27 July 2016
thought the pattern from my box lid
would go rather well as a shield embellishment. I had to modify it slightly engraving away some of the inner patches and drawing the rest as line art but I think they're going to come out really nice when painted and latexed.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 27 July 2016 11:01 PM
The postman arrived this morning with a long slim parcel, I didn't remember ordering anything of that shape and there was no indication of sender on the outside. The parcel turned out to be a LARP safe oar, all ready for painting and latexing. Just a typical day really when objects like these turn up with no prior warning, next step is to email Eldritch and ask if it came from them. Yep, it needs to say "That's a paddlin'!" on the side in a hand carved font. 20 minutes later it's ready to be sent back again, maybe I'll ask the postman to hang around next time.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 27 July 2016 08:18 AM
26 July 2016
I completely redid the cupboard door for Eldritch
, I've been building up with various testing recently
and it culminated in this simple design. Doing these simple outlines as a normal engrave would take 2 hours, doing this engraving as a series of lines took 20 minutes as a 'faux' engrave, unfocusing the laser to get a nice wide beam reduced the time to just 5 minutes. A fairly significant improvement. It has limited uses but it's nice to experiment and know exactly what is possible, you'll never know when you need it.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 26 July 2016 10:04 PM
This siren whistle
from instructables has a lot of irritating sound for its size. There were scaling issues with the files I imported so I ended up cutting them in 2 different sizes, both are quite load but need a lot of puff and occasionally the spinning disk in the middle appears to jam. Time to start looking at air horns and vuvuzelas.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 26 July 2016 05:46 AM
25 July 2016
I want to make some noise makers and there are a few designs online but it's really hard to decide how loud they are actually going to be. Have laser, will cut, so I made up a few for testing. The first one is this train whistle
, modified to actually be glued together, it's a good sturdy whistle as you would expect but not quite loud enough for me.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 25 July 2016 11:44 PM
23 July 2016
Time became a bit of an issue this week so I went for a very simple lid that rests on top of the box, made from 6mm birch ply it's very sturdy. I turned up the engraving quality to make sure the thin lines on the design came out correctly. 4 little feet underneath locate into the trays and stop the lid from sliding off sideways. The whole thing is sturdy enough to sit on.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 23 July 2016 11:10 AM
22 July 2016
Every time I go to vale I get more treasure and I seem to need a bigger box to put it all in. This box is actually for the whole camp rather than just me so it can hold 4 times as much as the last one
. It's a simply construction 6mm walls and 9mm base to cope with all the weight. A coin tray fits too
snuggly in the top but at least the hand holds in the side let you pry it out again. I just need to finish the lid now and it'll be ready to go.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 22 July 2016 08:06 AM
21 July 2016
One for the runescape fans, Eldritch
has recreated the Shield of Arrav
. The inner pattern is a straight forward engrave but we wanted the inner line to be a different depth to the outer lines. This is why I was experimenting with engraving at different depths
. If I had to engrave the whole shape a second time it would have doubled the cutting time and taken forever. This way added just a few more seconds to the cut. The laser didn't get all the way through the 22mm outer, I freed it up with a knife to take a better picture.
This project was done for Jagex
and had a non disclosure agreement attached to it which is no big deal for me, and has the added advantage that the project is now finished and I can show you completed shields covered in latex and painted.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 21 July 2016 08:37 PM
20 July 2016
The last of the 200mm signs is this little Disabled sign. I'm not yet sure if these are going to be defensive or offensive items but either way it'll be fun to see them in action. While I was cutting I also had a repeat order of the larger sign post shields
. Now I just need to recut the cupboard door
shield but I'll be using the alternate engraving technique
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 20 July 2016 08:16 PM
19 July 2016
These signs are found in various places around the country and indicate that there is a fire hydrant nearby, they are yellow with a black 'H' in the middle. The figure at the top is the size of the main that feeds that hydrant in millimetres. The lower figure is the distance from that plaque to where the hydrant is in metres.
I engraved the slots into the corners where the plaque would normally be fixed and I even made some slotted screw heads from 8mm material to make it look like it is screwed down (actually in hindsight this may be wrong, stay tuned)
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 19 July 2016 08:04 PM
18 July 2016
is doing a range of post apocalyptic weapons so I've been getting all sorts of requests for odd signs and things. They all make great blog fodder. This is cut into 16mm plastazote foam.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 18 July 2016 07:33 PM
17 July 2016
Based upon the Herugrim sword guard
I drew previously, this one is much smaller and has the horses pointing outwards. It will form the guard for a LARP dagger which is why I cut 2 and they get doubled up to show the engraving on both sides.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 17 July 2016 08:47 PM
16 July 2016
There are two warring nations at Vale LRP, Dukes and Kahns. They both fight over the same resources but they call them slightly different things. I previously did the Kahns lore sheets
but now I know the dukes names I get a chance to redo them from the other view point.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 16 July 2016 10:34 PM
15 July 2016
Made from 6mm Poplar, I wanted a fairly deep engrave but that does throw up a lot of debris so it's always a trade off.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 15 July 2016 10:17 PM
Would anyone like a free coffee table
? It's been sat in my garage for about a year now ever since I upgraded to the Lego coffee table
. Somebody would be welcome to come and collect it from me in Leicester (LE8) or the Just Add Sharks unit (NG2), otherwise it would be about £10 to post it out to you. Just email me email@example.com
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 15 July 2016 06:38 PM
14 July 2016
Just a quick one for tonight, I helped Dawn out making another cake. This time it was parts for a helicopter that got presented to Prince William and the Queen, and a few short videos of the cake too.http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2016-07-13/pictures-the-queen-opens-new-east-anglian-air-ambulance-base-in-cambridge/ EAAA - Flying Cake
from Phil Cutland Green
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 14 July 2016 09:24 PM
13 July 2016
It's nearly the end of year 1 for Eli so we made some customised rulers as a thank you for his teachers.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 13 July 2016 09:55 PM
11 July 2016
Nichola and Andrew like to store their games sideways so the upgrade tray needs a lid if they are going to stay in place while stored. This one is made from 3mm clear perspex with a lip glued around the edge to stop it from sliding off. A rubber band holds it all in place. (svg here
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 11 July 2016 08:49 PM
This game tray holds all the spaceship upgrade tiles for the board game Eclipse
. The tray itself is 12mm thick, made up from 2x 6mm sheets, the top is engraved with the relevant symbols for each tile and some of the symbols were coloured with pen. (svg here
This is the second spin of the tray, the first design only showed the names and research of each tile which you can already see on the top of each tile, the tray actually hide the resource symbols. I saved the prototype by reskinning the top with another layer of 1.5mm Birch which is why it's a slightly different colour in the above pictures.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 11 July 2016 06:52 AM
09 July 2016
The board game Eclipse
has a lot of tokens which take a long time to lay out. This holder keeps them all in place during a game but also allows you to pack them away into the box making it really easy to set up your board. I used plastic weld to glue two layers of perspex together so you can pick the tray and all the tokens up at the same time.(svg here
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 09 July 2016 06:16 PM
07 July 2016
In hindsight this is one of the vaguest posts I've ever written. The Centre for life
asked me to laser cut some fabric for them on a laser that was bigger than theirs. I'm not sure what material it is, how much it cost or what it's being used for, but it did laser cut and the edges of the cut fused together so there was no fraying. Yay lasers.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 07 July 2016 08:54 AM
06 July 2016
We're slowly piecing together a metal version of the vanillabox and thanks to the folks over at NTU (Kerry
and Steve) we've had access to a plasma cutter for actual metal parts. They've been amazingly helpful teaching us all about the metal working process and things we don't understand (which are numerous) and this week we managed to get our first metal part cut. It's a revision of these side panels
we cut before but it's made out of metal with extra bends to make it super strong. Soon we'll have a full set and we'll be able to finally put a price on the box.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 06 July 2016 04:47 PM
05 July 2016
I seem to have started a trend and have been asked to make more group symbols, this is the symbol for the wardens who had some foam items made a while back
. They wanted a red symbol with a black background but since I don't have any red black laminate I made some of my own by painting transparent acrylic with black acrylic paint. The one of the left was sanded first to 'key' the surface both ended up a bit prone to scratching but they do get this awesome illuminated effect when you get some light behind them. I finished it off by making a mahogany black one but that ended up a bit dark once the ply was etched.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 05 July 2016 11:18 AM
04 July 2016
This shield pendant was made with 2mm mahogany ply as a background and 0.8mm birch bly as the foreground, it gives good contrast and depth at the same time.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 04 July 2016 11:14 PM
03 July 2016
This is a pendant for an empire group, it took a few attempts to get all the detail into the design. I ended up making the runes bigger and making dots for the centre of each star in the constellations. When you hold it up to the light it shines through the pendant.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 03 July 2016 10:13 PM
02 July 2016
A friend asked me to personalise a hammer as a gift for her father, text is pretty straight forward so it only took 10 minutes to line this up and engrave down the edges. Apparently these are going for £35 each in some places. I'm sure there are a million tools that could be customised like this which starts to sound like a business idea to me.
I used magnets on the bed to keep the hammer from rocking over but if I were doing a dozen of these it would be really easy to laser cut a jig to hold the hammer in place.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 02 July 2016 11:58 AM
01 July 2016
3 different coloured flags for Vale, these are all engraved onto died leather, the wold was outlined to make it stand clear from the background engraving. One piece of leather is white on one side and brown on the other, I had the power set a little bit high while engraving the white flag and the marks showed through to the reverse, when the next flag was cut on brown there was no evidence of burning on the reverse, a clear sign that different colours absorb the laser light differently.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 01 July 2016 09:53 PM
29 June 2016
Engraving can be tediously slow, especially when you want to do the edge of a large area but not fill in the middle. It's something I covered before when I carved the cupboard door shields
. I previously drew a dozen different lines to simulate the engraving effect, it was faster than the engrave but still a little bit slow. This time I thought I would try defocusing the laser beam to get a nice wide engrave, then the groove can be cut in a single pass which would be a lot faster.
I ran these test pieces at differing heights under the laser (the mm distance is height below the focal point. The results were quite effective and with a bit of tweaking it will do the job nicely. The first thing to note is that the corners cut a lot deeper than the straight sections. This is a known issue and Lasercut specifically has a setting for it. I found that reducing the corner power to around half of the main power solved most of these issues.
The other issue is the start and stop point, the two ends don't quite meet up but again lasercut has us covered. There is a setting where you can adjust the amount of overlap in millimetres. If you draw a circle with a 5mm overlap the controller will actually move 5mm back around the circle before it starts cutting. It cuts the overlap first before going on to complete the rest of the circle.
This is actually a bit of a bug, if you're only cutting 3 sides of a square with an overlap of 5mm, it will cut 5mm along the imaginary side so you need to be careful about when and where you use the overlap setting.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 29 June 2016 10:01 PM
28 June 2016
Some LARP groups have fancy symbols, others have very simple ones. These 3 diamonds are about as simple as they come but I'm sure they'll be very effective on the front of a shield.
Here are some pictures of other laser cut bits once they've been painted and latexed and turned into proper weapons/shields.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 28 June 2016 08:49 PM
27 June 2016
Another take on the standard gaming ruler, this one has lots of aspects for measurement all crammed into the same piece.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 27 June 2016 08:57 PM
We were asked, by a good friend from Wild Stoves, to produce a portable solar PV off-grid power supply system.
Wild stoves supply equipment for efficient outdoor cooking on wood. They run workshops on efficient burning of wood and sell equipment at a number of festivals over the summer. We had been asked to add solar to their 50's caravan a few years ago.
They wanted to be able to provide higher levels of energy to the festivals they attend, but wanted all the equipment to be portable, all parts to be moveable by one person and to fit within a specific space (within a Land Rover and then under a caravan).
Together we designed a 3 box unit with 200Ah of Lithium Iron Phospate batteries at 24V DC, an 800W solar PV array with MPPT and an 1200W inverter unit. This also has battery montioring, various controls for the outputs and 12V outputs for each box.
This post covers the design, build and testing of this system.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Little) at 27 June 2016 01:41 PM
26 June 2016
Another phoenix design, this one is is far more detailed around the tail so I'm surprised it came out ok. The laser seems to be coping really well on these intricate foam designs and I'm not even using the vacuum bed
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 26 June 2016 08:10 PM
25 June 2016
Another foam shield emblem, I got the impression the lion in the crown was taken from somewhere and the antlers added after, the antlers were a little thin and flimsy after cutting. (svg here
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 25 June 2016 08:05 PM
24 June 2016
Many moons ago
I wrote about how I was trying to cut this shape and was failing, I don't ever remember writing about the success. I've cut dozens of them since then so here is the most recent stack of phoenixes, phoenixii (? would it be a flame of phoenix?)
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 24 June 2016 05:36 PM
23 June 2016
sent me a whole bunch of requests for laser cutting, Plastazote is really good for cutting and these basic images come out well.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 23 June 2016 05:32 PM
21 June 2016
The big thing occupying my time currently is the vanilla box. I'm slightly outside my comfort zone with metal work but it's always good to learn new skills. We're getting the box CNC cut so I can already do the drawings but I'm learning about bend radii and powder coating etc. The case is made from sheet metal with bends in appropriate places and I'm able to make prototypes out of paper to make sure it all fits together correctly. Having these physical models really helps to visualise where everything is going to go.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 21 June 2016 05:26 PM
20 June 2016
A few weeks back I investigated various latching box mechanisms with minimal success, mostly it felt like they were trying to flex the material in the wrong direction which lead to snapping. I tried to make a sliding lid on this box to test a latching mechanism. The lid is a basic sliding lid but when it is fully closed, protrusions on the lid push the side walls out and latch it into the closed position. The walls flex with with the grain of the material so it is pretty sturdy and should last a long time. It's not the best box in the world because the lid is very tight anyway and it doesn't need to be locked into place but it's a successful test nonetheless. (svg here
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 20 June 2016 05:14 PM
19 June 2016
Finally I tried a woggle with an image engraved onto it. The world scout emblem
is readily available on the interwebz in vector format so it seems a logical choice. Leather can engrave really nicely if you get the power settings correct and this one picked out a lot of details. Dominic poppered it again for me.
That was my little detour into leather woggle making, here are the files if you want to make your own. (svg here
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 19 June 2016 04:48 PM
18 June 2016
Making customised items is extremely easy with a laser cutter so putting text onto a basic woggle is simple to do. The text should probably have been smaller is it was more visible from the front but we can sort that next time.
I've done a minor bit of leather working in the past but I don't have any tools for it so I called Dominic
in for support with these woggles. He had some poppers handy and the right tools for the job and was able to do it for me in minutes. The poppers come in 2 parts and there are 2 types so 2 different tools. The tool fits in or over the popper and the top half is hammered into the bottom half where they form one piece. Dominic also had a special dimpled 'anvil' to hammer into which helped with the curved poppers.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 18 June 2016 04:42 PM
17 June 2016
Eli has just joined the local Beavers group, it inspired me to laser cut up some leather and turn it into fancy woggles for their neck scarves. The first one is a very simple design but it's often referred to as a magic braid, the three strands in the design can actually be plaited to make a weave pattern. Many moons ago my scout woggle was like this so it was cool to actually make my own in the same style.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 17 June 2016 04:07 PM
16 June 2016
Finally a fishy and if this seems fishy to you it's because I bought myself a weeks worth of blog items with a single night of drawing, all queued in advance so by now my future self will have made something a bit more involved. As promised here is a bundle of vector art for those shapes. (svg here
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 16 June 2016 05:15 PM
15 June 2016
Maybe the relative scales are a little bit off,
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 15 June 2016 05:13 PM
14 June 2016
Does what it says on the tin (is this too much like spam?)
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 14 June 2016 05:11 PM
13 June 2016
We were asked by Nottingham City Council to design and produce a selection of renewable energy demonstration kits for use with school groups of various ages. They needed equipment which could be easily assembled and taken apart, but were still configurable to a number of different designs.
These are to be used as part of a day of activities about resources, energy efficiency and renewable energy. They wanted kits to demonstrate the concepts of solar electricity, wind power and hydro (water) power.
Here are photos of the designs we eventually came up with - this included small solar car kits, wind turbines with adjustable blades and a micro hydro turbine.
by email@example.com (Matthew Little) at 13 June 2016 08:14 PM
The eyes look a little weird on this one but I think it's the double reflection, it's quite prominent in the photo, less so in person.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 13 June 2016 05:04 PM
12 June 2016
A cute little planet with a shooting star.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 12 June 2016 05:02 PM
The Latrine Logger was developed for Water For People.
Water For People is an international non-profit working across 9 countries to bring safe water and sanitation to 4 million people.
Water for People want to see communities break free from the cycle of poverty and spend time growing, learning, and thriving, instead of walking for water and fighting off illness.
Following on from testing a prototype unit, we have done many improvements and have supplied the Latrine Logger - a data logging unit for monitoring pit latrines.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Matthew Little) at 12 June 2016 01:53 PM
We worked recently with our friends at T4 Sustainability to produce some Raspberry Pi breakout boards for their Open Source Building Energy Management System (oBeMS) project.
oBeMS is a project to produce an integrated building management system which comprises of sensors, actuators, control and monitoring systems.
by email@example.com (Matthew Little) at 12 June 2016 09:16 AM
11 June 2016
Cartoon animals and space themed mirrors, the kids love them.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 11 June 2016 10:26 PM
10 June 2016
Another useful tool for the tool box, radius guides. You can press these up against any given curve to measure what the actual radius of the curve is. It's not something you need very often so being able to create a set cheaply like this is rather handy.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 10 June 2016 08:03 PM
Some of you may have already seen over on Just Add Sharks
, but I laser cut some vernier calipers from 3 layers of 1.5mm birch ply, it's fully functional and nearly as accurate as my actual calipers. All the files are available from there.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 10 June 2016 07:52 PM
09 June 2016
Hazels nursery had some very funky mirror tiles on, it inspired me to make some of my own, just simple illustrations but they came out pretty good. It's just 3mm mirror acrylic, they'll be an artwork bundle at the end of the series.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 09 June 2016 10:26 PM
I had another shot at the Market Tray last night and I'm much happier with the result. The original test tray
used 4 layers stuck together but it's hard to make sure they're all aligned and misalignment can snag cards when they're tilted. The last market tray
avoids this by having the dividers vertically and keyed into the base but it's a bit slow to assemble. I compromised, this tray has a 3mm base and a 9mm top layer, by making the top in a single cut there is no snagging issue and I only have to align 2 layers together. All the names cut from 3mm and were glued onto the base afterwards to provide tipping points. These will go up in the shop in a few days time.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 09 June 2016 07:18 AM
08 June 2016
The market system in the game Puerto Rico takes a long time to set up, so what it really needed was a try to hold all the buildings in place that can be easily taken in and out of the box so I made one. Each space is capable of holding up to 4 buildings and has a wedge underneath each tile so that you can press down on one side and easily remove them. The remaining gap was dedicated to the bank as per the original tile board. It's all made from 3mm poplar and takes a bit of time to assemble so I think I'll be tweaking it again tonight but not bad for a first effort.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 08 June 2016 09:02 AM
07 June 2016
Bonus points for guessing my next board game trays.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 07 June 2016 11:40 PM
06 June 2016
Twice recently I have forgotten to turn on the air pump for my laser, the result was acrylic gunk all over the nozzle and I narrowly avoided cracking a lens. The Leetro controller has the capability to turn the pumps on automatically with the appropriate hardware. I connected up a Solid State Relay to the Y1 output on the controller, this SSR will switch 240V @ 25DA
so is more than capable of turning the extractor fan and air pump on/off. I made up a little switch box to give me somewhere to easily plug things in without modifying their leads.
It's a simple arrangement and functioned as intended, the problem lies with the leetro controller. It turns the air off between layers and immediately after cutting. Ideally I need some smoothing and maybe a 60 second delay between the output turning off and the air turning off. Something to work on in the future I guess.
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 06 June 2016 07:41 PM
03 June 2016
This tubular burr box
is a bit more complicated than the previous burr puzzle, made with 6mm poplar I got the fitting just snug. Pay particular attention to the orientation of these parts, it makes all the difference. (svg here
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 03 June 2016 05:22 PM
Extending my detour into the puzzle realm I found some nice and simple burr puzzles that could be lasercut, the first is this Criss Cross Cube
. I thought it would look good in acrylic so redrew it and cut one myself. This is 5mm clear and the puzzle has quite a lot of slack in it, the whole thing could be shrunk a little to make it a bit more snug. (svg here
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 03 June 2016 08:18 AM
01 June 2016
I found this Byte Box Puzzle
while looking at laserable boxes last week. It's a very clever mechanism, 8 switches flip into either the up or down positions, in the correct position the whole lid can slide to the right slightly and then be lifted off. It's a byte box because their are 8 switches and therefore 256 possible combinations. The two switches on either end are fixed and are used to hold the lid down regardless of the other settings. (svg here
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Raynsford) at 01 June 2016 09:59 PM
31 May 2016
A new curvy track piece for the marble run (svg here
by email@example.com (Martin Raynsford) at 31 May 2016 02:12 PM