Saturday, 27 October 2012

Halloween Monster Box

We normally throw a Halloween party in our house but this year we have managed to dodge the bullet friends of ours have volunteered to have a house full of over sugared children.

I couldn't leave it at that however so I have created a Monster Box for my sons to take with them and scare the other guests.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Pumpkin Toast!

Laser engraved (Toasted?) Pumpkin Toast!


Why not! It's Halloweeeeeeeeen!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Gecko Lid

We were given a large fish tank and instantly went on a hunt to find something to put in it (fish being dismissed as "boring"). In the end we decided on a Crested Gecko because of the habitat requirements mainly. He has no tail (we are suckers for disadvantaged) and we call him Gary!


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Z Axis Prototype

Following on from the GRBL on a Boarduino post earlier we have started on the machine to attach it to!

After considering all sorts of options including a selective laser sintering 3D printer we have decided to start with a standard CNC Router with a bed of 1x0.5m. With this we will be able to cut, amongst other items, large model aircraft parts from carbon fibre sheet which we have had a number of requests for.

We have built the first prototype for the z axis and have already scrapped it for a lower friction, stiffer, longer travel version!

Images below:

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Laser Pin Table

Being attached to a print facility we cut a lot of paper and board and are always looking for ways to improve the cuts, reduce ashing etc. We have tried honeycomb, frames backings etc and decided to try a DIY pin table. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Custom USB Cases

We have been asked to make a short run of custom USB Flash Drives so we needed a proof of concept. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Boarduino ATTiny Programmer

We have been doing a lot of ATTiny programming recently and decided to simplify the process by making a board to plug everything in to rather than breadboarding it every time.

Rather than perf board we decided to make up a Laser masked PCB board  to take a boarduino, ATTiny and reset overide capacitor. More after the break:

Monday, 14 May 2012

Laser Engraved PCB

I thought we were being really clever with this one but apparently it has been done before!

We needed a PCB making for a simple stepper motor driver and thought "why can't we use the laser?". A quick trip to maplins we had a copper clad board and some grey automotive primer.

The process itself is really simple:

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Model Aircraft Parts

We have recently been asked to produce a number of model aircraft parts so we had to have a go ourselves! We are pretty pleased with the wing so far but have come up with a few ideas to make a more laser friendly version such as incorporating living hinges on the leading edge, decreasing part count and simplifying construction!
We even laser cut the main wing support from 4mm Ply. It is actually 2 pieces and has a glued finger joint in the centre. From the couple of test pieces we did this was stronger that the ply itself.

When we have finalised the laser cut wing design we will post it up here.

If you require any laser cut parts please let us know and we will provide a very competitive quote.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

grbl, Windows XP and Boarduino

A quick note / tutorial to help anyone trying to find out the same information that I was!

I am looking to set up a CNC system and have chosen to go down the grbl route and use a boarduino. The first hurdle of getting grbl on to the boarduino using the hardware I have on my desk. A lot of sites made this sound a lot harder than it was in the talking about AVR programmers and all sorts

EDIT: The hex file supplied below has an error - the motor drive pin doesn't work. I have created a new HEX file which I will upload when I have tested it.

I have provided a summary after the jump:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Robot Gripper

I have designed a robot gripper for a Turnigy mini TG9e servo. A paypal link for the laser cut acrylic components is at the bottom of the page. The gripper is laser cut from 3mm and 5mm acrylic and bolted together with M4 16mm machine screws.

The servo arm is used to drive the gripper.

The green acrylic under the servo is the 5mm section. Make the bolts finger tight and adding a blob of superglue to the nuts helps keep everything solid.

The servo hooked up to a boarduino.

You will also need a small servo such as the Turnigy TG9e (I believe the TG9 will fit as well), 7x M4 16mm machine screws, 7x M4 nuts,14x M4 washers and a teeny tiny screw to attach the servo arm to the gripper (the ones with the servo are ideal)

The "wrist" has 2x 4mm holes but if you require something different just let me know when ordering.

Servos can be sourced here .
M4 hardware is available from all good hardware stores ;)
Instructions can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bluetooth Headset

Simple mod from last Saturday night (I really need to get out more!).

I have a pair of bluetooth headphones but unfortunately the headband is broken and one of the speakers is a bit dodgy so I decided to mod it to have a 3.5mm socket.

More after the break.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Fire Detector 2

So I set up the Chipkit Uno32 with the temperature sensor TMP36 from, installed the serial port monitor on the laser pc and tested the system. All fine so far.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fire Detector

After Martins fire, and have a near miss myself I am planning to build a fire detection system for my laser. I am already building an Axolotl temperature sensor system (which I am logging at the moment) so when that is complete I will have a look at using a similar system for fire detection. Whilst the temp sensor is being finished I am going to log the temperature in the laser to see what sort of range I am dealing with. For this I am going to use the chipkit / arduino prototype for the Axolotl system and write something simple to monitor the com port on the PC.

I will strip the LED and buzzer off and hook up the temp sensor directly.

More details and code will be published when I have it hooked up.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Vinyl Cutter/Plotter Re-wiring

After I re-wired Braunston Ltd's vinyl cutter for the 5th time they finally admitted defeat and purchased a new one from CTR Lasers. This meant that I was free to mess around with the scrapped one.

Monday, 27 February 2012


Recent commission - card bus / coach. Really simple design that will be branded up and possible personalised per recipient. It will be supplied flat to be constructed by the person receiving it so it had to be a simple tab and slot design.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


I have an old Epson D92 that we used for dye sub printing. This has now been superseded so I get to take it apart! the plan is for a simple Direct To Garment system which I plan to document and publish the laser files on Thingiverse.

So far we have torn down the printer and it is basically modular. There is the main beam which the heads run on and contains the control board, the power supply and a stepper motor to drive the paper, or in this case platen. the only issues I can foresee is the paper trigger timing and making sure the drive is powerful enough to pull the platen along. I plan to design with adjust-ability in mind so hopefully ironing out problems won't be too tricky.

The printer is an older model however the current Epson S21 is practically identical internally so modifying the design for this should not be too difficult.

Below is the first sketch, and this has already been replaced by a newer improved version! It is based on 4mm ply and has no consideration of joints, bracing and in places basic physics.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Fridge Parts

Another emergency fix - this time a bracket for a fridge tray.

The original was a really thin piece that has snapped and broken away over the years. We stuck all the bits we had back in to place and reinforced it with some cut acrylic. Holes have been cut in the acrylic in case we need to drill and bolt later. Just in case!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Victorian Gentleman's Travelling Electronics Case

I was fortunate enough to acquire a large wooden trunk to store some of my kit in. It was in a very sorry state so a tub of black paint and some laser cut corner pieces later and we have the Victorian Gentleman's Travelling Electronics Case, perfect for quick jaunts by steam ship or dirigible! Sorry for the lack of before pictures, I had nearly finished before I remembered!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

my bloody valentines.... commission.

I am not very good at mushy, sentimental design so when commissioned to produce something for a valentines day promotion with the specification "something with hearts and cherubs and stuff, you know, like valentines cards" I was not thrilled. Below is what I came up with, which despite not being to my taste at all the client loves it. lol. I don't think I am going to win any design awards with it though!

On a side note I have set up my old record player in my office and have been dusting off the old vinyl. There is something really pleasing about a record as opposed to digital media, I think it may become a permanent feature. Now I have to resist the urge to take it apart!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Sometimes, just sometimes, the answer is just 'because'.

Congratulations, Shelves and Ubuntu.

First up - Congratulations to msraynsford for making his 100th consecutive day of lasering something and blogging about it! I have managed about 10 in that time, and they were a lot less interesting! lol.

I decided today that I needed a shelf in my "office/workshop" (ie gap between the shelves). As I only have on actual wall I had to hang it from the back of the industrial racking with custom made shelf brackets - To the laser!.

Made from 4mm laser ply I am not sure how long they will last (4mm not enough, 8mm too much) but they are functional for the weight of stuff I need to add. I will re-cut them when I get something thicker to cut them out of.  For some reason I tried to make them look pretty with flowers on but I don't think I will bother next time, I am not really a floral kind of guy.

On a side note I have set up an Ubuntu One account, dull in itself, but it has had an interesting side effect. I have installed the app on my android phone that automatically uploads photos when I take them and the software on my PC to sync the online folder. This means that I now have my photos from my phone on my PC in about one minute automatically. No more messing with cables etc and copying or setting up software to sync. It really has made writing a blog so much simpler - snap, insert, post - done! (FYI - I have been boring a lot of people about this recently and have been banned from talking about it, hence the post. lol)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Dump Truck

Inspired by Martin's Mini Digger I made a dump truck for my son. Taking a different approach to normal it is made from glued slices of 4mm Ply with 3mm steel axles. The wheels press fit on to the axles and the bucket is hinged on the rear axle. My son has now decided I have to make more construction vehicles, the first one being a tractor (more farm yard but never mind!). Will upload the files when I get a chance to thiniverse

Here is the tractor - I will get these up on thingiverse soon.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Trade work & cars

Luckily I have been producing a lot of trade and commission work recently which is great for me but means I haven't been able to put anything up. Hopefully I will get more time to mess about soon!

For Christmas my wife very kindly got me an Acme Racing Raptor 1/10 Truggy radio controlled car kit which turned out had a load of bits missing, most of those have been sent by the manufacturer. Unfortunately I still don't have the turn-buckles for the back wheels or body clips. After a number of frustrating emails I have decided to find a solution. The body clips were a £2 fix from The Model Shop Northampton (they are not on their online store unfortunately) but the turn-buckles have proved a little more tricky. Luckily I have discovered that M4 Threaded bar, at £1.45 for a metre from B&Q, is a perfect replacement! The only issue is that is not reverse threaded on one end so you have to undo one end to adjust it - not too much of a problem on an RC car.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Back to work

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Right, that's Christmas over with, back to work!

Project one of the year, Jewelry / trinket boxes. Cut from 3mm acrylic of various colours with engraving if required. Currently only available via eBay -

Project two - productising (I do hate that word) our range for Braunston Ltd. This should include awards, plaques and signs as well as paper and board cutting. I will post a link to their website when it is up and running.

Project three - working out what projects four and above should be.

Should be a good year. :)