Adding Laser to Taz 5..

I am awaiting Jay from Jaytechphotonics to release a new 5W laser diode and driver and will be adding it to my Taz 5 when it’s available. To control it I’ll need PWM control to modulate the intensity for raster etching. I know that there are a few free PWM headers on the Rambo but I don’t know what gcode controls each. I will need one PWM for laser intensity and one PWM / on/off controlled header for the diode fan. Any help would be appreciated!

FYI… I converted my old Flashforge Creator Pro to have the 2.8W laser by removing the left extruder so I’m familiar with the process and hazards of laser cutting.

Well, having a 50w CO2 laser myself, safety should be paramount. The open chassis of the taz makes it a dangerous thing to convert to a laser etcher. When printing, sure there is the hot end, but its damn hard to get your fingers in there to get hot plastic squirted on them. An IR laser you can’t see. Thankfully that laser kit isn’t IR, its sub-blue at 445nm so at least its visible.

Lasers used in this manor are ablative and vaporize material. This releases toxic and often carcinogenic compounds into the atmosphere. Proper evacuation of the noxious vapors is critical to safety. And whatever you do, don’t laser PVC based compounds. Not if you like your lungs and your printer. It releases chlorine gas which not only is extremely hazardous to breath but its extremely corrosive and will destroy metal components of your printer in short order. The chlorine gas mixes with water in the air and forms hydrochloric acid. More nasty stuff. Laser cutting and engraving is nothing to be taken lightly. There are extreme hazards involved here, and many are not as obvious as the beam of the laser but just as deadly.

Another thing to remember, the bed surface on a taz 5 is not glass, its PEI and could be damaged by the laser if you don’t put a barrier to prevent it.

I tried to watch the video of it cutting and the one of it engraving. The movement was so slow, it was like watching paint dry. I couldn’t find anywhere on the site what their cut or scan rate was in MM/s speed at all.

Yes, my laser machine is way more expensive, and yes, its only a laser, not 3D printer, but even my cheap-o chinese laser can cut and scan at 500mm/s. Its not a particularly fast machine. The better laser machines cut at 1000 or 1500mm/s.

You should really think long and hard about doing this. Whatever you are laser etching, would you light it with a match and take a deep breath of the smoke? If not, why are you doing essentially the same thing with a laser unless you have an air handling unit to process the fumes?

I agree on the safety hazards of the laser. It is slow, with my old 2.8W I was able to cut 3mm acrylic at about 3mm/s. :laughing: more of a learning tool than a production item. It mainly will be used to etch rasterized photos on to wood. All I need to know is what gcode control what PWM headers.

I’m very interested in this as well. I’ll be watching this topic eagerly!

Discojohn- We have put the instructions for upgrading by putting the laser in front of the extruder on the website and posted to thingiverse as well. Website instructions are at:

We use the FAN 1 connector output because it is already in the firmware controlled by M106 Sxxx where xxx is a number between 0 and 255 for intensity control. You have to snip your fan wire and either splice in another wire set or put it to a switch. I agree, finding out the other header PWM signals would be nice and we will look into it.

BTW we are coming out with the continous 3.8W kit on the site as well. We have tested it last week and ran it 24 hours straight at 2.5amps (3.8W) with a fan on it and it worked great.

Wolfie- Yes, safety is always first. Proper shielding, goggles, and exhausting of fumes is always necessary for any laser processing machine. For the surface, we always recommend using some sort of sacrificial material or a metal plate to protect the build plate.

As for the speed, yes it is not as fast as a CO2 laser system. However, it is meant to be a “beginner” laser and this is why it is offered at such a low price. We never say it is anything else. Even the cheap Chinese systems are about $1000. If you want a full production system that is fast then you are looking at over $3K or more. We are giving people the option of doing a fun project to upgrade their 3D printer to make some cool projects. Most people don’t care that it takes a little bit longer. Many customers get this and then get hooked on laser cutting and then ask us for recommendations for the “next step” to CO2.

The speeds are all listed on every blog post. Go to the application page here: and click on the titles to see the blog articles. We try and give the parameters whenever possible. The blog is here:

Thanks for chiming in Jay! I looked into the available PWM headers and it seemed as there were 2 or 3 available on the board. I’m not sure if the Lulzbot FW has the controls baked in though.

Some enthusiasts collect their devices on stepper motors (RepRap or MakeBlockplotterXY2.0 kit), as it is an exciting complex task of interfacing electronics and firmware, guiding and stepping motors. Since the laser housing has several holes with a thread, it is universal in terms of fastening to the device. You can successfully attach the laser to 3D-printers (Wanhao Duplicator i3, BFB3DTouch, Prusa) and DIY-designers (on universal aluminum frames, MakeBlock).
These devices differ from each other in the area of ​​the working surface (from 200 * 200mm to 310 * 390mm), the presence of an additional degree of freedom (movement in the Z axis), purpose (for example, 3D printing and engraving as “2 in 1”).
I’m certainly not such an advanced user and are quite satisfied with low-power (~ 500-1000 mW) lasers. For example, here you can get acquainted with some models, I like them.
You have a problem with software that you can use to work with lasers. These are programs that convert raster images to vector, and vector ones to gcode. For example, free distributed programs InkScape, SketchUp, GBRLcontroller, Repetierhost, Cura.
I hope I was useful to you.