With a little effort you can unlock a lot of value from computer parts that may have otherwise been thought of as out of date. One example of this is a CD or DVD writer drive, and Davide Gironi has shown how this can be the base for a desktop laser engraver.
The platform for the engraver is moved using two motor assemblies from old CDROM drives, and the laser used for the engraving also comes from an old writer driver. They're controlled via an Arduino and external motor driver circuits - with the system being controlled using a PC and grbl open-source parsing software. And it works well, as shown in the following video:
So next time you see some old optical drives and think they're useless - think again and consider what can be done with the parts, then check out Davide's project page. And for more, we're on facebook, twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you're looking into starting with Arduino and motor control - check out our new HBRIDGE: DC/stepper motor shield. Based around the powerful Allegro A4954 H-bridge driver IC you can control two DC motors with complete ease, or one bipolar stepper motor. With connections for external power management, a complete beginners' guide and documentation - motor control couldn't be any easier. For more information and to order, visit the HBRIDGE: page.