Hello fellow tinkerers.
This is an example of a method I found of cutting dovetails and other varied depth cuts on a Universal Laser Systems laser. It is very simple and greatly increases the capabilities of the laser, by effectively adding another degree of freedom.
I hope you enjoy and this helps with your laser projects.
Step 1: Setup
Yeah, this is the boring part, but it has to be done. We need to set your laser so that the gradient will cut nearly all the way through the plywood, and if your laser cutter is not a ULS (Universal Laser Systems), that it interprets gradients the same way as the ULS does.
I use this file to test. It is obviously very simple but thats why I like it. Start at settings you would use to cut a slightly thinner piece of material with a vector cut then adjust till you get a nice 45 degree slope.
Once that's done, we are ready to cut anything that requires a sloped cut.
Step 2: The Treasure Chest
Using the settings you found, cut this file. If the settings were good, it should cut no problem, and you will be left with the shown pieces.
Now you can assemble, after sanding to remove scorch marks if you prefer. A light mallet is required if you used tolerances to create a friction fit box, otherwise some glue will hold it together.
Attach the bottom to the two side uprights, then the front and back to assemble the box, then put the semicircle at the back of the box (which should be facing out) through one of the lid sides, and put the shim through as well. Then put the other lid side on the other side of the box and put the shims on the lid. Note one shim has a flat side, which is put on the front of the box with the flat side facing down. Voila! All done!
Step 3: Conclusion
I had a lot of fun figuring this out, and would love to see anything designed using dovetails or cool uses for sloped cuts. Im working on a lasercut clock right now, which should be interesting. If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them.
I built this box because I was giving someone hassle about a finger joint box, and it led to them saying that a laser cutter couldn't make dovetail joints. And, well, I thought different. I doubt the person even remembers the conversation, but now I've figured it out. Join me in the crusade against laser cut finger joint boxes! Spread the word!
I created this thingiverse writeup for the laser contest, before I just had it on my blogspot. If you got this far, could you please vote for the project? I would love my own laser, or even just a t-shirt.