Introduction: Laser Cut Cat Dish
In this instructables, you will make a customized food/water dish for your cat or small dog.
I got a kitten (her name is Gray) and she needed a food/water dish holder because she would knock over the bowls.
Extract the attached zip file. It contains Solidworks part files of the parts of the pet dish, as well as an assembly. It also contains 2D DXF design files, and an Illustrator file ready to cut on the laser. In this tutorial, I will go over how to customize the dish with your pets name, and how to assemble it. I will not cover how to use Solidworks due to its high learning curve, and I will not be able to teach you how to use a laser cutter due to the differences from one laser cutter to the next. But don't worry, the only file you need is the Illustrator file. The Solidworks files are there for anyone who can use CAD and would like to edit the overall dimensions or something.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I will have to assume you have operators knowledge and access to a laser cutter, as well as Adobe Illustrator or a comparable design program. You may be able to get a copy of Illustrator from your university if you are a student, or from your workshop with the laser cutter. Otherwise, you can get a 1 month free trial from Adobe. Illustrator is not strictly necessary though; you can follow along in a different 2D design program as long as it can edit text and vector entities.
A CNC Laser Cutter
2 bowls that are ~4" in outer diameter
12" x 16" of 0.25" plywood
Step 1: Customizing the File
Open the Illustrator file (or the DXF's if you are following along in a different program). Use the arrow tool (circled in blue) to click on the text [Pet Name]. You should then be able to edit it. Type out your pet's name, and feel free to play around with the font size and the font (options for this will be along the top of the screen while you are editting the text).
If you have a long pet name or multiple pets, you can move the pet name to the front piece of the food dish, as shown in the fourth photo.
You can also select the 'T' (text tool) to type separate strings if you want different pet names to be different sizes/fonts, or if you wish to further customize the dish holder.
Step 2: Laser Cutting the Pieces
Ensure that you are using a piece of plywood that is 0.25" thick. Different sizes will not fit together correctly.
Once your file is prepared, head over to your favorite laser cutter and cut the pieces out. As I said before, this part will be up to you due to the vast differences in both the software and hardware of different laser brands.
After the parts are cut out, bring them over to a workbench with your clamps and wood glue.
Step 3: Assembly
To glue the pieces together, put glue on the indented burned edges (not the raised ones). See the second picture for further clarification. The best method for assembly is to put one short end piece and one long edge piece together, and then add the top piece. Following this, add the remaining two edge pieces. This will prevent you from accidentally putting the edges together in such a manner that the top piece has to go on upside down, hiding your pet's name.
After the pieces have all been put together with wood glue, attach a few clamps to hold it together while the glue dries. This may cause some excess glue to squeeze out of the joints. Grab a paper towel or napkin and wipe the edges down to remove this extra glue.
Let it dry for a few hours (or however long your bottle of wood glue suggests).
I would also suggest using some sand paper to smoothen up the edges, so they aren't too rough. Afterwards, you can stain it or paint it, or just add the 2 bowls and give it to your little furry buddy.
Congrats, you made a dish holder for your pet! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and feel free to leave any comments if anything is unclear or if you made one!