So previously I had 2 long benches with the laser cutter sat on top of it them, since the new laser cutter is free standing I had to remove half a bench. While I was reconstructing the benches I took the opportunity to replace the Ply surface with an MDF one, it's smoother and more solid (18mm) and cheaper (if you start with MDF). Anyway, I then used it to make arcs all evening so I'm very happy with it.
Friday, 5 October 2012
I went to pick up my new laser cutter. The old one is now safely on it's way to Leeds Hackspace making room for this one. It has a 300 x 600 cutting area. The whole machine looks significantly sturdier than the 3020 and comes with different control software. It's all set up and ready to go, but I decided to leave it for tonight. I have a few minor things to do soon though with deadlines rapidly approaching so I won't be able to let it stand for too long.
Thursday, 4 October 2012
So the project is complete, 365 items actually made in 350 days so 2 weeks early and there were also 2 weeks off for the laser cutter fire and 4 weeks off for moving house. So it was really only 10 months of effort. It was definitely a challenge but a worthwhile one, being forced to work to a deadline made me try things differently and come up with lots of different ideas and techniques.
I have to thank my wife for being so understanding for the whole time, it's nice that the first and the last items both relate to her (she drew the ginger kitty for me years ago). Also my Son Eli, who has inspired me to make various items, as well as playing quietly in the garage while I've worked (seriously he spent 20 minutes sat in a box today)
There have definitely been some low points while I was getting used to the machine, or trying to back pedal on some missing days. I hope that the many high points have more than made up for those. There are items that we use every single day, and other items that serve no purpose but are on display around the house. The laser also provides a great way to create unique gifts for friends and it's helped out with other peoples projects and some of those are living on beyond the project.
If I had to pick one project that was my favourite, it would be tough, but the James Bond was the most awesome thing ever, but not the voiced over clip, the outtakes clip. Never has trying to do something so simple proved to be so difficult while at the same time providing endless laughs.
So what next? Many people said I would just continue on but this level of output is punishing and it led to me producing quantity of items not quality of items. One friend suggested something I much more prefer. Why don't I try to make 52 awesome items over the next year (and 12 ridiculous items beyond that). I think I'm going to go for it, I'll let you know when I'm starting.
So there it is, my little laser cutter that has served me well over the last year. It's made it's last cuts for me this evening and tomorrow I will take it up to Nottingham where I hand it over to it's new owner. I would estimate that it paid for 75% of itself over the last year which is ok, not quite hitting the full 100% though.
It is the best thing I've ever brought. The 365 blog was incredible and a complete range of emotions over the year from the panic of being multiple weeks behind to the joy of producing a really great item. If anybody is thinking about buying a laser cutter you should stop thinking about it and just do it, you won't regret it.
Wednesday, 3 October 2012
A lot of the items on the blog have been for other people so I thought it was time to do something purely for myself. I'll be taking this to all my maker events from now on and squeezing it into various photos (such as on the Donkey Kong machine) so keep an eye out for it.
So I made it to the end and earlier than expected. I challenged myself to speed up about a week ago when I realised I was going to going to be getting my new laser cutter on the 5th Oct. All 365 items have now been cut on the HPC 3020, A4 sized laser cutter and all the files are adjusted to fit within that working area. Tomorrow I'll write a little more as a round up and what happens next.
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
I'm still having issue perfecting this process, this image was created by tracing the bitmap in Inkscape which gave me 8 layers which I then engraved separately on the laser. Slow and not as effective as I hoped.
Monday, 1 October 2012
A request from a friend for a small passport photo sized frame led me to this design. As I go further through the process I added more colour to the design and I think I prefer the white frame with the green koru (last photo). The photo slides in through a small gap in the top of the frame, created by etching the back plate.
With the maker slide gaining in popularity I thought it would be possible to copy the principle for smaller projects and create a laser cut version. The box section keeps the rail straight. The slide is constructed using 8mm bearings on 3mm bolts and the whole things grips the rail quite closely. I reckon this definitely has potential for any small project that requires a linear slide. (svg here)
The guys over at nerd club are making some fantastic progress on their CNC mill and one of their distractions along the way appears to be this longworth chuck, as they've posted step by step instructions it seemed rude not to draw my own.
Warren from Locksport International came to me with an idea about creating an item to emboss some card. I assume he has a design in mind but in the meantime I set this up to see if it could be done. The card is rubbed into the plate mostly with my knuckle, it came out ok on this side but is quite messy on the rubbing side. Warrens idea was to have two plates and press them together, guess we'll see how that works out.
Sunday, 30 September 2012
We found an alternate blast and spray pattern that converted nicely across to a laser cut pattern. The semi transparent perspex allows you to see the board through the marker and all 3 different sizes of spray and blast are now in the same piece.
My friend Chris over at the XLC designed this very cool little gripper that runs with one of the little 9g servos. He didn't release the files but the PDF still contains the vectors. It's a nice little gripper that needed a little tweaking before I could cut it myself, well worth the £5 they're charging.