Introduction: DIY Laser Cut Clock

We needed a clock for the MakerSpace, so of course we made one!

Step 1: Tools & Materials Needed

Materials:

  • 1/4" Bamboo Plywood (You can use any plywood, MDF, OSB, acrylic, etc)
  • Mini quartz clock movement 1/4" shaft (shaft size should match thickness of your clockface material)
  • Masking Tape
  • AA Battery

Tools:

  • Laser Cutter (We have a 40 watt Epilog Zing)
  • Crescent Wrench
  • Tweezers

Step 2: Prep Your Material

1. Measure material (must be 12" x 24" or smaller)

2. Use masking tape to cover the side you will be cutting/engraving.

  • This helps reduce burning and smoke/residue that is created through the laser cutting process.

Step 3: Set Up Your Art Work in Corel Draw

Disclaimer: You do not have to create your artwork in Corel Draw, that is just the current industry standard for laser cutters. You can also create artwork in Photoshop, Illustrator, Inkscape, etc.

1. Pull up Corel Draw

2. Import/create your artwork (Video directions on how to use Corel Draw with the laser cutter above).

  • Remember that only "hairline" thickness will vector laser cut, everything else will raster engrave.
  • Remember your work cannot be larger than 24" x 12" (size of laser cutter print bed)

3. Create a hole in the center of your design for the mini quartz movement. The diameter of the shaft is .30".

  • To create a perfect circle in Corel Draw with a .30 diameter, click the Ellipse Tool and hold CTRL+Shift while creating your circle.
  • Then select the circle, click the Lock icon and change the dimension to .30".

Side note: I downloaded a clock face that i found through a google image search. I converted it to a vector image using a free online converter (http://www.autotracer.org/). I also found a vector image through a simple google search with some geometric artwork and saved it.

Step 4: Send Your File to Print

1. Click File>Print

2. Select Epilog Engraver WinX64 Zing

3. Click Preferences

4. Make sure you have Piece Size set to

  • Horizontal: 24
  • Vertical: 12

5. Refer to Laser Cutter Material Settings in the epilog manual

  • Raster: 60 speed/100 power
  • Vector: 10 speed/100 power/500 frequency

6. Click OK>Apply>Print

  • This sends the file to the laser cutter

7. Lift the glass lid to the laser cutter and put your material facing upward in the upper left hand corner against the black measuring sticks

8. Click Focus on the laser cutter

  • This temporarily allows you to adjust the bed of the laser to focus to your material size. Press the Up arrow to raise the bed, and Down arrow to lower the bed. When the silver dongle is barely touching the material, it is in focus

9. Lower the glass lid, and click the green GO button on the laser

10. LASER BEAMS!

Step 5: Remove Masking Tape & Install Hardware

1. Remove masking tape

  • This can be a bit time consuming, and your fingers will definitely get a little dirty. Tweezers will help remove the smallest pieces.

2. Install the mini quartz hardware following the simple instructions pictured.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

The numbers 1-5 did not show up very well because of the engraving of the geometric design. So I decided to laser cut some bamboo veneer and adhere it over the numbers. This could have been mitigated during the design had i thought it all the way through.

Comments

author
CrLz (author)2016-01-28

Can use compressed air to remove tape also. Hook up an air compressor with a small nozzel to blast away.

author
jocomakerspace (author)CrLz2016-01-28

Ooooh. Never tried that. Thanks for the tip! Recommended air pressure?

author
CrLz made it! (author)jocomakerspace2016-01-28

No particular setting, just coarse air jet power. The guy who showed me (thx Bryon!) would use blue painters tape and not too firmly press to surface. Then he'd use the air gun to get it up and off. Sometime a little mist of water, 15 min to let it weaken the adhesive, then air blast worked well.

The attached photo is a laser project we did this way. Box is coco-shell. Applies tape then used laser to raster through. Lasered x3 to get more depth in the artwork. Then kept the remaining tape on to serve as a super-detailed paint mask, and painted. When all was dry, used air gun to blow off tape.

If you can use a method like that to reduce the trouble of removing tape, you can really make some amazingly detailed laserings.

coconut_box.jpg
author
jocomakerspace (author)CrLz2016-01-30

Crlz Thanks for the tips and what a cool project.

author
CrLz (author)CrLz2016-01-28

*Applied

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