Friday, 26 September 2014

MDF for laser cutting

Having visited Weban-Smith in Lewes earlier in the week, the big bouncy nerdmobile was carrying 10 sheet of 8' x 4' mdf (2mm and 3mm thick). Last night was the usual BuildBrighton open evening, so it was time to get busy with a circular saw.

Steve made short work of chopping up the boards into various sizes - A3, A4 and some odd-sized offcuts of about 300mm square. Here's Felix stacking up just some of the sheets we ended up with:

All of the sheets were cut roughly (and in some cases, by eye) so there are probably no more than 6 sheets at a time that are the same dimensions! But that's quite a stack of mdf we have now, ready for laser cutting.

We worked out that a single 8'x4' sheet should yield about 44 A4-sized sheets.
With ten large sheets of mdf, we could have ended up with over 400 pieces! At £70 for ten sheets (including VAT) that would be around 16p per A4 sheet - super cheap prototyping material! We left some sheets double-sized (A3) and had some peculiar 12" square bits, but must still have had about 300 smaller sheets, when all was done.

Steve and Jason can handle massive oversized A3 sheets (up to 500mm) in their laser cutters, whereas our LS3020 can just about cope with slightly-bigger-than-A4. So now with everyone with a healthy stack of 2mm and 3mm mdf, there's no reason not to be making cool (laser-cut) stuff all the time!