If you can draw it, we can help you make it!
Access Space runs Refab Space, a DIY FabLab, developed and completed in 2012. With its suite of rapid prototyping tools, including a laser cutter, 3D printer and CNC router, this benefits artists, business start-ups and the community as a whole. Check out our Refab Space legacy site here.
Access Space has been working with digital fabrication using a laser cutter since 2012. We have worked with a lot of great people and made a huge amount of fantastic things. It’s fair to say we have a lot of experience too but we are always interested in meeting new people and making new things.
Making things with our laser cutter is not difficult but there are a few things you need to know before you start.
There are three methods of lasering….
Cutting. Just like you would with a knife.
Etching. Marking your design, like drawing with a pen.
- Engraving. Removing an area of material, similar to traditional engraving.
Once your design is complete the next step is to decide which method you want to use. We apply this information to your design using a software application that is connected to the laser cutter.
In this example parts of the text have been assigned to cutting, etching and engraving.
Our machine is large enough to work with sheet materials up to 650mm x 400mm. We can work with:
- Acrylic (Perspex)
We don’t laser cut:
- PVC plastics
- ABS plastics
We can usually cut materials up to 6mm thick but it always depends on a material’s density. For example, we have previously worked with some 1.8mm card stock that required the same laser power as 3mm MDF. Plywoods can be sometimes be a little problematic as there are so many types made from differing types of surface veneer and various numbers of internal plies. The answer to understanding what will work and what won’t is to make a small test cut in the material.
When designing artwork for laser cutting at Access Space we use Inkscape, a drawing program available via: https://inkscape.org/
We like Inkscape because
- It’s free (zero cost)
- It’s free to use (no restrictions on use)
- It’s Open Source (doesn’t use proprietary software formats)
- It’s cross platform (runs on Windows, Mac and Linux)
- Thousands of people around the world use it and develop it.
- It’s easy to use yet capable of handling complex designs.
Artwork for laser cutting should be in the .SVG or .DXF vector file formats. We can work with other vector file formats from other drawing programs but as such we can’t guarantee they will work straight away.
To discuss your project ideas please contact John Moseley.
You can see a few examples of things that have been made at Access Space on our photo-blog:
Made at Access Space
Featured work: Shadow Lamp made by Sian Leary
Laser cut birch veneer plywood