Picture of Laser Cut Table Centerpiece - Crab Candleholder
The laser cutter is an awesome tool for making quick decorations for parties, weddings, or special outings.  The speed at which it can vector cut thin wood makes it ideal for short production runs in a single hour or two of work.

In this Instructable, we will lay out a crab candleholder and do a few shape-related tricks in CorelDraw to make it stand up and nest properly.
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Step 1: Lay out the vector shape in Corel and set up the workspace

Picture of Lay out the vector shape in Corel and set up the workspace
The first step is to place and center your shapes on a page.  Here I have set up a 36" x 24" page and placed two identical crabs.  Use the "Align Centers Horizontally" tool under Arrange->Align and Distribute to make sure they are centered.  Then bring in three guides- one on the center of each vertically, and one on the horizontal center.

Step 2: Measure your material

Picture of Measure your material
To make the centerpiece stand up, you need to create a slot that is only slightly bigger than the width of your material.  If the slot is too big it will be wobbly, and if it is too small they obviously won't fit together.

Note that the kerf and line width of the laser cut will depend on both your machine and your focal point, so this step often requires a little trial and error before you go into production mode.  It took me two test cuts with the crab to get it "just right".  To save material, you can do the next step with a small square of material rather than your large design.

Here we have around .2" thickness for this plywood with a nice veneer finish on both sides.
Fun! I want to try it with all kinds of shapes!