Playing with Fire

Was round at the Roving Reporter’s workshop today, having a play with a few bits’n’pieces. He has a couple of new texturing tools for the lathe which were interesting, especially seeing as I hadn’t tried these out in person before.

What was really interesting was playing around with his laser engraver. (Basically a printer/plotter for wood, that uses a laser instead of ink.)

Didn’t take any photos, although you can see it in action in Episode 72 of Stu’s Shed tv.

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Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I could see such a use for one of these machines, whether it is project adornment, or part fabrication.

Plug in a laptop and you are away 🙂

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There are all sorts of images of results of laser printers on the web. Some amazing stuff!

Some images of a burn, as taken by the Roving Reporter: (I was too busy at the time playing with the laser to remember to take any photos!)

Setting up the burn, using a pretty basic program that effectively “prints” the info via the laser onto the workpiece.

The laser with the top open (this is a ‘real’ laser printer!)  The laser is not in the head (which is in about the middle of the screen) – that is a moveable mirror that reflects the laser down to the work.

Partway through a burn.  You can see the spot of light – this isn’t the laser, but the resulting mini flame at the point the laser is hitting the wood.  Depending on how intense the laser is set, the flame and smoke can be very fine/indistinguishable, or rather dramatic.

First line complete.

Burn complete.  This unit can do small objects: business cards, makers marks, engraving into pens etc.  About 8″x8″ in size.  The price has dropped dramatically in the past few years, and you can potentially now get one of these laser units for under $1000.

I’m currently researching just where you can pick up a reasonable unit, for a reasonable price.  If anyone knows suppliers in Australia that may be interested in having their unit included in future articles on laser engraving, you can suggest they contact me!

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