Posts by Arthur

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Steel custom laser cutting available

Posted by Arthur on 2 March 2017

We’ve been offering quick-turn custom laser cutting service ever since “we” were just Candice and Jan operating a tabletop Epilog out of their home. Since then we’ve cut a wide assortment of customer designs including jewelry, engraved control panels, robot chassis, Christmas ornaments, and wedding invitations.

We started out mostly cutting acrylic, gradually moving into cutting a wider variety of plastics and wood. All along we’ve been improving our processes and increasing our capabilities by buying machines with bigger beds, better control systems, and more power. Without announcing it officially, we’ve been cutting metal for customers and ourselves over the past few years. For example, we cut our Basic Sumo Blade for the Zumo Chassis and the SMT stencils for our in-house electronics assembly. We’ve been refining our metal cutting processes and finding the best cut settings to minimize the chance of burring and dross, so most parts come out relatively clean and smooth to the touch.

The process quality has gotten to the level where we are comfortable announcing that metal laser cutting is generally available to customers!

Through cutting, vector etching, and raster engraving on stainless steel.

Through cutting, vector etching, and raster engraving on mild steel.

Through cutting, vector etching, and raster engraving on spring steel.

Top-side scan of laser-cut stainless steel.

Top-side scan of laser-cut mild steel.

Top-side scan of laser-cut spring steel.

Bottom-side scan of laser-cut stainless steel.

Bottom-side scan of laser-cut mild steel.

Bottom-side scan of laser-cut spring steel.

You can see in the pictures above that laser-cut steel parts have a slight discoloration along the laser-cut edges caused by the chemical reaction that takes place when cutting. Depending on the steel type and whether the cuts are through the material, vector-etched line art, or raster-engraved filled-in areas, the discoloration is different (some tend to be brownish while others are a dark gray). We do not guarantee that parts will be free of blemishes; we ship the parts without any post processing, and we currently do not offer additional services such as deburring, tumbling, or bending.

As stocked materials (shown on our quote request page), we carry #304-2B stainless steel in 0.024″, 0.030″, 0.036″, 0.048″, 0.060", and mild steel in 0.030″ and 0.060″. We can arrange to use material you ship to us, but keep in mind that steel is the only metal we can cut. We cannot cut copper, brass, titanium, aluminum, or precious metals.

To get started on having your laser-cut steel parts cut, submit a quote request here.

Laser cut 6-string banjo frame

Posted by Arthur on 9 January 2017

Here is a brief video a customer just sent us showing how he used our custom laser cutting service to create the frame on his custom 6-string banjo.

Odin sculpture and laser-cut model

Posted by Arthur on 12 January 2015

DeWitt Godfrey, a sculptor and professor at Colgate University, used our custom laser cutting service to create a 15% scale polystyrene prototype model before moving on to the final full-sized sculpture. The final installation, located on the Colgate campus, measures approximately 40′ × 20′ and weighs 13 tons. In the video above, the styrene model appears at 2:10, and again at 2:40. You can also see a time-lapse video of the sculpture’s installation here.

15% scale model of Odin, a sculpture by DeWitt Godfrey.

Interior photo of a 15% scale model of Odin, a sculpture by DeWitt Godfrey.

ORBIS - Wooden Kinetic and Lighting Sculpture

Posted by Arthur on 6 June 2014

Guido Bonelli Jr. of Innovative Electronic Solutions LLC created the ORBIS Wooden Kinetic and Lighting Sculpture for a client’s home using our custom laser cutting services. ORBIS hangs at 24″ in diameter and is 3/4″ thick. We laser-cut the parts from 1/8″ and 1/4″ baltic birch plywood, which were stained before assembly.

The separate control box and the wall unit each contain an Arduino Mega 2560 and an XBee module for wireless communication. The control box allows users to pick between two modes to control different features of the sculpture: kinetic mode allows users to adjust the rotating speed and direction of the two rings of the sculpture, and the color changing mode allows users to select various automated color patterns or control the red, green, and blue values individually to pick from 16 million colors.

ORBIS’s wireless control unit.

ORBIS with its lights off.

For more information about ORBIS, check out the project’s web page.

Power Level Indicator for Ghostbusters Proton Gun

Posted by Arthur on 19 March 2014

Justin Chase Black (Throwing Chicken) is an artist and long-time laser cutting client who uses laser-cut parts in his prop and replica builds. Every time we ship a laser order to him, I eagerly await a new Facebook post showing off his latest project.

His work is extremely meticulous, skipping no detail in even the tiniest components. One of his more recent projects involves a tiny power level indicator on a “Proton Gun” replica from the movie Ghostbusters. Buying a power level indicator wasn’t an option; the ones he could find were made for aviation and cost over $1,000!

With a little trial and error, he was able to make them himself for a fraction of the cost by casting them out of resin, using our laser-cut parts to create the cast. A few of the design attempts did not come out well when cut from 1/8" acrylic since some of the features in the designs were much smaller than the thickness of the material (the design is only around 1/4" wide!). We cut various materials and thicknesses from 0.004" Mylar to 1/8" acrylic and a combination of thinner parts did the trick.

I’ll be sharing more awesome projects from Throwing Chicken in the future, but you can also check out his Artist page on Facebook for more updates. If you’d like to purchase a Ghostbusters Proton Gun Replica Kit, they’re sold on the Throwing Chicken Etsy shop.

If you have a cool project you’re working on and need some laser-cut parts: “Who ya gonna call?” (PO-LOLU!)

Power level indicator replica for Ghostbusters Proton Gun.

Vector plans for laser-cut power level indicator replica layers for molding.

Close-up of cast power level indicator replica case.

Close-up of cast power level indicator replica case with laser-cut interior layers.

Close-up of finished power level indicator replica.

Power level indicator replica with LEDs powered on.

Close-up of power level indicator replica with LEDs powered on.

Power level indicator replica installed in the Proton Gun.

Power level indicator replica installed in the Proton Gun with LEDs on.

Personalize your own Christmas ornaments

Posted by Arthur on 13 December 2013
Tags: laser cutting

Using our Custom Laser Cutting Service, you can design and cut your own Christmas ornaments. Whether this is to decorate your own tree (and show off to family and friends visiting), or to give away as gifts — personalized decorations are always a big hit for the holidays! We cut the following Pololu Christmas ornaments out of 1/8″ sapphire blue mirrored acrylic with a raster-engraved image, creating a reflective scene on a translucent background.

Let’s face it, we’re all a bit too familiar with last-minute Christmas shopping, and it’s not too late to order and have these in-hand by the holiday (though we’re getting close, so expedited service or shipping might be required)! The set of seven ornaments like the ones shown can be cut for our low minimum order charge of $25. Of course, since each person’s design will vary a bit, the exact price and quantity might vary. See our Custom Laser Cutting Guide for more information about how our laser cutting service works, or submit a quote request now to get started!

Laser-cut chandeliers by Nicole Ketchum

Posted by Arthur on 2 December 2013

While our laser cutting machines can only cut two dimensional parts, there are easy ways to make three-dimensional designs out of flat, laser-cut parts. A simple way to achieve this is to create slots in the vector design to allow the two parts to slide together perpendicular to one another. Some may remember this technique from childhood arts and crafts; this easy tweak allows parts to be easily assembled and disassembled.

These Chandeliers by Nicole Ketchum were created using our 3 mm acrylic with a slot width of 1/8″. You can adjust the width of the slot depending on how snug you’d like them to fit. Since Nicole’s chandeliers are meant to be hung out of reach, a really snug fit wasn’t needed. With the holidays right around the corner, these could spruce up any room of your home!

For more details on using slots to fit acrylic parts together, be sure to check out Nicole’s project in our Custom Laser Cutting Gallery. More details about our custom laser cutting service can be found here.


Not your average alarm clock!

Posted by Arthur on 6 November 2013

Leonid Karchevsky, of Xronos Clock, used our Custom Laser Cutting Service to create an enclosure for his Arduino Based Talking Alarm Clock, the Xronos Clock. The Xronos Clock is open-source, hackable, customizable, and is available in both assembled and kit form.

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