laser cutter

Jul 2016 5

The COBOL building

A slight detour as I build something of a "tribute" to one of my favourite blogs...

Recently while reading 30 Squares of Ontario, JD's FORTRAN building popped up. I've always admired the building; something about its shape and simplicity. Plus I liked the name. So I decided to build my own interpretation of it; helpfully, JD included his drawings and enough dimensions that I could easily make my own in N scale.

After a quiet evening with Inkscape (plus a little Ruby scripting to generate randomly opened window blinds) I came up with my working drawings:

I have my workflow nicely set up now, so that black lines are c...

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Jun 2016 30

Experimenting with laser cut bricks

A slight diversion today as I experiment with making laser cut bricks.

Laser cutters are great at cutting things out. Especially square things, and things with sharp edges. I've tried making bricks and other textures on the laser cutter before, however the width of the beam is so incredibly fine that the mortar lines are impossible to paint.

So today I experimented instead with the "raster 3d" setting on my laser cutter, which takes in an image, and everything black is cut at 100%, and white is cut at 0%, and greys are cut at varying power levels.

By loading in a brick pattern like so:

... and choosing the raster 3d setting in Visicut, I managed to cut some nicely textured bricks.

I tried many different techniques to detail them, but this one works the be...

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May 2016 2

The Crossing Hut

Well, after much delay, the replacement parts for my laser cutter have finally arrived. It seems the driver board took three return trips between Moscow and NZ before finally landing in the right place. How frustrating! Once it arrived though I wasted no time in getting it all set up and recalibrated – if anything, I think it cuts better now.

Here it is cutting out the parts for an HO loco:

Unfortunately my laptop went flat halfway through, hence the large charred spot!

Having proven it worked, I wasted no time in building something. I decided a fun little project would be a Soviet style crossing hut. At least I assume that is what it is. Here is the inspiration:

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Mar 2016 3

Fun with lasers - pallets

Something lasers are very good at is cutting out fine details. I've been trying a few little experiments to see what I can and can't do. One fun little project was to make up some pallets:

These are straight off the laser with no paint, though the singed look is remarkably realistic, and the dark edges give them good depth. These are made as a lamination of two pieces of cardboard; thicker card for the base, and thinner card for the top. Simply take the two squares, glue them at right angles, then once dry use a sharp knife to cut along half-etched cutting guides. Four cuts later and you a perfect shipping pallet.

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Feb 2016 26

Breda LRV - Flexible gangway connections

Work continues on my Breda LRV project ...

So the correct term for the wiggly bit between carriages is "gangway connection". I'm not sure though if that applies on trams since there is no gangway? Anyway, I needed something to bridge the gap between the two halves, as this is obviously not the look I'm after:

Please forgive the cruel close up photography!

I've been pondering this for some months now, knowing that sooner or later I would have to tackle it. Luckily I came across a technique involving carefully folded paper in a magazine a while back and so didn't have to invent something myself.

Making folded carriage gangway connectors First prepare some paper. I took a sheet of printer pa...
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Feb 2016 24

Breda LRV - Laser-cut window masks

Work continues on my Breda LRV project after many many months of silence...

After a rather long break from Utrainia I am back and building things again. Perhaps I should explain the gap... first we rebuilt our bathroom, then as Christmas approached I built a garden railway, then I discovered we had a free laser cutter in town, and then I caught the bug and built my own laser cutter.

It's a little rough & ready and needs some fine tuning, however the important thing is, my 2.5W laser cutter is surprisingly useful. I am easily able to cut out cardboard up to 1mm think, and my offcuts of 1.3mm picture framing mat board cut beautifully. I can cut out thin balsa and basswood up to 1.6mm thick, as well as pap...

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