Press-fit construction kit
I started off wanting to make things like a penny-farthing (Figure 2d) or a pen holder. I stumbled across
Elliott Forde's laser cutting project
from last year and decided
the pieces he cut would be the perfect multi-purpose set with which I (and my niece and nephews) could make bicycles, cylinders, and so much more. I
liked the idea of having a few basic shapes that could reassemble into seemingly endless configurations.
In my laziness, I borrowed the dimensions from Elliott's drawing, which used .16" as the width of my slots, and I assumed the material used
was 3/16" (or .1875") corrugated cardboard. I drew my pieces in AutoCAD (Figure 2e), which I had learned 10+ years ago and felt easier than
learning a new software.
When I arrived at the lab, I realized our cardboard was 1/8" (or .125"), but I tried my drawing anyhow as part of the
characterization process, and as expected, the slots were far to big. Going back to my assumptions about the width of Elliott's slots and the thickness
of his material, I tested .10" slots, which accommodated the material with much cajoling and deformation of material. I finally settled on a .12" slot,
which was just right (Figure 2f).
The laser cutter I used did not manually focus, so I first checked to see that the laser was 2" above the cutting surface. The first couple times I
printed, I found some lines cut super well, while others did not. Some random guy in the lab helped me
figure out that I had a bunch of double lines in my drawing that were causing the laser cutter to cut over the same area twice. I increased power from
the recommended 15 to 16 to account for the lines that were not punching out well. Finally, I made a point to print only
selected items just in case there were other lingering parts of my drawing that I didn't want printed.
The resulting pieces instantly transformed me into a kid, and I spent the rest of the day building different configurations and showing all my friends
the cool things I'd made (Figure 2g).
Total time: 3.5h