3D Miniature Chess Pieces Made With A Laser Cutter

When you think of laser cutters, you generally don’t think of 3d parts. Well, at least not without using something like glue, nuts and bolts, or tabs and slots to hold multiple parts together. [Steve Kranz] shows you how to make these very tiny 3D chess pieces by making 2 passes at right angles to thick acrylic. The first pass cuts one side’s profile, then the part is rotated 90 degrees and a second pass is cut, giving the part more of a “real” 3D look, rather than something cut out of a flat sheet. If you’re having a hard time imagining how it works, his pictures do a great job of explaining the process. He even added some engraving to give the chess pieces for a selective frosted look. We think it’s a cool idea, and well executed too!

But that got us to thinking (always dangerous) that we’ve seen rotary attachments for laser cutters, but they are mainly for etching cylindrical objects like champagne flutes and beer bottle. What if you added a rotating “3rd” axis to a laser cutter that could hold a block of material and rotate it while being cut? (Much like a traditional 4th Axis on a CNC machine). Would the material also need to be raised and lowered to keep the laser focused? Surely software that is aimed at 3D CNC would be needed, something like Mach3 perhaps. A quick Google search show that there are some industrial machines that more-or-less do 3D laser cutting, but if you, or someone you know of, has attached a 3rd axis to a desktop laser, let us know in the comments, we would love to see it.

(via Adafruit)

6 thoughts on “3D Miniature Chess Pieces Made With A Laser Cutter

  1. I’ve been thinking of this, as well. if you have access to a LC but not real cnc, you can still get more than just simple flat work done if you are able to control the bed height and rotate the thing inside on command. I have not tried it or even looked at the protocol but I’d love to hear about this happening and being supported via scripts or tool plugins. even just a first POC that lets you apply a series of cuts as separate passes, that would be a nice first start. but it would have to have precise bed control and rotate control.

  2. Awesome. Never thought of that simple aproach. (I made multiple passes, much like a cnc router does, when making “tridimensional” shapes, wich is waaay slower and inefficient)
    Must Try it.
    (remember to use a long focus lens, people, otherwise it won’t work as good)

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