It is almost that time of the year, when you are getting rid of your old calendar and about to put up new ones. And if you have one of the calendar which has interesting pictures, why not follow this instructable and make an awesome laser cut puzzle.
In my case, I have a Star Wars themed calendar, and these would be ideal holiday gifts for my cousins, who are big Star Wars fans.
Step 1: Collect the Things You'll Need
Start of by collecting/buying the following things
- 3 mm thick MDF, you will find this at your local hardware or hobby store
- Multipurpose spray Adhesive
- Old calendar/poster or wallpaper
- Masking tape/painters tape, this is need to prevent burn marks on your picture while laser cutting.
- Laser cutter , the best place to find one is at your local maker space.
Step 2: Cut the Picture Section of Your Calendar and Stick It to the MDF Piece
Cut the picture from your calendar that you would like to laser cut into a puzzel
Start by wiping down a piece of MDF and spray adhesive over an area where you are going to stick the picture.Here it is idea to use spray adhesive over other liquid glues, because with a couple of times of practice you will get a nice consistent stick of the picture to the MDF piece and it dies quick.
Use a cloth to press across the picture to remove any air bubbles.
Let it dry for about 5 mins.
A suggestion here is to use masking/painter tape to prevent burning of the picture, which you can easily peel off from the puzzle pieces once laser cut. This is a an optional, if you have got you power and speed setting nailed down.
Once done using a pencil mark opposite side of the MDF as shown in the picture if you have a larger piece, this will help with the setup of the origin and framing of the laser.
Before you laser cut the picture, don't forget to snap a picture using your camera/mobile which you will use as reference when putting the puzzle together.
Step 3: Load the Dfx File Into Laser Cutting Program and Make Test Cuts
Download the SVG file and import it into your laser cutting software.In my case I am using software called RD work (version 8) , which need an DXF file to be imported. If you have a similar setup use software like Inkscape to convert the SVG file to a DFX file.
As part of the software you will have to setup the power and seed, in my case I am using
- speed of 20 mm/s
- and power of 87 %
You will have to experiment with this setting, here is a tip that I always use , basically before cutting the puzzle draw 4 boxes on the outskirts of the puzzle shape as shown in the screenshot above, and and mark the output as yes and download the file on to the laser cutter and cut. Here you can keep experimenting with your speed and power till you get a perfect cut.
Once you have that nailed down , flip the output as yes for the puzzle , download the file and laser cut it.
Step 4: Run the Laser Cutter to Cut the Puzzle
Once you get you puzzle pieces of the laser cutter, here comes the most tedious part , that is removing the masking tape of the puzzle pieces. As mentioned in the previous step it is optional to add masking tape over your picture if you have got your power and speed setting of the laser cutter nailed down.
After about 3 tries I was able to cut the Yoda picture in the intro section of the instructable with out the masking tape.
Place the piece in a neat box and print out or email the picture you took with you camera.