Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Burnt Offerings and Bad Juju

While I have been working on some models for an upcoming tournament, I have mostly been working on laser cutting stuff. I went to use the laser last Thursday and I was warned that the filter on the Universal was shot and I may want to try the Epilog.  The problem is their Epilog doesn't engrave and my designs had a lot of engraving.  Plus all my lines are hairline which is what the Epilog uses for cuts.  Which would be bad.I decided to press my luck on the Universal and boy did it go poorly.  I mean really poorly.  I jumped to their Epilog and was able to cut the screen and that worked out.

This Sunday I went early and hit the laser again.  The Universal was setup and ready.  First cuts went well.  Cut the lid for my troop tray.  The new insert was next.   It cut but not all the way through.  I chalked it up to inputting the wrong depth.

Next up was a piece of acrylic.  Every thing is going well until it started cutting.  The application crashes.  Of course it doesn't save your progress.  I also noticed what it did cut didn't go all the way through.  I was able to pop most out but there was a lot of waste.  I fixed a few pieces I needed and cut again and had the same issue.

With still an hour of available time, I went and cut both of my prototype buildings.  Neither cut all the way through despite additional changes.  The larger of the two was salvageable.  The measurements were spot on except for the roof which I failed to account for the increased size of the actual sides.  My bad.  At least I can make a change and then work from there to add details. 

The first image shows the front.  The door or front window didn't cut through.  This will be a restaurant.  I plan on having a large piece of acrylic as the front door and windows.  Need to add details to the building now that the sizes work.   
Restaurant Front
Restaurant Back


  1. Interesting to see the trial and error of this process. I imagine it's similar to 3D printing...only I bet the laser is about 1000x faster. I printed a companion cube (3x3x3 inches), took 16 hours....

    1. The building that didn't cut right had a lot of detail in it. Todd made the suggestion to not put any on the other prototypes which worked out. Both places I go to have the 3d printers running 24x7 just to get jobs done because how long they take. With the consumerization of 3d printers (like Dremel's sub1k model), it would be interesting to see how they improve.

    2. I'd say right now, speed and resolution are their main issues. They have big issues with handling detail at the miniature level, but can do pretty decent at the vehicle level. (I made some turret holders for a quad gun as a test).

      My biggest issue with them, is if something goes wrong at hour 9 out of 16, it can wreck the whole thing, and you've got to start all over. Of course I'm using a solid doodle 3, which was like 500 bucks, but still!

      How fast does the laser work for lets say the building template?

    3. The template to include the roof and sides (which don't fit) took about 15 minutes.

    4. Haha...wow laser cutting is the way to go :).