The mirror in a laser cutter moves along an X Y axis. An Etch A Sketch moves its stylus along an X Y axis. Honestly, this laser cutter with Etch A Sketch controls is so obvious, we’re shocked we haven’t seen it before.
The Etch A Sketch interface is extremely simple – just two rotary encoders attached to laser cut knobs set inside a small, laser cut frame. The lines from the encoders are connected to an Arduino Pro Mini that interfaces with the controller unit on the laser cutter, moving the steppers and turning on the laser only when the head is moving. There’s an additional safety that only turns on the laser when the lid is closed and the water pump is running.
The circuit is extremely simple, and with just a few connections, it’s possible to retrofit the Etch A Sketch controller to the laser cutter in just a few minutes. Just the thing for a weekend hackerspace project.
Continue reading “Laser Cutter Becomes An Etch A Sketch”
Ah, the movies are an inspiration for so many projects. How many times have you seen a spy movie where a cutout in the pages of a book are hiding something? This was the inspiration which led [Paul] and his crew to try using a laser cutter to remove a handgun-shaped cutout from the pages. The fail began before the project even got started. The sacrificial book they had chosen was too thick to cut directly so they tore it in thirds for the cutting process.
The hijinks are portrayed well in the clip after the break. The infectious giggling as this first trace of the laser cuts the outline makes the video worth watching. As they try to go deeper, the success falls off rapidly. This makes for a great Fail of the Week discussion: Why can’t you cut through multiple layers of a book with a laser cutter? Is this merely a focal length issue that would be solved with a higher-end cutter or is there something else at play here. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.
Continue reading “Fail of the Week: Secret Agent-Style Book Hideaway”
Finding new uses for your tools and equipment can be very exciting. [Foamy] wrote in to tell us about a blog post by [qbotics] that demonstrates etching designs into denim with a laser cutter. What a cool unexpected use for a laser cutter!
According to the Epilog laser cutter’s website, “we have engraved everything from denim to acrylic with fantastic results”. This inspired the author of “Science with denim” to try engraving jeans. After some experimentation, [qbotics] found that setting the 75W laser cutter to 15% power at 100% speed worked best. The results are quite impressive; the engraved pattern looks like naturally faded jeans. Amazing.
In the past, we have seen lasers engrave everything from calculators to wood. We would be curious to see if some of the DIY laser cutters could engrave denim as well. Give it a try and tell us about it!
Laser are awesome, and so are projects that use lasers. A recent Instructable by [kokpat] gives an overview of how to create a fully functional laser paper cutter using CDROM stepper motors and an Arduino.
What is special about this build, is that it showcases how easy it can be to build a 3-axis mechanical system used for laser cutters, CNC machines, and 3D printers. Using a stepper stage that consist of a motor screw with a nut slider based carriage, the mechanical system can be put together quite easily and cost effectively. Luckily, from an electronics and software perspective, everything is quite standardized with the proliferation of the RepRap and similar machines. Simply pick any three stepper drivers, find the most pertinent firmware, and voilà! You’re done! Well, almost. Don’t forget a 100mW violet laser!
We have seen a ton of really cool laser cutters before, but this has to be one of the cheapest. See the laser cutter in action after the break.
Continue reading “A 3-Axis Paper Cutting Mini Laser”
Ithaca Generator, a hackerspace in upstate New York, is running an indiegogo campaign for a laser cutter. With the recent stories of fires, and landlord problems hitting hackerspaces lately, we thought it would be good be to mention a space that is doing well and working to expand their tools. The Generator is looking to purchase a 60 Watt laser cutter. The flexible funding campaign is set for $3000 US, and they
are within striking distance of just passed their goal! As any laser veteran will tell you, $3000 isn’t nearly enough for a 60 Watt model from a reputable company. The group already has a donor who will match the campaign final funding amount up to $4000. If the campaign exceeds Now that the campaign has exceeded their goal, the extra funds will go toward a fume extraction systems for the new laser, as well as spare lenses and parts. The group has also added stretch goals for an extended warranty and an upgrade to 90 Watts of laser power.
Many of the donation perks include free membership to the hackerspace. [Vic Aprea], a member of The Generator board told us that out-of-town donors can gift these memberships to anyone local to the hackerspace. A membership would be a great gift for a Cornell or Ithaca college student. For more information on the generator and the campaign check out their website and the video after the break.
Continue reading “Help Ithaca Generator Get A Laser Cutter”
If you’ve always wanted a laser cutter and you have £1500 lying around (approx. $2500 as of today) — and you have access to a 3D printer — then you’ll want to take a look at [Damian’s] open source laser cutter: axCut. The project has evolved over the last few months from some mockups in OpenSCAD to a working prototype.
You’ll want to dig through his blog posts as well as his YouTube channel for all the juicy details, but from what we can gather, [Damian] is on the home stretch. The current implementation includes a 40W CO2 laser with functioning laser control and an impressively quiet watercooling system. Although the build’s wiring remains a bit of a tangle, the prototype cuts (almost) as expected. His next hurdle is ironing out the air assist, which should prevent some fire hazard issues and keep the lens free of debris.
Check out a couple of videos after the break, and if you’re interested in getting into laser cutting but want to start smaller, have a look at the MicroSlice from a few months ago.
Continue reading “axCut: An Open Source Laser Cutter”
We’re sure everyone could use some more storage and organization in their workshop. [Nixie] is no exception, though he also hates sacrificing tabletop space for boxes. His solution was to attach them to the wall directly by hacking together some brackets. This hack allowed him to hang everything without using internal screws which were a pain to get at if he need to removed the boxes from the wall to take with him.
[Nixie] started by laser-cutting a negative pattern for a mounting bracket that would fit the dovetail rails already on the sides of the boxes. He then pressed a piece of polymorph into this mold, slid the bracket along the side of the box…and realized it wouldn’t work. The piece wiggled around too much because it did not sit firmly in the rail. Back at the drawing board, [Nixie] split the project into two steps. He cast the screw-hole portion of the bracket in its own separate mold, then cast the railing part of the bracket directly in the dovetail section of the box, providing him a much higher degree of accuracy. After joining the two pieces, [Nixie] had a sturdy support bracket that he duplicated and attached around the rest of the bins.