Trying to Fall in Love with Laser Cutter (Apparently Not)

This time I had to make something using Laser Cutter. Previously I had been using Laser Cutter for Pcomp project and to etch my phone stand. But it was using woods. So, this time I wanted to explore more about acrylic.

 

Idea

The idea is to make a box and pair of glasses. I wanted to make a box that can store pen, pencils, and other tools. But I didn’t want to make just a plain box, I wanted the joint like puzzles. Also, I wanted to etch images on the box.

 

Sketch Box
Sketch Skeleton

 

It seemed easy at first, but I was struggling making the puzzle-like joint in Illustrator. I didn’t have that much experience using Adobe Illustrator. I also had to measure it so that the joint would match each other. I sketched it first on paper, then tried to fold it to make sure it fits.

 

 

Materials

I wanted to play around with acrylic. So I used acrylic as the main materials. I also, used acrylic glue to stick them together.

 

Acrylic Glue
Acrylics

 

I bought the acrylics in Canal Plastic Center. They sure are specialized in plastics. They have a lot kind of plastics. I was overwhelmed choosing what to buy then. Also, they had leftover materials which are much cheaper. I just grabbed some for my next project.

Process

Draw it using Illustrator

After I successfully made the skeleton on Illustrator, a friend of mine told me that there was a box template generator on internet, specifically for laser cutting. Alright, I was pissed. Just spent my time to make it one by one trying to figure out how to make them fit, but then there were a template generator. It would make my life so much easier! This is the box template generator: MakerCase.

These are the images of the skeletons that I made using Adobe Illustrator.

Box Skeleton
Glasses Skeleton

 

 

Let’s laser cut it

First of all, I tried to laser cut using cardboard since I didn’t want to mess with expensive acrylic. I needed to know whether the joint fit perfectly.

 

First Try

 

Okay, after it’s successfully cut, I tried using the 60W Laser Cutter (the 50 was all booked for Tuesday). This was the setting that I used to cut and etch the acrylics. I followed the materials guideline.

 

Laser Cutter Setting

 

This was the not so exciting part. When I used it to cut my glasses, the laser cutter suddenly stopped. It said X/Y disabled. I asked John what was wrong, I was scared to death if I broke it. I was kinda relieved that it wasn’t because I did something unsuspiciously, but the machine itself needed to be repaired. But it was a nightmare! I didn’t finish cutting my glasses, and now I couldn’t use the 60W laser cutter. Well, I was still hoping I could finish it the next day using the 50W.

The next day, I used the 50W laser cutter to continue my work. I did hope it worked well and could finish cutting my glasses. Unfortunately, the 50W isn’t exactly the same as the 60W (besides the settings that need to be adjusted). I placed my acrylic exactly on the top-left corner, I taped it like what I did in 60W. But still, the beam projection coordinates wasn’t exactly the same as the 60W. It ruined my glasses, my expensive acrylic. I needed to use the other side of the acrylic. Thank God I bought extra.

 

My Glasses was Ruined
The Cutting
Cutting Result

 

Glue them

After I successfully cut them, what I had in mind was to just glued them together. For the box, I had no issue gluing them together.

 

Glued the Box

 

For the glasses, I was thinking to use hinges to joint each sides and glue the hinges to the acrylic. But I went to look for one in Blick and Home Depot and I couldn’t find one. So I gave up and just glued the sticks to the glasses.

 

Glued the Glasses

 

Result

Here’s the result. After all, I was trying to fall in love with the laser cutter, but apparently not. I needed to stay by it for hours, also it could ruin your expensive materials.

 

Final Result

One Comment

  1. Good work. Glad you rolled with the punches of the lasers not treating you right. These machines are complicated and require maintenance. They can (and will) break down on you when you need them most.

    I’d be interested to see how the glued joints look. Perhaps an image of that can be added to the documentation.

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