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If you have a request, please put it on the LCheapo Whiteboard page, so they are easy to group. In particular, let me know if you want a 24V adapter, a custom mount, have an urgency, or want direct international shipping.

You can see the holders being printed here: This is a preliminary datasheet.

Buying a L-Cheapo

If you want a L-Cheapo but did not contribute to the Indiegogo campaign, email me at

Building a L-Cheapo This is the 2.1W laser diode I am using, from DTR-LPF. This is the 3.5W laser diode I am using, from DTR-LPF. This is the optical enclosure, also from DTR-LPF.

DTR-LPF sells excellent diodes and optics, but you can NOT use their driver circuit for the L-Cheapo! You need something a little beefier, like my driver, the schematic of which you can find here.

The bill of materials is here and includes the heatsink and fan.

You will need to drill through the heatsink -- you can do that by hand, or print a jig for a drill press or drill guide for a better cut. It's very important that the laser module fit snugly into the heatsink, for good thermal conductivity. Apply thermal paste liberally! Some of the pictures don't have thermal paste, that's just to show where everything goes -- you want the paste to be there when you run the laser. Video of the jig here. This is the plastic part, in both Solidoodle and generic versions; designs for other printers will come as I make them. It is intended to be printed all-in-one, no gluing necessary. The kickstand is also included. I recommend printing in PLA, since it's a bit more rigid. This also includes the jig. This is the QU-BD mount. This is the Rostock Max mount for the laser. This is Adam Schreiber's mount for the Reprap.

The LCheapoAssembly page shows you how to put it all together. Fan placement is important! This video will also show you how to put it together.

Setting up a L-Cheapo

  • This is a guide on how to set up the L-Cheapo (any wattage) on most common 3D printers and engravers.
  • Depending on your printer, add a header to the L-Cheapo's terminals. This will connect in place of your extruder's heater. I can only sell the L-Cheapo in the form of a kit, so I cannot do this for you. Usually, a female 100mil header will do.
  • If you have a Mach3 compatible mill, Bernard Brault has written an excellent tutorial and app note.
  • If you have a CNC tool with a spindle, rather than a 3D printer, the LcheapoAssemblyCNC instructions show how to switch between laser and spindle.
  • Mount the L-Cheapo on your extruder, either by screws or zip ties.
  • Lower the Z axis. If you have a kickstand, lower it in place.
  • Screw the lens assembly on the bottom of the laser module almost all the way out - it should not come off (if it does, just screw it back in a little), but it should be all the way extended.
  • Put your protection plate on the print bed, if you have one (if you don't, the laser will burn through Kapton tape, if you use it).
  • With protection goggles on, disconnect your printer's extruder and connect the L-Cheapo instead.
  • Send the M104 S100 command to your printer (or otherwise turn on the extruder heat). The laser will light up. If it doesn't, switch the + and - contacts around; the extruder heater is resistive, so there is no standard configuration for it. The L-Cheapo has a protection diode and is safe to connect backwards, although it won't work, so just try again with the connector flipped!
  • Use the crown on the bottom of the laser assembly to focus the laser by screwing the lens back in. Optimal focal distance is 3 to 4 inches, depending on your printer or CNC setup. I recommend using a piece of paper or cardboard as the target - when you see smoke, your laser is focused!
  • The white wire on the L-Cheapo is a PWM input: you can send your own PWM TTL signal, or tie it to the red wire if you are not using it. Either way, we STRONGLY recommend using it for a cover interlock switch for your printer!
  • Send the M104 S0 command to turn the laser off. You're good to go!
  • There's a sample video here:
  • There's a much better sample video at Thanks to heathenxyt for making it!
  • Does your board have a PWM output that is switched from the negative side, like RAMPS 1.4 boards do? See this schematic for a simple adapter that you can build.

Running a L-Cheapo

NEW: Juan J. Peña has generated an excellent tutorial for using the L-Cheapo with DXF files! You can find it at The files indicated are stored here.

Alternatively, you can use your existing 3D printing software!

  • Make a new profile for your favorite software (Skeinforge, slic3r, Cura and so on).
  • This profile should have Z scaling set to -1, so that the Z axis will move UPWARD as the cut proceeds.
  • Layer height and filament size should be 0.05mm (roughly the effective beam width).
  • Infill should be set to zero percent.
  • Travel speed should be set as high as possible within your printer's capability; 3000mm/sec is a good starting point.
  • Flow rate should be set to zero.
  • Feed rate is used to control cutting; some values for materials follow. - Paper: 12mm/sec - Acrylic: 2mm/sec - Leather: 5mm/sec
  • An "engraving" profile can be done by setting the slicer to only process the first layer.
  • The profile should have appropriate start and end gcode. The M400 command is your friend here!

I draw the object in Sketchup and then use the "push" command to raise it to the height I want, then export to STL and slice normally. Be sure that your start/end gcode sets the Z axis to the proper focal length!

You can find my Skeinforge profiles here:

You can find the slic3r settings here: Many thanks to Taylor Stoll!

Obligatory disclaimer:


-You are old enough to vote in your country of citizenship.

-You know the potential hazards in using high power lasers.

-You will wear laser-eye-protection if available when operating the laser.

-You will use this device in a legal and safe manner.

-You relieve the seller from any liability arising from the sale or use of this component /device / item.

-You will NEVER aim this device at people or animals, even when out of focus. Much like with a firearm, assume that anyone not behind you is at risk.

-All items are made on REQUEST, so no refunds. However, we do offer a lifetime warranty - send the laser back and it will be repaired or replaced.


Special thanks to Emily for teaching me how to roll out a product, and providing seed money!

A big thank you to our early funders: Riley August,,,,

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Page last modified on September 19, 2017, at 07:00 PM