Hardware Addon - Idea

I have an idea for a simple rotary attachment/addon. You wouldn’t be able to engrave a rolling pin or baseball bat, but maybe a pen or set of drumsticks.

It would be fairly simple to build, you could even use your new glowforge to cut the gears! Basically it is a micro stepper motor attached to a pair of rollers. An arduino attached to the motor and an IR sensor. It doesn’t need any physical connection to the glowforge. My idea is that you use the laser “defocused” to send a pulse to the IR sensor that tells the arduino to increment one step. The glowforge software would have to add the option to move the laser over the sensor after each pass.

Forgive my basic modeling skills. I just downloaded 123D Design to practice with until my glowforge arrives.


Cool idea. You could probably do it yourself without the IR bit, just program the micro controller to be time based. You can some sweet micro controllers that are the size of a penny

Very clever sensing the laser to control the rotation!

Sorta of a poor-man’s optical-to-electrical convertor. I think it would work for bitmapped work and not for vector/cutting. From what I could tell about the laser’s path it looked like the bitmap stuff was going back and forth along the Y axis.

I could see also changing the orientation of the rollers 90° to feed thin material, like leather, through the pass-through slot of the pro model.

If the y-position belt was accessible, it could potentially be removed and attached to the roller device, causing the roller to roll however many increments y plane would have been adjusted. This could allow for even more complex laser cutting to be done on this without the laser head having to register on the sensor over and over. It would also allow it to go in reverse.

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