Buying the laser cutter:
Laser cutting has been around since the mid 60’s but it has only been in recent times that laser cutters for hobbyists have been accessible and affordable.
At the moment you can buy a cheap CO2 laser cutter from China for about $300 however for that price you’ll often be spending more time trying to get the thing to work rather than actually cutting stuff! That said… if you have the time and patience you can often take one of those cheap laser cutters and get them working quite well.
I have recently purchased a relatively cheap Chinese laser cutter from a local tool center here in Australia, it’s basically a cheap laser cutter from China however the store that had it imported completely set up the laser cutter and tuned it to make sure nothing was broken and that it’s working as best as it can.
The above images show early experiments in CO2 laser cutting research and one of the first 2 axis moving optics laser cutter.
In total I spent $2200 for a laser cutter that costs about $1600 direct from China.
What to cut:
The first building on the drawing board will be a familiar one to a lot of you, ‘Moe’s Tavern’ from the Simpsons. I’ve decided to build this building in HO scale because the Simpsons brings back some nostalgia and secondly it’s a nice simple structure with some points of interest that will be a good test for the laser cutter.
All of the initial structures I design will be made available on my website for you to freely download should you wish to have a go at doing some laser cutting once the tutorial video has been completed.
Another product I’ve recently discovered is a wood based material called ‘Task Board’ again it is sold through many hobby stores and it is also sold through Micro-Mark, it is sold in a wide variety of thicknesses and is described as
Very easy to cut and perfect for laser cutters
The big test will be with how well the task board handles the hot and humid conditions here in tropical far north Queensland! I guess only time will tell, I have a large batch of task board in a variety of thicknesses on its way also from Micro-Mark.
Below is an architectural model build using Taskboard and a laser cutter.
If you'd like to indirectly support what I do and you'd like to save some money be sure to have a look at Micro-Mark and when at the checkout use the promo code
'Boulder' to save 10%.
I shop at Micro-Mark for a lot of my tools and I also purchase many of my supplies there as well, the plywood and taskboard that I'll be using for this laser cutting tutorial has been purchased from Micro-Mark.
It's not too late to find the perfect Christmas gift and save some money at the same time :)