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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 05:45

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #189

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser etched Measuring Tape/Beltt via Instructables from Robb Godshaw.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, flowers, and medals…

Above is a laser cut bamboo cake toppers from Cabin.

Printed and laser cut Military Medals from The Porkchop Show.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Fashion + Textiles, Functional Art ..."
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Date: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 17:57

Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows

Check out this gem of a project from Mario Klingemann, otherwise known as Quasimondo. A few years back he whipped up a Typographic Gear Generator that is able to create pairs of wheels that interlock with mesmerising precision.

The gears can then be laser cut and added to your next mechanical marvel for all to enjoy. There is something whimsical and kind of cute about bundling in this extra layer to an otherwise run-of-the-mill laser cut component.

Pictured here (and in the following clip) is a laser cut geared wheel turning around a quote from the 1950’s tv classic, The Original Amateur Hour. Other variations that Mario has tried out include a Muybridge-inspired horse in motion, demonstrating that the process works just as well with images as it does with text.

via Mario Klingemann

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 17:58

Watching the laser cutter in action

In this four-part series of introductory laser cutting tutorials we have shown you just how easy it can be to become a digital maker with Ponoko. Now it is time to watch the laser cutter do its thing and see those designs become real, tangible objects right before your eyes. Just hit Play on the video above.

Here’s a little refresher on what got us to this point.

• Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 1: Getting started with the Personal Factory
• Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 2: Edit design templates
• Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 3: Custom designs using Inkscape

So now that you’ve got what it takes to become a digital maker, how about losing those training wheels and start making on your own? You can:

• Upload a new design to your Personal Factory
• Check out more learning resources
• Download free design files from the showroom

…and don’t forget to share (or perhaps even show off) your projects on the Ponoko forums.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Laser Cuttin..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 05:32

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #188

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above are laser cut perforated paper take-off light lampshades which allow you to make any pattern or opacity you want from fifti-fifti.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, foam, hedgehogs, skulls, and friends…

This is the MiniCut2d, a laser cut digital foam cutter.

Image from Make Faire.

Above is a laser cut and etched bamboo hedgehog knitting needle gauge from katrinkles.

Above is a laser cut metal skull mask from 4everstore.

Above is a laser cut and etched bamboo soil moisture sensor system from Disckson Chow.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Digital Fabric Printing, Electronics + R..."
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Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 17:00

First branch of long-dreamed half makerspace/half cafe opens its doors

When it comes to laser cutting services in the UK, it’s hard to beat RazorLAB for precision and expertise. Now you can throw in some tasty treats and a chat with the guys in the the know because they have just opened Makers|CAFE.

For those who need a little caffeine to cultivate their creativity, this really is a dream come true:

“…a space where people could have a quality coffee while having their prototypes made on the spot”

It’s an exciting time for makers in London, and Makers|CAFE are celebrating with a launch party this Thursday (August 21) where a lucky few will enjoy live music, free drinks and laser cutters + 3D printers in action.

If you are in the area and like the sound of joining in the fun when Makers|CAFE opens its doors to the public, you can RSVP at their Facebook event page or Eventbrite page. Spaces are limited so be sure to get in quick!

via Makers|CAFE

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "3D Printing, Events, Guy Blashki, Laser ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 22:52


Brad Hill is the creator behind LittleRP – A DLP projector-based resin printer that can be put together for as little as $499.

Brad set out to create a printer that was open, flexible and affordable. Rather than using proprietary resins, the LittleRP is designed to use as many different formulations of UV curing resins as possible. By focusing on smaller, higher quality prints, the LittleRP is able to provide high accuracy while keeping costs low.

The flexibility and low cost helps explain the explosive popularity of the LittleRP’s Kickstarter, which passed it’s funding goal of $25,000 is under 24 hours. As of this writing the LittleRP has raised over $98,000, just under 400% of it’s original goal!

The LittleRP’s sleek translucent enclosure is made from Ponoko’s Acrylic Orange Tint, and the housing is made from Melamine Finished MDF seen here:

The LittleRP works using a process known as 3D stereolithography, a 3D printing process that uses light-sensitive resin and a high intensity light source to build a 3D object, layer by layer, rather than using spools of plastic filament as on a majority of 3D printers currently on the market. You can check out the LittleRP in action on it’s Kickstarter Video:

Want to get your hands on your own LittleRP? Head over to Brad’s Kickstarter page to get one while you still can.

Inspired to make your own project? Signup to make and sell for free!

Author: "Dan Devorkin" Tags: "3D Printing, Digital Fabrication, Laser ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 18:00

Using Inkscape to design your own laser cut product from scratch

Welcome to the third instalment of Ponoko’s back-to basics tutorials. This time we get creative and generate a laser cut design from scratch that can be used with your Ponoko Personal Factory.

It all begins with key information from the Inkscape Starter Kit, a tremendously useful resource that sorts out everything you need to know about the free software package, Inkscape.

The tutorial walks through how to use Inkscape to draw a design using basic shape tools, the text tool, and Path commands. In the demonstration, Josh whips up a laser cut coaster and repeats the pattern before finalising the file to be ready for laser cutting.

In a little over ten minutes, you’ll be able to:

• Create a design from scratch with Inkscape
• Create and combine basic shapes
• Check your design in outline mode
• Format your design for laser cutting

Stay tuned for Ponoko’s Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 4 where we get to see the laser work its magic.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 05:39

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #187

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser cut cherry wood octopus wall clock from Graphic Spaces.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, a honeymoon, a bear, a cross, a game, a skeleton…

Above is a laser cut chipboard scrapbook from Bungalow Glow.

Above is a laser cut wood brooch from Hungry Designs.

Above is a laser cut acrylic cross bracelet from Elizajay Charm.

Laser cut acrylic tray for the board game Eclipse from Eagle River Games.

Laser cut and etched acrylic skeleton from Twelvemo.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Fashion + Textiles, Functional Art ..."
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Date: Friday, 08 Aug 2014 17:58

iPad app makes it even easier to design for laser cutting

When we first heard about the iPad app Sketch It Make It, we were pretty excited. Now that developers Blank Slate Systems have released their clever drawing app to the public, our fingers are really twitching!

Sketch It Make It is able to rapidly transform even the wobbliest scribbles into neat geometric forms, and have them ready to export for digital manufacturing almost instantly. Whether you are laser cutting, using CNC milling or 3D printing there has quite possibly never been a faster way to turn ideas into tangible objects.

To discover more, download the app to your iPad and check out this series of brief tutorial videos.

The following clip also provides a neat snapshot of just how intuitive Sketch It Make It is to use.

via Sketch It Make It

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "3D Printing, CNC Routing, Guy Blashki, L..."
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Date: Wednesday, 06 Aug 2014 17:59

Using free design software to customize a design file

For the second instalment of Ponoko’s back-to-basics tutorials, we walk through the process of customizing a design file using freely available design software. The recommended software is called Inkscape, an open-source vector drawing program that offers powerful features in an easy-to-learn format.

Making use of the same free design file introduced in part 1 of the Laser Cutting Tutorial series, this time we walk through the process of adding your own text to the laser cut coaster.

Follow through as the process is explained from downloading Inkscape through to preparing the custom file for uploading to your Personal Factory.

In just under six minutes, you will know how to:

• Download Inkscape (available for Mac or PC)
• Open a design file in Inkscape
• Customize the design file with your own text
• Prepare the file for laser cutting

Now we’re just about ready to generate custom designs from scratch using Inkscape, so stay tuned for our Laser Cutting Tutorial Part 3.

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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Date: Monday, 04 Aug 2014 05:44

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #186

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser cut and etched wood dog tag from Cropscotch.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, diamonds, geraniums, dears, and chain…

Above are laser cut acrylic gem earrings from I’m Your Present.

Above are laser cut geranium leaves from The Miniature Garden.

Above is a laser cut steel stag from Stag Artwork.

Above is a laser cut maple wood chain necklace from Havok Design.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Fashion + Textiles, Functional Art ..."
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Date: Friday, 01 Aug 2014 17:45

Surplus store discovery inspires DIY mechanical marvel

Rope braiding machines are mesmerising to watch as they go through their mysterious machinations. Having spotted such a machine in a Surplus store, David from Mixed Media Engineering reverse-engineered the 1890’s product so that he could nut out exactly how the device works.

The result is a 16-bobbin laser cut wonder, with orbiting spools that guide the individual threads into an intricately woven mesh.

“I have been experimenting with some exotics such as carbon fiber yarns (rocket fusalage) embroidery thread for great braclets, surgical tube core with nylon shieth for pressure tubing, and para-cord nylon.”

There has been such a great response to the project that plans are in the works to turn it into a DIY kit on Kickstarter for others to enjoy. To catch a glimpse of those cogs in action, check out the brief clip of David introducing the rope braider at the source article.

via Hack a Day

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Acrylic, Laser Cu..."
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Date: Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 16:37

Digital fabrication meets ancient jewelry making techniques

Rachel Dropp is the one-woman operation behind Raw Elements Jewelry, a brand that combines modern Photochemical Machining (PCM) with traditional jewelry-making techniques. The results are unique hand-crafted pieces that feature a raw, unique style.

The pieces in the Raw Elements Jewelry line drawn inspirations everywhere from French needle point lace to the phases of the moon.

“While creating new collections I adhere to 3 aesthetic themes: rustic nature, bohemian and sacred geometry.”

The pieces are designed by Dropp, who then hammers, polishes, patinas and does the final soldering to arrive at her finished product. “I love incorporating all of the processes” Dropp says, “because it keeps things interesting and it allows me to have a great mix of products to offer to my customers.”

As someone who enjoys working on the creative side, Rachel initially found it difficult to jump into sales. “I’ve had to step outside my comfort zone” Dropp says “to call boutiques that I feel would be interested in selling my wares and to make appointments”.

Stepping out of her comfort zone has paid off for Dropp, who’s jewelry is now available online on her website and Etsy store as well as in boutiques everywhere from Sonoma County to the San Francisco Bay area

I asked Rachel what was on the horizon for Raw Elements Jewelry. “Coming up in August, I will be attending the Bodega Bay Seafood Art and Wine Festival and then in the beginning of September I will have a booth at Bhakti Fest in Southern California. I also plan to launch a new collection of mini sacred geometry charm necklaces.”

You can purchase Raw Elements Jewelry online at rawelementsjewelry.com or at any of the stores and boutiques listed on her site.

Inspired to design your own product line? Make it with Ponoko!

Author: "Dan Devorkin" Tags: "Jewellery, Laser Cut Metal, Maker Storie..."
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Date: Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 18:00

Getting started with your Ponoko Personal Factory

In this back-to-basics tutorial video, we walk through the process of making a set of laser cut coasters from a free design file.

Following these steps is a great way to get started with Ponoko and realise what’s possible using your own Personal Factory.

In a few short minutes, you will know how to:

• Download a free design file
• Add it to your Personal Factory
• Choose material options to get personal pricing
• Place an order

We’ve made it really easy to start making and get a feel for the laser cutting process. Stay tuned for future posts in this back-to-basics series as you work towards generating your own custom designs and becoming a successful digital maker.

Here is where you can download the free design file featured in the video: Custom Made Coasters

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Laser Cuttin..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 05:10

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #185

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above is a laser cut wood box from Cedar Street Design.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, birds, anchors, dogs, & planters…

Above are laser cut wood earrings from Green Tree Jewelry.

Above are laser cut paper confetti from Decorate Your Big Day.

Above is a laser cut Dachshund rubber stamp from Etchythings.

Above is a laser cut walnut wood ampersand from Alexis Mattox Design.

Above is a laser cut wood planter from One Man One Garage.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Art, Inventions, Jewellery, Laser Cut Wo..."
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Date: Friday, 25 Jul 2014 17:59

A quicker, cheaper alternative to raster fill engraving

Vector or Raster? It’s a question that has goes back to the earliest days of laser etching. Here is an interesting little exploration from the creative team over at Cuddleburrito that scores another point for the Vector camp.

Instead of using a raster fill for a job that required large graphic elements, they devised a way to create the same effect using vector paths.

This saves a huge amount of time, as the laser only needs to engrave the actual paths of the lines instead of sweeping across the entire area. There was an added bonus that the outcome has a more consistent appearance when applied on timber, because the tendency for grain variation to be emphasized (as when using raster etching) had been eliminated.

Want to know how they did it? Click through to the source to find out…

via Cuddleburrito

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 18:00

Useful information for both new users and laser cutting veterans

Are you a seasoned Ponoko maker? Or perhaps your imagination has been tingling and you are bursting to make your very first Ponoko product.

Either way, here is a top-10 list that we think will come in handy for those new to laser cutting, and it also contains useful information that will help more experienced Ponoko members keep things running smoothly.

Let us know what you would add!

1. How long it will take to make and ship your order.

We make all orders as quickly as we can, and how long that takes depends on the volume of orders we are processing at any one time. Due to the number of variables involved, we’ve written a separate post to help you work out the likely total time your order will take.
Read about our order timeframes.

2. If you are using Inkscape, you MUST use our design templates, or your design will be sized incorrectly.

We strongly recommend that everyone use our templates for laying out their laser cutting designs. If you are using Inkscape *it is 100% necessary*. The way that Inkscape works with measurements is different to other vector-based design software packages, and if you do not use our templates your parts will be made the wrong size. If you’ve already got an Inkscape design ready, we have created a guide to putting it on our templates.
Read how to place existing Inkscape designs onto our templates.

…so that’s the first two, and there are eight further important pointers to wrap your head around when you continue reading the full post.  

3. Our material sheets are larger than the usable white area of our templates.

The white ’safe area’ inside the orange border of our templates is the guaranteed make-able area on our material sheets. We ensure that there is always a border of material around whatever you make.  That way none of your parts will run off the edge of the sheet and your parts will be better protected during shipping. Because of this, you must ensure ALL your design fits inside the orange border. This also means that if you want to make something with a straight, lasered edge, you need to add a blue cut line around the inside of the orange border of the template.
Read about adding cut lines to the outside of your design.

4. Material thickness can vary and is not guaranteed.

This possible variance is referred to as thickness tolerance. The thickness measurements we provide are the ones given to us by our material suppliers and manufacturers – who also specify a tolerance range +/-  a certain percentage. We have noted these % variations on the material catalog pages. Note that this variance makes designing interlocking laser cut projects challenging.
Read our advice for creating wooden interlocking laser cut designs.
Read our advice for creating acrylic interlocking laser cut designs.

5. The amount of material burned away by the laser can vary.

The amount of material burned or melted away by the laser is referred to as kerf width. Kerf width can vary due to a number of factors, such as:
- variance in material thickness and density
- whether the laser is cutting a horizontal, diagonal, or curved line
- where on the sheet the laser is cutting, due to variations in the optics as it moves around
As such, there is a limit to how precise your measurements can be when using laser cutting. Although laser cutting is fantastic for a huge variety of projects, it’s not the most appropriate if you need EXACT sizing.

6. If you place two cut lines too close together, there may be little or no material left between them.

As mentioned above, every time the laser cuts a line an amount of material is removed from each side of the line you have drawn. This means that any areas in your design where cutting lines come closer together than 0.5mm could potentially be burned away entirely, and any places where they are narrower than 1mm are likely to be quite fragile. A good way to spot these is to change your line weights to 0.2mm and print your design out on paper – in which case you’ll see how much material will likely be left between your cuts.
Read about how this effects the placement of holes on the edges of your pieces.

7. Every cut line and vector engraving line in your file will be made by the laser.

You should ensure that only the vector line information NEEDED to make your design is present in your file. You never want to try and hide cut lines or vector engraving lines behind fills – they will be made by the laser-cutter whether visible in ‘Preview’ mode or not.

8. Raster fill engraving takes a long time, and can substantially add to your making cost.

Raster fill engraving is often the most time consuming part of a design because the laser must pass over the filled area many times to engrave it. When you do use raster fill engraving, it’s best to keep all of your raster fill engraved areas as close together as possible. This is because the head of the laser will have to pass over the gaps between the areas to be engraved on the same horizontal line many times before the job is done. This can unnecessarily increase your making time and cost.

9. Very small parts (5mm/0.197″ round/square and smaller) can fall through the laser bed during cutting and be lost.

When we cut your design, your sheet of material sits upon a honeycomb-like bed. This structure holds up the material without heating up too much so that it burns the back of the sheet. What this means, however, is that very tiny pieces smaller than 5mm round/square can fall through the honeycomb bed during the cutting process. This is something that cannot be avoided, so your best option is to add extra tiny elements to your design to account for those which may be lost.

10. The laser cutter will ignore ‘dashed line’ effects – so you need to ensure they’re formatted right.

All our supported vector-based software packages have the ability to add a ‘dashed line’ effect to lines in your design. Unfortunately, this effect on its own is only for looks, and if you view your design in Outline mode, you’ll see that the dashes are not genuine vector information. As a result, if you want to include dashed lines in your design, you’ll need to either create them by either:
- adding lots of nodes/anchor points to your line and manually removing every other segment, or
- using a thicker line with the ‘dashed line’ effect, expanding it into small filled segments, and using raster fill engraving
Read more about creating correctly formatted dashed lines.


That completes our 10 things you should know list. You can find this information along with a whole collection of other useful tips in the Tutorials section of the Ponoko forum. It’s a great place to explore and gather all the info you need to produce successful outcomes using your Ponoko Personal Factory.

Ponoko Tutorials

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cutting, Laser Cuttin..."
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 04:50

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #184

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above are laser cut silver earrings from Chrysalism.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

After the jump, crows, flowers, corners, and free hugs…

Above is a laser cut and etched brooch from Kate’s Little Store.

Above is laser cut paper from CCCScrapbooking.

Above is a laser cut birch wood pendant from EgoLoss.

Above is a laser cut acrylic Face Hugger ornament from 3 Quarter Moon Creative.

Author: "Sam" Tags: "Fashion + Textiles, Functional Art + Obj..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 17:47

Teaching kids how to build their own mini making machines

Designed for a workshop series that introduces kids to building their own motor controllers, the Sphere-O-Bot is a simple 2 axis CNC machine that can draw on small spherical surfaces. Suggested target spheres include ping pong balls, eggs and even golf balls are apparently worth a try.

There is a thorough tutorial on Instructables that will take you through the thinking behind the laser cut wooden design, and show just how to put it all together. Files are included for the laser cut structure as well as specs for all the hardware required to get the Sphere-O-Bot up and running.

This fun project was uploaded by Juan, a Maker Corps intern at the Children’s Museum of Houston, who says:

“By building your Sphere-O-Bot using a laser cutter, you can achieve a clean look while also reducing the production time of your parts. This design also features an electronics bay for your wires, micro-controller and motor drivers.”

via Instructables

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Hardware, Laser Cut Wood, L..."
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 17:45

Helpful advice on how to get started with the Ponoko Personal Factory

For those who have always wanted to give Ponoko a go but are not sure where to start, this training video shows just how easy it is to produce your own laser cut designs.

In a little over ten minutes, Josh talks through the process of using Ponoko, and highlights a small project that makes a great starting point to help you feel your way with the Ponoko Personal Factory.

The material overview covers felt, cut and engraved bamboo, leather, 3d objects assembled from laser cut acrylic, and laser cut plywood. There is also advice on which materials are the best to get started with – and how to avoid common ‘beginner’ mistakes.

Then it gets to the good stuff – a neat little demo of how to actually make your very first product. The walkthrough explains how to use Inkscape to create a file that can be uploaded to Ponoko for laser cutting.

Starting with the Ponoko P1 template, Josh quickly whips up a collection of forms that use both laser cutting (for outlines) and laser etching (for surface details).

The upload process is then explained, with useful tips on how to check your files are correct and also how to order multiple copies of your design. Next comes material selection, which reveals some very useful information – how much it will cost! You’ll see that it’s really easy to switch to another material and see the price adjust accordingly in an instant.

The video wraps up with a few more handy design tips to be sure you start off on the right track.

Sound like fun? We think so. Watch the video, then dive right in!

source: The basics of laser cutting with Ponoko

Author: "Guy Blashki" Tags: "Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutti..."
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