It’s run out of Chicago. Haven’t tried them, but probably will.
Posts tagged with laser cutting
Beautiful integration of a laser cut enclosure, its contents, and its wiring. (link)
Here are some ideas for project enclosures. The stock enclosures from Mouser, Digikey, and others are generally serviceable, but are rarely the perfect size. In addition, making the required cutouts can be inconvenient. Here are a couple of alternatives.
I’ve done this for several projects. It’s cheap, the cutouts are perfect, and there are many different materials that can be used. The downside is that you get 2D panels that you must fasten together. I often use superglue to put the parts together. I’ve also used magnetic strips for panels that need to be removed often. When the material was thick enough, I used screws. Another option is mounting screws and nuts in slots, pictured blow and briefly detailed here.
This method offers a way to use screws even when the material is thin. I’m not a big fan of it though, because there are a lot of screws that can easily get loose. Superglue or properly tapped screws are more heavy duty.
Protocase will make completely custom, sheet metal enclosures with cutouts, painting, and silkscreening. It’s a lot more expensive than laser cutting plastic pieces, but there’s less assembly to be done and they’re more durable. They can make all sorts of shapes, including very nice rackmount chassis.
Ponoko is a laser cutting service that recently started offering 3D printing. Their 3D services is similar to what Shapeways offers. It’s nice to see a pair of high quality competitors in this field. Neither one is as technically oriented as Quickparts, but they have a selection of materials, low prices, and fast turnaround.
Need a 1W blue laser for activating channelrhodopsin? This is a very inexpensive and relatively simple project to do yourself. Buy the kit here. The web page is not a stellar example of design, but the video above is easy enough to follow.
Starting with an inexpensive but overbuilt metal flash light, a laser diode and optics are fitted, along with an upgrade to the power supply to source the 1A needed for the diode. The diode itself is about $55, the total price is under $200.
It might not be rock stable, but even the $3000 solid state lasers I’ve used flicker like crazy. For many applications, this is tolerable.
The usual Labrigger disclaimer applies.
It’s not too hard to find a laser cutting firm that will do small orders and offer very rapid turn around. The precision, quick turn around, and the ability to work without proper CAD files make it an attractive option for making custom parts.
We’ve used laser cutting for project enclosures, anesthesia tube holders, light tight barriers, and other rigging.
If the parts you need can be assembled out of flat pieces of plastic, then you’re in business. If it has to be metal, you’re better of going to a CNC machine shop. If it has to be some complex 3D shape, but can be plastic, then 3D printing is the way to go. But if you can make your part out of flat pieces of plastic, laser cutting is the way to go.
Note: Most of these tips also apply to water jet cutting firms. Water jets can cut a lot of things that lasers can’t: metal, glass, foam, and anything that gives off toxic fumes when burned.
Just search on the Internet using the terms “laser cutting” or “laser cutting services”. Contact them, tell them who you are and that you’re looking for a laser cutting firm for your small, one-off jobs. Also ask if they’ll work from sketches or simple drawings. Most places are happy to take this kind of work, but in rare cases a firm will be more industrially focussed. In the UK, we’ve used this firm:http://www.cut-tek.co.uk/
You can check to see what the firm has in stock. Black or clear acrylic are commonly used. Thickness are typically 1-3mm. But be aware that the material thickness is typically not terribly precise. Ask them to measure it for you if it’s critical. Otherwise, just assume that it may vary up to 10% from the stated thickness.