Ever watched Star Wars and wanted to get your hands on a real laser? You can at Protospace!
(usual safety caveats apply)
Read on to discover more …
Protospace has a bunch of cool tools but the coolest in my opinion has to be the laser cutter/engraver. What is that exactly and why is it so cool?
Think Lasers are for Science Fiction and Physics Labs?
A laser engraver uses a powerful laser (80W in our case) to etch or cut materials. It uses the beam generated by the sealed glass laser tube to literally “zap” the material, and turns the layer of whatever it hits into soot and smoke, leaving behind the design you asked it to engrave or cut. Mirrors (“flying optics”) are used to direct the laser beam to a lens in the cutting head, where the energy is transferred to the focal point.
Using a laser cutter gives you the opportunity to produce highly precise, repeatable designs from wood, acrylic, even some foam. Of course some materials are not suitable, or even toxic when burned, so if in doubt ask! We also have a catalogue of materials specifically designed to be used this way.
From 2D Digital Design to 3D Physical Item
Unlike some other computerised fabrication tools, the laser works from flat designs, usually a DXF line drawing, or a black and white “bitmap” graphical image. We can change the speed and power for areas of your two-dimensional design, giving us the ability to engrave to various levels and also cut all the way through your piece, making it kind-of 2.5D?
Yes, if you were stupid enough to stick your face in the path of the laser it would cut that too, so Protospace has a training class that you must attend before being let lose on it!
If you want to see the laser in action, head out to a Tuesday night meet and geek, and members watch the list for announcements for the next training!