Intro: How to Make a Hair Comb With Corel Draw and a Laser Cutter : a Workflow Storyboard
One of the most interesting aspects of a laser cutter is how easily it cuts intricate, complex profiles and leaves a passibly finished edge. Another interesting aspect is that they do great things with the patterns you can generate easily in graphic design software.
...and so, a hair comb! Made at Techshop! Which is here: www.techshop.ws
This is a project for, let's say, other intermediate laser users like me. When I say "laser user" I actually mean "user of graphic design software" too, because most of the work is done in this kind of program. Here I'm working with Corel Draw.
Instead of giving a step-by-step narrative, I have screen captures of each step to give you an idea of the tools I used and my workflow.
The core concepts of this project are:
1) repetition and pattering (copy, paste, distribute)
2) controlling vector (cut-through) lines and raster (surface etch) lines.
I started with an image I grabbed on the internet for inspiration.
I made a circle as the base for my design. Then I created one unit for the fan design and used copy -> paste -> rotate to fan the units around. I did something similar for the comb teeth: made one tooth, copied and pasted and moved 'em around until I had 5 evenly distributed ones.
In the last set of images, I've broken the whole project apart (i.e. many little vector bits) and then I recombined them. This tends to split the object into every little piece possible, so I can manipulate it for the next step. In this step, I make two copies of the comb and then separate it into cut-through lines and etch lines. Since I broke everything apart and re-combined, the Virtual Segment Delete tool is more accurate with the bits it cuts away. So on the left I I kept ONLY the parts I want to *cut out*; they're set to hairline thickness. On the right I kept ONLY the parts I want to *etch.* These I gave a line weight. In the end I thought .75 looked best.
The final piece was done with a raster pass with a slight increase in power from what is suggested, and a vector pass at slightly LESS power. When I'm cutting acrylic, I like to cut out in two passes so there's less melting near the top surface and the cut-outs are less likely to weld back to the parent material at the bottom.