CD-ROM CNC Laser Cutter with Arduino and Grbl

On December 28, 2015 by jw

This is an Arduino powered CNC laser cutter made from two obsolete CD-ROM drives. The cutting device is a 500mw 405nm Blue-Violet 5V laser. I purchased one from China through eBay for about 40 dollars.

I followed a guide from Tinkernut for the required hardware and software. I also created custom 3D printed parts for the tray, laser, and switch mounts. The Arduino runs the Grbl G-Code interpreter. The G-Code was generated with makercam. After calibration this Frankenstein CNC does a pretty great job cutting a maximum 1.5 x 1.5 inch design.

giphy (1)

The bed and laser are mounted with custom 3D printed parts.


The small stepper motors from the old CD-ROM drives have new leads that hook up with the EasyDriver motor controllers. I tested each wire’s resistance to find the two phases. The two wires with similar resistance are one of the two phases.

There is 5v coming in at the bottom of this picture. This will power the Arduino, EasyDrivers, and the laser. IMG_1493

The laser is currently switched on manually at the start of the job and manually switched off at the end. In the future I could add a relay to trigger the laser. I would also need to edit the G-Code to send commands to the relay.
IMG_1494 IMG_1495

The star is a little skewed because the X axis (the bottom tray) is slightly off.

Here is an early proof of concept video showing all the components working together and communicating properly. I like to test all the IO before assembly and calibration.


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