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Pat yourself on the back, you've completed the Laser Cutting Class! With your new skills, you'll be ready to start tackling more advanced projects like the chairchairchairs by dhagiwara pictured above. In this lesson we'll go over some common obstacles in this process that we haven't discussed before.

Step 1: Troubleshooting

NOT CUTTING AT ALL

Did you send your job to the laser cutter, press GO, and immediately hear a beep telling you the job is done without any cuts? Chances are, you forget to set the lines to .001 stroke weight. Check the stroke weight of all the lines, then send the job again.

NOT CUTTING THROUGH

Sometimes with files that have longer run times, the laser doesn't cut through completely in some places. This can be due to denser pockets in the plywood or a number of other mysterious factors. As a result, it may be necessary to run the file a second time to cut through completely. Remember, it's crucial that you don't move the sheet at all if you're running the job again.

FIRE!

Remember, the laser is burning the material. This means it's very easy to set material on fire, and it can get out of control very quickly depending on what you're cutting. Usually a sustained fire or mass of burning embers is small and contained, so in this case a spray bottle with water will usually solve the problem. That being said, you should always have a fire extinguisher at the ready and know how to properly use it.

Step 2: Inspirational Projects

The possibilities with laser cutting are practically endless. In fabtextiles' Wooden Textile Bracelet project, they glued a fabric backing to a piece of wood veneer, then etched a tessellated pattern into it. The result is a flexible, semi rigid bracelet.

SaoriSHINYAMA's Harisen Stool is a great example of how 3D software can be used to make complex, structurally stable furniture using nothing but laser cut MDF. They used 123D Make to import their model and generate all the slot-fitting parts instantly.

This Mechanical Iris by carlbass is a deceptively simple study in making intricate, articulating objects using plastic sheet and Chicago screws.

Antibromide'sTravel Bar shows us how found objects, multiple materials, and laser cut and etched wood can come together to make an awesome finished product.

Step 3: Get Making!

I hope you've found this class fun and instructive. If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to ask– I'm here to help. Be sure to post an instructable of your first laser cut project!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm a full-time Designer at the Instructables Design Studio (best job ever). My background is in residential architecture, film set design, film animatronics, media ... More »
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