Meet our Laser Cutter

Although the laser cutter is technically part of the Fab Lab (see the Fab Lab blog here or join the Fab Lab Mailing list here) I use it nearly every day for machine shop projects.  It’s so amazing to be able to draw a part up and have it made in just a few minutes.  In that amount of time I couldn’t have even gotten a part properly set up on the mill.

Get more info about our laser cutter and see some laser cutter projects at the Laser Cutter Fab Lab blog post.

Here are some photos of projects I’ve used the laser for in the past couple months.  These are Machine Shop related projects, oftentimes part of student thesis work.

WeightedString

Support frame for weighted string experiment constructed out of acrylic using the laser cutter. The overall assembly is over 2 feet long with over 100 slots per side. Easy for the laser, daunting on a manual mill

OpticsMount

Optics mount for physics thesis. The acrylic mount was designed to mate to the micrometer assembly and interface with the students other optics components.

MuonSupportAssembly

The top and bottom acrylic plates on this stand for a muon detector were cut on the laser cutter. We used two layers of acrylic on the top and bottom to stiffen the assembly since the detector weighs about 40 pounds.

CrawfishPlusMaze

This acrylic plus maze was made for use in a Biology class for use with crayfish! The laser made cutting the parts easy and repeatable.

Bearingsupport

This tiny part, about 1 inch long, was made using the laser and will be reamed to size to accommodate a tiny linear bearing. It’ll be used in the weighted experiment shown above.

Although the projects I’ve shown have all involved acrylic it’s possible to use all sorts of different materials in the laser.  Acrylic is the most useful for most of my projects, especially science-related projects.  I’ll continue to highlight the role of the laser in future posts about what we do here in the shop.

The laser cutter was purchased as the foundational piece of equipment in what will eventually become the Reed College Fab Lab.  The goal is to eventually create a space where both curricular and non-curricular activities can take place utilizing digital fabrication technologies and concepts.

Eric Franklin from Art and I are in charge of the laser and coordinate training and usage.  We’re happy to work with any faculty, staff, or students who have interest in using the laser.

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