Giving 3D form to desktop cutting projects. Next stop, to the laser cutter!
Already well established as the gold standard for bringing super-simple 3D construction to the DIY masses, Autodesk 123D has announced an exciting partnership that goes one step further. They’ve teamed up with Cricut, the guys responsible for desktop electronic cutting machines that induce equal measures of desire and envy amongst Makers and Crafters.
The collaboration features a new series of easy-to-assemble 3D DIY projects including dinosaurs, rocket ships, creatures and homewares that are all geared towards owners of the Cricut machines.
Now, while this is a clearly targeted partnership that brings the clever slicing technology of 123D Make to users in the Cricut community, it is also a welcome reminder of the resources that are readily available and can be easily incorporated into your laser cutting workflow. (more…)
L-CHEAPO conversion kit brings laser cutting to the masses
Imagine turning a desktop 3D printer into a laser cutter without compromising its printing capabilities. That’s what Matteo Borri from Robots Everywhere has done, and the L-CHEAPO laser cutter attachment is now the focus of a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign.
Capable of cutting 3/16″ wood and 1/4″ acrylic on any hobby grade 3D printer or CNC mill, this clever little attachment runs off the existing machine’s power supply and software environment. Once the attachment is set up and configured, in a matter of minutes you can swap back and forth from laser cutter to 3D printer functionality.
“you can switch from laser to printer mode and vice versa in less than two minutes, with no tools”
Why would you want to do this? For one thing, laser cut parts tend to be much tougher than the thermoplastics used in 3D printers. This means the scope of making possibilities is significantly widened, all from the one machine.
Matteo is looking out for the little guys with this project, with the goal of making laser cutting accessible to those who might otherwise be hindered by the substantial initial investment that is traditionally associated with purchasing a laser cutter.
“I hope that this allows high school shop classes, small universities and local hackerspaces to be able to work with a wider variety of materials and techniques”
He also promises that there are larger, more powerful lasers in the works. It will be interesting to see what the big brother to L-CHEAPO is capable of.
The 3D printed component is available to download fromThingiverseand you can head toIndiegogofor further info and project updates.
Here’s a little extra, just for fun. Proving that he is serious about his DIY laser cutting prowess, Matteo uploaded this geekily amusing clip of the Tetris theme song, as played by an L-CHEAPO laser cutter in action.
When Jens Clarholm built his impressive DIY laser cutter, he was well aware of the limitations imposed by the low powered laser. While it may not cut through wood or steel, it does do a very neat job of cutting paper.
One great way he has explored this is by having a play with StippleGen2, a nifty program from Evil Mad Scientists. The program uses a special algorithm to convert an image into tiny dots. There are a number of ways to manipulate how it does this, as the calculations are repeated over and over again and the final graphic is refined. StippleGen2 is easy to use and a lot of fun.
For this experiment, Jens chose an iconic image of Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet.
After letting StippleGen2 crunch the numbers for a while I imported the resulting vector graphic file into inkscape and generated the G-code so that I could use my laser cutter to cut the image into black paper.
The cutting process took a little over 2 hours, which isn’t too bad when you consider that there are over 1000 holes in this particular image.
There is a lot more that StippleGen2 can do, so if you are intrigued by Jens’ experiment you can have a go with StippleGen2 yourself or learn more about Jens’ DIY laser cutter here.
For those who need to know the phases of the moon, there are options way more satisfying than turning to your favourite Internet search engine.
This laser cut marvel was produced by Lukas Christensen as a gift for his brother, a biodynamic farmer who relies on Moon phases to plant and harvest crops.
When investigating exactly what to make, Lukas decided that merely tracking phases of the Moon would be far too easy. To add an extra challenge, he incorporated the function of showing rise and set times of the Moon. And so the Moon Machine began to take form.
Clearly no stranger to working with numbers, Lukas has included a thorough walkthrough of his process on Instructables.
Although an actual video would have been great to see, here is the next best thing – an animation of the mechanism where you can see the hand crank turning away. In real-world use, one turn of the crank is made each day.
Some of the wooden gears broke under the considerable pressure of the assembled machine at the point where forces are translated to the central planetary gear. To get around this, substitute parts were cut from aluminium.
Reflecting on the completed Moon Phase machine, Lukas has identified a number of ways to make it even more accurate should he come to attempt another version.
Perfect for the active chess player who likes to get out and about, Got Chess? presents a stylish contemporary solution. This laser cut wooden chess board concept by product designer Peter Baeten folds flat into a neat leather pouch that also acts as a playing surface during the game.
“Inspired by the classic leather notebooks, ‘Got Chess?’ is a fully functional chess set, but stripped to its essentials.”
The line between 2D and 3D is blurred as the silhouettes of the pieces take centre stage. Due to the way that the pieces slot in to the board, only the active players have a full view of the game at hand.
Laser cut and then hand finished, Got Chess? consists of four tablets – one each to house the black and white pieces, and two to make up the board.
So if you see a guy wandering around with a stylish folded leather pouch, don’t automatically assume it’s a hipster iPad case. This could be your big opportunity to challenge a Grand Master.