Lasercutting - Can Handle




About: Background consists of Mechanical Engineering, topped that with Industrial Design. Now I'm combining scientific research at a university with engineering agricultural machinery
This is a brief summary about a laser cutting workshop taken at Prototyping Summer-school @ Howest IDC (Belgium).

The assignment was to create something for PALM. Palm produces Belgian beers. We were allowed to use cardboard and MDF.
The created part had to be laser-cutted.

Draftsight (free) -

Laser (Universal Laser Systems) -

Step 1: Creativity

First step was to design something that could be laser cutted.
I already had the idea to create handles for beer glasses, but..
The salesman didn't have any with him. He did had some cans. So I adapted the concept to a can handle.
Good step to start with is to draw the design on a piece of paper.
If possible, 1:1 is preferred.

Step 2: Idea to 2D

Once the design looks quite good, it can be drawn.
I did use Draftsight, as it is freely available.
Download link:

UPDATE: the final dwg is added to instructables, feel free to use it!

Step 3: Preparing the File

The machine we could use works with colors.
The drawing needs to be saved in RGB mode, red is cutting line and blue etching.
For this design I only used cutting, since etching takes more time.
To adapt the DXF file, I used Illustrator. You can use multiple kinds of software (Coreldraw, ..)

Step 4: Laser Cutting

The prepared file is sent to the machine who cuts and etches the contours.
As a demonstration there were some rockets printed.
The can handle is cutted out of 3mm MDF plates.

Some specs about the machine:
Versa laser cutter and etching.
It cuts with lines of approx. 0,15 - 0,2mm width, minimum is 0,08mm.
It can cut wood, cardboard, plastics, fabrics and much more.

Step 5: Testing and Improving

Once the design is printed, it can be tested and improvements can be made.
Also, when the technical features are OK, you can add more fancy stuff (personal name instead of the Palm brand, ...)

Pictures below show the evolution from model one to the final one.



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    13 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Yes! I've added the file to instructables instead of third party sharing, now it should stay online.

    Kind regards

    I'll add a video.
    The bottom ring can bend a little so you can assemble the holder.
    There is tension on the ring (maybe a little too much at the moment).

    Sorry, but I just don't get it. Why on earth would you need/want to strap a handle onto a can? Why not just pick it up and drink it like all of the rest of us do?

    2 replies

    Need to: not really..
    But it's a common tool that could be used for people that can't control grip.
    (design for everyone)
    The extra feature for me was just to change the way of drinking cans.
    I tried to add some 'style' to the drinking of beer cans.
    PALM is more known for adult and elder people. They hardly ever drink beer out of a can here, so maybe with a tool like this they would give it a try.
    Or at least the yought would :)
    Also, it's just a design, not a real product (yet). ;)

    No extra things are needed.
    The bottom piece will bend a little so you can just hook them op. They do connect quite firmly.