Project #2: Open Source Laser Cutter, Part 1


I want to get involved with the open source laser cutter movements but there are a few hoops to jump through first. I can't really afford to have my laser cutter out of action for any length of time and with so many offerings I'm not entirely sure which system to use, there are a wide range of options and I'm not sure which one is the best so I'll want to try them all. It all leads to this logical first step.

I needed an easy way to switch controllers in and out of my existing systems so I enlisted some help from James who turn my vision into an appropriate schematic and pcb which we sent off to Elecrow for manufacturing. When the boards came back they look absolutely fantastic, black boards and white silk screen really tie into the colour scheme for Just Add Sharks.

The principle is simple; the board mimics the Leetro controller, all of the connectors sit in the same places and their functions are clearly marked on the silkscreen. Each connector is exposed with 2 plated through holes which makes it easy to patch in any controller you want to. The region marked 'Just Add Board' has no tracks running through it so you can drill holes in it and mount your own controller to our board. Solder a few jump leads to the appropriate laser connectors and you can experiment with a complete brain transplant but also switch back to a working system within minutes.

All of the JAS lasers, most of the HPC lasers and a whole host of other machines use the Leetro controller and our hope is that a board like this will help people launch into the world of Open source laser cutters. 

We're now selling the boards at cost (£20 inc VAT and Shipping) over on the Sharks website.