× Computer Controlled Cutting Group Project Choosing my wand FabISP Milling the board

Mohit Ahuja's Fabacademy 2021

Computer Controlled Cutting

Group Project

This week's group project was to check the properties of the laser cutter, its kerf value and cutting speed and power values for different materials. Here is the link to the results of our findings:

Link to the group project

Individual Project

Laser Cutting is arguably one of the most useful manufacturing process that Fablabs possess. It is capable of engraving or cutting various different types of materials which depends upon the wavelength and power of the laser. Laser cutters are available in different wavelength, power levels and bed sizes for different applications. The ones that are seen most often in the market are:

  • Fiber Laser
  • CO2 Laser
  • Diode Laser

Exploring flexing parts.

For my personal project, I wanted to make something that shows flexibility. I am fascinated by the technique of kerf bending. I was also inspired by the projects related to kerf bending that Suhas sir showed us. One project in particular, done by past fabacademy student Vaibhav Saxena, was particularly interesting to me.

So I wanted to try and make my own flexing kerf bending shapes. So I did a few experiments. My goal was to create a pattern that looks like a number. The goal was to create a series of such numbers and create a flexing keypad. So I fired up Rhino and started designing.

I started with designing the number 1. I did not look at any reference for this, and sort of went with my gut on this one. I though that I will make concentric rectangles until it becomes a straight line for the number 1, and every alternate corner in the shape would be broken up so that the rectangle also stays attached to the main body. This is how it looked after I finished the design.

After that I designed some other numbers too:

And in the end this is what the whole keypad looks like:

Link to the DXF file for cutting the part.

To see if the design works, I proceeded to print one of the numbers of the keypad, the number one. After it was done printing, I checked the flexibility, and found that the part was not very flexible, instead, it was quite stiff and it eventually broke after playing around with it for a little while:

This was not desirable, as I wanted to make a part that could be repeatedly and reliably used. So I went ahead and looked at the kerf bending pattern designed by Vaibhav. I realised that the shape that he had used was basically a spiral. This makes sense because while designing patterns for kerf bending, all we are doing is to make the pattern in such a way that it becomes longer and longer. And we know the longer an object becomes, the more flexibility it starts showing. Especially in materials such as wood, plastics and metals. So I decided to give it a try and redesigned my numbers starting with the number 1. This is what the final set of numbers looked like:

Here is a closeup shot of one of the numbers to show that it is indeed a spiral:

Link to the DXF File of the Spiral Shaped Number Keypad.

This one turned out to be perfect. The flexibility was very good and it didn't break even after flexing it for quite a bit.