2.x Laser

The second generation open source laser cutter/engraver design from is complete.  The new machine is called the 2.x Laser.   The name comes from the fact that this is the second generation machine and it is basically a 2 axis design.  The third, vertical axis, is manually controlled with an optional upgrade to digital control.  The 2.x Laser takes all the optimizations learned from the first laser and all the other lasers documented on forum.
The usable work envelope is just under 12” x 20” x 4”.  The internal design has been optimized so the overall size of the machine is much smaller than the previous design and can easily fit on a small table.  It is designed to work with 40W CO2 lasers sealed gas lasers.  The frame is built from inexpensive 20mm aluminum T Slot extrusions and the skin is made from a painted aluminum and HDPE laminate.
The first major improvement is in the linear bearing system.  The 2.x Laser uses Delrin V groove wheels running on V rails.  The custom Delrin bearings are a lot cheaper and run smoother and quieter than the previous metal on metal system.
The next major improvement is in the electronics layout.  All the primary electronic systems are contained in a simple electronics module.  This has an interface PCB that makes wiring a simple 1:1 connection for each item.  The module is removable so all assembly can be done outside the enclosure.  The electronics are compatible with 3.3V or 5V control systems whether they are PC based like EMC2 or Mach3 or dedicated commercial or open source controllers.
The original laser attempted to be self replicating with regards to most of the fabricated parts.  That limited the materials that could be used.  The 2.x Laser drops that goal and concentrates on a more robust design with stronger metal parts.  Shimming, drilling and tapping fragile parts is no longer required.  The rest of the design was simplified wherever possible.  There are less parts and many of the parts self align.

The design is completely open source with all drawings, schematics, BOMs (with sources and prices), 3D models, build instructions, software and Gerber files available.  There are kits for anything that is not readily available for people who cannot fabricate their own.  Due to the smaller size, the enclosure skins can now be fabricated on smaller home routers or can be purchased as a kit.

The design is supported by a robust community of laser builders and users at the forum.

Drawings Page

Bill Of Materials Page

Kits Page

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57 Responses to “ 2.x Laser”

  1. Second Generation Open Source Laser Cutter « Ponoko – Blog

    […] Read more about it on the blog. […]

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    […] 2.x Laser is a second generation open source laser cutter that definitely improves the design of the first model. The 2 axis machine (optional vertical axis […]

  4. Jan

    what’s the prospected price range of this project?

  5. bdring

    It depends how much you do on your own. The project is setup so people with access to a CNC router can do a lot on their own. It will probably cost $450 to $800 to get a running XY system under CNC control. You then need to add the laser tube and power supply which will add another $400 or more.

  6. I want one!

    I want one, when is the ETA on making complete kits that can be purchased online?

  7. bdring

    The prototype production run is sold out. The next run is 4 to 6 weeks out.

  8. David R has some horrible policies. They require registration just to READ their documents! Even the infamous hasn’t stooped to this level. Not only that…but accounts require manual activation by the administrator??

  9. bdring

    I apologize for that.

    The only thing you need to register for is to see the BOM. Everything else can be anonymously read. The BOM is a live, editable micro ERP system that needs some form of authentication. Rather than write that portion scratch, I hacked into the forum’s system. I have been meaning to add a read only guest user, but have not had the time. I have been a little busy.

    Edit — done…guest access allowed. Now use that 30 seconds I saved you to give back to some open source community somewhere 😉

  10. I want one!

    this would sit nicely next to my Fireball CNC….

    Question: is everything included in the kit, so when I purchase I can assemble and use on day one? or do I have to buy EXTRA materials, like lasers and so forth?

  11. bdring

    All my stuff sold out the first day the project was released to the public. The next batch of parts is due at the end of the month.

    Got to the forum at to read about what is included. There are things that are much cheaper to buy off eBay and other Internet sites, so I do not sell them.

    Follow the forum, view the drawings and build instructions until the next batch is ready and you will probably understand what is required.

  12. Open Source Hardware Laser Printer from - MakerBot Industries

    […] takes off, evidence of the benefits of this practice continues to surface in projects such as the 2.x Laser project, a 2nd generation open source laser cutting/engraving station created by Barton Dring over […]

  13. Jan

    what do you plan for the software part?
    Something opensourc’ed?

  14. bdring

    There are a lot of software options. It can be run from CAM controllers like Mach3 or EMC2 (open source). It can also be run from dedicated embedded controllers. There are several commercial versions and a few open source projects. I did a prove of concept open source XMOS based controller. There is this project… There are also a few, yet to be announced projects in development.

  15. gimage

    When the next production run is available, do you have a price? An estimate is OK.

  16. bdring

    The laser is an open source DIY project I sell kits to help people who cannot fabricate parts themselves. The kits page is here.
    There is a long waiting list, so the delivery time is about 4 weeks

  17. Jose Barrientos

    Me gustaria recibir mas informacion de esta maquina para poder fabricarla yo mismo.
    Muchas Gracias.

  18. Open Source Rotational Engraving Adapter (Part 1) at Buildlog.Net Blog

    […] tested it in my laser yet.  I don’t have the time right now, so I am going to have another 2.x laser owner do that for me….stay tuned for part […]

  19. Jason P

    where can I get the CAD files for this thing? Only a few items are listed on

  20. bdring

    What exactly do you need? I can supply 3D CAD files on request. They are too big and change too often to maintain on-line.

  21. jason p

    So far I would like to look at the Gantry Assembly.

  22. mike quinn

    Are the V rails, rollers and carriage plate available for purchase?

  23. bdring

    The current design steel v rail, aluminum extrusion and delrin wheels. An improved version integrating the v rail into the extrusion is in production and will be available in about a month.

  24. karl w

    Hi bdring,

    Awesome build!

    What limits this design to a 40W laser? Is it the laser tube mounting, or are there other issues with using a higher power tube and power supply?

    How small can the features be? I’m wondering if this could be used to cut mylar solder paste stencils (like pololu does) with around 1 mil accuracy.


  25. bdring

    The width of larger tubes may exceed the width of the space for the tube.

    I did this solder stencil on the 2.x machine.

  26. crimond

    Hi, I’m considering either building my own laser cutter or buying a chinese one. Was just wondering if in addition to the drawings etc there was instructions as well. I couldn’t see any when I looked.


  27. bdring

    There are build instructions in this Google Doc

    There is also a new Wiki with some more questions answered.

    The forum also has a lot of information.

  28. Francois

    Nice work that you did there !
    Can you please give some examples of the max. thickness you can cut in various materials with 40W ? How about wood, acrylic, etc …
    Also, can you engrave “light” metal ?
    Thank you

  29. bdring

    You could ask this on the forum too. It will cut 1/4″ materials quite well. Thicker materials can be cut but the quality and speed degrade.

    It will not cut or engrave metal. The beam just reflects away.

    You can mark metal treated with Cermark. It basically fuses a colored ceramic onto the surface.

  30. Daveczrn

    Any limitations on making this slightly bigger? I would love to get the engraving area up to about 20″x15″. Maybe even have a table that can move up and down 4-6″.

    Any problems with just making it bigger and using a larger laser as well ?


  31. Daveczrn

    nevermind. I thought the demensions that were given were of the case. Not work space. Guess i will start building one of these

  32. Yet another 3D printer - Hack a Day

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  33. Bryce

    Can this machine be used to etch designs onto a circular wedding band?

  34. bdring

    It will not engrave metal.

  35. Shalashaska

    Hi bdring

    Is there any point in increasing the laser power if i want to cut wood? – mostly MDF in thickness of 1/4 – 1 inch..

    Also, can this laser be scaled to work on whole sheets of mdf? – would that increase the price dramatically?

    What laser power should be used if i want to engrave in metal? – e.g. engraving laptops and ipods?

  36. Craig

    First time listener here. So I basically know nothing about any of this but I am fascinated by it. The one thing I did notice a few times was how many people write snippy notes or out and out rude ones. Now I am guessing the creator here is not making billions doing this and based on the amount of free information, they are probably not making a whole heck of a lot.
    Well all I really wanted to say was this
    Thanks very much. I think this is all very cool, I would love to have one but admittedly I am not very electronically gifted, nonetheless, thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  37. Laser Cutter | TheBytes [LOCALHOST]

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  39. Sylvain Beaudoin

    I would love to build one of these, but, my current financial situation prevents me from doing so. I was looking at some of the drawings and noticed that some of the motor brackets, limit switch brackets, etc. are made from acrylic or other plastic. Is there a reason you wouldn’t want them made out of aluminum?

  40. bdring

    Those parts can be made from any stiff material. They are done in plastics wherever possible so they can be made on DIY class CNC routers or laser cutters

  41. Chris

    Like Daveczrn asked earlier, is there any real limitation to building this cutter with a larger work area? I would like to be able to cut 20″ x 60″. Would beam divergence be the limiting factor?

  42. bdring

    Divergence is probably not the big problem. Accuracy of the alignment and machine would be. If you could make a machine 3x larger with the same quality as a small one the accuracy would still be 3 times worse. I don’t know of any general purpose flying optic machines of that size. It would probably work if you mounted the laser to the gantry.

    If you wish to discuss this further, please do it on the forum.

  43. El Open Hardware ha venido y nadie sabe cómo ha sido | A un Clic de las TIC

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  44. Joao Gazeta

    Would you please send me either IGES or DWG 3d for this printer – I am currently working on getting a CNC/for plasma and would really like to use your designs with my project.

    By the great job with the drawings and design

    Thank you

    Joao (John) Gazeta

  45. bdring

    I think what you want is on the wiki

  46. DP

    Love the detail on the designs. I’d like to build one of these to help me do more accurate inlay on the guitars I build. When do you anticipate another run of the fabricated kit parts?

    Thanks again–excellent work here.

  47. bdring

    batches are always announced on the forum

  48. lossbit

    bdring, where i can find the ready to built kit for this?
    a kit with complete parts, including lasers

  49. bdring

    There is no complete kit. I ocationally make “builders kit” with the non off the shelf parts”. See the wiki on

  50. FalloutBoy


    I have just been reading about your very impressive project and had an idea with regard to adjusting the alignment of the laser by using 3 or 4 other lasers along the lines of those used in laser pointers – and I might be completely brain fried but thought id mention it.
    A small round collar fitted with laser diodes of differnet frequencies in tight formation no more than a mm apart would provide a targeting reticule, the mirrors would be temporarily replaced with mirrors of the same size, type and dimensions with two lines scored through the diagonal axis these lines could be marked with carbon pencil lead and polished into the cracks with a non lint cloth to provide a target plane to that when the four different pointer lasers were in effect positioned equally around the outside of the X you should have perfect targeting.
    I haven’t thought at all about how difficult this would be to achieve it was just a thought I had to avoid the hit and miss, adjust, retry methodology that was being used, a puff of co2 might be required as well to show the weaker lasers positions, I think it might also might have the advantage of avoiding any angular disparity in the final laser setup – ergo no .03 degree left tilt on a cut or anything annoying like that. Anyway I hope this thought can help you make this project even better – although it’s mightily impressive right now.

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  54. Toni

    I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems
    with your blog. It appears like some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please
    provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too?

    This may be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Many thanks

  55. James


    How do people order from Misumi? They seem to require a Company registration and will not take my individual application. My company are not keen on me using their details to register and order.


  56. signvecpteltd

    I like your blog. It’s a useful information about laser machines. Thanks for sharing the Blog.

  57. Sam Ziegler

    I wanted to say thank you for making these resources available to your fellow DIY enthusiasts. I am in the process of conceptualizing and eventually building my own 48″x48″ laser cutter. Being able to review and study other successful designs has been invaluable thus far.