diode from DVD writer. A DVD R or CD R will do nothing. A CD writer might be OK in term of power (~100mW), but the laser diode of a CD writer is infrared, which can be super dangerous (you can’t see it!).
3. a TO-18 5.6mm laser housing
(like this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/251316903193?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649)
Make sure you get a 5.6mm one. There is another type 9mm.
A H bridge is a circuit containing four (effective) switches that can apply a voltage across a load (DC motor or one coil of a stepper motor) in either direction.
Stepper motors from DVDs are 4 wire 2 phase bipolar stepper motors. They require truly reversible voltage on each pairs of the wire. You need two H bridges for each stepper motors. So total of four H bridges for two strepper motors. Some famous stepper motor controllers like ULN2003 are for the 5 wire stepper motors, so they cannot be used for controlling the DVD stepper motors.
You can make your own H bridges by using 4 NPN and 4 PNP transistors and probably TTL converters (RPi’s GPIO pin are 3.3V so logic TTL chips might be required). Or you can simply buy them. There are a lot of integrated H bridge circuits available in the market, such as L298. The ones I use are L9110s Dual H Bridge purchased on Ebay (like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/350877288713?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649). They are low cost (~$2 each), compact (.8″x1″) and are powerful enough (~800mA). However, if you buy from a Chinese seller, shipping can cost 3 weeks.
L9110s is also sometimes known as HG7881.
Regarding the H bridge, you need to make sure that the continuous current limit of the circuit is greater than 500mA. Usually the stepper motor in a DVD drive is rated at 5V and each coil has a resistance of 10ohm. So the current through each coil would be 500mA! A very large current!
5. a LM317 regulator, a power NPN bipolar transistor (like E3055, should be able to handle continuous 200mA at least), some resistors, capacitors and a bundle of jumpers.
The LM317 is for the laser driver. The power NPN is for making a switch for the laser. My lab has tons of these components so I don’t have buy them. If you don’t want to solder a driver by your own, you can surely buy a laser driver for <$5. The laser driver need to be able to output at least 200mA at 2V and have the function of enable/disable.
6. a solder gun, screw driver and some basic hard wares.
STEP 1: Disassemble DVD drives (writers)
STEP 2: Assemble Laser
Now you have two laser diodes. One is infrared which we don’t need. The other one is 650nm red diode (usually has a letter ‘R’ on it) and is the one we need. The diode normally has three pins forming a fat triangle. One is NC. You need a multimeter to figure out which two pins are cathode and anode. The forward voltage across anode and cathode should be around 1.4V and the forward resistance should be 20-40k ohm. If the forward resistance is too high then the laser diode is over used.
STEP 3: LM317 Laser drive
[In fact, LM317 is mostly used as a voltage regulator. It maintains a 1.25V across the output pin (pin 2) and the adj pin (pin 1). Meanwhile, it controls the current output from the adj pin to be very low (usually <100 uA). Therefore by adding a resistor R across pin 2 and 3, we can have 1.25V/R current output from pin 2 to pin 1. We then add the laser diode across pin 1 and GND. Since pin 1 is forbidden to sink current, all the 1.25V/R current outputted by pin 2 will flow through R and laser diode to GND. The official datasheet of LM317 can be download here .
STEP 4: Assemble the machine
Now you have two identical linear stages and it is time to put them together! There are a lot of ways to do this. For 2 axes CNC machine, I think the best way is the one given by Groover @ instructable. In Groover’s configuration, the engraving sample is attached to x-axis so it only moves in x direction. The laser is attached to y axis so it only moves in y direction. This configuration minimizes the weight on each of the axes.
STEP 5: Connect H-Bridge to the stepper motors
The stepper motor in DVD is a 4-wire 2-phase bipolar motor. There are two independent coils inside. Each coil has a 10 Ohm resistance. Usually the DVD stepper motors are rated at 5V. Therefor the rated current through each coil is 500mA! The RPi GPIO pins can only output less than 20mA so RPi cannot control a stepper directly. H bridges are required.