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A Maker Space Favorite: Using a Laser Cutter (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 years ago | from the we-(heart)-lasers dept.

Hardware 83

Slashdot editor Jeff Boehm visted Maker Works in Ann Arbor, MI, where they not only have an Epilog Helix Laser Cutter/Engraver, but let him use it. Which, of course, he happily did, just as you or I would have done if somebody said, "Here. Borrow my laser cutter and engraving machine." The sound in the video is a little rough, since it was recorded live in a room full of loud machines -- like laser cutters. But it's still fascinating to watch (and hear) the process. The only downside is the "Ooh! I want one of those!" effect. There are used units available out there, but they cost as much as a pretty good used car. Maybe that's why there are so many Maker Spaces, also called Hacker Spaces, out there. Here's a global Hacker Space list. Hopefully, you'll find one near you, so you can do a little laser cutting (and lots of other neat stuff) yourself. Note: Slashdot accepts reader video submissions. Email robin at roblimo dot com for details.

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83 comments

cool (1, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40485403)

I use a laser welder at work every day, its neat for the first month, then just another tool later.

Re:cool (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#40490653)

Exactly. I don't see what the fuss is about. We've had one for about 10 years at work so it's nothing new.

Who in the hell wants to watch the video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485411)

I know I don't, don't have time for it at work, but I sure can read a transcript nice and fast.

Transcript - and about that "eyeballing"... (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#40489533)

littlebigbot pretty much sums it right up, but here you go anyway.

----

Title: A Laser Cutter Demo
Description: Slashdot editor Jeff Boehm visited Maker Works in Ann Arbor, MI, where they not only have an Epilog Helix Laser Cutter & Engraver, but let him use it.

00:00 TITLE
Slashdot Editor Jeff Boehm, as identified by titles, is shown standing in a room next to a piece of machinery.

00:00 Jeff
Over the past several months we've run videos of various Maker Spaces around the country, and several readers brought to us the request for a more granular look at how to get involved in a Maker community.
To that end, I'm here at the MakerWorks at Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take a look at one of those ways.

00:16 TITLE
The view fades to the SlashdotTV title sequence reading "Using a Laser Cutter" before fading back out again to the view of Jeff Boehm.

00:22 Jeff
Standing next to me is the Epilog Laser Helix - it's a laser cutter and engraver, and it is one of the more interesting tools here at the MakerWorks.
This tool has several things going for it.
First, it can create a wide variety of very interesting designs on many types of materials, from metal to wood, paper, plastic - all sorts of things.
Two, it is very easy to learn and operate.
And three?
Lasers(!)

00:48 TITLE
The view fades to a shot of the top of the engraver/cutter with Jeff pointing out its major components.

00:48 Jeff
The device itself is fairly straight-forward.
You place the object you're cutting inside here, where the exhaust vent will create small suction, so for example paper won't blow away.
The laser itself is in this little unit right here.
It is automatically propelled on both the X and the Y axes by this large device.
The control panel, here, is for zeroing it out and various other things.
You send jobs to it much as you would a printer.

01:19 TITLE
The view changes to that of a computer screen with design software shown. Jeff interacts with its interface throughout this segment, working with a Star Wars/Rebel Alliance logo.

01:19 Jeff
Operating the software for this device is also very simple.
To begin, just download any image from the internet, and then import it into the software you're using - in this case, it is Corel Draw.
I think we're going to make a drink coaster out of this one, so let's resize this to something a little more manageable.
Now, if we were just engraving, we would be done right here.
But first we need to do one more step.
Since coasters are circular, we need to do a circular cut.
So I'll create a circle, tell it how wide and tall we want it to be, tell it where to center, and there - that looks like roughly the right shape.
I can go here and scrunch it down just a little bit to make sure it fits better ... that looks about good.

02:19 Jeff
We'll also tell it we want it to be a hairline cut, rather than a cut of a particular thickness.
This is what tells the device to actually do a cut.
If you tell it to do a thicker line, it will try to just engrave.

02:31 Jeff
Once that's done, we do pretty much what we do with a regular drawing that we're trying to print.
We go to the Print, and it will bring up a box saying that we're printing to the engraver, and we go to properties.

02:45 TITLE
The engraver's driver interface is shown with various engraving/cutting settings.

02:45 Jeff
This is where the engraver's driver comes in.
We'll tell it what kind of DPI we want.
This tells us whether we want to do "raster" or "vector" - that just means whether we want to engrave, or cut - since in this case we're doing both, we leave it on "combined".
Now, we need to determine exactly what laser settings we need to use.

03:07 TITLE
The view fades to a shot of a large chart with various materials and engraving/cutting properties in a table revealing recommended engraver/cutter settings.

03:08 Jeff
This job is made simple by a large chart on the wall telling us exactly what speed and power settings we need to do cutting for different types of materials.
Wood, anodized aluminum, glass, ceramic, paper... it can even do perforations in paper.

03:24 TITLE
The view fades back to the screen

03:34 Jeff
So we just import them into the print properties, tell the laser to autofocus, and we're good to go.
We apply the changes, and tell it to print.
This sends the job to the engraver.

03:35 TITLE
The view changes to a shot of the laser engraver engraving the logo into a piece of wood.

03:47 Jeff
Once we hit go, the laser will check its depth and set its focus.
Then it will begin engraving.
After it finishes the engraving, it will do the cutting.
As you can see, the engraving takes a while, particularly if you set the DPI up high.

03:53 TITLE
The view changes to a more zoomed in shot of the engraving/cutting process.

03:54 Jeff
Once the cut begins, it proceeds rather quickly.
You may see a small flame while it's cutting.
That's okay, as long as it remains small - about what you'd see from a small lighter.
If you see a large flame, you need to stop the cut and grab a fire extinguisher.

04:14 TITLE
The view changes to a larger overview of the machine with Jeff taking out the engraved/cut piece.

04:14 Jeff
Once you're done, simply pop it free, and you have a coaster.

04:21 TITLE
The view fades back to the screen showing a long rectangle and a small Slashdot logo. Jeff holds up a metal ruler in front of the screen, and interacts with the interface to position the logo within the rectangle and add text.

04:21 Jeff
Etching into metal is another task that's very simple to do.
Right here I have a ruler that I want to etch some words into.
First what I've done is import the Slashdot graphic.
Going to position it roughly centered, I'm just eyeballing it, and roughly an inch and a half in - shall put it starting about here.
And then I will also make some text.
This time I need to start, perhaps, 4.5 inches in?
Naw, let's just say 4.

05:11 Jeff
Once that's lined up, I go over to Print, set up the properties again.
This time I'm just engraving, so I have "raster" selected.
Since we're engraving onto metal, we need to use a higher DPI, and we also use something for this called TherMark tape.

05:29 TITLE
The view changes to show TherMark tape being applied to the metal ruler.

05:29 Jeff
The tape is placed over the metal like so, so the laser can burn into it, and burn it onto the metal.

05:40 TITLE
The view fades to a shot of the engraving process.

05:41 Jeff
With the ruler placed inside the engraver, all we need to do is hit go, and watch what happens.

06:03 TITLE
The view fades to a close-up shot of the engraved ruler.

06:04 Jeff
Once we're done, you see the TherMark tape has been etched onto the metal.
A quick wipe will remove some of the extra dust, and there you have your high resolution etching.

06:19 TITLE
The view fades to a close-up shot of the laser head at rest.

06:20 Jeff
Well, you've now seen the basics of how this tool operates.
Becoming an expert at using it takes time, but we hope this video illustrates just how quick and easy it is [...]

06:29 TITLE
The view changes to a shot of the engraver/cutter's control panel.

06:29 Jeff
[...] to jump in and get started with simple projects.
Thanks for watching.

06:31 TITLE
The view fades to the SlashdotTV logo with the title "Using a Laser Cutter"

-----

A note to the person editing the video clips together: Please remove any DC offset from all audio before you mix them together :D

Also, I have to say I thought this was an unintentionally(?) funny video. Here you are, wanting to engrave a ruler with inch markings on it, and using software that has as part of its interface rules with inch markings, and Jeff's "just eyeballing it".
When he places the text at 4" in, it's obvious from the ruler itself that it would overlap pre-existing text - but when you look at the result engraving later in the video, the text is magically at about 2.75" inch in... and on a different ruler (dual inch marking, 1/16th and 1/32nd - the original held up to the screen was a metric/inch ruler).
Oh you editors and your shenanigans :)

Re:Transcript - and about that "eyeballing"... (2)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#40490659)

Amazing. Don't you have work to do or something?

Re:Transcript - and about that "eyeballing"... (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#40494125)

Didn't you have work or something* to do when you wrote that comment?

*write, play adventure games, read, taking random and not-so-random photos

For me, this is a pastime (and no, I'm not getting paid for it - unless I missed it and an e-mail fell down a deep black hole again) that helps me listen, type, and every once in a while actually learn something.

In this particular video's case I had hoped the video would actually be about how to get involved with a Maker type place, rather than going to one and a very brief how-to on operating a laser cutter, but you can't have everything.

And in case you're wondering - I'm writing this while colleagues take their smoke break. Amazing.

News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485413)

Stuff that matters.

Re:News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485729)

jellybean On My Galaxy Nexus. I Has It. How Ya Like Mr Now , Butches?

Re:News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486087)

Apparently your spell check doesn't...

Dallas Makerspace (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 2 years ago | (#40485461)

Dallas Makerspace has a laser cutter on site. It is almost certainly the most popular tool (outside of the internet connection which is terrible and will be until they put up the tower). Pretty easy to use too though using it does require a class.

hackspace list /.ed already (google cache link) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485523)

Wow, only 3 comments, and already it's unavailable. Here's a link to the google cache page:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:XFtVgljXVTQJ:hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=opera

Oh, come on... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 years ago | (#40485533)

This [youtube.com] is the video you're looking for.

Re:Oh, come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485697)

Please tell me that that thing has a hood with safety switches that they propped open just for this video. Who in their right mind makes a machine with a laser strong enough to cut through something and doesn't prevent the laser from firing unless there's absolutely no chance of laser light bouncing around the room?

Yup, laser cutters are very cool (4, Informative)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#40485619)

All the TechShops have laser cutters. They are very popular. Once you have access to a laser cutter, every problem starts looking like it can be solved by dicing up something thin and flat. That's not quite true, but acrylic and hardwood plywood both cut very nicely and can build some great things. The nice thing about laser cutters is there are zero fixturing problems -- just lay the material on the cutting bed and start the cutting program. You get exquisitely straight cuts and sub-millimeter precision, so assembly and glue up go very smoothly without any fiddling.

Commercial laser cutters are pricey. Here is an open source cutter project that I have been watching, I'll probably build one of these when my current cutter craps out:
http://labs.nortd.com/lasersaur/ [nortd.com]
(I have an ancient laser cutter that is no longer support by the manufacturer -- when the tube goes, it's a paperweight, so I'm always looking for good options for when the fatal day arrives.)

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485705)

> You get exquisitely straight cuts and sub-millimeter precision

I have to call into question the veracity of your claim. Nobody, that is, Nobody in the industry or who has spent any time in a real tech shop is going to use terms like 'millimeter'

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40485809)

Perhaps he is dumbing it down a bit for his audience?

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#40485927)

Umm, anyone with half a brain would use millimeter. Most people don't know what microns are, yet the meter is the SI unit of distance.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40485953)

What makes it more obvious that he hasn't been even close to an engineering workshop is the use of "sub-millimeter", what a prawn.

Half a thou. for roughing, a tenth for finished. Of an inch, natch.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 2 years ago | (#40486211)

I know what you're saying, but you mean a ten-thousandth. But in the shop I call them tenths too, as do most metal heads. And yes, I'm referring to inches as well.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486513)

And, you are definitely American.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#40489355)

Don't the Brits use the standard system as well?

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

geedubyoo (1980822) | about 2 years ago | (#40490745)

Surely all systems of measurement are standard? They wouldn't be much use if they weren't standardized!

By law, Britain is a metric country, though I think that the pint and the mile are also legal. In practice, we are a hodge-podge of metric and Imperial. In my job I use metric exclusively, but I'll tell people that I'm 5'9" and weigh 11 stone (Brits weigh themselves in stones, rather than pounds). We buy petrol (gasoline) in litres, but measure fuel consumption in miles per gallon. We buy cola in litres, but beer in pints.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40491737)

I'll tell people that I'm 5'9" and weigh 11 stone

Cambo.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

peawormsworth (1575267) | about 2 years ago | (#40497793)

I live in Canada and yet, my scale is set to pounds. Everyone I know still describes their weight in pounds and height in feet/inches. Just the other day I had a European in my place who wanted to weigh herself in kgs. So I turned it over to switch to metric and saw that it had 3 settings. Pounds, Kilos and Stones. "Stones"??? who uses that? Ireland? Estonia?

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501183)

UK.

A stone is 14 pounds. I think I weigh 10 stone, because the last time I liked in the UK I did. I'm a little less skinny now...

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501175)

But engineering is pretty much all metric. Screw threads are metric sizes, and you get funny looks if you start talking about measurements in mils.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#40486847)

Half a thou == roughing? Ha ha.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40487091)

Water jet cutters.. Look it up.
Prawn.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 2 years ago | (#40487129)

Who makes a water jet that can cut to ten-thousandth inch tolerance? I'm really curious about that one.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 2 years ago | (#40487309)

Multicam for one

Machine Z-Axis Clearance: 10” Z-Axis Travel: 12” Resolution: .0001”

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (2)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 2 years ago | (#40487425)

Don't confuse resolution with the actual ability to hold a tolerance. Looking at their web page, the water jets all seemed to be good to +/- .001" repeatability. The resolution on the encoder is good to .0001". This is not the same as cutting to ten-thousandths tolerance. Usually we are talking about grinding machines in the when one gets into "tenths" (.0001").

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 years ago | (#40490191)

Looking at their web page, the water jets all seemed to be good to +/- .001" repeatability

It's also much cheaper and has more cutting capacity.

As cool as this is, 99.9% of prototypes won't need any more accuracy than that.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486255)

Not GP, but whats wrong with a millimeter? Do you usually use thousandths [of an inch]?

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (4, Informative)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#40486811)

Wow. So I can't say "sub-millimeter" without you deducting a dozen IQ points from me? Sheesh. The terminology I use depends on the tools I'm using. I talk thousandths when my work is in Imperial and I'm working on a Bridgeport or a CNC mill. I talk millimeters when I'm working on drawings dimension in millimeters, as I do with my laser cutter or 3D printer, or metric work on CNC. I'm an amateur machinist, and have written G-code (and other) CAM back ends. Professionally, I'm an electrical engineer -- when I worked in the semiconductor industry we talked in microns and nano-acres. So, I don't know what all machine tools you have used, and how many different fab technologies you have worked with, but unless you have 10+ years as a professional machinist, I doubt if the list is longer than mine.

BTW TechShop (TM) is a reference to the chain of open-access workshops, not a generic reference to machine shops.

I'll tell you this, I doubt if you are machinist -- I've met a lot of old time machinists, and they don't carry around your attitude. The more grey in the hair, the more modest they are -- there is always something to learn and machine tools keep you humble.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#40487467)

I haven't done any machining in close to 20 years now.
But what a thrill it was to program a heavy cut with a big end mill at high speed in just the right direction to spray hot aluminum chips at the operator on the
big Fanuc next to my little Hurco.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40491395)

Was that thrill coincidentally 20 years ago?

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#40491475)

Speaking of grey, I'm thinking of making stuff that basically consists of small shapes of metal with grey-shade images/photos on them.

How difficult and expensive is that to do, and what would be the best way to do it? What would be the limitations - e.g. effective DPI for X shades of grey (assuming that if dithering is used, then the effective DPI would be much lower than the laser DPI), and how many shades of grey?

I've been looking for before and after pics with a grey scale from darkest grey to lightest grey. So far can't seem to find any.

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486055)

Worth pointing out that you shouldn't go around cutting acrylics (or plastics in general) unless you've got a good extractor fan going. Nasty gases!

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (2)

agm (467017) | about 2 years ago | (#40488065)

I have a home made CNC machine that drives a laminate trimmer (like a baby router). It seems like the things you can make are only limited by your imagination. The advantage of it over a laser cutter is that is will do 2.5D cutting, laser only does 2D. The downsides are many though: noisy, much slower, you can't "crash" a laser cutter, bits wear out, material fixturing. But you get to control the depth of cut which allows for some very nice finished results (pocketing, carving, facing off - not possible with a laser).

Re:Yup, laser cutters are very cool (1)

hirschma (187820) | about 2 years ago | (#40511629)

Hey DBC - in case you're still watching, i'd love to hear about your thoughts on the lasersaur. Email me at jonnyh at gmail dot com, if you'd be so kind.

Techshops and Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486015)

As dbc already mentioned.. all the TechShops (www.techshop.ws) have multiple cutters. The one in San Jose has a water jet cutting machine.. now THAT'S cool.

These things work on food items too. In addition to cutting you can burn images onto your medium. I'm very tempted to burn images of Jesus onto toast and sell them on ebay.....

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486213)

I have a Mitsubishi 4,000w laser cutter that's a lot more fun than this :)

Full Spectrum 40W laser cutters for ~$2400 (1)

kimgkimg (957949) | about 2 years ago | (#40486227)

I was looking at these for a time. Seemed to be pretty good for the hobbiest. http://fslaser.com/ [fslaser.com]

Re:Full Spectrum 40W laser cutters for ~$2400 (1)

mongus (131392) | about 2 years ago | (#40488407)

I bought one of these last Friday and it was delivered on Monday. Lots of fun to play with!

Fortunately for me, all the optics were still aligned when it arrived. Everything was in working order and the software is pretty good. Their printer driver makes sending jobs from Inkscape and CorelDRAW trivial.

One thing to note - if you get the deluxe version the power is controlled by the software, not the knob on the front. If you hit the test fire button on the control panel instead of the one in the software you'll get a 100% power firing which will likely ignite the thermal paper you're using to check alignment..... Just in case you didn't read the paper that comes with it.

Re:Full Spectrum 40W laser cutters for ~$2400 (2)

Nova1313 (630547) | about 2 years ago | (#40493843)

We have one (AllHandsActive.com - Ann Arbor, MI). Ours works slightly differently than what you said. The knob on the front limits it. The software limits it further. When running if we set ours to 15MW (on the knob) and set 50% power in software we get ~7.5MW read out on the gauge during the run.

The software (RetinaEngrave) is pretty terrible. It does make multiple passes and splitting colors (different power/passes) easy, but alignment of raster and vector images is a pain. It also only seems to consistently open .XPS files and not any other file type you might commonly have. This means we have to open in another piece of software, print to XPS and load in RetinaEngrave to get a file we know works the way we expect. Not a huge deal but kind of annoying when we already have a vector image.

Good machine though. Works well otherwise.

I have a dumb question (3, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | about 2 years ago | (#40486237)

A laser cutter involved a laser strong enough to cut through metal. (Duh.) So what do you use to stop the laser once it goes through whatever you're trying to cut/drill? I presume there must be something at the other end designed to defocus and/or safely absorb the energy from the laser, i'm just curious what the exact method is.

Re:I have a dumb question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486305)

The material being cut doesn't just disappear, it forms a cloud of vapor in front of the beam. The very material itself is the stopper.

Re:I have a dumb question (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 2 years ago | (#40486485)

So the laser refuses to fire unless the machine detects there's something in the way to be cut, and there's absolutely no backup in case it somehow does get fired while there's nothing in the target area or it happens to go just a little too long after it finishes cutting through the target? That doesn't seem especially likely.

Re:I have a dumb question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486805)

The laser is focused on the material. The beam is automatically out of focus if it goes past where it was supposed to hit the material.

Re:I have a dumb question (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486455)

Two things.
- Most (all?) lasercuttesr don't cut metals. They only cut flammable materials since they need to burn the material away. Think plywood/plastic not metal.
- The laser cose in the machine as a very wide (about 1 cm) bundle, and is focused on the cuttings surface with a lens. This focus needs to be quite good, if you put your material too high or low (i.e. outside the focal plane) you'll get bad cuts or even no cuts at all. Like trying to burn paper with a lens and sunlight.

Re:I have a dumb question (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about 2 years ago | (#40486645)

Ahh, i somehow had this vague notion that you couldn't focus a laser down to a point because running it through a lens would destroy the coherence. Thanks.

Re:I have a dumb question (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#40486903)

I presume you would put some kind of sacrificial material behind it and adjust power to cut through the work piece but not the sacrificial. I've only used long-wave CO2 lasers that aren't much use on metal since that wavelength reflects instead of absorbing.

Re:I have a dumb question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40487275)

It ends up being somewhat out of focus after the material, and the base you rest material on is usually made of pins, a number of sawtooth 'blades' or a honeycomb, so there's very little surface to cut.

TechShop (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40486293)

Here in the SF Bay Area we have TechShop [techshop.com]. I am a member. They all have laser cutters / engravers. They are a lot of fun to use.

TechShop also has 3D printers, CNC mills, lathes, lots of wood working tools, welding equipment, and even sewing machines. Lots of great stuff.

Fine, if you won't say it, I will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40486707)

Sharks with lasers.

In a past job (2)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#40486835)

I had to replace the lasing cavity on a 150W CO2 Epilog Laser Cutter/Engraver. Seems this was an early model with no interlocks between the Laser and the chilling system. So one day our engraving guy forgot to turn on the chiller when he fired up a job on the Epilog. And poof! There went the lasing cavity.

Pretty easy to replace I might add. It's almost as though Epilog EXPECTED stupidity.

Re:In a past job (2)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#40487339)

Well, actually all laser tubes have a limited lifetime. So they do have to be replaced after a few thousand hours even if operated correctly. The tube does have to be a FRU.

Laser Tattoo (1)

TheGinger (2575099) | about 2 years ago | (#40488577)

If you liked this video you'll love the ones of people using these sort of laser to give themselves tattoos, there are quite a few on youtube

Amaaaaazing (2)

formfeed (703859) | about 2 years ago | (#40489147)

Laser cutters are soooo amaaaazing. All the cool kids have laser cutters now.

With a laser cutter you can burn patterns out of plywood and assemble them. If you have a laser cutter you can even do advanced things like box joints.

If you don't have a laser cutter and want to put your arduino in a plywood box, you have to order the cut plywood from a place that has a laser cutter.

</sarcasm>

Green Lantern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40494137)

Dude, you're thinking like that dumb guy who had the Green Lantern ring who all the other superkids laughed at because he only ever used his funky ring to create clubs and big fists.

You can use a laser cutter to make frickin' watch parts. Out of wood.

Flash video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40490691)

Anyone else find it amusing slashdot uses flash video player?

Apply? (1)

thegoldenear (323630) | about 2 years ago | (#40491883)

Why do people insist on selecting Apply before choosing Print or OK?

Re:Apply? (1)

stoatwblr (2650359) | about 2 years ago | (#40506093)

Because some dain-bramaged interfaces won't apply the changes unless you do and print/ok end up using the original settings. Once burned you get into the habit of doing it that way.

Spelling out email address question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40492617)

Is there a reason for spelling out email addresses like "robin at roblimo dot com" instead of just saying robin@roblimo.com? I see this a lot and the only thing it seems to do is make it more difficult for one to copy and past the email address into a new message. Is there some reason for doing this that I am not seeing?

If not why is it done so frequently? It just makes it more difficult to email that person. Why make your website less user friendly?

Re:Spelling out email address question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40493013)

Can't tell if trolling or really that stupid.

Re:Spelling out email address question (1)

peawormsworth (1575267) | about 2 years ago | (#40498025)

Well. He's probably right without knowing it.

At one time it may have tricked a web agent scraping for emails, but if you just have text like "joe at blow dot com" it is likely equivelent to having "joe@blow.com". I see no reason why one would be harder to match then the other in a regex. Its security by obscurity whos time has passed. Like trying to use leet passwords... ur only making it harder for those who really need to use it.

Re:Spelling out email address question (1)

lpq (583377) | about 2 years ago | (#40499641)

So you can't not as easily program your scripts to harvest the addresses for your spamming.

i think i would like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40497865)

better than a tattoo

Cheap 40W personal 'engraver' cutters - thoughts? (1)

fr!th (834381) | about 2 years ago | (#40501841)

eBay search for 'laser cutter' or 'laser engraver' always seems to turn up the cheap ~$700 ones in the list. Just wondering if anyone has ever tried one.

Just thinking out loud, for some of us it might not be such a bad investment - if you aren't sure you will really get the $5k use out of a nice second hand one. Like getting a cheap battery drill to try the tech before splashing $500 on a 'tradesman quality' tool.

I'm sure everyone will say the more expensive ones are 'better', but what I want to know is if the cheap ones are 'useable'.

Any thoughts?

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