I have been wanting a laser engraver for quite some time now. The only thing stopping me was the Health Canada rules. I wasn’t sure what they were and I didn’t want to spend the money just to have it turned away at the border. When it arrived I wasn’t even expecting it. I was very surprised and eager to try it out. However, I had the Tevo Tornado to build and review, so I put this laser engraving review on the back burner for a few days.
The A3 Pro laser engraver is a Diode Laser, aka semiconductor laser. A diode laser is the most common laser manufactured. It is used in many devices such as laser printers, CD/DVD/Blu-ray players, barcode readers, etc. The other common laser is a gas laser which is used to cut hard materials. Diode lasers are used more for engraving which is why the A3 Pro uses a 2.5W laser. It has a nice engraving area of 37cm x 38cm (14.5 in x 14.9 in). It uses Extruded Aluminum and stepper motors similar to 3D printers and other CNC machines, which are also on my list to build and review. While fun and exciting, lasers are dangerous and can hurt you in a flash. They can also cause irreparable damage to your eyes. So, it is imperative to use caution with these.
This laser engraver uses a micro arduino on a control bar with two stepper driver boards. One for X and the other is for Y. The board also has a switch for power and a micro USB port to connect to the PC. The laser module has a soft beam switch that you use to focus the laser. If you leave the focus switch on when you start the engraving in the software then it will not burn. You also need to leave the power off when you plug the USB into the PC or open the software application. The reason is because the laser fires for 2-3 seconds. If you have good materiel under the laser then it will be ruined. In fact, it’s good practice to keep a piece of scrap wood or something there until you are ready to start. Always wear your safety glasses and keep it unplugged while not in use. Also, it’s important not to leave it unattended when in use.