Friday, August 18, 2017

Designing for Laser Cutters: Notches for 3D Objects

Designing for Laser Cutting

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Designing Notches for 3D Objects

Notching is a technique that makes 3-dimensional laser cutter projects easy to design, create and assemble. Notches allow us to add stability as well as a method to hold our individual pieces together. By using different designs of notches, we can also create projects with many looks and purposes.

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Know Your Material Height

When you’re designing notches in your favorite software, you need to consider the thickness or height of your material, as this will indicate the height of your notch. When creating notches, an accurate measurement of the material height is crucial.


 Because material can vary in thickness, we recommend using calipers to get a precise measurement.

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Spacing & Fitting

Because the laser cuts such a precise line, you don’t need to plan for spacing to align your joints in assembly. You can simply share vector lines with a single vector cut This will save time and material and the piece will slide together perfectly.

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Design Tip

If designing your own notches seems a bit intimidating, at first, you can access digital applications that automatically process simple notched boxes. A browser-based application called MakerCase works well for this and is free to use. All the designer needs to do to make a simple notched box is fill in the information windows, including the dimensions you want to use. Once you are comfortable with the concept of making notches, you can advance to making your own custom notches using your own design software (such as Autodesk 123D Make).

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To learn more, download our free ebook, Designing for Laser Cutting: A Technical Ebook for Creatives, where you will discover more design tips such as:

  • Choosing Image Files
  • Raster Engraving Techniques
  • Designing for Vector Cuts
  • Utilzing Kerf in Design
  • 3D Object Stacking Designs
  • And dozens of other tips and advice

Look for more ebooks, coming soon, from Full Spectrum Laser.