Introduction: A Tiny Challenge

About: Retired due to health. Oldish. My background is in Structural Engineering. Also smith of many trades. The majority of my project will be what can be made sat in a chair within arm's reach, on a plotter, 3D pri…

Had to get the magnifier out for this one

Step 1: Photos

I did this to see what my 1.5W laser would cut.

It's not that powerful so the cutting speed is slow, so bearing this in mind, I thought, the smaller the quicker.

Here are some photos of my result, I had a little trouble focusing in on this so I took a few for good measure.

Step 2: Whats Needed

To do this, what's needed is:

1.5W laser.

I found a cheep one on eBay. Search 1500mW Laser.

XY Plotter, I made one, but Search Laser Engraver.

CAD Software, I use LibreCAD

And of Corse a piece of black card. The piece I had was 0.35mm thick.

Step 3: Scale

To determine scale with out doing a lot of modifications to the cad file I scaled it to the thickness of the card I had.

That is; scale the drawing so that the gaps where all the pieces fit together, measures the same as the thickness of the card.

Remember to allow for the amount removed by the laser when it cuts it out.

Save File as DXF.

Step 4: Convert DXF to G-Code

I wrote my own software for controlling my plotter. Tim's XY Stepper Controller (

In the program is a sub-program for converting DXF files to G-Code.

(it's a basic converter is only handles single layer 2d drawings)

Click the "Create G-Code" button to start the converter.

Step 5:

Click: Select File.

Then Click: Read DXF File

Most DIY plotters use the M03 and M05 command for on/up, off/down. So have the Use only M03/M05 ticked.

Other setting should be straight forward.

Click: Convert to G-Code.

Code in blue area can be edited if you now your G-Code.

Save to file.

Step 6: Cut

Cut out the parts with your laser plotter.

I had to do about 6 passes at a slow speed with the 1500mW laser.

Took a while but the result was good.

Step 7: Put It All Together

Just like a normal 3D Puzzle, except;

I had to use two pairs of tweezers and a magnifying glass.

The legs where very tricky. :)

Step 8: Epilogue

I did this just because I saw a "TINY speed challenge" Contest.

I was not sure how much detail to go into, I have assumed Quick and Simple.

Also I have assumed that if someone has a laser engraver they know how to use it.

But if some only have the plotter, I have done some details on making a laser attachment where I do my blogs.

Also using LibreCAD, they are an extensive wiki.


Tiny Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Tiny Speed Challenge