Market Survey- Laser Cut Wish List

Discussion in 'General Card Modeling' started by bclemens, May 13, 2008.

  1. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

    Cardboard vs Mechanical Board

    Sorry to over post, but there has been an issue posted recently that concerns the 1mm cardboard we normally use for bulkheads and formers. Specifically, some have tried to find alternatives because the cardboard warps easily.

    The solution is Letramax 2000 mechanical board. It is just a tad thicker than 1mm, easily handled by even a tabletop laser. It has none of the drawbacks we associate with 1mm cardboard. It is more difficult to cut because of its density, but that is the reason why it never warps. Even if you cannot afford the laser cut product, if you switch to the mechanical board, your building efforts will be greatly facilitated!
  2. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    cdavenport, I took note of your posting about Letramax 2000 earlier. If this goes through I think that material would provide the quality level I would insist on. It may command a little higher price, but I think most people would appreciate the advantage.
  3. cdcoyle

    cdcoyle Member

    What I personally find exasperating about accessories is not being able to get all the accessories for a particular model from one source, or else only having certain accessories available but not others (e.g., frames for a ship, but no railings or barrels :cry: ). I would love it if someone packaged frames, railings, details, and barrels as complete sets. And there are plenty of great models out there for which no accessories are available.
  4. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Laser Cutter update

    Well, the biggest hurdle is over- I convinced Cat that investing in this thing is a good thing to do and financing applications are in...hopefully it'll be a short time and I can start cranking out some card :thumb:

    I'll keep you all updated as things develop!
  5. Thomas Pleiner, he's one of the founders from Kartonmodell,Kartonmodell-Forum | Portal a german forum, and a member here too, has been making laser-cut parts, on a commercial base, mainly for ships, and even here in Rotterdam I could buy German ship models with his detail-kits as an extra, seem the way to do it. Here is an old thread; his site seems to be moved;
    Cheers, Billy
  6. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Hi, Billy,
    Thank you for the information- unfortunately all the links that are in Thomas's thread no longer work. I would like to do what Thomas has done on this side of the Atlantic ;)

    I hope that Cat and I can produce items that are needed and wanted by North American modelers- there will be no issues with currency conversion and the postage will be much less.

    I have just received word that the financing is approved, so we are ready to move forward on this.

  7. logicman

    logicman Greybeard

    Those transatlantic shipping costs are a real killer. Still, things may improve when the carriers move into this new-fangled lower-cost steam-power.:mrgreen:

    Great stuff. More power to your elbow!

    I wish you every success.
  8. You could even PM Thomas Pleiner, he's a member here, and seems a very nice guy..
    cheers, billy
  9. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Quick update-
    The financing has come through- the wife is happy, and production of the laser cutter has begun (new model, old company). With any luck, I'll have it ready to go by the end of July.
    I hope to be able to supply many of the suggestions made here in this thread as well as other items of interest to card modelers, at lower prices than the material coming from Europe.
  10. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    It's Here!

    Hi, all,
    The laser cutter is in and operating. I'm still figuring things out and experimenting, but it looks very promising!



    Hopefully we'll be able to start providing lots of things of interest to paper modelers as we kick off this venture.



    NULLMOON Member

    more tank tracks! especilly for kv series/t-100/su-76/a7v/whippet and pretty much any component that has over 50+ identical parts:thumb:
  12. bugman72

    bugman72 Member

    What about someone sending you a digital paper model file and you laser-cut all of the pieces? While I love to take the time and effort to cut the pieces out, sometimes my home and work schedule do afford me enough time to do so. If I could have all of the parts pre-cut for me, I could whip out a model with the greatest of ease. I wouldn't do this for all of them, just a couple that I want to be very accurate.
  13. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Bugman, in theory that's a great idea, but I am learning that there are some very important details in preparing artwork for the laser cutter. In order to vector cut, the lines must be no thicker than .004". Anything thicker will not be cut, but raster engraved.

    If someone were to simply scan in a model and send it to the laser, what would come out would be an engraved monochrome image of the model artwork. In order to laser-cut an existing model, one would need to trace all outlines in a separate file in lines of the appropriate thickness, and then run that file while placing the original model sheet into the cutter. And then you have the nightmare of making sure everything lines up perfectly...

    Also, the laser cuts every line that is less than .004" whether it is visible or not. What I mean is that complex shapes in a drawing file are often created by overlaying simpler shapes and then allowing fill color and layers to hide underlying lines from view. That's all fine to the eye, but the laser still knows the lines are in the file whether they are visible to you and me or not- and it will cut them. Therefore laser art must have only a single line encompassing every shape to be cut no matter how complex.

    The bottom line is, as desirable as your suggestion is, it is just not practical. A fully laser-cut model would need to be designed for laser cutting from the beginning. That's certainly something I have on my to-do list :thumb:

  14. bugman72

    bugman72 Member

    Definitely makes sense. I have a good friend that owns a sign shop and have learned a LOT about vectors and how picky cutters can be. He has a Roland solvent-based printer that does all the precision cutting for vinyl decals and such. While I don't believe it is as picky as you are describing with the laser cutter, it's still a PITA sometimes to get the artwork ready to be cut. We're in the process of doing a little side business of doing vinyl "skins" for Guitar Hero and Rock Band guitars and have spent quite a bit of time getting the cutlines just right.

    On a side note, I just noticed that you are located in Springfield. I'm in Jefferson City, but was born and raised in the Spfd/Branson area (gradutated high school from Branson). I'd love to see your machine in action sometime when I'm back down there, if you're willing.
  15. DeGrey

    DeGrey New Member

    Hello, I'm new to this forum but wanted to chime in on laser cutting full models. I too have a laser cutter and have been cutting my own personal projects on it. It is a fantastic tool for repetitive / small parts. Heck, entire models even... no more cramped fingers from wielding an xacto knife.

    Cutting entire models is actually pretty easy. What I do is take the original file, trace all of the outlines I want in the proper stroke weight for cutting. Additionally, I setup all of the crease lines as well and use the engraver to perforated these for easy folding. Setup time takes a bit but once it is done, I can cut and score an entire sheet in the blink of an eye.

    NOW, the only tricky part here is registration. Getting the laser to cut exactly around the printed element across the entire page is a challenge. I have not found a good way to do multi-point registration. With the Epilog lasers, you can set a custom home position but what we really need is a way to set a 3 point registration so the cutter can account for any skew in the page. I'm going to contact Epilog to see if this can be written into their print driver. It's not like the laser can't do it, it would just be a matter of writing the software to allow for it.

    An alternative solution would be to keep the cut lines on one layer and the model texture on another. This way you could "bleed" the textures well past the cut lines so if the cut was off a fraction of an inch, it wouldn't matter.

    Bruce, your work is fantastic! I had a similar idea for the paper model world but it looks like you have a good handle on it so I will bow out :) It looks like you got the Zing. How do you like it? I have an Epilog Mini 24 and it is an amazing machine.

    I actually ran across your site and this forum while researching to see if anyone had come up with the idea to laser cut razor wire and tank treads. Seeing a laser whip through a sheet of tank treads is a sight to see :D
  16. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Hi, Bugman,
    Any time. just PM me and we'll set it up!
  17. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Hi, DeGrey.
    Welcome. Thanks for your note. Yes I have the Zing and I love it. I ordered the 25 watt model. Unfortunately when they built mine they were out of 25 watt laser tubes so they upgraded mine to 35 watts gratis instead of making me wait. That is customer service. I am pleased I went with Epilog. I was looking at a Chinese cutter at about half the price, but with Epilog's customer support, quality and user interface that is so simple even I can make stuff right out of the box, I made the right choice.
    I believe the tank tread thing will be quite lucrative. You have to have the model to make the tread to fit it, and I haven't begun to get any yet- but it is on my radar.
    Nice to meet you,

    NULLMOON Member

    how about nuts in 1000 sheets as well as 100? i just recived my order of items there really great and i cant wait to use them but the average tank/armour kit could have up to 800+ so larger amounts for the smaller nuts might be a good idea...
    and how about rivets? could they be lasercut at sizes below .8mm? which is beyond the size of the smallest screw punch
  19. bclemens

    bclemens Member

    Nullmoon, I'm glad everything arrived well. Yes, I can certainly do a 4x6 inch sheet full of nuts. That would be a ****load of nuts ;)
    I'll get that going right away.
    But rivets? Hmm...I'll do some thinking on that. Would they need to be conical or rounded?

    NULLMOON Member

    one of the big producers (wak,draf) do them i think i have no idea what they look like i assume they would be the realistic shape ive no idea how they would be made....

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