Technical, Techniques, Hints, and Tips > Laser & Water-Jet Cutting

How small can you go?


In need of 2 ships wheels and nowhere to buy them - I had worked my way through Cornwall Model Boats site and came up blank for the size I wanted. I turned to my workbench and spare parts boxes, nothing I could remotely use or convert. So I decided to give the laser printer a try, nothing to lose afterall. I drew a ships wheel in Coreldraw and ten minutes later I had it connected to the laser.

I'd not attempted anything this tiny before so it was going to be a suck it and see episode, I ruled out wood as too coarse a grain to be any good, plastic cutting at this size would just melt. I decided on card, but it needed some stiffness. So I used a cereal box. Ta daaaaa! it worked. I cut 4 of them so they could be glued back to back in pairs for a little thickness, they would probably print even better on a 3d printer in plastic extrusion but I needed them now.

So here is one of them, in 1/100 scale they are 8mm across the pins, a swing needle eye for comparison......

That doesn't look too shabby Brian  :-))
I doubt very much that even a Shapeways 3D printed version would be any better - it certainly wouldn't be as strong.
Laser-cut card details are very popular with the card modelling enthusiasts - there are more and more details being made available such as railings, gratings and ladders.  A German company produces the best I have seen so far, but I am beggared if I can remember who they are!!!

Scratch building?
1/24-1/87 working on 1/96
Kevin's Amundsen needed a lot of doors in 1/87.
I built the base set and cast the rest for him.

oh yeah. The etched hatches for that crane barge.

That's nice work Umi, I could have gone the cast route I certainly have enough resin in my cool store, but for just two wheels it would have been a waste of resin.

Carl I gave the wheel a brush over with a child's toothbrush and it removed the sooty residue and left a nice clean outline for paint, I couldn't ask for more at this size.

Nice to know it cleaned up well.
I was thinking all you had was soot.


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