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Saturday, September 11, 2021

What's The MoBeam Plan & Progress??

The Strategy for Mobile Laser Diode System (MoBeam)

I have had a K40 for some time and have been watching the evolution of the Laser Diode engravers. I recently bought a cheap VG-L7X unit with the intention of making a unit that is much more portable and simpler than a K40. (No cooling and simple optics). That said I have low expectations for cutting with a laser diode. Turns out that I use my CNC router for cutting most times. Most of my work is in wood and plastic.

I just started my learning phase and you can monitor progress here. 

I will try to keep this status page updated as the build progresses!

What Controller?

The choice of a controller is a many factored one dependent on your key wants. Mine are:

* What are you going to do with it... engraving and some thin material cutting. 

* What toolchain do you want to use? .i.e. How will you design the parts you are going to engrave?

* What computer OS you are running [this is often just a religious discussion :)]

* How will you connect to the engraver; usb, wifi, SD card?

* What protocol will the controller support. The most universal IMO is Gcode.

* Controlling from a computer, the local SD card or both.

* Size: fits into the enclosure schema

* Availability of firmware source code for troubleshooting and modification**

* The availability of schematics and wiring diagrams **

* The availability of free technical support**

** these are critical IMO for a scratch builder.


Mini Ggbl

I have decided to use the AwesomeTech controller MiniGrbl as it meets my needs, I know @Paul_de_Groot at AwesomeTech. Note: Paul is a member of this forum 

A key need for me is the use of Lightburn to design and drive the unit. It will handle all the formats I need including Gcode that I may create from another tool like Fusion 360.

What Mechs

I plan to use the frame that came with the VG-L7X with stability and enclosure modifications.


My Planned Work Flow


  • Review all documentation
  • Improved the X-axis stability by adding eccentric bushings.
  • Initial Power up, successfully burned
  • Learned about Laser Diode optics/lenses; the focal point, length, and spot size

In process:

  • Checking out the stock software and controller
  • Document stock controller wiring
  • Aquire docs on the laser unit
  • Design Z adjustment mechanism


  • Design/Fab Small safety cover over laser
  • Interlocks & alarms
  • Integrated design and documentation of the AwesomeTech Controller
  • Wiring diagram and schematic for the entire unit
  • Mount for an upgraded  controller (AwesomeTech)
  • A full enclosure that allows placing the unit on top of targets materials
  • Full system check
  • Design mobile air assist
  • Design mobile air extraction and filter


  • Firmware changes for interlocks, laser, and air control


Since the main theme of this project is mobility I think I will call this unit MoBeam


Comments are always welcome.

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