The Dremel Laser Cutter is up and running in the Fab Lab.
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My wife's Irish, so we're celebrating Saint Patrick's Day. I whipped up a set of coasters to go with the meal on Sunday.
I downloaded the PDF and opened the file in Illustrator.
Fortunately, the PDF came in layers, so I was able to separate out the outline, which I'll score with the laser beam.
In Illustrator, I drew a four-inch circle.
An easy way to parametrically draw the circle is to single click on the canvas. The Ellipse dialog comes up and you can enter dimensions.
I then brought the clip art image (both layers) onto the circle, so they were all in the same file.
Next, I resized and aligned the clip art to fit inside the circle. I also made sure the circle was a different color from the black stroke border of the clip art. This helps the laser cutter identify actions to take later.
Following the excellent instructions by Kathryn McElroy, I unchecked all the PDF options and exported.
Using Dremel's DigiLab laser software in a browser interface, I scanned an image of the laser bed to properly place my project.
To get a more accurate view of the bed, the Dremel Laser Cutter takes nine pictures and stitches them together.
I started with a 1/4-inch thick slab of formaldehyde-free birch plywood.
First I imported the cut file. Then I imported the stroke file. The difference between these is that cut will cut through the wood and stroke just scores the wood.
Because this is only a 40-watt laser, cutting through 1/4-inch plywood takes two passes. My outer circle was red, so I selected the red color for the cut.
For the score line, I did only one pass and used only 25 percent power.
Next, I imported the engrave file, which is the area shaded inside the design.
The next step is to prepare the process order. You want to cut last. I decided to engrave, then score, and then cut.
Next, it was time to move to the printer. Once I made sure my exhaust fan was on, I was ready to confirm the run.
Each coaster took about nine minutes to produce.
Here's the first coaster, cut right out of the plywood.
You can see the engraving in action here on the second coaster.
Because the printer saves job information, it was possible to go into the history and repeat the process without queuing up another job. In less than an hour, I had my four coasters.