I am super excited about how well this turned out. There are some minor imperfections, but they are not very noticeable. Overall I think it looks amazing.
I followed instructions I found on the forums for measuring the kerf of the laser and adjusted my AI design to account for it. I may have measured wrong or not adjusted properly because I had to make more adjustments later. Basically the pieces were too big after I adjusted for kerf, luckily I didn’t cut them all in one go. It was slow going in the beginning, but once I got the size right, they popped in super easy.
I used 1/2" MDF as a backing board. I used contact cement gel as the glue, which worked very well and there was no clamping needed! I then sanded and used a water-based lacquer for the finish using super fine steel wool to sand in between coats. I think I applied 4 coats.
This design was made just to see how hard it would be and how small of pieces I could use. I’m confidant now that I can do so much with this technique.
Really nice work! This is timely for me to read because my husband seemingly just signed me up to trade some marquetry work with our local bakery for free bread, so it’s good to have a process description to start from.
The hardest part was getting the kerf adjustment right. Just do some tests first and everything else will go smoothly. The other thing that took a little time was aligning the large piece, which all the others go into, to be cut. I added a tiny circle into the very center of the design and had the stroke a different color so that I could ignore it when it came time to do the final cut. Loaded the design, ignored the design cut and only cut the tiny circle onto some cardboard. I then used magnets and a square to find out exactly where the center on my veneer should go. This only really matters if you are working with smaller sheets like I was. It was time consuming but it worked. If and when they get the camera alignment issue worked out, this will be so much easier.
I forgot to mention that I used painters tape to hold the design together during assembly and for gluing. Work from the back side when putting in the pieces then flip it over and tape them on the front. I just sloppily tore off pieces that fit each shape as I put them in. I was worried that the tape being layered on top of each other might cause some problem when rolling it onto the backing board, but it didn’t.
I did not have any trouble with the air assist. I did all my cutting on top of a very thin layer of cardboard to avoid pieces falling into the crumb tray. I also adjusted the levels so that it just barely cut through so that I’d have to pop them out. I cut at 400 and 67 for most of my veneers. I also used magnets as close as I could get them to the cuts in order to keep things flat.