Hacklab.to's laser-cutter really *does* play the Mario Bros theme!

I owe the Hacklab.to people an apology. Last spring I ran this post about how they'd tuned the motor on their laser cutter to play the Super Mario Theme as it repositioned itself, and I mentioned that it was too perfect, and wondered "if it's not just some video of a laser cutter with a flanged-out version of the theme cut into the soundtrack."

Yesterday, I dropped in at the Hacklab in Kensington Market (it's an amazing place), and saw the laser cutter do its thing. And you know what? It plays an absolutely perfect Super Mario Theme. Seriously.

Laser etcher plays Super Mario. It's real! Hacklab.to, Kensington Market, Toronto, ON, Canada.avi


  1. Those of us who deal with equipment that uses stepper motors knew all along that there was no trickery.

    (I still think that the CNC playing “Still Alive” – Cuysmiley’s link #1 – is more awesomer.)

    The live version’s pretty good too:

  2. The video’s narrator seems to have mistaken the parlance of the interbutts as acceptable in the real, tangible world. I hate to jump on the bandwagon with the last couple of commenters who pointed this out more succinctly than I am right now, but it’s really depressing and distracting.

    1. Oh yes, I agree 100%. The one thing that stood out to me is that, somewhere in the real world, someone decided that they wanted to say “holy awesome, that is made of fucking awesome sauce.” Musical laser cutters pale in significance to that.

  3. The hilarious part is they got the second measure (and every time it repeats) wrong. The little chromatic bit.

  4. haha. The commentator was Doctorow you fools. This laser session was purely meant as a counter argument to his “too good to be true” argument, not a live performance for an audience. Be glad you got to hear his genuine response :)


  5. Yes, the melody is slightly different than in the games in a few places. Also there is only two notes at any given time. That made it pretty obvious this was not a cheap hoax.. :)

    [ BTW what does the laser cutter normally cut when it’s not being used to make sounds covered in awesome sauce ? ]

    1. I don’t know what that particular laser is used for, but many of them are used not to actually “cut” through anything, but to etch/burn the surface. You can “print” text, designs, and photos into metal, glass, stone, whatever. Years back someone started selling (and advertising in computer magazines) a desktop unit for $4000, and I’ve wanted one ever since then, right beside my 3D printer that I also don’t have. Google “versalaser.”

  6. The laser is used for a variety of things when it’s not being used to make awesome sauce covered music. Hack lab is a geek collective, so individual members can use the laser for any project that moves them. It’s used to both etch and cut. The group acquired it off of craigslist in a non-functional condition and rebuilt all the control boards, etc.

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