Ok, so it’s high time we did this. Lets’s get a lasercutter!
What can you do with a lasercutter? You can make awesome things like this:
(Pic from here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6662) this: http://www.thingiverse.com/image:22497 and this: http://www.thingiverse.com/derivative:1475
I’ve gotten a few quotes on lasercutters and talked to some suppliers and this stands out:
SG-3040A 11”x16.5” 50W
It’s a larger laser than the one that I have, and slightly higher power too. Out of the box it cuts acrylic only, but I’m hopeful that we can retrofit an air assist nozzle on there and get it cutting wood and other materials safely.
I’ve made a budget including shipping, import duty, spare tube and a supply of acrylic to get us started. the cost is $3,052. The space will chip in $1,000 dollars to get us started. We’d like to fund the whole thing, but what little funds we have in the bank are sorely needed for insurance and utility bills for the space.To further get the ball rolling I’m going to chip in $500. Let’s see how long it takes to get the remaining $1,500.
For those that don’t remember, a while ago we were looking at a second hand laser on a local auction site. Although we didn’t win it, we managed to get $2.4k worth of pledges in a few hours! I’m cautiously hopeful that we can get this lasercutter funded in a couple of days.
Robots and Dinosaurs has an awesome history of member supported equipment. The makerbot (currently working nicely, I spent 3hrs printing parts last Saturday) was done through members pledges. The CNC machine (used almost every weekend for everything from circuit board cutting to making car stereo mounts) was also bought entirely by member donations too.
Now a lasercutter is a bit of a different kettle of fish than the CNC. To be blunt, it can cause fire. With that in mind we’ll be putting in an induction program for members to use the machine. Just a short training session to ensure that people are aware what you can and can’t cut with it (NYC Resistor does this with their ‘Fire the Lazzor!’ class). We’ll probably look at tying it in to the RFID system to ensure users are trained, too.
Also, there’s the issue of keeping acrylic stock and consumables like the laser tube. We’re looking at putting a $10 per session fee on using the machine, (for members who haven’t pledged), and we’ll put up a price list for acrylic stock as well. (That’s still way cheaper than TechShop, or having it done by ponoko!)
And here’s my same disclaimer from the last couple of times:
“To be really clear about this, chipping in will *not* be counted for membership fees or any other space privileges. It *will* however give you a warm glow knowing you helped the space become more functional and also quickened the pace of the upcoming robot revolution, resulting in a mercifully swift death for humanity. ”