Beta day - one (Acrylic Dividers)

So today was a mix of frustration and triumph. Like any new tool I have a learning curve to climb, so I headed uphill. It should surprise no one that my first (real) project was a set of dividers.

I grabbed a copy of the OnShape file that @Hirudin created and then realized I needed some good way to get it turned into an svg for the Glowforge. In hunting around I discovered an amazing add in for OnShape called Kiri:Moto ( ). The app is designed to do slicing for FDM printing, basic CAM tool paths, and slicing for LASERS! While I think it is more designed to slice 3D solids into slabs (more on this another time) it did what I needed. After messing around a little with settings I ended up with an SVG that I could bring into Illustrator for tweaking.
Then it was off to the Glowforge.

My first attempt (you can see the negative space on the left) was way too small, and much too pointy. The tips were so flexible that they gave me some ideas for making springs and ratchet pawls.:relaxed: I scaled it up and tried again.

I added some “washers” (the little rings) to maintain the distance between parts. Since I could not imagine making something without using my shop for something I used my lathe to turn the small pin that rides in the curved slots.

The project was successful in producing a set of dividers whose tips stay in line, as long as you wiggle it enough. I think perhaps a spring that exerts some downward pressure on the center piece would help. In the end it is not a particularly useful tool since the tips are not in one plane, and the plastic is pretty floppy.

I learned quite a bit here. Pointy is bad. Plastic is, well, plastic. I will need to do a bunch of experimenting to understand the properties of the laser kerf, especially if the goal is to make mechanical assemblies (and that is one of my goals). Finally, this laser cutter stuff rocks.

I also made a way to keep the cat from climbing out the window when the hose is in place.



Awesome first day experimenting.
The hill is steep but the view is gonna be awesome!

I’m also a big fan of playing to the flexibility of materials. I’m way excited to try some living Springs like you mentioned.

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You must realize just how good it feels to have someone reporting actual civilian use.


Super cool photos. Cat proofing will be necessary for me.
Here is a link to @Hirudin’s post with the .ai file of the dividers that I used for the Cameo. I converted it with Inkscape and then to the Cameo as .svg after upgrading to Designer Studio. The points are problematic Depending on material. Cardboard definitely is too fragile.


Amazing! Thanks for the day one post!! Well done!!

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Oh. And I’ll toast you with this bottle when I open it at my Glowforge unboxing event.


That is hilarious. We have friends who bring that over every time they come for dinner. :grinning: I like it!


Thank you so much for being our very own space chimp @jkopel ! Couldnt have gone to a better forum member. Looking forward to future updates with an eagle eye.


Really cool to see you using your Glowforge! Go for it!

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Any comments regarding smell?

You are cutting acrylic, but not sure if cast or extruded since we haven’t seen any engraving marks yet. But assuming it is the stinky one, you didn’t feel compelled to comment on scent, so that is a good sign (I presume).


What if you somehow cut out spots for nails or some other better point material, possibly leaving room for adjustments there to even their plane? Or, if you find a better but less available or more costly laser-able material, laser cut joints to connect the point material to the stuff you’ve got.

Really exciting to see!

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Delrin seems like it may be ideal for making these little tools. I don’t have much experience with the material myself, but what I recall of the properties described sounds fitting.

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I agree that Delrin would probably be good for this type of work. It’s rigid without being brittle. It cuts nicely on a mill; I wonder how it does on a laser?

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Which is the stinky one?

@jacobturner @orozcodoor I have a bunch of delrin and am eager to try it, but it will have to wait for a bit. I can say that having made some delrin book arts tools called “bone folders” for my wife it is a very useful material!

My main concern is that I have seen some references to Hydrogen Cyanide as a combustion byproduct of acetal (Delrin is a brand name for acetal).


That’s so cool @jkopel! I’m glad you fixed the incredibly fine points that were in my design. I figured they would end up being a problem, but was too lazy to actually fix them myself.

I also think some kind of pointed metal object would be ideal. The three points do actually always fall in the same plane, but that plane isn’t always parallel with the surfaces of the acrylic, which is what I’m guessing jkopel was talking about. Round points would fix this problem. (A note for anyone wanting to try adding nails/whatever: I’m pretty sure you’ll have to maintain the same exact length, so the first thing you’d want to do is shorten the existing legs so the length added by the points restores the original total length.)

I made a couple more (more geared toward 3D printing), but I’ll post the links and screenshots in the other thread.


The actual Delrin MSDS (from DuPont) doesn’t mention hydrogen cyanide that I saw but does mention low amounts of formaldehyde as a byproduct of ignition.


So @jkopel doesn’t come across as the bad guy here for ignoring your question, you should know that I’ve asked him not to comment on features, performance, or other aspects of the machine at this point. Point those questions at me and I’m happy to take them.

I can tell you (with apologies to Josh!) that Joshforge is a little smelly; the firmware loadout on there has the input and output fans running at full speed, when in fact the input fans should be pushing a little less than the output is pulling, to create negative pressure in the unit and ensure everything’s evacuated.


I thought that was why there are beta testers :grin:. Stay safe and don’t be afraid to use your vacation time for us.


The cat-proofing solution looks like a good first project for the glowforge lol. Cut a simple circle for the hose!

@Dan - does @jkopel’s unit take advantage of the auto-ID of “official GlowForge” materials?

Cheers! Exciting times!

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