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Laser-Cut Laser Cutter (v3)

a machine that cuts paper for paper modeling "pepakura"-style

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A couple years ago I tried papercraft modeling with Pepakura and loved it. On the flip side, I was pretty annoyed that I needed to cut out my 3D model from paper by hand. From hours of hand-cutting grumpiness comes an automated machine that should eliminate that step entirely. (Now, if only it folded it up too...)

Here's why Version 3 is different:

  • cleaner design (free-body diagram coming soon!)
  • open source (vector files coming soon!)
  • requires no machining (entirely stock, laser-cut, and 3D printed components without any loss in tolerances)
  • hand-assembly (with vise or arbor press)

Uses for a low-power laser cutter

  • wooden desktop engraving
  • paper cutting (from vector graphics)

  • Hi Res Video

    Joshua Vasquez02/22/2015 at 04:58 0 comments

    Just a quick update: The gantry is almost fully-enclosed with 0.125" laser-cut plywood. This video shows off some of the finer details in action.


    At this point, I'd almost call it done, except my laser diode has stopped cutting through as consistently as it did on its first cut and it's now struggling to cut through cereal boxes unless I bring the feed down to a sluggish ~10mm-per-minute. I suspect dust on the lense is to blame, and I'll need to add ventilation shortly. I may also need to adjust the focus of the laser as the first cuts were done on a piece of cardboard that was curved upwards about 0.125" closer to the laser diode than the cuts shown here.

  • First Cuts (video)

    Joshua Vasquez02/17/2015 at 17:11 0 comments

    and, of course, the video (shot by low-res phone camera):

  • First Cuts

    Joshua Vasquez02/17/2015 at 08:25 0 comments

    Most of the components have been assembled--woot!

    (With 445nm, OD6+ glasses ON) I made my first cut cleanly through cereal box cardboard. I'm currently converting Inkscape SVG vector graphics with Groover's laserengraver extension. (This cut's feed was 200mm/min, although, the head never ramped up to that top speed since most of the cut paths were too short.)

  • Belt Tensioning

    Joshua Vasquez02/11/2015 at 04:58 0 comments

    The gantry section is complete, and so far: no fancy machine shop tools were needed in the assembly.

    To Tension the belts, the center plate joins the belt ends together with a delrin sandwich: two plates, one flat, one grated. The grating does the heavy lifting of holding the belt in place while the screws prevent it from slipping. I've seen a few different ways to tie down belt-ends, some often cleverly wrapping the belt back on itself. In this case, though, I've tried to keep it simple and fairly easy to duplicate.

  • Hand Testing

    Joshua Vasquez02/02/2015 at 04:26 0 comments

    A lot of progress has been happening in the background with this project, but it's almost in a respectable state at this point. Here's a quick hand-test of the bearings running on their acetal fixtures.

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georgefomitchef wrote 02/12/2016 at 08:57 point

MakeBlock XY plotter kit transformation


MakeBlock XY plotter is really good thing to use for engraving and laser cutting because

it has bigger sizes comparing to DIY kit. 31 X 39 cm (is quite a lot)





As far as we know there is a laser kit for MakeBlock but we did not try it. If anyone has
an experience, please share with us!

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davedarko wrote 02/02/2015 at 12:47 point

Folding would be a neat, tricky, little feature! But I'm already in for the lasers. Definitely following this.

On the topic of folding - would it be enough to have a ball-pen like head and a semi soft base to fold the paper by a CNC like machine?

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Joshua Vasquez wrote 02/02/2015 at 16:32 point

(Gasp--read my mind!)
Hahaha, I've actually been working on an attachment to "pre-crease" the paper to do just that. I didn't have anything to show for it yet, so I decided not to bring it up, but it spun off of an idea from the TEI conference where I learned that you could crease paper perfectly with the back of an xacto blade.

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davedarko wrote 02/02/2015 at 17:16 point

Hehe :) Well you wrote "Now, if only it folded it up too." and I was hooked. When I worked at a copy shop, they had those machines for folding a paper along a line, but it wasn't meant for short stuff along the paper. That's why I thought of a ball-pen like thingy. I'm in for any updates :)

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