As the Open Hardware movement takes off, evidence of the benefits of this practice continues to surface in projects such as the BuildLog.net 2.x Laser project, a 2nd generation open source laser cutting/engraving station created by Barton Dring over at BuildLog.net. Dring made significant modifications to his first model based on continued experimentation and feedback from participants at BuildLog.net1. His design shifted from a focus on designing-for-self-replication ”to a more robust design with stronger metal parts.”
As a result of the efforts of Dring and the community, a hardy DIY lasering tool with a 12” x 20” x 4” work envelop — a tool that would be, frankly, quite dangerous to design from the ground up on your own — shifts from a cool CNC experiment to a low cost alternative to commercial models. At the moment, all that is available is a Bill of Materials and assembly instructions2, but Dring estimates that sourcing the 2-axis CNC elements might cost you $450-$800 depending on your available tools3, with the CO2 laser and power modules costing at least another $400. He plans to resume offering kits for the parts not easy to obtain elsewhere via BuildLog in a few weeks.
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