Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Friday, 26 June 2015

Digital Pyromania.

I have recently become the part owner of a small domestic laser cutter, the other parties include the bride and her brother, ( the same one that assisted at last years Caulfield exhibition). As the bloke who had spent twenty five years in the caper of moving parts, it has now been designated my task to assemble and commission this device.

As the bride works at an educational institution that has this sort of equipment at her facility, she has been delegated the OH&S guru and chief troubleshooter, the brother in law will be the video tech who will post the results on YouTube or Australia's funniest house fires.

All together on the kitchen bench.
(not to be operated inside the house!)
As it came in kit form, there was some tidying up of sharp edges and some rough looking 3D printed components. The unit went together well due to the detailed instructions.  The 'fun' part with most things computer related is finding and uploading to appropriate drivers. The main circuitry is Arduino supported, running Java software, so those familiar with JMRI decoder Pro will know what fun and games can be had when starting out. This is the A3 version, so big enough for O scale.
The concept is similar to CNC engineering, X and Y axis, instead of spindle speeds, it is laser intensity cooperating with feed rates. As I did not go the CNC path in a previous career, my CNC exposure was pretty much stuffing a felt tip pen into the morse taper of a CNC milling machine and drawing shapes on a blotter pad, after feeding it punched tape from an old telex machine at trade school. Things have changed since then.
There will now be more time in front of a computer.
It is a good thing that the bride is not only my I.T Guru but also has this technology at her work place, so the learning curve will be a family affair. As part of the package CNC software was included. Therefore plenty of learning about Vectors, EPS, DXF, AI, and SVG, WTF!
"Let the flames begin"
So far testing is going well, I have managed to plot and cut squares in paper with this rather expensive etch-a-sketch, and still not sustained a burn or lost an eye.
Safety first in the great outdoors.
So there we have it, I now have the means to produce detailed, straight and square models, now I will have to grab a note book and a tape measure and then head off to the tram museum at Hawthorn.
From under the intense beam of light.
P.S. Just because I have this, does not mean I will do all your projects. I am not that bloke with the ute that will help you move house on the weekends.



1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this. Hopefully it proves very useful for making models.