As an architecture student, my wet dream is to own a laser cutter. Making models with parts cut by a laser is so enjoyable, fast, cheap in terms of materials, and fail proof. But 1K€ even for small, kickstarted projects, this I can't afford.
I still want one, so I spent the last few months wandering on the internet trying to gather as much informations I could off youtube, forums, reddit threads, etc. First thing I did was asking myself "what do u wanna cut bro?", and I answered "Dude, cardboards n shit" I think i now have a pretty clear understanding of how to build and operate a chassis with 2 axis. I already own (and learned the basics of) an arduino, on which I plan to mount an A4988, driving two NEMA 17 Steppers (57 oz/in). I have a lot of ideas for the design itself. But I got the feeling I need to get to the core of the problem first: how hard is it to make a laser cutter?
I have read somewhere that Laser Diodes, even properly focused will not cut anything more than thin paper, and are more suited for engraving. I read pretty much everywhere that CO2 laser tubes are the best options if you plan to cut something stronger.
But everytime I look at a CNC CO2 laser machines, I get terrible headaches. Considering we use a laser housed in a glasse tube with a CO2 tank and a vacuum pump, that shoots a deadly laser on 3 (at least) successives gold plated (for examples) mirrors, and then needs to be aligned to somewhat end up in a small lens to get focused, I see so many things that can end up going really bad if not fully mastered.
But I see a lot of DIY CNC machines that use those tubes without problems. Maybe i'm too anxious? Idk.