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Step-by-step: Laser cutting Saint Patrick's Day coasters

It's time to share my first project on the Dremel Laser Cutter: Saint Patrick's Day coasters. The project was quick, easy, and impressive. Here's the step-by-step details on how it was done.
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1 of 23 David Gewirtz

Dremel Laser Cutter

The Dremel Laser Cutter is up and running in the Fab Lab. 

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Disclosure: ZDNet earns commissions from some of the products featured in this gallery.

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2 of 23 David Gewirtz

Saint Patrick's Day coaster set

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.

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Use layers

Fortunately, the PDF came in layers, so I was able to separate out the outline, which I'll score with the laser beam.

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Parametrically draw the 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.

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Bring the clip art onto the circle file

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Resize and align

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.

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Stitch photos together

To get a more accurate view of the bed, the Dremel Laser Cutter takes nine pictures and stitches them together.

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Import cut and stroke

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.

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Design once, cut twice

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.

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Prepare process order

The next step is to prepare the process order. You want to cut last. I decided to engrave, then score, and then cut.

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Move to the printer

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.

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Repeat!

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.

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