Recently we had a lot of opportunities to demonstrate the laser engraver/cutter, and one issue came up repeatedly, and that was around the fact it produced “two dimensional” objects. Seems like a limitation, right?
A lot of what people do with a laser engraver is simple cuts and, of course, light engraving. You can think of these as 2D or 2.5D. Some depth is developed through removing the top surface layer.
What you can achieve goes beyond this, though.
First of all, consider cutting your material as being the start of developing a kit for later assembly. This commercial 3D printer was built that way.
We often use Byron’s Spitfire airplane model as a demo piece because it involves some engraving, some cutting, and the final pieces pop out and can be assembled to make a recognizable object. My laser cut Tardis was from a design found on the web. It gave me a lot of inspiration to take that idea and improve on it with my own design, so watch this space.
This is a wonderfully geeky design found on Thingiverse. It is a laser cut Tie Interceptor. A great idea for the next Comic Expo!
How about developing your piece in layers? Stan’s 3D model of Glenmore Reservoir is a great example of thinking about using two dimensional slices to develop a finished three dimensional item.
So next time you are thinking about the laser, don’t limit yourself to the flat world when there are many dimensions of opportunities!