Last week we got the 60 watt laser cutter “officially” online and working. We even got a bunch of people trained on using it. There’s still an issue with homing, but if you follow the instructions, it works fine.
And by “works fine” I mean it “works great!”
I ended up cutting my Nerdy Derby car last week, and I also did this laser-etched coaster, which is about 3.75″ in diameter and 3mm thick. There was a little bit of scorching at the bottom, but I may be able to sand that off easily. I was still playing with the cutting settings a bit. I may also play with the masking tape idea to prevent scorching the surface when cutting.
The artwork for the coaster is a mathematician from a NASA coloring book, and I found it on OpenClipArt.org which is a great source for public domain vector-based artwork.
(Oh, we also ended up connecting the PC that was on the 25 watt laser cutter (which is down for maintenance) because it’s got a newer version of CorelDraw.)
Now that we have the laser cutting wood with a decent thickness and summer on the way – it seemed the perfect time to start pumping out some fashionable eyewear for those bright summer days.
The first draft of some glasses were cut this weekend with a surprising level of success. Although this draft fits somewhere between a small and medium, a few tweaks and I think we will have it dialed in just right. Additionally, the burn gives the frames a nice edge and color.
Next up: Cutting and inserting some lenses and attaching hinges. We will also definitely look to staining a pair and burning in patterns/textures into another as future options.
The working file is available for download on Thingiverse
There’s an old saying “Don’t take any wooden nickels” but I say “Do take some wooden nickels!”
Especially if they’re laser-cut wooden nickels from Milwaukee Makerspace.
Here’s my file in CorelDraw, with different colors to indicate the front etching, back etching, and the cut.
I taped down a piece of 1/8″ Baltic Birch plywood to the laser cutter platen so it wouldn’t move, and then I set the laser cutter to etch the front (which is our logo, in blue) and ignore the other parts.
Once I was happy with the front etching, I changed the settings to cut the outline (in red) and ignore the black and blue. After the cut was complete, I pulled out the pieces and flipped them over for the back etching.
(Here’s a tip for you: I mentioned that I taped down the piece of wood so it would not move, but the other trick I have it to use a piece of tape to check if the cut is all the way through. I just stick a piece to the cut piece and see if it will lift out.)
Our nickels have the front etched, have been cut out, and now they’ve been flipped over and put back in place to etch the back.
And here are our completed wooden nickels! Ready to be handed out at any event we might be attending, or to guests of the Makerspace.
I’m not 100% happy with them, mainly due to some weird file formatting issued between creating them in Inkscape and importing them into CorelDraw as DXF files, but those are all minor issues we can tackle next time.
For Christmas I made my lovely wife this lovely sign that lets me (and everyone else in the room) know that she is right.
She can easily point at it to end any disagreement we may be having.
I think I’m going to call it the “wife is right” sign, and I’ll be taking orders from wives to make them signs soon. I’ll also be taking orders from husbands to prevent me from taking orders from their wives. Either way, I see it as a great business opportunity.
In all honesty, the sign comes from a joke my wife and I had a few months back. When we got the laser cutter at the space, this was one of the first things I made with it.
I’m making progress on my DIY squeegee project. For a little background, I have this 6 foot long piece of rubber, which is the same material used in squeegees for screen printing, but I need wooden handles to put the rubber into. So with the help of of some other members, I’m figuring out how to do it.
Brant helped me determine that the band-saw is a good machine for cutting the rubber. I had previously tried a utility knife, but that didn’t work. Ron and Rich filled me in on how to use a router table, and I was able to cut a groove into a piece of wood I picked up this week. The rubber fits perfectly, so the next step is to drill some holes and put in some t-bolts to hold it all together.
I’d also like to do a bit of sanding and maybe varnish the wood. I figure they might as well look good, right?
I think this project really shows the strength of the Makerspace. I’ve had this rubber for two years, but never got around to making any squeegees. I came up with a few really hacky ideas on how to do it, but now at the space, with the right tools, and the right people, it’s all coming together.