Mr Beam is a great entry level free (as in freedom) and open source laser cutter. At the heart of Mr Beam is a 1000mW laser (basic model comes with 200mW, but I would highly recommend you pay the extra $50 for the upgrade), that will cut a wide variety of thin and light materials. The 1000mW laser will also engrave materials such as wood, leather, acrylic, even meat & chocolate 🙂
The brains of Mr Beam laser cutter is the combination of a Raspberry Pi, Arduino Uno and a custom Mr beam Arduino shield. The Raspberry Pi runs the web server software and interfaces with the Arduino & shield that drives the stepper motors. All this is controlled via a web browser interface, making it completely cross platform compatible and very easy to use. Since launching the kickstarter campaign, the Mr Beam team have responded to the requests of the open source community and developed a free and open source picture image processing script.
As of writing this post they have reached all but one of their stretch goals, which is only a few pledges away. Maybe your Mr Beam pledge could be the one that hits their final goal! With all the stretch goals met, when pledging for a Mr Beam Laser cutter, you will now also get, a choice of colour, a test pack of suitable materials, wifi dongle and an anti-reflection coated glass lens increasing the efficiency and therefore output power of the laser by 10%.
All the of the hardware & software developed by the Mr Beam team will be released under free and open source licences. A big thanks to Mr Beam for developing a great free and open source tool and also the maker and hacker community before backing it… 🙂 I look forward to seeing the community grow and see how this project develops.