CNC Shark Upgrade

RocklerWe have gotten a lot of requests for upgrading the CNC shark by Rockler.  It is a nice woodworking tool that can do a lot of projects in your woodworking shop.  Now how about adding a laser?  Of course you can!   It is not very hard.  It simply uses the same relay that turns on and off the spindle, but just in a slightly different way.  Here are the instructions on how to upgrade your CNC shark.

Shark CNC


There are several versions of the CNC shark that have been developed over the years.  You need to look at your controller and see if it has an output for the spindle to turn it on and off.  Many of the newer models like the MAKO have this feature.  If you do, then you are in luck!  The spinde control uses a relay to switch the power on and off to the spindle.  This relay is controlled by a DC voltage signal.  This is the signal we need to turn on and off the laser.

If you open up your controller box, it should look something like this:

Controller-Inside 2

You are going to use the signal from the control board to the spindle relay and jumper over to the laser driver board input.  Here is a more detailed picture:

Shark HD Pro Mako Spindle Relay 3

Attach a wire from the relay “+” signal to the laser driver “+” terminal H2.  Attach another wire on the relay “-” signal to the laser driver “-” terminal H2.  That is it, you are done!

Controlling the laser

You now can control your laser on and off using the same spindle commands of M3 to turn on the laser and M5 to turn it off.

Buy your laser upgrade kit now!

Highlight FDA Laser Kit 800

Remember Safety First!

445nm Laser Shielding Measurement 500x500

We sell laser shielding to block laser radiation and reflections!

 Laser Safety Goggles 445nm

Laser Goggles are also a must!


 The laser used in this project is very powerful and all safety precautions must be taken.  Use proper safety eyewear to prevent injury to eyes.  This is a project and J Tech Photonics, Inc. is not responsible or liable for any and all damage or injury caused to people or property.  The use of these instructions to make a laser cutter is under your own discretion and all safety precautions should be followed.  J Tech Photonics, Inc. is not affiliated in any way with Rocler and they may change hardware and software at any time making these instructions invalid.

4 Responses to CNC Shark Upgrade

  1. Eric Hughes July 11, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    How do generate a file to download to the shark that will turn on/off the laser correctly to engrave a design? The typically router software just turns on the router at the start on the operation and off at the end.

  2. Dave Martin November 16, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    If I’m understanding correctly, the Inkscape or Laser Etch solutions will allow you to use a Shark to cut designs by controlling the on/off function of the laser, correct? It’s not capable of doing laser engravings that are dependent on controlling the power of the laser as it moves using PCM for input or some kind of converter? Still trying to figure this out. The on/off capability is a great starting point for me, just wondering if there is a ready made PWM or other type of controller package for a Shark type CNC machine that doesn’t have to be built from scratch? A lot of information here, thanks!

    • jtechphotonicscom March 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

      Hi Dave,

      You are correct. As it is right now the Shark upgrade instructions only support the “ON/OFF” of the laser. You can use the inkscape and the laser etch software, but can’t use the PWM function of the PicLaser software. You can do “dithered” images however. These are the ones with all the little dots.

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