Laser Cutting

April 7th, 2009

This project was my first foray into laser cutting.

I had been warned against placing galvanically incompatible metals in contact with each other, so I opted to do away with the stainless steel elements all together. This opened up the possibility of using less-expensive laser-cutting of faux-steel rather than the more-expensive PCM cutting of actual steel.

I used a laser-cutting service called Custom Laser Cutting and had them cut sheet acrylic with a faux metal finish. I also used them to cut plastic side-walls for the small brass gears which drive and suspend the large time and date disks.

The faux stainless steel elements turned out great. The side-wall disks not-so-much. The problem is that the disks are made of ABS plastic, which is super strong but slightly flexible. Next time I’ll make them out of a thicker, more rigid material. Live and learn.

I can’t say enough good things about Custom Laser Cutting. They got everything right on the first try and called me up to make sure I had received my shipment promptly. I hope they survive the coming shakedown in web-based manufacturing services. Companies like ponoko are going to give the little guys a run for their money.

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