Thursday, 21 April 2016

Generic Wood Samples


I've called this batch generic wood because it's available from most places, left to right it's MDF, Poplar and Birch. Be wary of the Birch though, a good batch has the occasional knot in the middle layer a bad batch can be nearly impossible to cut. The additional tile is Illomba veneered poplar, it's a nice material and the poplar core means it cuts really well. I don't know who sells it at the moment but I have a stock pile left over from when Kitronik were accidentally sent a batch.


While the machine is turning these out I've started looking at the framework to hold them all together. Just one day left till the maker faire I have the feeling today is going to be a busy day.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Real Curves


I'm a big fan of curves and real curves are definitely better. I've been making some round sections for a new box and I just knew that living hinge curves weren't going to cut it this time. The living hinge is a straight line approximation of a curve, lots of little flat sections that only look like a curve from a distance. This time I wanted something smooth and continuous so I took some flexible 0.8mm ply, gave it a little bend to see if it could do the radius I wanted and then set about holding it in place.

The sheet is glued onto 7 spars of 12mm thick ply (2x6mm ply), many clamps were used to keep it all in the right place while drying. The result is is one continuous piece of ply with the perfect curve at the top. It was all a bit of a learning experience and mostly I learnt that the framework I was gluing too should have had cross ways spars to hold these spars apart in the right position but it's good enough for now. What the curve is actually for will probably follow at some point this weekend.



There is another way to make a similar curve. You could cut hundreds of those spars and glue them all together to make one long continuous curved section. This is actually much strong than the 0.8mm ply but it really doesn't look as good. This type of curved panel reminds me a lot of FDM 3D printing, it takes hours to make sure all the layers are stuck together properly and what you end up with is slightly ribbed piece of rubbish. This is now destined for my burning pile, it was good of me to go to all that effort, just to show you what not to do. :)



Real Plywood Samples


Stepping away from Kitronik materials for a moment, these materials are 2mm thick plywood made from real wood. It's Beech, Oak, Mahogany and Walnut. I've used them for a few projects on the blog and mentioned them before. They're available from Inspirations but you have to email and ask nicely.


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Transparent Plastic Samples


The range of transparent materials from Perspex is a lot darker than the Flourescent ones and the line detailing doesn't pick up quite so much. Kitronik also has a bulk pack for these which is handy for me. The neutral colour is kind of grey and I've also included boring old clear plastic in these photos because that is totally transparent after all.



Greyscale Engraving


I've been writing some of my own greyscale engraving code recently. I have written both ends before (in a project that didn't make it to the blog) but this one is a PC sender program connected to a GRBL controller in my Whitetooth laser. The fun part is that the image was captured from a drawing my wife did for me via my webcam.

Yes, I know it's only on/off and not real greyscale.
Yes, I know the image is mirrored.
Yes, I know it is titchy compared to the original.
It's a really cute picture of a kitty though, now move along.


Fluorescent Plastic Samples


Moving on the Flourescent perspex bulk pack, these five colours really pick up the light, the low power engraving lines stand our from the surface. The pattern on each tile demonstrates high and low power cutting, five different powers of engraving and five different scan gaps for engraving.


Monday, 18 April 2016

Opaque Plastic Samplers


At the coming maker faire we're going to be showing the wide range of materials and colours that can be laser cut, So inevitably we need to get a whole load of material to actually cut. Kitronik being just down the road it seems very sensible to start with their materials. This first batch are the 9 basic opaque colours from the Bulk Pack, the mystery 10th colour is Light Purple, that I previously bought from their clearance stock.


Electronics Panel


I've spent the weekend working on the Vanilla Box laser cutter. It's been a long slow time drilling holes and cutting up pieces of metal so it was really nice to produce this at the end of the day. Once I had figured out where all the holes should go I was able to get back on my computer, draw it out and send it down to my laser for cutting. 20 minutes of drawing and 4 minutes of cutting sure beats a whole day doing it manually. This file could now be sent off to a manufacturer to get this part cut in metal (or maybe we'll buy our own metal cutting laser)