Engraving robot?

I had an idea, i have always seen those cnc robots that can engrave and when i thought about it some more i think it may be possible to build one with vex.

I am going to use a mini blow torch to engrave wood because it is very light 4 ounces or less, that will be attached to a 2 axis frame. It will be able to move forward and side to side.

It can be either autonomous or r/c controlled but i would prefer doing it autonomously so that the speed can be controlled. The only problem is that you will have to do a bunch of programming to engrave a complex shape or long word.

Basically you have to program every single line in each letter, and going diagonally will be a challenge but i will see what i can do.

Its seems like a lot for vex i know, but it is not designed to be in a factory ect… more or less another toy to play with in the workshop!:smiley:

Do you guys think this is at least remotely possible???

I don’t think this will work. I tried to build a 3D CNC router from VEX robotics parts but the plastic gears are too loose.

Although I have no experience, I think it may work depending on how big you want the engravement to be. I don’t think the VEX build CNC will be very accurate.

Those things are cool, there is one at my dad’s work.

my suggestions would be that you design it it such a way that it can use the torch or a pen/pencil so you can test your engravings on paper first before you waste any good wood and maybe use a small wood burning pen instead of a torch. other than that, good luck to you.


Definitely use a wood burning pen. I do think this would be possible especially with the rack gears. Good Luck.

yes, the rack gear would work, dont use linear sliders though, those bind up way to easy.

I would use the linear sliders, we’ve found that as long as you have them set up horizontally or vertically they don’t bind.

This robot will be quite accurate, i am going to using my magnetic reed switches and encoders on all of the parts. It will travel very slowly so that the encoders will be within 4 degrees of accuracy.

It will be very hard to program because you will have to map out what you want to engrave and then calculate distances and program them in.

As long as i make this thing slow it will work.

Also i don’t have a wood burning pen so a mini blow torch will have to do, it has and adjustable flame so i can make it so that it has to be very close to the wood to burn something in. If i can get this design working i may be able to beg for more parts to make it capable of carrying a small 54,000 rpm pneumatic air grinder that could etch circuit boards.

Vex should be able to do this without any problems as long as i take the time to gear it down for smooth speed and calculate the exact distances.

From our experience, if you have any significant amount of weight on them, they tend to bind up, unless u use WD40 on them often.

If its was not for the linear slide packs our robot last year which used 6 linear slides would not have happened. They work very well if you know how to treat them and find a good pair which means ordering a few packs. They can work wonders or they can be the biggest headache.

I just finished building the robot, it does not have any gears but i think that if i run the motors at low power it will work just fine.

It has encoders on both axis as well as 2 motors per axis.

The main unit is in the middle that can move left and right which contains the power system micro controller and rf module.

I will post a pic in a little bit.

Right now i am trying to get a basic rc program to run, then i will program it to make a square autonomously and then if it works good i will try and program it to write a word.

I got the rc program to work and the robot works great.

Both axis move side to side and up and down perfectly with good precision.

I have hit a few problems, the motors spin to fast which does not give the blow torch enough time to burn the wood.

So i decided to toss the blow torch idea and to put a fountain pen or sharpy on it. It will now be a drawing robot but its still cool and precise.

With a pen it just needs to put out enough ink to draw, if i really got creative i could build a robot to use a paint brush and dip it after every couple lines but thats hard to do.

I will have some pictures as soon as i can mount the pen effectively.

you could just make a user function for each letter but you would have to space them out by your self while putting in the user functions