Laser Cutter Build Night: In The Beginning...

This post finally signifies the commencement of my laser cutter project!  I have talked about building one for a while (and never started), but through a convergence of delightful events, I now have actual parts and can build!  Most of starting components were given to me through connections at FIRST Robotics, so I highly recommend all you high-schoolers join a team.  It's a great experience!

With that said, here are the parts that got this thing started!

This is the barebones XY table from an old CNC machine with an outdated control system.  Without the control system, it is useless, so my robotics team took a few apart and I walked out with this!  It has two giant 4-wire stepper motors, threaded rod drive, and a very hefty construction.  It weighs a lot, so it won't be tipping over any time soon!  In tonnight's build session I stripped it of unnecessary junk and wiped off some accumulated grease.

These are a part of the control electronics I will be using.  They are EasyDriver stepper motor controllers, graciously given to me by a friend on my robotics team.  They came without the male pin headers attached, so I had to solder them on.  I was a little bit unsure of myself since it was my first time soldering to a PCB, but they turned out fine!  I will be using these in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi I have & a free flatscreen monitor off Craigslist to make a fully operational laser cutting workstation.

I also salvaged a few limit switches from the decrepit CNC machine to be used for homing the XY table.  To summarize the build night, I assembled my inventory of main components, cleaned up the XY table, and built the EasyDrivers.