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) - http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/
Laser (Universal Laser Systems) - http://www.ulsinc.com/
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: http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/download-draftsight/
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.