Want to get more out of your Ender 3? Learn the basics of laser modules and how to produce your very own Ender 3 laser engraver.
One popular upgrade for the Ender 3 is a laser module. It enables the user to engrave metal, wood, acrylic, and many more substances. It can also cut wood and acrylic, depending on the wattage.
An advantage of laser modules is that no firmware upgrade is necessary to run most of them. Typically, they can just clip magnetically to the toolhead. They run from the fan port on the machine and are usually quick to assemble.
After a quick message on safety, we’ll take a look at two popular laser modules for the Ender 3 as well as how to install and use them.
Lasers are rated in Watts (W), a unit of power. For desktop machines, laser modules go from 500 mW to 20 W. As a rule of thumb, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the laser.
On the subject of laser safety, Wicked Lasers has this to say:
“With output power far greater than any other visible handheld laser, custom lasers equipped with the 445-nm direct blue laser diode, if mishandled, can lead to serious injuries and quite possibly permanent vision impairment. Prolonged exposure to blue laser light can alter and have a diminishing effect on a person’s perception of the color green.”
Therefore, all lasers must be treated with respect and care must be taken to wear proper eye protection.
is only for engraving due to its 500-mW laser. While it is sold by Creality as a CR-8 addon, it also works with the Ender 3 if a buck converter is used.
In a YouTube video, Teaching Tech shows how to wire up the buck converter, which is needed to step down the voltage from 24 to 12 V.
This module represents a low-cost option, but if you want a cheap engraver for your Ender 3, this is your best bet.
This 10-W laser from Endurance is a pricey but perfect match for the Ender 3. First of all, it’s rated at 9–24 V, which means it can plug straight into the 3D printer mainboard (v1.1.3, v1.1.4, or v1.1.5)
The module not only engraves but also cuts wood up to 10 mm thick with multiple passes. It can even engrave metal!
One drawback is that it requires an extra plug socket for the control box. But if you want a no-holds-barred multifunction laser cutter and engraver, this is the device for you.
Creality Laser Engraver Kit
Endurance 10-W Laser
Here are a few things to keep in mind to make your laser experience a little smoother:
If you’ve used laser engravers before, you’ll know that Inkscape is the software of choice for creating images to cut or engrave. J Tech Photonics provides a plug-in that’ll allow you to produce G-code for your laser.
Another option is to use the online platform img2gco, which prepares G-code for a laser from an image vectorized in Inkscape.
Feature image source: Garage Makezone / YouTube
License: The text of "Ender 3 Laser Engraver Upgrade: All You Need to Know" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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