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What does the laser cutter get used for?

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  • What does the laser cutter get used for?

    Hey guys, I popped in and checked out you guys when I was living in Kamloops, but through a weird twist and turn of events I am now living in Salmon Arm and helping Revelstoke City build a "FabLab". So as I consider the appropriate equipment... I was wondering:

    What does the laser cutter get used for?
    Is it mainly hobby equipment? Signs? Prototypes? Kid learning? Business stuff?

    I noticed a thread on here suggesting that it's pretty heavily utilised, and you thought about a second one. I'm trying to figure out if one if a worthwhile addition (we don't have lots of space). Things like soldering irons and 3D printers make complete sense, but I am not familiar with laser cutters or their uses.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be great, thanks in advance.

  • #2
    The laser cutter is hands down our most heavily used tool.

    What does the laser cutter get used for?
    Is it mainly hobby equipment? Signs? Prototypes? Kid learning? Business stuff?
    All of the above. Frequently it gets used as a "printer" by etching on wood or acrylic. It can be used for prototyping parts by cutting from wood or acrylic. I use it sometimes for work jigs, since its very easy to cut a high accuracy template. It can pair really well with 3D printers, where you can use the laser cutter to build structural shapes and then the 3D printer to build joints.

    Honestly I have a hard time describing succinctly what it gets used for since it can be used for so many different applications.

    The best part about it is that it's an asset that will be very unique to a FabLab in your community - lots of folks have woodworking tools in their homeshops but very few have laser cutters!

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    • #3
      Hey Garret thanks for getting back to me so quickly. That's really interesting, I hadn't thought about combining it with a printer. I had been pondering "Drone Building" or "Truss Structures" as learning opportunities, either of these would lend themselves to a laser cutter. Or even laser cutter/3D printer combo.

      Because our space is limited, conventional woodworking stations are something we aren't going to be able to facilitate, do you think this will limit the usability of the laser cutter? Other than the obvious inability to cut blanks to size on site.

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      • #4
        W├Čthout a table saw you will need to precut any plywood before bringing it to the space. Laser cut parts are often sanded after cutting. Gluing and clamping is a usual next step. Sanding and painting or staining is optional.

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