MicroSlice laser cutter now on Kickstarter

mini Arduino laser cutter & engraver kits

There was plenty of excited chatter when Greg Holloway posted his MicroSlice laser cutter on Instructables last year. Much of this involved people asking “where, when and how can I get one?” Well, the good news is that this diminutive digital manufacturing device is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, and the pledges are coming in fast.

The MicroSlice is a nifty little unit. Once you take a closer look, it is easy to see why it won the 2013 Instructables Radioshack Microcontroller Contest. Imagine a laser cutter that sits on your desktop. Not impressed? Consider that it sits on your desktop, and takes up less space than a bowl of cereal. Less space than a takeout container. Less space than a burger with the lot. In fact it takes up less space than the power supply from a regular sized laser cutter.

The MicroSlice is a Build-It-Yourself kit, uses Open Source Software, and can be easily assembled at home by just about anyone.

The MicroSlice can cut paper, and engrave wood & plastic. Kits include an Arduino UNO R3 as well as 97 laser-cut parts and all necessary hardware to get up and running. The laser diode is a 100mw red laser, similar to what you’d find inside a DVD-RW drive. An option is available to supercharge the MicroSlice with a 200mw laser.

With a truly miniature work area of 50mm x 50mm (2″ x 2″) users will be choosing their projects carefully.  For bigger projects, there is always Ponoko.

Learn more, watch videos of the MicroSlice in action, and make a pledge over at Kickstarter.

MicroSlice on Kickstarter

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Win a free copy of LEO the Maker Prince, the first 3D printing book for kids!

LEO the maker prince

This week, Ponoko has partnered with author and designer Carla Diana to give away five free copies of her new book for kids (and adults!), LEO the Maker Prince.

The first book about 3D printing for children, LEO follows the adventures of Carla and her friend LEO, a 3D printer. Chancing upon each other during a New York hurricane, Carla and LEO traverse the fascinating new world of 3D printing and all of the creativity and common sense solutions that it offers. LEO is a machine; Carla is an accountant who had always dreamed of being an artist. Together, they discover how personal fabrication can, has, and will continue to change the world. It certainly changes Carla.

Published by Maker Media, each creation featured in LEO can be downloaded for free and produced on your home 3D printer. 3D printing isn’t magic, but LEO the Maker Prince is. Written for anyone who wants to learn more about 3D printing, this book explores today’s emerging technologies in a way that makes it understandable to readers of all ages.

How to Enter:

Leave a comment telling us what character(s) from which favorite children’s story book you’d like to 3D print—and why.

Details:

You may enter as often as you like between Jan. 13-17, 2014, but each submission idea must be distinct from your last. Repeat or similar entries from the same applicant will be disqualified. Author Carla Diana and a representative from Maker Media will choose the top five suggestions from your comments. And yes, creativity and smarts do matter.

Prizes:

Five winners will each receive a free copy of LEO the Maker Prince either as a PDF or hard copy, depending (the vagaries of shipping constraints outside the U.S. may determine).

Deadline:

Sweepstakes closes at 10pmPST on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. Winners will be notified by Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, and announced in an update to this post.

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Laser cutting time

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #157

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

Above is a laser cut birch plywood cuckoo clock from Pedromealha.

After the jump, bulldogs, sparrows, terrariums, Johnny Bravo, and a 3D printer… (more…)

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Laser cut Marble Machines

Demonstrating the impact of changes in scale for laser cutting

Those two guys who just can’t help adding their own magic touch to laser cutting have been at it again. Martin Raynsford and his enthusiastic colleague Dominic Morrow kicked off the New Year by revisiting an old favourite project: the laser cut Marble Machine.

This time around, they gave the scale a twist – first sizing things up, and then scaling right down to something definitively cute and tiny.

As you can see in the following videos, the Marble Machines are a neat example of how easy it can be to resize an object for laser cutting.

“I’ve been telling people that one of the joys of CAM is that if you want a different size you just scale everything to 200% and recut it, so I did just that… and it works perfectly”

Just be sure to double-check before cutting! Martin and Dominic were careful to take into account all parameters including material thickness and the size of the marbles. For the Massive Marble Machine, two layers of 3mm MDF were laminated to create the required 6mm material thickness. It uses a 20mm ball bearing from another past project.

Going in the other direction, the Mini Marble Machine is so small that you need an implement to turn the teeny little winder that activates the mechanism.

Watch those marbles go round and round in a few short videos after the break. (more…)

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A laser cut hive mentality

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #156

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

Above is a laser cut rubber BOLERO HEX (jacket) and COLONY pencil skirt from Ego Assassin (may be NSFW).

After the Om, magpies, hands, guitars, moths, clocks… (more…)

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Laser cut vibrating mirror

Fuzzy reflections for the New Year

As another calendar year clicks over, you may find yourself reflecting on the past 12 months and pondering what the New Year will bring.

Staring into the mirror is one way to indulge in some serious contemplation… and with this interesting project from Instructables user Wolfgang Kahler, gazing at your reflection can have some surprising results.

The mirror has an array of laser-cut discs at its centre, right where the viewer’s face is likely to be positioned. Each disc is connected to a tiny motor that vibrates under the control of an Arduino Uno, with visually compelling patterns achieved in what could be seen as a simple animation.

As you can see from the video after the break, this results in a dynamic interactive experience that is considerably more high-tech than the traditional fun house novelty mirror.   (more…)

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Showing personality with a hint of leather

Laser cut leather accessories to keep you looking sharp

If you’re out there struttin’ your stuff in the world of high fashion, there is a chance that you have seen some pretty fancy laser cut clothing and accessories on the catwalks.

Providing plenty of inspiration to draw on, designers and makers continue to show us that it’s easier than ever to create interesting looking laser cut leather accessories. Artists who work with leather comment on the versatility of this material, with variations in the supple qualities further enhanced by the colour tones brought out in the tanning process.

Pictured above are just a few examples of what can be achieved once you know your way around laser cutting in leather.

The first four laser cut leather items are from Polymath Design Lab, with images thanks to Shannon Henry on Flickr. Below that are two of Colin Francis’ leather cuffs from Cuffmodern in the Ponoko Showroom.

Have you ever wanted to give leather a try? Explore your creativity with leather in the Ponoko Personal Factory.

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Elegant laser cut clocks

Taking inspiration from ornate European public timepieces

There is a lot to see at the Renegade Craft Chicago Winter Market in 2013. For those lucky enough to be in town on the 7th and 8th of December, one of the designers to look out for is Chicago native Sarah Mimo.

Over the past few years, Sarah has been building on a body of work that is inspired by an earlier visit to London and Prague. While on these travels, she found the beauty of Europe’s public clocks particularly memorable and has incorporated this influence into her artwork.

The result is an exceptional collection where she brings her own flavour to the idea of an ornamental timepiece. Laser cut and then finished and assembled by hand in her Brooklyn studio, these clocks are sure to pass the test of time.

See more from Sarah and other creative artists at the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market on December 7-8, or for those who miss out, there is plenty of laser cut eye candy on her website.

Sarah Mimo via Renegade Craft

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The Chart of Hand Tools

Over 300 illustrated tools of the trade

We may be immersed in the digital workflow of laser cutters and 3D printers, but there are still dozens of hand tools that makers are using every day.

The experts of laying it all out, Pop Chart Lab, have put together a wonderful collection in their print The Chart of Hand Tools.

“Meticulously illustrated tools celebrating the tinkerers and the doers: those who build, repair and create.”

Whether it’s the finely tuned measuring devices that ensure every dimension is just so, or the brute force of over 20 different hammers and mallets, somewhere on this illustrated panel will be the tools that enable you to realise your creativity.

Click through for a detailed view. (more…)

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Pinecone Patterned Animal Ornaments & Wintery Woodland Decor

Ponoko-made products by Yvonne Laube

The inspiration for Yvonne Laube’s adorable animal mobiles, switch plates, night lights, and holiday ornaments initially came while she was decorating the nursery for her newborn son.

“I was looking for pieces that were clean-lined and both modern and traditional,” she says. But when she couldn’t find quite what she was looking for, she decided to make her own designs with Ponoko’s laser cutting service.

And luckily for her, Yvonne’s single entry into last year’s YippieYay contest won her the opportunity to try Ponoko free for a whole year.

(more…)

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