The basics of laser cutting with Ponoko

Helpful advice on how to get started with the Ponoko Personal Factory

For those who have always wanted to give Ponoko a go but are not sure where to start, this training video shows just how easy it is to produce your own laser cut designs.

In a little over ten minutes, Josh talks through the process of using Ponoko, and highlights a small project that makes a great starting point to help you feel your way with the Ponoko Personal Factory.

The material overview covers felt, cut and engraved bamboo, leather, 3d objects assembled from laser cut acrylic, and laser cut plywood. There is also advice on which materials are the best to get started with – and how to avoid common ‘beginner’ mistakes.

Then it gets to the good stuff – a neat little demo of how to actually make your very first product. The walkthrough explains how to use Inkscape to create a file that can be uploaded to Ponoko for laser cutting.

Starting with the Ponoko P1 template, Josh quickly whips up a collection of forms that use both laser cutting (for outlines) and laser etching (for surface details).

The upload process is then explained, with useful tips on how to check your files are correct and also how to order multiple copies of your design. Next comes material selection, which reveals some very useful information – how much it will cost! You’ll see that it’s really easy to switch to another material and see the price adjust accordingly in an instant.

The video wraps up with a few more handy design tips to be sure you start off on the right track.

Sound like fun? We think so. Watch the video, then dive right in!

source: The basics of laser cutting with Ponoko

Related posts:

What is Laser Cutting?

Taking a step back to go through some laser cutter basics.

What is laser cutting, and why are we so excited about it?
As we’ll see in this brief overview, laser cutting is a relatively simple technology that makes it possible to cut or etch forms from sheet materials.

Laser cutters work in a similar way to other CNC (computer controlled) tools, however the cutting is done with a powerful beam of light instead of a sharp blade. To cut, the laser beam is focused to hit the material at a precise point, causing it to melt, burn or vaporize. Etching is achieved by focusing the laser on the surface of the material, where it will only burn or vaporize the topmost layer.

Laser Cutting is particularly useful because it works touch-free, meaning no mechanical forces or pressures are transferred to the material. This enables delicate cutting paths that can be repeated with a high level of precision, whether they are cut all the way through the material or etched as an impression onto the surface.   (more…)

Related posts:

Get to know your laser cutter better

DIY Kerf measuring tool refines your laser cutting precision

Although it isn’t critical on all laser cut projects, for anything with parts that fit or slot together, kerf is something that is worth paying attention to.

It may sound like a Jim Henson creation – but kerf is in fact a very real technical term. Kerf refers to the gap that is left by the cutting device – in our case, the laser beam in a laser cutter. It’s usually more of an issue when laser cutting in wood, but will also come into play when laser cutting acrylic and other materials.

Open source enthusiast Dave Chamberlin has come up with a nifty device that can be used to accurately measure the kerf of a laser cutter. The simple cutting pattern has been uploaded to Thingiverse, and includes instructions on how to measure your kerf etched right onto the device itself. Here is what it looks like:

Follow the source link below to download the file and try it out on your own laser cutter. You can also discover what else Dave is up to in his open source maker crusade over at Takeaway 3d Tech.

Thingiverse: Laser Kerf Measuring Tool

Related posts:

The Neo-Artist: Last chance to get involved

Time is ticking – Kickstarter campaign ends 4pm Friday EDT

When we recently discovered The Neo-Artist, it seemed like Lincoln Kamm was living the dream. He has developed an expertise in helping creative people find ways to produce and sell their work using the latest in digital manufacturing technologies, and now he wants to share it with you.

All of his knowledge (and a few extra practical perks) are condensed into the publication The Neo-Artist, which is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign that wraps up on Friday July 12 at 4pm EDT.

A nice snapshot of what The Neo-Artist is all about can be seen in the clip above, where Lincoln is interviewed by 3D Printer World. Watch the interview to discover more about the campaign, as well as cat-breading and other insights into Lincoln’s creative world that led him to share his expertise in The Neo-Artist.

If you need a little convincing to get involved in this campaign, one of the perks for backers is to receive discounted consultation time with Lincoln himself on your own projects. Imagine having personal, one-on-one time with an expert in making a success of making! Jump on board before it’s too late.

via Kickstarter

Related posts:

The Neo-Artist: a high-tech guide to making

One man’s mission to solve the economic downturn for creative people.

Lincoln Kamm spent 12 years in the animation industry before breaking out and producing his own works. He has since met with notable success with six-figure sales and is now helping others learn how they too can do the same.

In an upcoming publication The Neo-Artist, Lincoln expands on his college lecture series and consulting experience. The book is a treasure-trove of knowledge that aims to teach creative people about the latest in high-tech hardware and software for turning ideas into real physical objects.

Topics covered include 3D printing and laser cutting, designing custom electronics, clothing and more. Most importantly, The Neo-Artist will also show how to make other aspects of the available technologies work for you to help market and sell your work. It’s perfect for makers who are just starting out and will still have plenty to offer those who have been in business for years, guiding them to the next level and beyond.

So if you are a creative person who’s into technology, be sure to take part in The Neo-Artist Kickstarter campaign and make a pledge to secure yourself a copy of the book. It’s time to leave the rat race behind.

The Neo Artist via Kickstarter

Related posts:

Multi-colour prints from a single extruder

Tutorial shows how to liven up your 3D prints

Are you finding the monochromatic output of your 3D printer a little drab? According to Andre Tiemann, coloured prints are easily achievable and he has written up a neat tutorial explaining how to achieve multiple hues… and you don’t even need to have the latest high-tech equipment.

With dual-head extruders becoming more and more commonplace, coloured prints may not seem so exceptional – but what sets Andre’s efforts apart is that he is producing multiple colours from a single extruder.

Referring to the prints as 2.5D (rather than full-blown 3D objects), he explains the process of colour swapping based on layer height to radically change the appearance of the printed object.

“…while this isn’t a breakthrough in 3D printing, it is a fun technique to liven up prints.”

Instructables via 3Ders

Related posts:

Pibow: stacked laser-cut enclosure

A new way of building DIY electronics project boxes
Since the Raspberry Pi launched six months ago, a huge ecosystem of enclosure designs have sprouted up out of the creative commons community. The Pibow is a particularly innovative approach, consisting of a stack of laser-cut acrylic layers. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for this new technique to spread to through the community.

Related posts:

My First Synth

A compelling toy for all ages

Here’s an Instructable that goes into great detail about the design and build process of this marvellously over-engineered kids toy. This project really ticks all my boxes: sweet laser cut enclosure, arcade buttons, weird noises, and it’s educational!

Related posts:

CNC routing for casting intricate mechanical parts

Or, how to be an absolute boss

Here’s a wonderful write-up on the trials, tribulations, and inspiring successes of Michal Zalewski’s 6-year journey into robotics. This well-written story is focussed on techniques for using CNC routing to create intricate molds for casting precision mechanical parts. Mouth-watering pictures after the break… (more…)

Related posts:

Tutorial: Gears & Joints with SketchUp and SketchyPhysics Part 2

Mechanical modelling with free software tools

Following on from last week’s introductory tutorial, here’s a bit more information on how to make mechanical models in SketchUp with SketchyPhysics. By the way, here’s a great resource if you want to learn more about mechanical linkages, gears, and all that good stuff (hat tip to Edgar Castelo for the link).

Related posts: