10 October 2014

My new laser toy!

Well it's not mine, but I can play with it... I recently discovered that I had a free of charge access to a laser cutter at the local university! I just have to pay for the raw materials.

My first order of business was to make myself and a couple of guys from my gaming group a set of X-Wing Miniatures templates out of acrylic... It took me about half a day to figure out how to use Inkscape (an open source vector graphic software), to measure the shit out of my cardboard templates and to redraw them; 15 minute bicycling to the fabrication lab; a few minutes getting explanations from the nice lady at the lab; and about half an hour (I fully intended to time the process but was so excited that I forgot to look at my stopwatch when it was over) watching the laser dancing over the acrylic plate (and another 15 minutes biking back home)!

I got 4 such sets out of a 30 by 60 cm plate of acrylic (I did play around with the file quite a bit trying to fit 5 but couldn't, I guess I could probably fit 9 on 2 plates but I'm not considering mass production.)... Which puts the cost of the set a bit under a third of the price they're sold online (plus I don't have to pay for shipping). Note that I'm not criticizing anyone's pricing model here: commercial operators have to pay for their lasers, I don't!

One mistake I made is not converting the numbers and letters I inserted for engraving to regular objects, meaning that once I opened my file at the lab, they had all reverted to good old Arial... Fortunately I was able to go online and retrieve the font I used and the admin was kind enough to allow me to install it. So no harm done, but lesson learnt.

Next project: 15mm sci-fi buildings

1 comment:

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