As I am a new user of the Epilog Helix Laser cutter I've decided to star with some simple shapes to get used to the settings of the machine on different material.
So this project will guide you on how to make your own Tangram puzzle.
For those of you who don't know, Tangram is a dissection puzzle originally from China. It consists of seven flat shapes, which are put together to form other shapes. You may used all seven shapes to form the desired silhouette without overlapping the pieces.
My material of choose was acrylic but it will look just as nice if you wish to cut it from wood, for example.
Step 1: Prepare your file
I have designed my Tangram puzzle on Illustrator (because it's the software I'm more familiar with and it is compatible with TechShop's laser cutter) - the file is attached bellow for those of you who wish to use it.
I' would personally recommend preparing your files before going to tech shop as you're only allowed on the machine for 2 hours and as a beginner, time goes by very quickly!
Step 2: Prepare your material
If you plan ahead you can buy acrylic online but actually Techshop it self has a nice selection os colours and it's not that expansive. You can even buy a little scrap piece for around $4 from them.
The measurements for this particular Tangram project is 4 inches square, so the acrylic piece you buy has to be 4 inches square or bigger.
I would personally leave the protective plastic that comes with it on but some people take it off and use paper instead. It's up to you.
Step 3: Setting up and printing
So you're almost ready to go, you have your file and your material, now open the Epilog laser cutter and place your acrylic flat on the grid and align it to the top and left side rulers on the laser bed.
Set the laser to focus to the home position and adjust accordingly. In case you have any dough's just refer to the booklet you were given when doing the Laser cutting induction at TechShop (it's super helpful).
Open your file make sure the line width is set to hairline (0.001 for an illustrator file) and send to print.
For the preferences settings select vector only and if you are using 1/8" acrylic the recommended settings are: 20 speed, 90 power and 5000 frequency.
This has worked for me but you might need to run it twice or some people reduce the speed to 17.
And that's it, you are done and should have you very own Tangram puzzle, have fun!