Meet Cubiio, a laser engraver that can fit in your backpack

No self respecting “maker” studio should be without a laser cutter/engraver — so that you can carry out your business cutting wood into ultra-precise shapes or etching patterns into leather, all while pretending to be a James Bond villain. A new Kickstarter campaign aims to democratize this technology, courtesy of a diminutive desktop laser cutter that is designed to be incredibly straightforward to use. Rather than demanding users learn how to use complex software, or show Ph.D. levels of expertise when it comes to hardware tinkering, the Cubiio takes the form of a compact plug-and-play cube. Users simply connect it to a PC, Mac, or tablet using Wi-Fi, select the design they wish to cut or etch, position the object they wish to be cut or engraved, and hit “start.”

“Cubiio provides everyone with a glimpse of different ways of living,” Sandy Huang, who handles marketing for Cubiio, told Digital Trends. “People can customize their items in under a few minutes with a simple [tap] on a smartphone. Makers and designers are allowed to experiment with more possibilities than ever. With Cubiio, you can easily engrave or cut paper, leather, wood, plastic, and acrylic. We’ve even tried engraving on the surface of pancakes and macarons!”

The device consists of a semiconductor laser source and two current-driven mirrors which deflect the laser beam along the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ axis. An embedded CPU translates your sketches of engravings-to-be into digital commands to tilt the mirrors at the perfect angle. “To shrink a huge laser machine into your palm is definitely a challenging task,” Huang said. “Starting from scratch, we have designed and tested many prototypes to solve lots of technical problems, such as image distortion and thermal issues.” The problem of image distortion is handled via a custom-designed anti-distortion algorithm.

Cubiio has only been up on Kickstarter for a matter of days, but already it has blown past its funding goal — with $945,372 already pledged against its initial target $25,000. The basic model can be pre-ordered for $379, with higher tiers also available with a protective shield. Shipping will start in November.