When you cut something out, you lose a bit of material in the process. Think of a table saw and the sawdust it produces, that’s the waste material lost in an area the width of the blade. It’s really easy to measure that, just measure the blade. But [James] started wondering about a good way to measure material loss from a laser cutter.
Why does it matter? If you’ve designed pieces that should fit together with each other, loss of material can lead to joints that aren’t tight. [James] figured out that the loss could be measured by making several cuts within a rectangular frame. You can see his test pieces above, with ten strips cut out of each frame. After the laser is done doing it’s work just slide all the pieces together and measure the opening created at one end. It helps to have an enhanced caliper to make the measurement easy to read. Now divide that distance by the number of laser passes and account for that dimension next time you design parts for the cutter.