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AutoCad Drawings to Laser Cut Plasticard

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With facilities in my workplace to cut plasticard/Perspex by laser it dawned on me just yesterday that I should be able to produce wagon sides and ends using autoCad drawings. As an autoCad trained user I can work both in 2d and 3d to produce very accurate Cad drawings that could be used to drive the laser cutters on plasticard. I could produce a vast array of rolling stock using this technique.


I have absolutely no desire to compete with our existing manufacturers, this would be simply 21st century scratch-building for my own pleasure alone.


Has anyone tried it - I'm meeting the design people later to hear more about setting up the drawing templates to drive the laser cutting machine. They have a new machine being installed next week that can enable various layers/depths of cut.

Edited by TonyMcGartland
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First off, you only need to work in 2D. The 3D component is only if you want to progress to 3D Printing. Also, I don't think you'd be competing with anyone really. It's just a different material really.


I've been cutting styrene overlays for coach sides and scratchbuilding for years and the lowest thickness which can be used is 0.25mm, though you could probably go up to 0.4mm in some circumstances. The issue is that laser cutters tend to burn styrene unless you have a machine that can be throttled down on power and speed. I use a Thyme Graphics Silver Bullet Pro which is a bladed cutter, rather than laser. Just a smattering of projects on the workbench -




Apologies for potato quality :P


There's a very interesting thread on same here on RMWeb - http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/108310-darkly-labs-emblaser-affordable-laser-cutter-review/page-30, particularly where it talks about health risks with the fumes, minimum thickness being 1.5mm and so on.


I'd experiment like mad if you have the facilities, and try a host of materials - perspex, styrene, whatever you can source, and let the results dictate what's possible. I'm keen to get a laser cutter at some stage of 2017, and would be delighted to hear your musings/results.



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John, its nice to know all safety aspects of the task however I will be emailing the dxf to an operator and she does all the work. Now since the laser is in a College I don't imagine they would be using anything that would promote hazardous or toxic substances. I've no knowledge of the equipment but I do know that they cut me a piece of 4mm perspex and did a fantastic neat finish, hopefully this will manage to do similar with something much lighter. I plan on buying acrylic sheet anyway.

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