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Author Topic: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans  (Read 9402 times)

Martin [Admin]

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Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« on: September 23, 2015, 02:31:58 PM »


Afternoon All!    :-)

1. Has any UK Mayhemers got a Laser cutting machine thingy?

2. What's involved in coping a plan to CNC(?) code for cutting?

3. This plan:  http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,41115.msg412965.html#msg412965

   


.... I has something up my sleeve!  ok2
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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2015, 02:57:13 PM »

Do you have a copy of the plan in digital format?
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2015, 03:02:02 PM »


No, that's the 1st issue.  :-)

Do I need a digitiser or something?
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essex2visuvesi

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2015, 03:12:27 PM »

You'll need to get it scanned or drawn ito some kind of cad package first
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2015, 03:38:48 PM »


2. What's involved in coping a plan to CNC(?) code for cutting?
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Brian60

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2015, 03:47:37 PM »

Essex don't tell me you have access to a laser styrene cutter as well as cutting vinyl.

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 04:22:16 PM »

Martin you need to visit Farcet with a big apple for the teacher  8)
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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2015, 07:54:42 PM »

What about laser cutting 1/8th ply? I'm already in the planning stages for a ship starting next April. The plan has 186 ribs in a 48 inch hull :o :o thats one every 1/4 inch :o No way do I want to cut all those by hand on the bandsaw if I can get a neater set done by machine if I pay for it!

essex2visuvesi

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2015, 08:09:41 PM »

Essex don't tell me you have access to a laser styrene cutter as well as cutting vinyl.


not yet  ;)
When the new workshop is built I will
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Steve Mahoney

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2015, 09:44:03 PM »

Martin: the files needed for laser cutting need to be PDF vector files (drawn in a CAD or desktop publishing program). In theory some programs have an Autotrace facility that should automatically redraw a vector file from a scanned image but I've never found one that can do it well. 
I draw my plans in InDesign or Illustrator (Mac programs). Corel draw on a PC would be fine. No need to buy a full on CAD as that's overkill.
I use a scanned image as a base and draw over it. The program are quite simple if you follow the online tutorials. It does take a while to master them but drawing up plans is only using 5% of the program capabilities and is basically drawing, cutting, pasting. I can usually draw up a hull in a couple of hours. Superstructures take a lot longer. The laser beam width is 0.0001mm but if you use a 0.25mm line on your drawings it will be fine and you can see it on screen. Many firms have lasers: print finishers, engineers and places like Makerspace.
You can't laser styrene well it melts. You can water jet cut it though that is more difficult to get someone to do little fiddly bits on a one off basis.
Ply cuts Ok although the thicker it is the more burnt the edges get. I use 4mm with good results. Need to wash ply before gluing to remove the burn dust.
You can laser acrylic. Mermod is pretty much the expert in this field. Acrylic isn't so forgiving or easy to file and sand etc.
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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 12:17:19 AM »

New laser cutter just been ordered today for the Linkspan Models workshop  :-)) :-)) :-))
Being delivered on the 15th October.  Max size for the cutting bed is 600mm wide x 300mm.
 
Yes, they can cut styrene (as told to me and demonstrated by the company selling the machine) but you have to be careful with the settings of the speed of the laser head and the power of the laser.  And clean the bed often to reduce burning. Acrylic is better but much more expensive.  Laser quality ply is recommended over ordinary ply because of the glue used to bond the plys.  Ordinary ply is questionable on quality and the glue when lasered can knacker the mirrors.
 
Files to run on the software provided with the laser cutter have to be vector files - dxf is good - for cutting things like ship parts.  Any drawings in 'hard copy' format will need to be re-drawn into a package.  I only know AutoCAD as that is what I use.

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2015, 12:55:05 AM »

New laser cutter just been ordered today for the Linkspan Models workshop  :-)) :-)) :-))
Being delivered on the 15th October.  Max size for the cutting bed is 600mm wide x 300mm.


I can see many members beating a path to your door :)
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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2015, 09:42:35 AM »

Martin - I note that the little tug is a Richard Webb design.
 
Can you not contact Mr Freshney to see if the original plan was sent in to the magazine as a digital image and, if so, do they still have a copy of it?
Send me a higher resolution photo of the plan - let the dog see the rabbit!!! I cant make out too clearly from your link what the individual parts are like to re-draw.......
Carl

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2015, 09:43:57 AM »


I can see many members beating a path to your door :)

He he......They haven't seen my prices yet!!!!  {-)
 
Mind you - neither have I!!!!!!!!!!!!! {:-{

Martin [Admin]

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2015, 09:47:07 AM »

Morning Carl & Dad!

 email sent    :-)
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carlmt

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2015, 09:52:18 AM »

Mornin'!!
 
Will take a look now  O0

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2015, 09:56:27 AM »

Easy!!!  :-))
 
In fact, now that I have seen the front cover of the mag I am sure I have this copy - which means I should have the plan too.  Will check tonight.  If so, I can scan my copy of the plan and trace over into AutoCAD, convert to dxf and then laser the styrene.
 
Let me get back to you this evening Martin (at work at the mo....).  :-)) :-))

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2015, 09:28:30 PM »

Good news!!!
I have found my copy of the mag with the plan still attached inside  :-))
 
A very simple model - as nearly all of Richard's designs are - so will not take long to draw once scanned in.
 
On studying the plans, there appears to be a few superstructure parts missing from the drawings (parts for the engine room structure and the wind deflector on the bridge roof to name but two) so I will add these parts to the sheets when drawing.
 
Should all fit on 3 sheets of 300mm x 600mm x 1mm thick styrene.
Will scan the plan tomorrow and then commence drawing over the next couple of weeks - all ready for when the laser cutter arrives!
 
Will be a good project to experiment with the new toy!!  :-)) O0

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2015, 10:50:00 PM »

Good news!!!
I have found my copy of the mag with the plan still attached inside  :-))
 
A very simple model - as nearly all of Richard's designs are - so will not take long to draw once scanned in.
 
On studying the plans, there appears to be a few superstructure parts missing from the drawings (parts for the engine room structure and the wind deflector on the bridge roof to name but two) so I will add these parts to the sheets when drawing.
 
Should all fit on 3 sheets of 300mm x 600mm x 1mm thick styrene.
Will scan the plan tomorrow and then commence drawing over the next couple of weeks - all ready for when the laser cutter arrives!
 
Will be a good project to experiment with the new toy!!  :-)) O0


I am regretting selling the one I bought earlier this year, but I didn't realise the size of it and just have the space for it :(
New bigger workshop in the Spring so I will be buying another
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carlmt

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2015, 10:56:40 PM »

They're not very small are they!!!  The one we have bought is 1100 wide x 660 deep and stands about 4' off the floor.
There are smaller versions available that are 'desktop' but the LS3060 that we have gone for seems to be just what we need at the moment:
http://hpclaser.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=39&zenid=3b0aljd4sb5o617n9vjmigdpm5
 

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2015, 11:12:38 PM »

This is the one I bought.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/40W-USB-Laser-Engraving-Cutting-Machine-CO2-LASER-Engraver-3-Years-Warranty-220V/231590166724


A little cheaper than yours lol
The chap I sold it on to is very happy with it

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carlmt

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2015, 11:23:50 PM »

Nowt wrong with that one - I am sure it would do the job it was designed to do. And a very attractive price too!!! At that price, it would make a great tool for the workshop.
A bit too small a bed for our purposes though, but the 40W tube would be perfectly adequate.
We have gone for the one we did because a) The bed size is ideal for parts sheets to fit in a kit box and mainly b) the support from the retailer should anything go wrong!!

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2015, 02:37:05 PM »

Havent forgotten about the Thomas Tug - our new laser cutter arrives tomorrow so will get on to it as soon as I can after I have had a bit of practice with the new machine  :-)) .
 
 

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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2015, 02:48:05 PM »

    Hi,
        I have a copy of the original (on paper) plan and also another plan with the size increased by 50% to make the tug 18" in length. If you need them or copies PM me and I can get them copied and sent to you for the price of copying and postage. Hope this helps.
       Cheers,
           Faz. :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-))
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Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2015, 03:02:07 PM »

Cheers Faz  :-))
 
Thanks for the offer but I do have an original, unused, set of the plans from the magazine.
 
Hang on to yours - they can be got from MyHobbyStore, but they are 12.50 each!
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