In this instructable you will learn how to use an Epilog laser to cut corner notcher jigs out of 1/8" acrylic sheet. A corner notcher is a sheet metal shear that cuts a square 90 degree notch in the corner of a piece of metal. These jigs make it very quick and easy to set the size of the notch being cut, which can be a hassle especially when switching back and forth between sizes. All of the required items listed below are available at TechShop, your local membership-based fabrication shop.
You will need:
- Epilog laser cutter (45w or higher recommended)
- Acrylic sheet 1/8" thick
- Vector drawing program (Corel Draw or Illustrator)
- Corner notcher
Step 1: Draw the Jigs
You will want to start by drawing a 6" x 6" (or 7" x 7") square in your vector drawing program. Once you draw the square, draw two small squares in opposite corners of the large square and trim them from the large square. Draw the two small squares to the dimensions of the notches you plan on cutting. You will be left with a shape that looks like the screenshot above. The upper right notch is 1.5" x 1.5", and the lower left notch 2" x 2". If your notches are smaller than 1" x 1" consider utilizing all 4 corners to save materials.
Step 2: Cutting the Acrlylic on the Epilog Laser
Any Epilog laser 45w or higher can be used to cut your acrylic. At TechShop, either of our lasers can be used. Place the acrylic in the upper left corner of the grid and focus the beam. Refer to the chart provided and adjust the vector settings so that they match the chart's recommendations. Since the laser is cutting, not engraving, the raster settings do not matter.
Once your settings match the chart, cut a small square to test that the power is high enough to cut all the way through the acrylic. Do not trust the chart... test cuts are always necessary unless you don't mind throwing away material. If the cut doesn't make it all the way through, reduce the speed slightly or increase the power a little and test again. ****NOTE: The picture above does NOT have the correct settings for cutting 1/8" acrylic. It is provided for reference only.****
After your settings have been tested, click the "OK" button to load the job. Once the job is loaded, press the green button to start the cut. Make sure the lid is closed or the beam will not activate.
Step 3: Using the Jig to Set the Notch Size
If you look at the corner notcher, you will see two triangular shaped pieces of metal on the table with set knobs holding them in place. These are the guides that align your piece of metal on the shear. Loosen the knobs and move the guides to the side. Pull the handle down until the blades are below the table (as if it just cut a notch).
While the handle is down, take the piece of acrylic and find the notch dimension you wish to cut. Place the notched corner of the acrylic jig up against the corner notcher blades. Hold it in place and move the guides up against the sides of the acrylic jig. Tighten the knobs to hold the guides in place.
Step 4: Cutting a Piece of Metal on the Corner Notcher
To cut a piece of sheet metal, simply slide it into the corner notcher until it's sitting up against the guides and will not go any deeper. The notch you cut will be the same dimension as the notch on the acrylic jig.