In a Lather


The backing component, while having the simplest design, has proven
one of the most difficult pieces to deal with.

It is very important that when it is cut, it be laid out as flat as
possible so that there is no “waviness” in the final product.  Any
deformations will cause the tiles to not sit flat, so you’d be playing
Catan, and the grain fields might have more prominence than the

My first attempts at getting the flattest cut was to pin the leather
to a wooden frame.  The problems with this approach were the
difficulty in constructing a frame that can also fit inside my locker
at TechShop, and when the laser cuts through the leather, the next
thing it hits is the wood, which causes a lot of flame.  As we’ve
learned from Prometheus, flames are dangerous.  Plus they leave dirty
soot all over.

A better solution was to lay the leather directly in the bed, and
place weights on it, keeping it flat.  The weights had to get laid
carefully, much like hedgehogs, otherwise the laser head would bump
into them.

That was not the end of the difficulty with the backings, though.

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1 Response to In a Lather

  1. Hey Shandy!

    It’s Mike from E&M Labs. I was just looking over your blog when I saw this post. One thing that worked brilliantly for us when trying to keep leather flat for cutting our slings was to first cut a large sheet of cardboard/something stiff exactly the size of the laser bed. Then, use the laser to strategically cut holes in that sheet, underneath where you’ll be putting your leather. Those holes will redirect all of the suction from the honeycomb straight onto the bottom of the leather (the trick is making sure you don’t leave holes in places where you won’t be putting leather, as too many of those will ruin the suction effect). That worked a lot better for us than trying to strategically place weights where the laser head won’t hit them.


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