Laser attachment for a 3D printer?

hi all, does anyone have any experience with using a ‘Laser attachment for a 3D printer’?

They are very uncommon and not very practical, what do you need to cut?

Actually, it’s not for me, someone randomly asked me via Instagram and I said I’d find out for them! I’ve googled it…I assume someone’s got a 3D printer already and wants to convert it to a laser cutter. Any thoughts?

There are printers designed to be used with swappable tool heads like that - but having done a bit of research on it I concluded it’s not a very practical idea*. If you have a 3D printer though you can make a laser engraver with printed parts - I’ve made one and I’m trying to dial it in for PCB prototyping, if you need the plans let me know!

* For something like a Prusa, you can go two ways - either change the tool head completely for a laser, but that’s an involved process and likely you’ll need to run through manual calibration again when you decide to change back to a 3D print head; or you can strap a laser module onto the 3D print head which gives you a fairly small work area for the laser


Not quite on topic…but the laser modules for 3d printers are all laser diodes, so these purpose-build engraver/cutters might be of interest. Nice big area, but quality might be variable, and I’d say building an enclosure with extraction would be top of the list for most use cases

I’ve got a ‘20W’ one (~4.5 to 5W laser power) and it can cut 3mm ply and acrylic…but much slower than the Trotec of course

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I’d be interested to hear you got on with this! Have you tried making some PCBs?

Interesting - ‘much slower’ - like multiple passes instead of 1? How does the accuracy compare with the Trotec?

I am going to put together an OpenBuilds frame to upgrade my cronky drawing machine. I might add a laser head to it at some point.

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A few passes for ply, and generally slower…but still highly impressive

Not had much time to play with it but people online are getting fantastic results engraving tiles and glass using these low powered lasers…feels like the future

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The OpenBuilds system looks very interesting but for an off the shelf solution the Ortur is extremely appealing.

Did you buy from AliExpress Dermot? I’m assuming so that being the link you provided.

Hello mike

Out of curiosity have you purchased an OpenBuilds frame or are you currently considering it?

I like the sounds of it and it looks extremely sturdy. Would be good to have hear your experience/thoughts?

Hi Nick, I have one on order - will let you know more when I have it and have had time to put it together. Though I ordered it a while back now and there’s no sign of it being dispatched yet…

Hi Nick, a belated update. I got my frame through from RatRig in the end. After a delay I had to raise a Paypal issue. RatRig got in touch pretty quickly and claimed my other emails had ended up in their junk folder. Anyway they sent it through and it is good quality.

Some of the parts are lasered acrylic which I wasn’t expecting - the plates for holding the motors and the frame legs. They seem more than sturdy enough though, and are fine as long as you don’t overtighten. The slotted frame is very robust and there were quite a few extra parts in the box, including 90 degree join parts (aluminium). The gantries are very smooth running.

Overall a recommend. I haven’t been using it a lot because I have been waiting for a motor replacement, but I have tested the X Y movement with Nema 17s and it is working really well. One day I might consider investing in a laser but for the moment I am using it as a plotting machine with my own pen holder rig.

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Thanks for the update Mike. Good to know it arrived in the end. Yes Paypal is very useful on that front. I’ve had to go down that route a couple of times myself recently.

Keen me posted on develpments!