Because of the advanced nature of this project, there are several processes covered in an overview format rather than a step-by-step format. This project among my many projects is an exploration guided by years of experimentation and variations on a theme. I hope it will help guide your next laser project.
Technical info on Laser speed/power settings on a 100-watt Gweike style laser using Lasercut software:
Wood veneer- Cut: 40/20
½” Veneered plywood with West Systems (105/205) epoxy glue (vacuum bagged) : Hole-2.5/100
Double-bevel laser marquetry technique:
Because lasers provide a miniscule bevel on cuts, I used this to my advantage by flipping every other piece over to combine bevels to fit. This will only apply to symmetrical patterns. Otherwise, you may mirror (reverse) every other piece in your pattern to duplicate this effect, but it does not apply to patterns where 3 or more assymetrical pieces adjoin at separate points. In this case though, speed and power settings, and especially focus settings can be adjusted by breaking the piece into non-joined sections, and cutting each section using a separate focus setting. Think of it this way: the focus setting moves an hourglass shape up/down. The mirrors of your laser combine the beam and your focus point is narrowest point of the hourglass. Above and below the optimal focus point, your beam spreads out in width just like an hourglass. Taking this into consideration: if your focus point is at the top of the material, you will have a bevel that is widest at the bottom; if your focus point is at the bottom of the material, you will have a bevel that is widest at the top. Using this theory, you can make any two materials fit together with miniscule gap. Most applications will not need this level of craftsmanship and time, but to the perfectionist or artist, it is worth the exploration.
What I’ll do with the Epilog Zing laser if I win:
As an emerging artist that explores digital technologies in a traditional craft and woodworking environment, I’m increasingly asked to travel to give lectures and demos at schools, museums, and conferences. I do a lot of process videos to supplement having a laser for demonstration. This small Epilog Zing will be a great tool to help show some of my more complicated processes. It will also be a great reference to teach students in institutions/venues where digital tools have not yet been introduced.