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Anything that has to do with my most cool tool, the laser.

Cassette Tape case for SD Cards

There’s nothing like housing your modern technology in the façade of old technology. This is a small laser cut box that can hold up to 8 full-sized SD flash cards. There is a small living spring that will hold the lid shut when it’s bouncing around in your bag. You can open the box from either side. With Christmas coming up, this would make great easy to make gift. I know I’ll be making a set of them. This holder is the second generation of a SD card box, the original version was not nearly as...

posted @ Sunday, December 11, 2011 10:47 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ DIY Laser ]

This Cupcake is a Lie

With the recent release of Portal 2 and a birthday of a friend of mine, I wanted to do a portal themed laser something to give him. Sometimes the simplest projects are the most fun. What I came up with is this, a small flag you can put in your cupcakes or other baked goods. Yes, I know cake does not make a appearance in Portal 2, but it is still my favorite Portal reference and is well known. I made mine with white acrylic, which is easy to clean and is durable enough to reuse...

posted @ Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:24 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Laser ]

Testing Jansen Walker Version 3

  Over the last week I’ve been working on the next version of the Jansen Walker, this will be the 3rd release. The goal is to make it much easier to assemble, faster, and 1/3rd larger using 3mm (1/8in) material. The biggest change is that instead of using modified servos, which seem to scare a lot of people off, use geared motors which are about the same price. That will make the electronics side easier, perhaps slightly more expensive depending on your controls.   The new version will use the Tamiya Twin-Motor Gearbox, that has a good 203:1 ratio that is ideal...

posted @ Monday, February 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

Laser Toy Blocks

For Christmas this year I made some custom toy blocks with friends and family initials. The blocks were cut from square wood stock into 1.25in cubes. The stock I used was indented for banisters, and had peg ends, but they were easily cut off. I made a batch of both Oak and Fir. Oak turned out fine, and is what is pictured here. The Fir blocks came out with a more slightly more desirable finish since the end grain was more smooth after sanding.   Setup First I taped down a...

posted @ Saturday, February 06, 2010 1:26 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Holiday Post-mortem

The holidays are a undoubtedly a a big cost every year for me, but this year I decided to try something different, I wanted to make all my gifts, or give things that are new but unused. My quest was a success, I effectively bought no new packaged items. I did buy some raw materials, but no packaged things. Thingiverse.com was a big help, and I also produced a few things I designed, including: Earphone Holder by 4volt Gothic Bookends by 4volt Little Business Card Stand by oomlout DIY iPhone stand... by...

posted @ Monday, January 04, 2010 1:26 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Thing: Earphone holder (folding style)

For Christmas this year I’ll be giving out inexpensive things I’ve cut with my laser, here’s one of the original designs I’ve come up with, a small holder for earbud style earphones. Other earphone winder designs make you wrap your chord around and around until you’ve wrapped the whole chord. That way is pretty aquard, and I never end up using them. It really is quite a bit faster to “fold” then to “loop”. This winder/holder is designed for that with a hook on one side, and a strap in the middle. Although, you can still wrap them the other way...

posted @ Friday, December 18, 2009 2:31 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Making a $1,000 laser into a $10,000 laser

      If you follow this blog you’ll know I do a lot of stuff with my cheap $1,000 dollar Chinese laser engraver/cutter. I’ve had it for almost a year, and I think I can clearly define all it’s shortcomings. Cutting area is small (8x8in) Controller software is poor Laser power control is manual Poor ventilation for fumes Poor/no laser cooling system Not very fast with engraving tasks Keeping all those things in mind, I’ve decided to start planning a re-build of my laser using...

posted @ Tuesday, November 17, 2009 11:57 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Project: Gothic Architecture Bookends

  With the glorious re-launching of my laser, I broke it in with a new design. This is a design meant mostly for small books and is inspired by Gothic Architecture. This is a design meant mostly for small books and is inspired by Gothic Architecture, inspiration drawn from Cologne Cathedral, and Church of St Barbara Kutna Hora. There are several flying buttress and the "windows" are done in the style of a Flamboyant arch. The small gargoyles are designed after the hunched Notre Dame gargoyles. Lately I've been doing mostly mechanical projects, there satisfying to build, but usually very time consuming....

posted @ Wednesday, September 23, 2009 9:19 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser GO!

  After a few weeks of having a broken laser, I received my replacement laser power supply and installed it last night. I emailed a few sellers on eBay that sold similar looking laser engravers with pictures of the fried parts, and I was able to fine someone that happened to have a spare and ships from the US. I was a bit worried about screwing something up, the red power lead you see coming out of the transformer is soldered directly to the laser tube’s terminal. Connecting the new lead was a bit cumbersome with limited space,...

posted @ Tuesday, September 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ DIY Laser ]

I Fried My Laser’s Power Supply

Last weekend I started a little project cutting some arts and crafts (1920’s) style address numbers for my house, the test numbers came out fine but when I started cutting a slightly larger set my laser just stopped cutting. I found some obvious electrical burn marks  on what looks like the high-voltage transformer on the laser tube power supply. So, until I can replace the part or get a new power supply, I'm out of business with the laser. If you have any comments or ideas...

posted @ Wednesday, September 02, 2009 12:39 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Laser ]

Warning Label Generator

So today a friend of mind sent me this image, I’m not sure where it came from exactly, but I knew I need one for my laser room. After doing a quick search for examples to make mine, I came across this Warning Label Generator site, it’s not new, but is useful. You can choose the sign type and an icon, and enter your own text. A custom graphic might be better, but this is quick and easy. That is all.  

posted @ Wednesday, August 19, 2009 1:32 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Laser Photos ]

Temporary Tattoos with Laser-cut Stencils

There's been a lot of scarification type "tattoos" done with lasers over the last couple years. But, this is a temporary alternative that is not new, but still involves lasers. Temporary airbrush tattoos have been around for a while, and there's even an entry in Wikipedia, but all the airbrush stencils I've ever seen have been pretty lame. Enter the laser, where it can cut custom stencils on demand. Seen above: an electrocuted man stencil. For a short film project I'm currently working on, there was need for the main actress to have...

posted @ Wednesday, August 12, 2009 10:48 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Laser ]

Hex Toy 3mm –or- 1/8in

If you are not familiar the Hex Toy is a laser cut building toy, the edge notches fit together to make abstract shapes. Here’s a new version made specifically made for 3mm and 1/8th in plastic. The notches are larger, and the peices themselves are larger too. The feel is much more substantial. Check out the Hex Connectors project page for more detail and to download the new design.

posted @ Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:16 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Father’s Day Gift – Laser Etched Journal

In the past there’s been a lot of talk about laser etched/cut moleskine blank books, but it’s come to attention that the PVC outer layer is very toxic when vaporized. On the other hand, real leather bound journals are great for engraving on and make a great Father’s day gift. This isn’t really a new idea, but it’s great in context of Father’s Day. I chose an image from “Ernst Haeckel: Kunstformen der Natur” It has fantastic and artfully hand drawn illustrations of various plant and sea life, and better yet, is in public domain....

posted @ Monday, June 15, 2009 11:28 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ DIY Art Laser ]

DIY 3 Stage Air Filter

Here are my plans for a 3 stage filter, it has a rough filter, a fine filter, and a tray of activated carbon. It uses standard 14x20in home filters and bathroom ventilation fans for suction. The cost is about $50, not including filters. It’s good for dust, smoke, and fumes at about 100 CFM. It’s great for my shop. To start you’ll need: 2 – 24x48x0.5in plywood sheets 1 – 4ft 2x4 board 2 – 8ft 2x2 boards Screws or nails 2 Bathroom style ventilation fans ...

posted @ Tuesday, June 09, 2009 10:13 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Follow up: Rapid prototyping with sugar and lasers

My last post was about rapid prototyping with sugar and lasers, it turned out well, but the result is really only 2d. Although with some supporting hardware I think it has great potential for making full 3d objects. Soon I will be testing a 3d object with finer sugar, but the first step is to get all the 2d layers of a 3d object and semi-manually building up the object layer by layer. After some research I found Skeinforge, a collection of python tools for slicing and creating g-code for 3d printers like the RepRap and Makerbot. I downloaded the version...

posted @ Monday, June 01, 2009 11:15 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Rapid prototyping: Making Sugar Objects with a Laser

I always wanted to start a project for making 3d prototypes with my laser in layers similar to how the legacy Candyfab project did, but never got around to it. With the recent Candyfab news , and the relative success of my Laser Cooked Bacon project, my curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what would happen. I did some research and I wasn't able to find anyone that had melted sugar with a laser, there was some posts on the Candyfab forums, some seemed to think it was possible, and some did not. So I fired up...

posted @ Friday, May 29, 2009 1:27 AM | Feedback (10) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Laser ]

Cheap Laser Engraved Keychain Tags

I was looking for inexpensive things to engrave at the local department store and came across these cool “Key Tags”. They are a thick paper chip with an aluminum protecting ring around them with a keychain ring already inserted. The Avery 11027 pack has 25 in it for about $3.50. It turns out these are perfect for engraving on and handing out as trinkets, the paper chips mark easily, but are thick enough that a low laser power setting doesn't instantly cut though them.   I...

posted @ Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:10 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Rubber Coating Laser-cut Plastic Parts

When building the Jansen Walker I coated the feet for better traction, I didn't go into much detail then but I wanted to show the whole process here. Laser cut acrylic parts are pretty slippery, especially on hard surfaces and fabrics. For parts that need good traction, like legs and wheels, it’s nice to have a little extra something. I used plasti-dip, it’s a rubberizing dip that’s designed for dipping tool handles and it works great with laser cut acrylic.   I used 3 coats and dried them hanging up, the tricky part is hanging them...

posted @ Sunday, May 24, 2009 10:18 PM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Adam’s Jansen Walker

Adam so far has been the first to complete a Jansen Walker and it looks very sharp. This is a build of Beta 2, which includes 3 pairs of legs on each side which looks awesome. He also implements it with a Seguino which is also a first. It sounds like Adam is still working on one of the servos, but there is a video available at: http://vimeo.com/4739602 Edit: Adam has uploaded a new video with better walking action: http://vimeo.com/4739602 If you have finished a walker, or know someone who has, I would love to hear about it, send me an email. In other...

posted @ Wednesday, May 20, 2009 8:49 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser Cut Calipers

Here are plans for a simple caliper, handy to have around the shop for measuring thickness and diameters. Anytime I can build something that helps me build something else I am always pleased. The plans should be as accurate as your cutter or printer is, I actually used this project as a calibration for my laser. If you don't have a laser you can print the PDF and glue the paper down to any flat material and cut it by hand. In the case of a laser, I engraved the markings and painted them, then sanded off the extra...

posted @ Monday, May 11, 2009 11:35 PM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser Cooked Bacon

So recently I was thinking about what other non-standard uses I could put my laser up to, that got me thinking about what food related things I could do, and bacon came to mind. Other then being awesome in general, bacon is a thin meat that might be ideal for cooking with a laser. Laser Bacon   So what was it like? The bacon cooked well on the top layer, so well that it was slightly charred. After cooking the bacon was thinner after two passes, but didn’t shrink in width like it does...

posted @ Wednesday, May 06, 2009 8:45 PM | Feedback (14) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Laser ]

Jansen Walker Beta 2

I’m releasing the plans for the beta 2 of the Jansen Walker, Improvements include: 3 pairs of leg on each side instead of 2 A drop-in platform for the center Several other small improvements Improved building plans. Check out the Jansen Walker project page for all the files and plans.

posted @ Monday, May 04, 2009 1:00 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

Functional Papercraft: The Laser Cut Takeout Box

In the past I designed and posted the Functional Papercraft: Folded Box, this project in that same vein. This box is perfect for carrying stuff with it’s built in handle, which is surprisingly strong. It also makes a good gift box. This copy of the container is cut from a 8x8in of paper area, and when folded is 2x2x4, big enough for small trinkets. The design can easily be scaled up to hold bigger items, all you would have to do is printing out the design larger. Check out the projects page for more details and downloadable files on the...

posted @ Thursday, April 30, 2009 12:03 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser Engraving with Highlight Paint

Last week I posted about a coin that I laser engraved and enhanced with some paint, but did not post step by step instructions. With a recent project for Midnight Research Labs, I had a chance to take some more pictures. I engraved the coin in the regular way and then painted over the whole sheet with a standard acrylic spray-paint.   After the paint dried over night I used a random-orbital sander to sand off the excess paint. I also sanded the back sides of the coin so the back finish matches the front...

posted @ Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:46 PM | Feedback (4) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Art Laser ]

Fail Whale Stencil

For the most of Monday my ISP and connection was having issues and the site was up and down all day (mostly down). In honor of the occasion I decided to make a Fail Whale stencil, something fun for the whole family for when the site goes live again. Making stencils with a laser is as easy as it sounds, the most time consuming part is making the design. This version is loosely based on the twitter's infamous fail whale. Download the Fail Whale Stencil DXF file.

posted @ Tuesday, April 28, 2009 1:33 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Art Laser ]

Jansen Walker Beta 1 Official Release

I’m officially releasing my Jansen Walker as a beta with the source files and a video! 4volt Jansen Walker Beta 1 Video Jansen Walker: An openly designed Creative Commons licensed robot. What you see here is the Beta 1 version of the walker, a laser-cut robot, based on the Jansen Mechanism. It has 8 legs and scuttles similar to a crab walking sideways. The brain is a Arduino, and the legs are powered by 2 micro-servos modified for continuous rotation. If you would like to buy a kit of just the plastic in its current state, check out the...

posted @ Sunday, April 19, 2009 2:24 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Laser Robotics ]

Jansen Walker: The story so far

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: If you’ve been following my posts lately I’ve been putting a bunch of my time into a robotics project that uses the Jansen mechanism for movement, if your not familiar look below for an animation. I've spent quite a bit of time on the mechanical design on this robot, maybe more then was strictly necessary since I used this opportunity to learn SolidWorks, and since...

posted @ Saturday, April 18, 2009 12:33 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Laser Photos Robotics ]

Laser Cut Coin and New Marking Technique

I took a break from my Jansen Walker project to do a few other smaller projects, and one of them was this membership coin for a Lovecraft board game a few of my friends have been playing. The coin says “Secret Society of Arkham” and has a little icon of Cthulhu. Getting text on laser cut acrylic is hard to see unless you are looking at a specific angle, and kind of leaves something to be desired. I wanted distinct black engraving on the acrylic. My new technique involves engraving the item, painting the whole part, then after...

posted @ Thursday, April 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Laser Cut Gears 2

I spent most of last night designing the gears that will link the servo to the drive train on my Jansen walker, I'm hoping that a 1:1 ratio will be okay, the servos are surprisingly strong for how small they are. I used a playing card as my test material, they are stronger are more ridged then cardstock. The hardest part of the design was getting the teeth on the inside of the servo gear just right, I wanted to just slip the gear onto the servo horn and have the teeth grip the ridges that are on the horn...

posted @ Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:04 AM | Feedback (1) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

New Laser-cut Business Card

I went to the first MAKE:PDX meeting on Sunday and decided I should have some business cards to give out, so I whipped these up really quick. I’m able to cut 10 of these from one standard piece of letter-sized cardstock. I was pleased at how thin I was able to get the stencil markings on the letters to be, when you see the card your don’t immediately think the letters are stencil-cut. I suppose if one were more vandalism-oriented then I am, one could use the card to spray-paint the 4volt logo all around...

posted @ Tuesday, April 07, 2009 10:35 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Jansen Walker Post 4: First Prototype

Update Note: While I'm keeping this post for historical value, this post is not kept up to date with my Jansen Walker, look at the Jansen Walker project page for the latest details and plans. Original Post: So I updated my plans make a medium sized version and fired up my laser cutter. This version is about 5 by 4 inches and seems like a happy medium in terms of size. I think I'll be able to use 2mm plexi-glass for the material, though I managed to break several parts while I was separating them from the sheet. I suspect that...

posted @ Saturday, April 04, 2009 7:56 PM | Feedback (3) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Robotics ]

Laser Cutting Cloth and Felt

I did a series of experiments with cutting cloth and felt, and done with some care you can make some cool stuff. Natural fiber cloths like cotton and wool felt cut well. Synthetic-based cloths like polyester and nylon just melt. The blue patterned cloth is a thin 100% cotton, it cuts extremely well, the edges are crisp and there is little to no scorching. The tan cloth is 60% wool, it cuts well with some scorching, but the result looks nice. There is some bunt-wool smell, but it’s not too bad. ...

posted @ Wednesday, January 14, 2009 10:24 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts Art Laser ]

Laser Engraved DS Lite

  When laser engraving plastics, all the laser does is evaporate material from it, so depending on the plastic, you could get many results. I just engraved a white DS lite, that version of the DS has a clear shell that is painted on the inside. The engraving is light but has a cool effect, It casts a shadow on painted inner shell and depending on the light it shows with varying effect.

posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2009 11:37 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Making Laser Cut Gears with InkScape

  If you ever decide to design something mechanical, eventually you’ll need some gears. I’ve been experimenting with laser-cutting gears. The first thing I found out is that drawing gears is hard, they are complex in ways you might not realize at first. Gear teeth aren’t simple squares, or triangles, or a easy combination of the two. The teeth are angled based on the diameter of the gear and the pressure angle. See the two following images to compare a small diameter gear and a large diameter gear with the same size teeth (20px) and pressure angle (20). Luckily there is a easy...

posted @ Monday, January 05, 2009 10:28 PM | Feedback (5) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Tech Laser Robotics ]

Cassette Tape Business Card

Description This business card is a tri-folded laser cut card meant to look like a old school cassette tape. The advantage this card has over other is that there's a zipper seal (like on UPS envelopes) on the back of the card that lets you open it like a tri-fold brochure so you can fit a mini-portfolio or a bunch of text on your usually too small business card. This design gives you about 3.5 x 4in of space that you can't see when the card is folded and sealed. It's possible to print the card on standard...

posted @ Thursday, January 01, 2009 10:29 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

New Hex Connector Photos

I made a bunch of my Hex Connectors for Christmas gifts and I spent a few minutes taking a few more photos, here are some of the things you can make:   For directions on how to make see my previous post: Hex Connectors

posted @ Monday, December 29, 2008 9:22 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser Photos ]

Functional Papercraft: A Folded Box

Description It seems that many of my things I'll be giving as Christmas presents this year are small, less then a few inches in dimensions. That brings up the question, How do I pack it? One could put the thing in a envelope or a small plastic bag, but all of those like a distinct "giftiness", they don't really look like a gift. Enter the Folded Box, it's small enough to print and/or cut from a piece of standard size card stock. You can also easily customize it with a logo or name to make it that much cooler. The box is...

posted @ Thursday, December 18, 2008 11:31 AM | Feedback (4) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

DIY: Hex Connector Toy

I created this design while learning how to use my laser, it's a good simple project that creates 35, 1.2in hex pieces that can be pushed together to make abstract sculptures. They make a great desk toy or gift because you can engrave a custom logo or name on each piece to make them truly unique. I'll be giving several sets out this Christmas. This pattern creates about 35 pieces, and the only material you'll need is a 8x8in piece of Plexiglas, which I've been able to regularly find at my local home improvement store for $1.50. 35 pieces is enough...

posted @ Friday, December 12, 2008 9:47 AM | Feedback (5) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

Super-inexpensive laser cutting material

  Recently, I made a copy of the Planetary gear calling card by phooky from (thingiverse) with a more permanent material. My version is made from 1/8in (3mm) fiber board that is very inexpensive, a 4ft by 8ft sheet is only $9.50 at Home Depot. This cut only costs about 7 cents in material. What is this wondrous and mysterious material? It's cheep imitation wood-grain wood paneling. Normally this is used to nail to the back of inexpensive bookshelves, or for fake wood wall paneling. The type I found is smooth on both sides, there is also a version that...

posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2008 8:46 PM | Feedback (9) | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]