Super-cheap replacement bed for a K40 laser cutter

I recently bought a (comparatively) cheap K40 laser engravercutter and am slowly getting to know it, whilst also getting ready to heavily mod it. I have plans to improve (slightly) the cutting area, to add air assist, to replace the controller board and upgrade the bed (pretty much all the usual stuff) and I plan to blog about it as I go.

Laser beams... Laser... Laser... Laser... Yay!

However here at the very beginning of the journey my machine is freshly calibrated and almost, but not quite stock. The bed was causing a few problems, not least that, when cutting large sheet material, the lip of the clamp brought the material too close to the laser. That was easily remedied by unscrewing the clamp and dropping it into the bottom of the machine (its metal, it will be quite safe down there). However the means the cut pieces drop to the bottom of the machine where they are at risk of damage from the laser working overhead… and small pieces can be hard to find because some idiot left a big metal clamp down there.

The solution turned out be a very cheap anti-splater guard for a frying pan. It cost me £1 (since Brexit that’s dropped to about $1.20) from a local discount store and for now I’ve just gaffer taped it to the underside of the existing bed. Since it’s working so well I’m thinking of driving a couple of self tapping screws into a couple of cable clips to hold the frame in place without any sticky residue.

An alternative bed for my K40! It's an anti-splater guard for a frying pan and came from my local pound shop (or, for an international audience my local $1.20 shop). For some basic testing I just taped it to the underside of the existing bed!

This is working great for small items, catching any components that are cut from the middle of the bed and with absolutely no signs of backscatter. Amoung other things I’ve used this simple bed to build a case for my Carbon board (a 96Boards IoT edition micro-controller board) and the results are, I think, pretty awesome.

Laser cut acrylic case for 96Boards IoT edition

So a very, very simple mod but more than enough to allow the whole family to have a bit of fun with our new toy. Whilst its not quite as much fun just to watch I would still invite you to watch the video below showing the cutter creating the case for the Carbon. I find it oddly hypnotic!