I experimented with drafting up a project this evening. It was a fun exercise to try to maximize use of the print bed we have on the Glowforge as well as try to minimize scrap. My goal was to create something that could be entirely (minus the electrical) cut on the laser. I would likely use a thicker slab of hardwood for the base and some mica or stained glass for the diffusers in the final version, but for this exercise I thought it would be fun to see what could be done as hands off as possible.
As I have zero laser cutting experience, this project did raise a few questions. Can you utilize the edge of the material you are cutting from as a finished edge, assuming it was pre-cut to size well (12”x20” sheets)? With a laser kerf being so small, do you have to account for that when designing for plywood/MDF? Is it okay to have two parts to be cut out sharing an edge or do you have to provide a gap between each part? This might be a Glowforge specific question, can you design to utilize the full limits of 12”x20”?
I am open to suggestions and constructive criticism. I would love to nail down the process so I can be designing while I wait for the unit to ship.
For anyone curious, I designed the 2D and 3D in AutoCAD and then rendered in 3D Studio Max. I am a graphic artist by trade and work in the Civil Engineering field creating 3D site animations. These are the tools I use daily. I am also well versed in the Adobe CC suite, but figured CADD was the better choice for accuracy of design for a project like this.
I have included some links to my experiment:
Layout PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzD-A4kqSQYWWmtVV0h5TzQ5aFE/view?usp=sharing
Exploded View PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzD-A4kqSQYWa1UtX0lBUklrTmc/view?usp=sharing