So I have a tiny flat and it’s full of half-finished projects. When the kids are with me, I try to keep the kitchen table for food and board games. But on the weekends that they are at their mums, it’s my makerspace.
I know what I’m having for lunch, there is just no space at the moment for lunch; either on the table or in my brain.
I’m trying out 3 new things this weekend with the laser cutter:
- Living Hinge. Sort of…
- Slate – don’t know if my machine can even do it
- Small writing.
Last time I had a go with 3mm plywood [800 speed, 70%. 20 passes]. Lots of passes because I only have a low power laser, but I also blamed it on not being laser specific wood; it would have had fluctuations in the material and glue. So I decided to try MDF. This will be better.
Kitronics have a really great selection of laser materials, and quite cheap too. They are a UK company and sadly because of the fucking tories they are not shipping to the EU at the moment, so all the better to buy from them and keep them going! (They also do fabulous electronics kits and projects aimed at kids)
So I have some lovely veneered MDF and some plain MDF.
So starting with the plain 2mm, I’m ressurecting another unfinished project:
Tiny Streetlamp Nightlights.
I get obsessed with things from time to time and for a while it was minature streetlights, so short version, I was designing cute nightlights, had all the bits, then… Well, life, for a bit.
Anyhow, I realised this would be perfect for them, and using MakerCase I quickly bashed out a file for cutting. This is all early doors for my and laser cutting, so I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong, but MDF seems harder to cut than PLY. Not sure why and I’m sure it will all become clear at some point.
Ah… I was cutting on 1000 speed, but the PLY I did on 800, so the laser would have been more powerful. I’m starting a material library to keep track of all this!
Learning lots. Like not jogging the table while trying to do multiple cuts..
So a living hinge is where you make strategic laser cuts to the wood sheet so it can be bent. I have seen it around books, so they bend back and forth. This here is not going to move, but it will be a curved base for the nightlight.
So here’s the first prototype, it’s a scale version of a moterway streetlight with an LED on a little base with battery and switch. I love it. It’s all wrong: I got the measurements wrong, so it’s too wide, I put the seam at the front, but I love it. Will soon be on my Etsy shop.
I saw slate coasters in the poundshop. I had sworn never to make coasters because they are too obvious, but I wanted to see what I could do with slate.
But it just funking works!! Pleanstly surprised. [2500 speed, 82.5% laser, 1 pass]
This was fun. I picked up a pack of black pencils to see if I can use them for something. And presto! Nice and simple. The most difficult part is getting them in the same place each time. A cardboard jig will sort this out.
Black is not an ideal colour, as it’s black on black, but this is just testing to see if I can so it. I had thought that outline only would be best, but at the size, it’s not and full etch is best. [Arial, 3.5pt, 1000, 60%, 1pass]
The paint doesn’t love the laser, so unpainted would be best.