Over the past three weeks I have more or less put the Glowbek aside, focusing instead on my local hackerspace‘s latest acquisition: a 60W laser cutter/engraver.
You’re probably asking what I’m doing having newly gained access to such a machine. Well, the first thing I’d do is
talk to Corporate make some engraving gauges.
These are handy little things which I’ve seen being inspected and handed around quite a number of times since their creation, which gives me the warm fuzzies (yay, helping!). Like most things, it wasn’t entirely altruistic, for I had something greater in mind. I was looking for the relationship between scan speed, laser power, and engraving depth. Why? Because I wanted to create a linear depth gradient.
I lied about making engraving gauges first; the very first thing I cut on the machine was a disc engraved with a pattern which I had already created with the intention of 3D-printing a batch of medallions showing that pattern. I held the engraved disc up to the light and was struck by the way light entering from the edge refracted out of the pattern on the front. Having previously been fascinated by “light pipes” (the little bits of clear plastic embedded into the case of computers and home theatre equipment, which carry light from an LED on the circuit board to the outside where it can flash brightly and keep you awake all night), I took on the task of creating an edge-lit piece which could refract light uniformly from the front face. This would require being able to finely control the engraving depth of the laser cutter by varying power, speed, or both.
Where am I taking this? Well, combining edge-lighting with my previous experience working with WS2811-controlled LEDs means I’ll be able to pull off some funky tricks.
Stay tuned :)