Model Boat Mayhem

Mess Deck: General Section => Model Boating => Topic started by: Martin [Admin] on September 23, 2015, 02:31:58 pm

Title: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Martin [Admin] 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
 (http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,41115.msg412965.html#msg412965)
    (http://www.myhobbystore.co.uk/product_images/large/2062.jpg)


.... I has something up my sleeve!  ok2
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: essex2visuvesi on September 23, 2015, 02:57:13 pm
Do you have a copy of the plan in digital format?
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Martin [Admin] on September 23, 2015, 03:02:02 pm
 
No, that's the 1st issue.  :-)

Do I need a digitiser or something?
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: essex2visuvesi on September 23, 2015, 03:12:27 pm
You'll need to get it scanned or drawn ito some kind of cad package first
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Martin [Admin] on September 23, 2015, 03:38:48 pm

2. What's involved in coping a plan to CNC(?) code for cutting?
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 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.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: dougal99 on September 23, 2015, 04:22:16 pm
Martin you need to visit Farcet with a big apple for the teacher  8)
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 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!
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: essex2visuvesi 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
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Steve Mahoney 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.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: essex2visuvesi 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 :)
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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!!!!!!!!!!!!! {:-{
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Martin [Admin] on September 24, 2015, 09:47:07 am
Morning Carl & Dad!

 email sent    :-)
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on September 24, 2015, 09:52:18 am
Mornin'!!
 
Will take a look now  O0
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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....).  :-)) :-))
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: essex2visuvesi 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
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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 (http://hpclaser.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=39&zenid=3b0aljd4sb5o617n9vjmigdpm5)
 
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: essex2visuvesi 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 (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

Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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!!
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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  :-)) .
 
 
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Fastfaz 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. :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-)) :-))
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt 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!
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on October 15, 2015, 10:28:31 pm
My Christmas present arrived early!!!!!  :-)   :-)   :-)   :-)
 
(http://i513.photobucket.com/albums/t339/carlmtflo/HPC%20LASER%20LS3060_zpsqbejnjea.jpg)
 
Looking forward to having a play this weekend to get used to it, before using it 'in anger'.... :-))
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Martin [Admin] on October 15, 2015, 10:47:39 pm
 
"No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 on October 16, 2015, 03:15:32 am
I'm looking forward to seeing parts cut on this very shortly :embarrassed:
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Tug Fanatic on October 25, 2015, 06:27:01 pm
What is the idea here? Martin suggests a grand plan in post one but what is it?

I like the hull & I can see it as a good basis for a lot of models that are easy, relatively quick & cheap to build- a bit like a Springer hull - but I am not so keen on the 50's-60's superstructure. 
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on October 25, 2015, 06:33:21 pm
We wont be able to replicate the Thomas Tug exactly as it is copyright with the publishers, however I am looking to modify it a bit to avoid any issues like this - subject to Martin's agreement (will get my ideas over to you sometime this week  :-)) ), so if you have any preferences or ideas for a different superstructure lets see them!!
 
Don't make it too complicated........something simple along with the philosophy of the original idea would suit.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Tug Fanatic on October 25, 2015, 07:24:50 pm
OK please remember that you asked!

I have gone for something that doesn't look quite as top heavy. I have recently spent a few weeks around Rotterdam & developed a taste for inland tugs that you rarely see modelled. Here are 4 examples which I think look nice - from the 000's of photos that I took - with clean simple lines and which should give a nice handling model.

What do you think?

   
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on October 25, 2015, 08:47:21 pm
They look simple and straightforward!!!
 
Easy to design and laser out - will have a dabble during the week and post up some ideas next weekend if that's ok?
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Tug Fanatic on October 25, 2015, 09:08:27 pm
Sounds fine to me. I wait with interest.

PS I like Gepke III best!!!!!!
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: steamboatmodel on October 26, 2015, 01:17:04 pm
What is the idea here? Martin suggests a grand plan in post one but what is it?

I like the hull & I can see it as a good basis for a lot of models that are easy, relatively quick & cheap to build- a bit like a Springer hull - but I am not so keen on the 50's-60's superstructure.
It is the early superstructure that I like about tugs. How about a 20's steam superstructure?
 Regards,
 Gerald.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Tug Fanatic on October 26, 2015, 02:46:32 pm
This is what I meant when I said that like the Springer this might be a good hull on which to do your thing. I can see the 1920's interest but I could also see a fishing boat, motor cruiser etc. The aspect ratio is perfect for a Canadian Logging Tug.

I can also see the need for a basic design for beginners etc but I ask again what is the bigger plan envisaged here?

My own feeling is that the dimensions of the hull are that it is too wide relative to its length to make a nice looking older steam type tug - but that is just my opinion.
 
 
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: TailUK on October 26, 2015, 02:50:37 pm
My Christmas present arrived early!!!!!  :-)   :-)   :-)   :-)
 

 
Looking forward to having a play this weekend to get used to it, before using it 'in anger'.... :-))

Nice looking machine!  What's the working area?
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on October 26, 2015, 03:13:55 pm
Nice looking machine!  What's the working area?
Just on 575mm wide x 275mm deep.  It could go to the full 600 x 300 if I made a different bed for the material, without the frame that this current one has.  Quite a few who have bought these have made their own 'pin' beds where the material to be cut sits on the pointy ends of large 'pins' (usually made from rivets).  This avoids the 'flashback' that is created when the laser hits the metal grid below the material.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 on October 26, 2015, 06:49:21 pm
I've been looking at the smaller cutters on ebay bed size 300 x 200 and in one of them the guy had removed the bed to get the full cutting area. For the pin bed he did it simply, down to B&Q or maybe a Hewsons, a proper builders merchant would be better. Go in and buy metal plates, they are perforated with spikes, made for joining roofing trusses etc. They are about 150 x 100mm (6 x 4in) with dozens of spikes pressed into them in place of nails--see photo.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 on October 26, 2015, 06:51:10 pm
Did I mention I expressed my interest in getting one for chrimbo and she who must be obeyed didn't object! :-))
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on October 26, 2015, 07:51:09 pm
Did I mention I expressed my interest in getting one for chrimbo and she who must be obeyed didn't object! :-))

RESULT!!!!!  :-)) :-)) :-))
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 on October 27, 2015, 05:12:11 am
Carl I have been asking questions on the laser forums. Me being me thought hey what if it will cut thin brass? no need to offer or think about photo etched fittings anymore, just print them!

Anyway it seems to cut brass, even brass shim and certainly thickness up to 0.5mm you would need a co2 laser of at least a 100watt output, shame because you are in to mega money for one of those. But it might save time/cash in the long run for an operation like your ferry build when it comes to outsourcing parts.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: mermod on October 27, 2015, 06:05:51 am
I have had a bit of a play with metal on my 50watt machine, funny thing is the laser simply bounces off brass but i can put one heck of a deep mark into K+S stainless steel.


Phill
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Umi_Ryuzuki on October 27, 2015, 07:28:23 am
You may need a different type of laser for cutting metal.
My friend built a 6 watt ultraviolet yag? laser cutter.
The laser tube and cnc frame setup sat around for years, then suddenly he
needed a shim for his cameras.  %)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXjp3BwvNMg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXjp3BwvNMg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W071IQhpCFA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W071IQhpCFA)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaFdA8ix_ws (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaFdA8ix_ws)


.




Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: TailUK on October 27, 2015, 09:03:46 am
I've been looking at the smaller cutters on ebay bed size 300 x 200 and in one of them the guy had removed the bed to get the full cutting area. For the pin bed he did it simply, down to B&Q or maybe a Hewsons, a proper builders merchant would be better. Go in and buy metal plates, they are perforated with spikes, made for joining roofing trusses etc. They are about 150 x 100mm (6 x 4in) with dozens of spikes pressed into them in place of nails--see photo.

I'd be very careful of these.  They are very heavily galvanised and exposed to a laser they could fill the cabinet with vaporised zinc.  I'm pretty certain that isn't going to do the mirrors much good!.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: Brian60 on October 27, 2015, 06:21:21 pm
I'd be very careful of these.  They are very heavily galvanised and exposed to a laser they could fill the cabinet with vaporised zinc.  I'm pretty certain that isn't going to do the mirrors much good!.

Well you learn something every day! You can get unplated ones though.

I have had a bit of a play with metal on my 50watt machine, funny thing is the laser simply bounces off brass but i can put one heck of a deep mark into K+S stainless steel.


Phill
Weird, it can only be the fact its a non ferrous metal. I did see that one of the users had a special paint type spray that he coated his stainless with before engraving, maybe that would work on brass? I don't know the answer, but I can't wait until November when I can order mine and start messing with 'burning' stuff :embarrassed: {-) Trouble is swimbo will insist on it being wrapped up and me not touching it until xmas day! {:-{
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: TailUK on October 27, 2015, 08:16:22 pm
Unplated would probably work.  We used an aluminium honeycomb in ours and that works great.  Remember to organise a good extractor for your laser or you'll spend hours cleaning the mirrors, as it is count on cleaning them at least once a week or if it's stood unused for any length of time.
Title: Re: Laser cutting styrene sheet from plans
Post by: carlmt on October 27, 2015, 10:04:28 pm
Unplated would probably work.  We used an aluminium honeycomb in ours and that works great.  Remember to organise a good extractor for your laser or you'll spend hours cleaning the mirrors, as it is count on cleaning them at least once a week or if it's stood unused for any length of time.

That is good advice - both the extraction and cleaning.  Extraction is not only needed to clear the fumes from the cabinet (which can become combustible) but also to clear the smell!!! Burning styrene, wood or acrylic is not good for the nostrils...not to mention your lungs!!! Just be careful that you don't extract straight into your neighbours windows!!!
Our machine came with a very powerful extraction unit and a 4" dia flexible pipe.  Additionally, the laser is cooled by water circulating through the laser tube.  It is paramount that this water is kept cool otherwise your laser tube will have a very short life.  Again, ours has a water chiller unit - like an air-conditioning unit - which keeps the water below 22 degrees C.  Using the laser for a number of hours at a stretch can heat the water dramatically.  If you don't have a chiller unit, then stand a large thermometer in your tub of cooling water and keep an eye on the temps.  As for water - use only distilled.  Again, any hardness in the water will shorten tube life.

For cleaning, it was recommended to me to use pure alcohol on cotton buds for the mirrors and focus lens.  Baby wipes for the rest of the machine. And a wipe over with 3 in 1 oil on the sliding bars.