Laser cutting service

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Devin
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Laser cutting service

Post by Devin » Fri May 14, 2010 12:56 pm

This is for a non-sci-fi build, but people on this board know more about this sort of thing than any other place I know of.

I need to cut some parts for a paddle wheel, approximately 4" in diameter. Think of a wagon wheel with spokes, cut out of a sheet of .060" styrene.

Does anyone know of a place that could take a drawing and cut something like this on a laser? I've found a couple of places, but they don't seem to like to work with styrene, only wood. Wood is a last resort for me, as what I'm building is totally styrene so far, and I'd like to keep it that way.

I'd even be interested if someone could do this with methods other than a laser, maybe a mill or cutter.

Thanks,

-Devin
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Post by Scott Hasty » Fri May 14, 2010 1:04 pm

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Post by Devin » Fri May 14, 2010 1:17 pm

Wow, that seems perfect. Thanks!
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Umi_Ryuzuki
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Post by Umi_Ryuzuki » Fri May 14, 2010 7:22 pm

If you can use 0.60 acrylic rather than styrene, you might get better results.
All the styrene cuts I had kind of over melted, and sometimes curled.

:?
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Post by Kylwell » Fri May 21, 2010 12:13 pm

One of our own owns http://laserfirecreations.com/ and works miracles with his laser engraver. Cut me a set of 1/20 boot tread.
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Disillusionist
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Post by Disillusionist » Fri May 21, 2010 9:52 pm

Umi_Ryuzuki wrote:If you can use 0.60 acrylic rather than styrene, you might get better results.
All the styrene cuts I had kind of over melted, and sometimes curled.

:?

Agreed...while I've gotten "ok" results with styrene before. It likes to melt and turn to goo...especially on smaller parts.

Acrylic is definitely the medium of choice for the laser.
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Post by Dakota_in_the_sky » Fri May 21, 2010 10:07 pm

Umi_Ryuzuki wrote:If you can use 0.60 acrylic rather than styrene, you might get better results.
All the styrene cuts I had kind of over melted, and sometimes curled.

:?
It depends on how strong the laser is. A stronger machine produced better results. I've used Pololu for both acrylic and styrene. They are reasonable priced. Acrylic came out great. The styrene was okay.

The place I used to use for my styrene was RMSLaser in El Cajon, Ca.

http://www.rmslaser.com/contact.htm

The did a great job on my styrene laser cut kits shown here (scroll down to mid page):

http://rmc2.forumotion.com/burning-rubb ... er-t68.htm

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Post by TER-OR » Fri May 21, 2010 11:28 pm

Congrats, Devin - I'm promoting this to "sticky."
I was asked about acrylic bases during Wonderfest, and Anne Morrison was kind enough to reply with information after I couldn't come up with much...
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Kylwell
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Post by Kylwell » Sat May 22, 2010 1:13 am

Disillusionist wrote:
Umi_Ryuzuki wrote:If you can use 0.60 acrylic rather than styrene, you might get better results.
All the styrene cuts I had kind of over melted, and sometimes curled.

:?

Agreed...while I've gotten "ok" results with styrene before. It likes to melt and turn to goo...especially on smaller parts.

Acrylic is definitely the medium of choice for the laser.
And what ever you used on those tiny boot soles.
Abolish Alliteration

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Disillusionist
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Post by Disillusionist » Sat May 22, 2010 8:00 am

That was a type of engraving plastic. It's considered to be a "modified acrylic".
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Post by Devin » Sat May 22, 2010 9:03 am

Excellent. Thanks for all the feedback, guys. I looked at my plans and what I need cut is really only 1 or 2mm wide, so now I'm not sure lasers and styrene are going to cut it (pun!), but I can get some estimates and see what the pros think.
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Post by Kylwell » Sat May 22, 2010 10:00 am

Disillusionist wrote:That was a type of engraving plastic. It's considered to be a "modified acrylic".
Interesting. It glues like styrene using Tenax. Takes paint beautifully.
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Post by srspicer » Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:30 pm

I can vouch for Matt's work.

The balsa railings on his site were created for my HO scale Noah's ark, and they look great!

Scott

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Post by 1138thx » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:00 pm

If its just a short run I can cut the styrene sheet on my CNC.
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DaveVan
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Post by DaveVan » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:42 pm

I have a 25 watt 12x18 laser machine.
http://www.frontiernet.net/~currtail/HOTDOG00.JPG

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Bar
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Post by Bar » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:09 pm

Is there a significant cost to this?
I have a set of templates of the MKII viper sliced into sections...
It would be great to get them laser cut in 1/18 so i could string them together, putty over them and make a Gi Joe scaled MKII!!!!
:D
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DaveVan
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Post by DaveVan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:12 am

Not sure what the going commercial rate today is....a few years ago it was $1 a minute. Should be about that today....plus material. I work on a per project estimates.

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Bar
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Post by Bar » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:18 am

DaveVan wrote:Not sure what the going commercial rate today is....a few years ago it was $1 a minute. Should be about that today....plus material. I work on a per project estimates.
Ahhhh. And what kind of time does it take to cut each shape out?
Imagine THIS was on a sheet of A4 paper(The boundary is scaled for A4).
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DaveVan
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Post by DaveVan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:04 pm

Ahhhh. And what kind of time does it take to cut each shape out?
The only real way is to run a test....no laser power but run the program. The Laser machine will then give you a time. My machine has 3 settings with 255 steps in each setting....so you can not get an estimate without a test run. Straight lines can cut very fast....curves are much slower...tighter the curve...slower it cuts. So many variables it is impossible to guess. The car body in my other post took about 7 minutes to cut.

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Bar
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Post by Bar » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:12 pm

DaveVan wrote:The car body in my other post took about 7 minutes to cut.
So all the sections in total were seven minutes?
Sounds good!
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Disillusionist
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Post by Disillusionist » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:38 pm

Another couple of other factors to consider regarding speed are material thickness/type and laser power. Higher laser power equates to quicker cutting speeds. And of course, The thicker the material, the longer it takes to get through it.
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Post by DaveVan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:15 pm

Another couple of other factors to consider regarding speed are material thickness/type and laser power
Very true....I was talking only about my 25 watt machine. Those with bigger beds and high wattage often have a higher price as they can do things lower watt machines can't.

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Disillusionist
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Post by Disillusionist » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:51 pm

Yeah, plus the bigger machines have a higher maintenance cost. Eventually that tube is going to die, and the higher the wattage, the more it's going to cost to replace. That all gets integrated into their pricing formulas as well.

What kind of machine are you running? I'm running an Epilog Mini here at home. I used to operate a Trotec at my former employer. I felt like someone had amputated my arm when I got laid off and lost access to it. That' primarily why I bit the bullet and bought my current machine.
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Post by Tracy Mann » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:49 am

My wife does regular business at a local trophy shop for awards presented to co-workers. The gal that does all the cutting is able to take a master template and copy it - whether it's made of paper or plastic. The sheets can not be any larger than 1ft x 2ft. I have all the styrene required, so tHis works right into my wheelhouse to cut all my Excelsior plates for the nacelles, neck, and main warp assembly base which comes out to about 85 parts.

Tracy

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