Etch A Sketch controls on a laser cutter?

Arduino-based modification turns laser cutting into a hands-on affair

Just in time for International Arduino Day, this fun project from Just Add Sharks really has our fingers twitching.

Imagine controlling a serious laser cutter with the dynamic ease of an Etch A Sketch. Having first toyed with the idea years ago, Just Add Sharks have finally followed through and attached a fully functional Etch A Sketch controller to their laser cutter. Talk about dreams coming true!

Complete with authentic twiddly knobs and retro-Etch styling (all laser cut, of course) the modification uses an Arduino Pro Mini to bypass the machine’s existing wiring.

Click through for a video of the controller in action, where you can see the different functionality of either Etch or Cut being demonstrated.

As fun as this is, Martin and his buddies at Just Add Sharks are responsible Evil Genius’ and have therefore built in a few important safety measures. The custom circuitry includes some clever tweaks that not only add functionality, but also prevent the laser from cutting unless the dials are actually in motion.

As long as the laser only cuts while the axis are moving then we should avoid fires.

If you’re itching to have a go yourself, there are more details on Instructables or you can follow through to the source to find out where the cutter is headed next, as it does the rounds of various Maker Faires in the UK.

Arduino based laser cutter: Just Add Sharks

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