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lamedust - Laser cutter, start slicing stuff for under 50 dollars - Universal Laser Cutter Finalist! Answered

To see who won the VersaLaser, read the announcementhere.

lamedust was a finalist in the 2008 Instructables and Universal Laser Cutter Contest for:
Laser cutter, start slicing stuff for under 50 dollars

Should this project win the grand prize VersaLaser laser cutter package from Universal Laser worth over $15,000? Help us judge the contest by rating this forum post! Audience votes will count for 20% of the total. Check out all the finalists, and vote for your favorites!

This is a forum post created by the Instructables staff on behalf of the finalist.

Wow, thank you to all the instructables admins for picking my project and for all the people who + ranked me. This is an amazing place to be, here with the top 12. To have my project next to the Extreme Business Card and The Ghetto Matrix by GRL is so satisfying. These are the kinds of people I've been admiring for so long.

For all you having a hard time picking your favorite, I can totally agree, there are so many good projects! But I hope whoever gets it makes it do something amazing, and considering these fellas, I'm pretty sure someone will make it launch eggs to the moon, or cut bricks from compacted car parts and build a house from them.

Here's some detailed cut out examples. This machine gun is less than 1.2 mm wide.
large view of machine gun and parts

I've also updated my code to make it easy to run your own flut files by dragging the .txt to this executable.

Truly Honored
-Bilal Ghalib

Photo Essay on one way I could use the laser cutter


You got my vote yo.


10 years ago

I voted for you! well written and easy to follow, I'm working on my own right now!

Oh bilal.. you are me hero


10 years ago

you smarty pants you!

You sleek sneak don't speak with your mouth full! : P -bg


10 years ago

Voted ;) One suggestion, would be perhaps adding 2:1 gearing to the mix. This would increase resolution, and allow for slow speeds at a fair rate in the stepper motors. Short of other bits that would require a machine shop, ;) Great job!

Hey thanks for the vote! It means a lot to me, honest about that. I wish I knew more about gearing and how to install it on the fly/cheaply, I'm a computer science/math major and I have little physical modeling experience. Mind giving me pointers on where to buy that stuff at least? Also. I need programming help! I am working on a python program to help people turn their postscript (.ps) files into a flut file that can be parsed by the code provided. But I never linked my python/perl/php to an external executable before. How do I access the command line? I need to toss it a newly chomped together txt file. So, I have ghostscript installed on my modati.com server and it's unix based. Any pointers would be a huge help. Comment or message me! I think the inclusion of this new webbased software (might include some visualization animation of the trace) would really help people trying to work this out. Thanks -Bilal Ghalib

Edmunds Scientific would be a start point.. Numerous other possible sources. Scrap bits, pulleys and belts for an example. One at 1/2 inch, the other at two. Gears, one at 17 teeth, the other at 34. Arbor diameters can be shimmed, or bored out. Check floppy drives, CD-ROMs, etc. Note that gears sourced from those would be good for experimentation; they are too thin to hold up for long. HTH..

Two should have been one, sorry.. No edit feature..

If you're talking about running Ghostscript within your Python program, you want to read section 14.1.5 of the Python manual - here. The "easiest" way is to do it with system(), but you have to be very careful that you sanitise any arguments you pass to it.

I am just about to start implementing your project with some small changes, so if you'd like any help with the software side, please get in touch, and maybe we can swap some ideas or I can help you with your code. Comment me here, or shoot me some gmail - username there is the same as here.

pretty cool man...you're that shirt...new design

Got my vote!

You sexy animal you! I see you peeking from behind that creativity! My vote is yours! Lamedust for president!

Got my vote...favorite for sure!! Extremely well written!