Laser Cutter/Background

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Introduction

What are the Laser Cutter Master Works? I'm doing some legwork for a friend who is thinking of buying a laser cutter for art, craft, design, and architectural modeling, and I'm trying to figure out if I want to build my own for various geek reasons. What have people done with them?

More specifically, what are the most beautiful, or technically innovative, or coolest works? What works have really pushed the boundaries of the tool?

I have tacked up a couple notes on a wiki of pieces that have caught my eye, but I've been wondering what the best stuff is.

Just discovered

and http://ask.metafilter.com/142220/Activate-Laser

What can you cut?

With a < 100 Watt LC, you can cut pretty much anything but metal sheet, and you can mark many kinds of metal sheet, if you muck around with coatings and masks and etching agents.



Via lasercuttinginc.us:

  • Materials we Laser Cut:
  • Acrylic (Plexiglass, Lucite)
  • PETG
  • ABS
  • Nylon
  • Expanded PVC (Sintra, Celtec)
  • Polycarbonates (Lexan)
  • Polyester (mylar)
  • Wood (solid & plywood)
  • MDF Medium Density File Board
  • Laminates (Formica)
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Textile Fabric (Cloth)
  • Rubber (neoprene & silicon)
  • Acmetal, (Delrin, Celcon etc.)
  • Depron
  • Fluoropolymers (thin gauges)
  • Fiberglass
  • Kapton
  • Linoleum
  • Silicone Bonded Mica
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene
  • Polyurethane

http://www.lasercuttinginc.us/index.php/services/lasercut

What can't you cut?

Metal. Shops use a >400-600W laser to cut stainless steel and so on. Hypothetically, you might be able paint a metal sheet with a mask and burn of the mask where you want cut lines, and then electrochemically etch the metal, but it's tedious. Model railway folk do this all the time with conventional masks and photolithography.

Fab lab folk have cut through the thin copper layer on clad board by cutting through the backside; the laser heats up the board material which softens the metal and the air assist blows both materials away. In this case the laser needs enough power to "cut" the copper but would have had reflection issues. To make very small thin metal parts, a shim stock is bonded to a sacrificial material with cyanoacrylate then cut with the above process. The metal parts are released by soaking with a solvent such as acetone. There is significant slag in this process and it is pretty much only entertaining or artistic.

Who makes them?

Chinese White Box

STYLECNC

Epilog

Kern

What Can You Make

Metals

Jewelry

n-e-r-v-o-u-s

Material industrial wool felt and silicone

These bracelets and necklaces would be tricky to fabricate in small quantities using another technology. Even a craft knife would probably give crappy toolmarks and finish. As such, I regard these works as some of the best motivation for purchasing these tools.

Design concept: generative art-yay! Aesthetics: ?

More Etsy stuff

Paper

Cupcake wrappers, etsy - beautiful

Resources

Boxes

Plywood boxes

I could stand to be better at making boxes.

Acrylic Boxes

RBS/Beam

RBS/Beam - should be easy, no-one's gotten around to it.

Lamps

Acrylic sheet

Polygon made from HDPE or Acetal (delrin) sheet

This is a direct (and acknowledged) copy of:

Body Modification

Human skin in vivo - LC (quasi?temporary Tattoo)

airbrush temporary tattoo with LC stencil

Stencils

Acrylic sheet (etched, although it could be LC cut as well)

(Note: Try using the 'autopager' extension for the instructables website.)

Sticker

On Laptop

Mechanisms

Fabricative

Locomotive (Strandbeast)

Timepieces

Gear Trains

Power Transmission

Robotics

Clothing

Wallpaper

Again, a triumph of concept over aesthetic.


Architectural models

Victorian Doll House Birch plywood Laser Cut Kit 2

20" high, cut from 1/8" baltic birch, selling on etsy for $88. This might be a little pedestrian, but a kid would love it, and I think it has charm. Aside from LC, it would have to be die cut or scroll saw cut. From a fabricator's perspective, after doing quite a bit of work on the design, it is now very easy to make multiples and changes.

Structures

Dome

Plywood dome, 6' tall, 6' wide, cut on 32" x 18" LC, designed in Grasshopper (Rhino)