I’m sure everyone has thought of it, but is anyone actually doing it ? It’s a work in progress, but up on thingiverse is a universal mount, some schematics, and Arduino code for adding a laser to your 3D Printer. Why not? You’ve already got an XYZ platform… The build so far is made to be minimally intrusive to modifying your printer. e.g. you don’t have to modify your printer’s firmware.
Before you go rushing off and strap a laser to your extruder, note that even very low power lasers are real dangerous. Don’t fool around with safety.
With that being said, the build works like this. The laser controller is an arduino setup to control a low power laser (sorry no giant 40w laser tubes guys!). We’re looking at 1W-5W. This should be enough to do some small engraving. A small DC motor is attached with a universal bracket and attached to the extruder. It’s tied to the extruder so when the stepper motor turns, the dc motor turns. The motor is read via the analog port on the Arduino. Code-wise, if the voltage exceeds the threshold voltage the laser will fire.
Right now it’s just breadboarded and not working but I’m interested to see how this plays out.
Here’s a link to the build on thingiverse.