A great tip for first timers and also just as useful for more experienced makers is to keep things small and simple at the beginning. In short, stick to the Ponoko P1 template. Starting small enables you to test your ideas and be confident before charging ahead with multiple items on larger sheet sizes.
This will keep material costs lower, which is handy not only when experimenting with laser cutting for the first time but also if you are trying out a new material that you haven’t used before.
Make the most of the P1 template size by performing small tests of multiple design ideas. Don’t assume your first attempt will be “The One”. Try multiple cuts, shapes, engravings, etc to see what you like the look of. You are much more likely to end up with a design you are happy with if you remind yourself that it’s not about getting that perfect outcome on the first try.
Keep in mind that with laser cutting, more size or complexity means greater costs. So the smaller dimensions of the P1 template help to constrain the amount of making time, which again means both cutting and material costs will be lower.
What savings have you made by starting small with your laser cutting? Let us know in the details below.
Stay tuned for the next handy piece of advice from the Ponoko team. It’s time to pare things back with Tip #5: Simplify details.