Laser Castle

About: I have a creative nature, whether through my work as a software developer or at home, working on one of my "projects". With three kids and a house under renovation, there's always something going on around h...

Using a desktop laser cutting machine, I made this wooden castle from 3mm plywood.

The machines used for this was a LS3020 Desktop Laser Engraver. The shapes and designs were created using Autocad (and exported as DXF files for importing into the laser software). The material was standard 3mm plywood, bought in a 8x4 sheet from B&Q for about £15

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Step 1: Design & Building

I started out with a simple proof of concept, cut from cardboard, making pieces which slot together and make a simple cube shape. This was extended to make a slightly more complex structure until I was sure that it would be possible to make a full castle.

I made a number of small pieces to check and measure that the pieces of plywood would slot together in such a fashion to minimise the need for any glue.

When I was happy that I had these measurements and that I had the correct settings for the laser cutter, I then proceeded to cut the more complex shapes and start building. The build started with the portcullis section with some pieces being cut a second time, with additional slots added for the connecting walls ... the same was then done for the corner turrets until a complete castle was built.

With the castle in competed form, adding the decorative elements produced a finished and very pleasing looking castle.

By using the technique of 'slotting' parts together proved advantageous, as these could easily be swapped out and improvements made to the overall design with relative ease.

The 3mm sheets of plywood being inexpensive, was a great material choice and certainly forms the basis on which future and more complicated projects will be made.

Step 2: Design & Files

Have attached some of the images which I produced with Google SketchUp and the main DXF file which I used for cutting ~ due to the size of my laser cutter, these were cut in parts, on panels of the plywood, which I had sized down to approximately 30cm x 30cm

Plywood Contest

Participated in the
Plywood Contest

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

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    19 Discussions

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    RémiD16NatalieB43

    Answer 8 months ago

    in fact you need to slide the door between two parts. the two parts are maintain and spaced by two identical other parts (spacer on the picture). You have to passe the pacer by the front front door an use the spacer to made a gap between the piece A en B. the gap is manage by the "teeth" of the spacer.

    Capture du 2018-12-26 10-50-42.png
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    RémiD16

    9 months ago

    I did it with funky colours for my nephew.
    You may need to optimize the settings of the laser cut machine. (If not the laser may travel a lot)
    Is need a bit a skill to assemble the path over the bugs wall between towers.
    But by the way , a big thank for the share, for your work. Thanks you !

    IMG_20181224_161043_HHT.jpg
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    HavelockVetinari

    2 years ago

    Very nice looking castle. I love the simplicity of the interlocking design. How long did it take to cut out all the pieces?

    1 reply
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    Would be difficult to give an exact answer as I did this across a period of time (a few hours here and there, across a couple of weeks) and probably spent more time making prototype pieces. I guess you could (if you're efficient with your time) cut the whole lot in a couple of hours.

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    CharlesH140

    2 years ago

    Very nice design. Very curious, though: is the uploaded file actually for 1/8" material? Many of the interlock pieces aren't actually 1/8." Is the file supposed to be re-scaled?

    Thanks again for providing a great piece of fun for kids.

    2 replies
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    Sean_AndersonCharlesH140

    Reply 2 years ago

    I was using 3mm plywood and adjusted the slots to suit the material. The files "should" scale to other materials, but fine adjustments will be needed as plywood stock thicknesses are never that accurate.

    As I recall, the upload files were from Autocad, which I was also learning, as part of this project, so there could be flaws in that. I would suggest making a few small piece to test the slot sizes and building from there; one you have the basic dimensions, you quickly get into a flow of making the bigger pieces. Run tests with cardboard to save wasting materials and to try different designs.

    Hope that helps a little.

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    CharlesH140Sean_Anderson

    Reply 2 years ago

    After taking a closer look, I see that scaling up by 243% makes everything 3mm-ready. Thanks for your reply.

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    Sean_AndersonHamyza

    Reply 2 years ago

    Apologies; the comments from sanderson67 are actually from me; didn't realise that I had logged in with the wrong account.

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    sanderson67Hamyza

    Reply 2 years ago

    Not quite sure what you mean?

    Having cut the plywood down to A4 size pieces, I tried to cut as much as I could from one piece.

    Each component was cut in a single, slow pass from the laser at a fairly high setting; they were then sanded to remove any burn marks and I had a few sharp knives on hand to cut through material where the laser hadn't quite cut all the way through.

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    sanderson67Hamyza

    Reply 2 years ago

    I bought a 1200x600mm sheet, which I cut down to smaller pieces (approx A4 size) that would fit my laser machine. After a prototype test with corrugated card, I would cut as much as a I could from each piece, using any offcut/waste material for smaller parts. I did waste quite a bit and wasn't really as conservative with the sheet as I could have been, so would say that the sheet I bought (for about £12) was more than enough for the project.

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    dukedolphin

    3 years ago

    Did one Tower and the Door till now,

    but my son (5) allready love it.Thanks a lot Sean.

    1 reply
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    wold630

    3 years ago

    I would love to see some more detailed instructions and step-by-step photos!! The castle is cool!

    1 reply
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    Sean_Andersonwold630

    Reply 3 years ago

    Sorry, but unfortunately, I was working on this project before I became aware of the Instructables site, so only have those images, which I have already shared, but if you have the means to view the DXF file (just uploaded) then you would soon figure out how it goes together.

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    Sean_Andersondalegribble

    Reply 3 years ago

    I have uploaded screenshots which were taken from Google SketchUp and the main DXF file that I produced for cutting pieces.