Introduction: Making a Laser-cut Bag Holder!

Carrying the groceries in with only one trip has always been the achievement that we quietly pat ourselves on the back for, but sometimes losing the circulation and feeling in our finger tips is kinda annoying. Whether it's because your carrying a hundred pounds from your garage to your kitchen or you've been carrying groceries around Chinatown for the past four hours, I'm sure you'll like what we're cooking today: laser-cut bag holders! In my case, I made it at TechShop.

Step 1: Collect Your Materials!

​You'll need at the very least:
- material your making your bag holder with, such as wood, acrylic, etc
- laser cutter
- some adhesive to hold the layers together and make sure your adhesive is able to bond the material your making your back scratcher out of

Step 2: Bag Holder Design

So in our case we are going to use this very well designed bag holder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:26767
Download the STL file for this thing.

Step 3: Downloading Autodesk 123D Make and Importing the STL

You can download the 123D Make software here, it's free: http://www.123dapp.com/make
Then your going to click on the "import" button to import the STL file that we downloaded earlier.

Step 4: Slice the STL File Into Layers Using Autodesk 123D Make

Okay now we got a few steps to do.

Step A: Click on the pencil button to find or add the material that your cutting your material out of. You'll want to specify the name of this material for your own reference, and then the height, width, and length. Everything else you can leave alone =)

Step B: Double check that this is the same units as the model, so that you can look at the height, width, length and double check if everything looks right.

Step C: It seems that 123D Make will change your dimensions if it can't accurately represent the object material your cutting with. However, you can select the Original Size radio button to force it to stick with the original size. (In my case, the bag holder was sectioned into three stacked slices, but the two outside slices ended up not being the same thus the bag holder isn't symmetrical. I'll tell you how to fix this in a later step.)

Step D: Select the "Stacked slices" option, which should slice it in the correct orientation. If not use the "Slice Direction" button on the left and drag around the little pointer that appears around the model. The number of slices you'll need depend on the thickness of your material and the direction of the slices.

Step 5: Export the Vector File

Now click the "Get Plans" button and select the file type that's compatible with your vector software. Hitting export will require that you sign into your Autodesk account, after you sign in, you'll be able to get your file.

Step 6: Alright! Now We Optimize the Vector File

Alright now here, we can optimize the vector file meaning we can fine-tune it to how we want. For me, I wanted to get at least two, one for each arm! So I doubled it up.

*Remember how I said uniform scale can mess things up. Well here I couldn't tell because the differences were too small to see, but the handles ended up asymmetrical. So for me, I got three slices, but the top and bottom slice weren't the same size. What we can do at this step to fix it, is to select one of the slices, and just copy that multiple times. This way we can at least get a nice flat handle that overall has the dimensions we want.

Step 7: Fire Up Da LASER!

Setup the laser settings for your material and start cutting!

Step 8: Remove and Arrange Slices

This is when I found out what the "Uniform scale" button does that I mentioned earlier, when I tried stacking up the three slices. So like before, use the Bob Ross approach "There are no mistakes, only more bag holders" =)

So instead of using all three slices together that creates this odd asymmetrical handle, I paired them up since I doubled it up earlier.

Step 9:

Now take your first layer and put some adhesive on it. Then put the next layer on top of it, press down to set it in place.

Step 10: The Foundary

After you have it all assembled, you'll want to squeeze all the layers together, so that the glue spreads out and you don't end up with spaces between each layer. Each bag holder is only two layers each, but you can stack them all on top of each other to squeeze them all at once. I also moved around the vices to make sure every main point got pressure.

These bag holders were Forged by the Iron Vices of TechShop. *Voice of Gandalf

Step 11: The Finished Product

As long as you hold one of these magical items, you may never have to take a second trip ever again...

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