As I wait for my GF to be delivered tomorrow, I have been looking at different projects to try. Some of these projects have been completed on larger laser cutters. If I would like to make these and maintain the same dimensions, is there a trick to modify or cut these designs down to size to be cut on the GF?
For example, here is one that I would like to do. How can I make this if I do not have the Pro?
The simple answer is: You can’t. (unless you scale it down to be only 20" long)
However, you could come close if you figure out a way to split it up into pieces you can cut in your Basic. It would take a little re-design though. For example, you’d need to run a support up the middle, I’d think.
It’s made from 1/2" stock…maybe if you used 4 layers of 1/8" stock, each of them pieced together in different locations and then glued together, you could produce large pieces that would be strong enough to be functional. Seems like a lot of work, though!
Thanks for the input so far…I guess more specifically, I was thinking about the length of the legs in this one in particular. Can you make a cut so you only make half of the leg at a time and then somehow join them together to make a solid full leg? What about doing this on thin stock to utilize this as a template to cut think stock with a router? I actually had not even thought about the thickness of the frame yet and would assume the living hinge would remain the thinner wood. I hope I am making sense with my ramblings and assume once I get the GF I will figure some of this out with trial and error.
I’ve made large things in my laser-cutter in the past. Look up some of my projects on this forum, and you’ll see some large items.
These thread in particular talks about an arcade cabinet I made.
It’s all about using thinner material and gluing up layers to make larger items. I’m not sure how sturdy a chair would be. My arcade cabinet, and the art pieces I make feel pretty sturdy, but they are not structural. I’ve never tried to sit on them.
Essentially, you want to take the part you want to make, and break it up into pieces that fit on the GF bed. You then do that again, but break it up at different places. Try and keep the break points as far from the first break points as possible. Then you glue those 2 layers together. Then you do it again for a 3rd and/or 4th layer. If your break points are at different places, it should be pretty sturdy.
For the arcade, I also cut registration holes. So that I could line up all the parts while I’m gluing them. Typically, I use 1/4" registration holes, and slide 1/4" dowels through the parts to line them up.
I’ve never tried to do a living hinge in this fashion (like the one on the Alex Chair you linked). But I imagine it’s possible.
The fact that it’s 1/2" birch plywood means you have four 1/8" layers to work with. You can put your seems in many different places.
It would be an interesting project.
Let me know if you need me to clarify any of the steps I take. I love making big projects from small parts!
First anything is possible within the limitations of your tools that require some creativity from your end.
With that said the chair you linked was cut on a CNC router not a laser. Knowing that your best bet is to create templates to use with a router. I have split shapes using a dovetail that I can then glue back together and use as is or then glue that to another substrate to make the template more rugged and durable if needed to make many parts. You should even be able to recreate the hinge with a repeating pattern. It wouldn’t be easy or perfect results without some failures at first but it’s definitely doable.
It all depends on the ROI of your time depending on what other tools you have available. I over used and abused my scroll saw for large projects until I got a bandsaw, also abused circular saw then job site and now hybrid tablesaw, I got the GF to help me make small items faster and more consistently than my other tools can.
So I although you can create or manipulate files to be cut out of thinner material which you can then glue back together. I would recommend against it as you’re never going to get the same material strength as starting with a single sheet of 1/2"ply. I however do think that for a project like the chair you could manipulate the files to cut template parts that could be then glued to make a master pattern and allow you to crank out a few chairs way faster than cutting multiple layers with different unions to make one chair part.
I have just started to use the Inkscape app GF recommended and have not got the hang of it yet. Is there a simple way of adding the dovetail break in larger pieces to create the smaller sections of templates to then use a router to do the final shape on thicker stock? So far, I haven’t seen a way to put a break in the existing lines to allow me to separate them and create two separate objects.
Awesome…thanks for the help…this looks more like what I am used to from Reconstruction software I have used previously and make sense to me…I would have just spent for ever finding out the terminology and location of everything. I probably should just look for some tutorial videos for Inkscape to learn it. I appreciate the assistance!
That does appear to be easier…To create the match point to put the template together later, do you just create a dovetail shape connecting the two break points and then copy and invert it for the other side to create your joint?
My brain is running fuzzy this morning. I tend to hand draw a lot of stuff in Inkscape. Drawing lines, connecting nodes, moving, etc. I do know that it’s difficult to get precise joint alignment and sizing. The laser kerf is material dependent. I get tight or sloppy joints all the time. Eventually figure it out, then a month passes and I forget and have to relearn again.
Lots of videos out there on how to use Inkscape. You should also check out the Tips and Tricks section of this forum - the posts with Inkscape in the title.
I think this may be what you’re looking for. There are lots of ways to do the same thing in Inkscape. I’ll use the simplest (and often slowest) method here. I started by using the Create Rectangles and Square tool to draw two boxes. I then turned each into a path using Path -> Object to Path.
I did the same thing to the other top node so I now have a trapezoid, or dovetail. I then moved it so the top of the dovetail aligned with the top of the large box. I then went to Edit -> Copy and then Edit -> Paste in Place.
@caribis2 and @rpegg, would you consider collaborating on a combination of that and turning it into a tutorial in the Tutorials section? The threads there are Wikis…you could combine all the goodies into one “How To” that would wind up being really popular I think.
And it’s easy to just edit those and do a CTRL+A, CTRL+C to copy the whole thing and paste it into the new thread.