Introduction: Side Table - Laser Cutting (the Process Only)

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The purpose of this instructable is to show how to work and use with laser cutter machines, especially for beginners (like me). The side table in the picture is a scaled model to show this process.

Software needed

1. Fusion 360, Solidworks or Rhino

2. Slicer for fusion (plugin) or regular slicer software

3. Adobe Illustrator

Amount of time needed

This depends on your 3D modelling skill and experience in laser cutting. Maybe you need to design a product first, so It can take one or two days.

Step 1: Step 1: 3D Modeling & Slicer

Design your own side table

In the attachment, you can find my 3D file of the side table. You can adjust in size or shape or create your own design. Tip: start with sketching on paper, before you go 3D.

How to upload to Slicer

If you're ready with your 3D model, please go to "make" and click on the "Slicer for Fusion" button. If you use other 3D modeling software, just download the 'normal' slicer and upload your STL or STEP file into it. With slicer, you can make panels and grids to your design, which is suitable for the lasercut machine. Tip: Fusion 360 is the perfect 3D modeling software if you are a student or wanted a free modeling software. The Slicer software is also free.

Slicer For Fusion (plugin)

First, you have to know what format you use for cutting you design. Mostly, lasercut machines can fit A2 sizes boards. I used cardboards of 500 mm x 800 mm.

Important steps to use Slicer (left menu)

1. Manufacturing settings: Define your board size (A2, A3 etc.) and your unit (mm, in etc). You can change your size of your model by scaling or typing specific unit. Click on the "gear" logo to set up the thickness of your chosen board (mm or in).

2. Construction Technique: Here you can try out some different techniques to slice your product. I advice to try out all of these techniques and define for yourself which technique sets it best to your design. You can change the amount of slicers or sizes.

Slice Direction: Change the direction of a slice technique

Modify form: move or delete sliced parts

Assembly steps: showing how to assemble your product

Save as..

3. If you're ready, please see the right menu how many sheets you need to manufacturer your design. If this is ok, please click on "get plans" on the left menu and safe the 2D drawings as PDF file on your computer.

Step 2: Step 2: Lasercut Preparation

File preparation in Adobe Illustrator:
After exporting the pdf file from Slicer, please upload this file to Adobe Illustrator to edit the line thickness and colors. The lasercut machine will recognize those lines, and it will make its distinction between engraving or cutting lines. Please be aware that these requirements depends on what kind of lasercut machine you will use. Some other brands uses other requirements that what I have experienced.

My requirements are:

1. Line thickness: 0,01 mm

2. Line color: red (cut RGB 255,0,0), kiss cutting or engraving (blue RGB 0,0,255)

Lasercut machine settings;

If you use a board thickness of 3 mm, please change the thickness of your Slicer file into 2,7 mm for a better connection. If you use cardboard to lasercut, please use as category "soft wood" and then "Basa".

Other settings like Vector Performance and Intensity Adjustment (see screenshots) are additional to your preference. After you're done with the settings, please place the cardboard inside the machine.

The final check

To be sure that the lasercutter do cut every lines, especially at the corners. Please select the nozzle in your settings menu and reposition the nozzle to all edges of your cardboard, so you're 100% that everything will be cutted.

Step 3: Step 3: Wait

See the attachment for a footage of the cut process. If you're not satisfied with the engraving or the machine doesn't cut the cardboard very well, please adjust the intensity in the menu to a higher %.

Step 4: Step 4: Assemble