Ambitious projects


While we’re killing time here anxiously waiting for machines, thought it would be fun to share some crazy, complex, expert-level, only-could-be-done-with-a-laser projects. Have seen some posted here already, here’s another…

This is a small company run by a friend, they just completed a successful Kickstarter project. It’s a family of ~80 piece, laser-cut baltic birch, assemble-it-yourself marble machines that can all be linked together. They are going into production now:

The sort of things I would like to build are like the ones in this video

I saw that kickstarter. It looked awesome but I’m pretty sure the Glowforge has blown my budget for crowdfunding this year. At least till I get holiday shopping complete.


The good news is once you have a glowforge, you won’t need to crowd fund these, you just need to spend a weekend glowforging (and I am sure chasing a lot of small steel balls around the room)!


Here’s another one that fits the ‘ambitious’ category (yes, I hang out on Kickstarter ALOT). Pretty impressive collection of laser cut toys:


whoa… thanks for posting


Would love to see more of the wooden marble tracks from a laser cutter if anyone has more examples. I’ve built a couple out of wood, but they can take a lot time to build with all of the hand cutting, gluing, sanding, etc. The link below is for one I built for my son, but the construction time was extensive.

Wood Marble Track


I’ve got a few marble machines over on my website, been running it as a nice little business for a fair few years now. Good money if you can get some sensible designs.

Sure it helps that it’s also listed as one of the best sellers in the Maker shed too :wink:


Nice work. You’ve definitely put some time into the designs. I’ve no idea why but those useless machines crack me up everytime I watch a video of them.


Just adding to the project list. A few folks have incorporated lasers in the making of looms, especially the rigid heddle. A laser cutter is a great tool for the fine cutting needed for the rigid heddle. So this scrap wood heddle loom Instructable could easily become a laser project. Indeed there are a couple Instructables that makes a rigid heddle loom with laser cut parts. And this blog post gives a nice project diary of cutting a heddle out of acrylic. Travis Meinhoff the Action Weaver is the guy who sells kits with laser cut heddles. And this is a heddle courtesy of wiki images.


Whoa… I’m pretty sure Travis The Action Weaver is the same Travis that lived up the street from me when I was younger, and gave me rides to school every day for the first year of High School. Tiny little world.


Really like your catapult!


Really like your catapult!

It’s available for download from here and it’s probably a great little starter project for the Glowforge.
It’s scalable to any material


Thanks! The best part of your link, aside from the free SVG, is you had an explanation of parametric design on there. I’d wondered what you called those adjustments and I’ve seen the word floating around in the forum but hadn’t looked it up… :+1:


With true parametric design you would be able to create a variable such as box size, the file would be automagically calculated based on those variables. This was just a quick way of coping with different thickness’s.
OPENSCAD is really good for it but as you’ll note is primarily for 3D design


Cross-linking to @steph_'s helpful post on parametric.


I have been experimenting with making polymer alloys from spider silk and nylon 6,6. The ultimate use is in new ballistic armor. After I get a 3" diameter roll of spider silk (sometimes containing rolled up spiders as well), I dissolve it in hexafluoroacetone trihydrate and filter out the residue. The silk collection takes about 3 years of effort. While I don’t have a heated spinning nozzle, I have used a heated nozzle alone to drive off the solvent (106C) and reform the alloyed polymer. Without spinning, it looks and acts very much like “Great Stuff” that you can buy from Lowes or Home Depot. When I can get a spun fiber, I want to build a loom like this with GF to weave cloth to be tested.

Warning…Do not try this at home. Hexafluoroacetone trihydrate is very toxic.


We’ve actually been making silk screws/nuts./plates for orthopedic surgery here in a similar vein, although not mixing with nylon, since the point is a very slow biodegrade (i.e. the screws are gone once you are healed)


That’s interesting! Thanks for sharing.


Here is the abstract of the paper.


What manner of magician are you and @volivaa? So amazing the things you all are doing.