Quick Celtic key pattern washi tape paper art pop up card for Valentine’s Day.Continue reading
This Lunar New Year marks the start of the Year of the Wood Dragon. I made a video walk-through of making my origamic architecture / kirigami dragon pop up card to celebrate.Continue reading
A handmade laser-cut color-cycling light-up five-pointed paper star with spiral scrollwork.Continue reading
Original origamic architecture / kirigami pop up card of a dragon’s head.Continue reading
I thought a simple dice bag styled after a Japanese azuma bukuro bento/market bag would be fun. The fabric is 100% cotton sateen, custom-printed with one of my Celtic key pattern designs. I cut the fabric on the laser using the new vacuum tray, which was great for the precision.
Some time ago, I took a photo of a skull set into a wall in the catacombs under Paris. In this underground ossuary are interred many forgotten French soldiers and plague victims, their identities lost to time.
With some adjustments, I was able to get it suitable for laser engraving.
I wanted to try a technique Jennifer Huber shared on the Glowforge forum recently.
I treated a T-shirt with heat-activated dye discharge paste.
After it dried, I used a tray replacement developed by Bailey Heyman to load it in the laser so I could engrave the design to activate the dye discharge paste.
Washing the paste out took some work. I used synthrapol, a specialized detergent that keeps dye from re-depositing on textiles. It took about a dozen rinse cycles to get it clean.
The lighter-colored stripe is likely an artifact from the Glowforge UI resizing the image when I exported at 72 instead of 96 DPI.
I made a small dice pouch prototype from custom-printed Celtic spirals fabric, faux leather and braided kumihimo cord.Continue reading
Cutting paper in the laser can be challenging. The stock has to be held down uniformly across the surface, particularly if you are cutting small pieces out entirely. Otherwise, the air assist can move the cut-out bits around and, they can interfere with other cuts.
I mostly have been using Seklema hold-down mats for this. They have a sticky gel layer that holds the paper down without transferring any residue. They work really well but, they ablate with use and, are a bit expensive.
With some laser cutters, you can get a vacuum tray that holds lightweight materials like paper down with controlled airflow. There isn’t one of those for the Glowforge. So, I made my own.
This is heavily inspired by several other vacuum trays made by other Glowforge owners in this forum thread.
I designed this in Inkscape. I used a tabbed box generator for the two main bodies: the tray and the fan box. I modified the output to break the pieces into sizes I can cut in the Glowforge and, to add additional features like holes for the fan and electronics and channels for air flow.
The tray is 1/4” thick MDF. I lined the bottom with aluminum foil for extra protection in case any stray lasering gets through. It’s probably overkill but, I sealed the seams with silicone caulk to reduce air leaks. The cutting surface is a piece of perforated stainless steel plate sandwiched in an MDF frame. That is held down to the rest of the tray using magnets, with an EVA foam gasket to help with air leaks.
The fan box is 1/8” thick MDF with press-fit holes for the power connector and switch. The fan is bolted on to the end opposite the switch. This uses a 12v fan and a standard 12v power supply. The cord hangs out through the front of the lid of the machine.
I painted all the MDF black so it would look more finished and less cobbled together.
Cutting the plate steel without access to a shear was a new adventure for me but, worked out really well.
It works great, as you can see in the 1.6-minute demo video below.