DoES Liverpool is looking forward to unveiling the new laser cutter they have recently received to enable members of the community to better understand the potential of rapid prototyping using digital fabrication. The laser cutter will be available for use by members of the community free of charge and will be unveiled at Monday’s Maker Night from 6:30pm in the Gostins Building, Hanover Street.
The laser cutter supplements the existing digital fabrication tools available in DoES Liverpool – a 3D printer and a CNC machine – and will vastly extend the prototyping capabilities available to the community.
Many members of the community have already been working with laser cutting, using the device that is available during Maker Nights in the Art and Design Academy of Liverpool John Moores University but the availability of one within DoES Liverpool’s workshop means that work can continue on projects beyond that monthly visit.
John McKerrell, one of the organisers of DoES Liverpool, had this to say:
“I’m very excited to see what interesting things will be built with the help of the new laser cutter. One of my own projects – the WhereDial, a device for showing locations of friends and family as they check into places using their mobile phone – has taken a long time to develop as I’ve had to wait a month to try each new iteration. I will now be able to iterate my designs much quicker and should be able to get the product to market very soon.”
Preparing designs for the laser cutter is surprisingly simple. Any vector drawing package can be used such as the free and Open Source Inkscape or commercial packages such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. Once prepared designs are simply sent to the laser cutter which can very quickly engrave and cut the designs from plywood or perspex. Objects can then be constructed, any problems revised and a new version cut out very quickly. Help is available from the DoES Liverpool community for those who need it and lots of designs are freely available on the internet too.
In fact it’s possible to cut more exotic materials too, Maker Night regular Beth Edmondson works with leather and fabrics to create interesting clothing designs and decorations. Local artist Susan Brown has also been experimenting by using the laser to etch her own designs onto perspex blocks which she then uses to make prints.
John adds, “People have developed lots of different designs that can be cut out and built, many of which are freely available on the Internet. From small sculptures of animals, through clocks, containers and camera mounts, all the way up to 3D printers. Though many of these involve other parts – nuts, bolts, motors or other electronics – their strength and structure is based on a very simple 2 dimensional design cut out on a laser cutter like ours.”.
Maker Night is a free to attend event organised by DoES Liverpool with support from Open Labs at Liverpool John Moores University providing a space for people to learn, experiment and work on projects related to physical computing, digital fabrication, Arduino and electronics. They’re informal, friendly events and everyone is welcome, of any ability level. The next event takes place in DoES Liverpool’s space on the 4th floor of the Gostins Building, Hanover Street.