Relating to digital fabrication, MatterHackers is your one-stop-shop for all of your gear and materials wants, like laser cutters and engravers. Whereas we feature a number of totally different machines, this text goes to deal with the FSL Muse and the companion software program, Retina Engrave 3, just because I’m most aware of that laser cutter and its workflow.
There’s lots of various things you may really do along with your laser cutter upon getting it, greater than I might even consider. To provide you an thought of what you are able to do, I’m going to work on three totally different tasks round three totally different ideas: reconstructing a 3D mannequin, engraving a sample, and creating customized packaging. Let’s get to it!
The three tasks I can be engaged on immediately.
Laser Chopping a 3D Mannequin
Autodesk has a very helpful program that can take an imported 3D mannequin and slice it into layers that may then be despatched to your laser cutter or reduce out by hand: Autodesk Slicer for Fusion360. Whereas this slicer works very equally to a slicer for a 3D printer, it’s options and performance are tailor made for laser slicing.
You begin off by importing your 3D mannequin, which can pop in a bunch of latest settings like how huge would you like your completed object with a preview of it on the appropriate aspect. The very first thing you’ll want to do is choose your “Manufacturing Settings” which is the dimensions of your materials in X, Y, and Z. You may both decide from a drop down of fabric choices, or you may create your individual materials. It’s essential to be very particular on the thickness of your materials, in any other case a sphere might look extra like an egg by the point you’re completed.
When you’ve bought your object and materials settings proper, you may select your building method.
- Stacked slices works virtually precisely like 3D printing; it cuts your object into layers that may then be glued collectively to recreate your form. The “decision” of your end object is restricted by your materials thickness in the identical means. This would be the technique I deal with immediately.
- Interlocked slices cuts your 3D mannequin in two perpendicular planes, then provides slots to the silhouettes. All of the items will slot collectively to kind your object, nonetheless some fashions might not work on this technique, because of both overlapping slots with oddly formed fashions and even elements that find yourself too small the slot into something.
- Curve is like interlocked slices, besides the second set of items are at an angle as an alternative of parallel with an axis.
- Radial has interlocking slices begin from a central level on the 3D mannequin.
- Folded Panels takes the polygons of your 3D mannequin and flattens it out so you may print it out and fold it again collectively to create your object. This actually solely works for fashions with a decrease poly rely reasonably than something with excessive element.
- 3D Slices appears to be a strategy to slice you mannequin into layers with out altering or estimating its geometry, however you may’t really use or export this.
All of the settings at my disposal inside Autodesk Slicer
Stacked slices will carry essentially the most element out of your 3D mannequin, at the price of extra materials and time, however the finish outcome will look that a lot better! You may select so as to add dowels by your mannequin for rigidity, however in my case this deer head doesn’t have sufficient house for a dowel to do a lot good. I also can change the slice path to get extra element, similar to rotating a mannequin for 3D printing to prioritize element. As soon as I’m completely happy, I’ll click on “Get Plans” to be prompted to export the cutouts in sheets as DXF, EPS, or PDF. DXF goes to be the only option for laser slicing in my case, however your laser cutter’s software program might favor a unique file format. In that case you should use a web-based converter to get to the appropriate file kind. Ensure to avoid wasting this undertaking so you know the way to assemble it later; there can be lots of items!
Now that I’ve the plans for it, I can import these into RE3. As soon as it’s been processed I can take away the complete picture layer (which may very well be used to raster/engrave this onto my materials) and ensure my sizing is right, as a result of typically that may get misplaced transferring from one software program to a different. You’ll want to do some take a look at cuts first on some scrap materials to see the mixture of energy, velocity, and present you’ll want to chop by your materials. For the FSL Muse, I used 25% energy, 100% velocity, and 100% present for 3/16” cardboard and that labored very well.
As increasingly items have been reduce out, the immense puzzle started to return collectively. Checking backwards and forwards between the meeting steps and what I had reduce out, I used to be capable of put collectively subassemblies because it progressed, till lastly the final sheet was achieved and I might sizzling glue and tremendous glue the previous few items collectively.
Stacked and glued all 173 items collectively.
Engraving an Picture
This is among the easiest undertaking you are able to do on a laser engraver. The one prep work that’s wanted is to measure out the fabric you’re going to make use of and give you a plan of what you wish to engrave onto it.
From there, you may both soar into your favourite picture enhancing software program, make the most of the instruments inside the laser cutter software program (fundamental instruments like textual content and shapes) or import a photograph to transform and engrave inside the software program. Dylan threw collectively a fast design to commemorate our Group Hex Wall which I might then import into Retina Engrave 3 and tune my engrave settings. I’m going to be engraving on a chunk of Cherry MatterHackers Mission Wooden and with a pleasant piece of wooden like this, I don’t wish to be too aggressive it, for worry that it’s going to burn too strongly. As a substitute, with one thing like this the place you don’t have an opportunity to do some checks, it’s higher to start out with a decrease energy setting and do a number of passes.
For this plaque, we ended up doing two passes at 50% energy and 100% velocity, and that gave it a pleasant contrasting shade with some good depth to it. Engraving took solely a half hour, together with the time to design it, prep the laser cutter, and prep the settings wanted for the design. If this have been one thing you wished to do batches of, it could be even faster to perform upon getting the method all the way down to a science.
Laser engraving provides a very distinctive texture and depth to wooden.
Customized Foam Packaging
I’ve had a bit software case for over a 12 months now that I wished the right use for, and with the Nintendo Change being such a enjoyable and in style merchandise proper now with Tremendous Smash battles at the very least as soon as per week within the workplace, it made sense to make it a case for a Change controller.
Venegade on Thingiverse designed a very cool grip for the Joycons that I’ve printed and would make designing a case very easy. All I needed to do was import some Change controller stand-ins and line them up within the controller case, shade the fashions black to make it simpler to hint, then take a screenshot from a entrance going through view. From there I might cross it off to Dylan to create an SVG, or vector, file utilizing Adobe Illustrator.
Simply the identical as all the remaining, I might import this SVG file into RE3 and set the laser energy for the packing foam in it, and similar to the Mission Wooden, I solely had one piece to make use of for testing and closing model. To play it protected, I set the laser energy to fifteen%, velocity to 100%, and present to 100%, and surprisingly it reduce by the froth like butter after the primary cross. A pair dabs of tremendous glue and now I’ve a customized case the securely protects my Change Joycons for gaming on the go.
Cosy and prepared for taking your Change Joycons on the go safely and securely.
Whether or not you’re trying to create your subsequent hit product or simply one thing enjoyable to place collectively, every of those tasks ought to hopefully get some gears turning and encourage you to strive it out. Share with me on Twitter what you’ve got created, I would like to see it!