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Author Topic: Looking for some input on a laser cutting project  (Read 1104 times)

digitalman2112

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Looking for some input on a laser cutting project
« on: December 14, 2012, 07:14:06 AM »
Adam needs to build a 3D model of a planet and its moons. We decided 3D printing wasn't going to happen at a large enough scale in the time we have (less than a week), so I pitched him an idea using the laser.


The planet (uranus, the source of all great planet jokes) will be 3D, then the plane that contains the rings and SOME of the moons will be 2D - specifically laser rastered into a sheet of 12"x12" gray or black acrylic.


Why SOME of the moons? Turns out Uranus has a bunch of inner moons that are relatively close together in orbit, but then the outer ones are waaaay out, most likely captured asteroids. The inner moons also have nice circular orbits - the outer ones are crazy.


We've been using this simulation - http://janus.astro.umd.edu/SolarSystems/ (Click on Uranus and you'll see the outer moons orbiting, you have to zoom in to see the planet and the inner moons.


We are thinking of having Miranda, the 14th moon as the outer moon in the model, and then listing all the moons on the side in order. This way, you get to have a decent sized planet (styrofoam ball cut in half and glued to both sides of the acrylic) and a good view of the rings and the other moons.


Here are our questions:


1) Is the laser running predictably right now? :)
2) If you raster on black, is it readable, or would we have to crayon it to be readable?
3) Same question - but for the mcmaster transparent gray?
4) I'm thinking of using inkscape to duplicate the rings / moons / orbit as seen in that simulation. I'm thinking there might be a way to use the simulation (screen cap, import, vectorize?) but that isn't obvious - any ideas?
5) Any suggestions for making the rings stand out different than the moon orbits - there are some that overlap...perhaps two passes - a light raster pass for the rings, then a deeper raster for the orbits? We could paint the rings before...


Appreciate any thoughts you have...



« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 07:22:04 AM by digitalman2112 »

Simply7

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Re: Looking for some input on a laser cutting project
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 09:16:03 AM »
A neat trick to make things stand out would be to raster the planets but vector cut their orbits. Raster cuts tend to absorb light where a vector at one quarter depth would refract the light. This worked great in. 25 acrylic on a previous project. Another cool way (and I  had not thought of crayons) is using dry erase markers on etched places. On clear acrylic it gathers the light and looks good. And it you write on the non etched places alcohol will clean it right up.


digitalman2112

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Re: Looking for some input on a laser cutting project
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 01:43:59 PM »
Awesome - thanks for the input...