Laser cutting

Last Friday, I went to one of my lecturers asking if I could get some acrylic cut into some shapes that I’m using for another project. Being as helpful as he is, he asked me to send him the sizes of the pieces and a little picture to demonstrate each part. I decided in the end that using my only CAD based drawing skill – eagle; I’d draw out the individual pieces.

Fortunately, the laser cutter at uni uses a pretty standard DXF file. Having never used this before, I had a look through the eagle ULP files. ULP files are internal scripts that eagle can use.

Having drawn out the pieces in eagle, it turns out (pretty niftily!) that eagle has a built in ULP called cam2dxf, using the sparkfun CAM processor code (http://goo.gl/klv525), I exported the drawings (placed on the TPlace layer) as a DXF file.

With a small check to ensure scaling was good, the laser cutting was under way! I was using blue acrylic that I bought off ebay for pretty much a pittance.

The final product was pretty cool having both the acrylic cutouts (the wanted part) along with the used piece of acrylic. They were pretty well sized though the smell of burnt acrylic wasn’t particularly appealing!

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