Laser Cutting Part 1

I’m lucky enough to work in a school with a laser cutter, so I’ve been thinking for a long time that I ought to make use of this fact to make something for gaming.  I stumbled upon some free plans for some cube type terrain that was mentioned on Beasts of War, I downloaded the plans from the Infinity Forums and took them to school.  Unfortunately the software that is used at school couldn’t import the file format that I had downloaded, we did spend a while trying to get them to work but it looked to be too much effort for what was required.  By this point I’d purchase 12 sheets of 3mm laser grade MDF, so I didn’t want to waste it and DT have been very nice in storing it.

So with the house move coming up I realised that I would need a paint station and so looked at the price out there and what was available.  Having gluped at the prices and then remembered the wood sitting in DT I set out to learn the software used at school and dip my toe into laser cutting.  My first sheet was pretty simple a straight line and then some 28mm diameter holes for holding paint bottles (dropper bottles will fit nicely, others won’t).  The second sheet was much more complex and I’ll look at that in part 2 another time.  However it included the side walls and the bottom for the paint rack.  After a bit of sanding I now have my own 14 bottle paint rack, that I designed and cut myself:

Paint Rack 1
The assembled paint rack, only one paint in for now.

So what did I learn:

  1.  Never trust the website that tells you the wood is 3mm, when in fact it is 3.5mm
  2. The wood is generally not cut straight….
  3. The laser cuts about an extra 1mm off then you planned for.
  4. Double check measurements against the real think, even if you copied the plan over!

Had I realised some of the above I wouldn’t have had this: