Well hello there! In the last few weeks, I have been exploring the world of MDF, more specifically, designing for laser cutting and creating DIY construction kits.
In this post, I will share with you that journey and the result!
Before I begin, let me tell you that I have included so many images that I have had to split this post over 3 pages so when you get to the end of this page, just use the handy page number links to skip onto the next page.
So, to the beginning of this design adventure!
Well, I decided some time ago that I wanted to create a platform for my Scan N Cut machine that would offer me several benefits.
- A stable and level platform to use my machine on without having to use it on a table.
- A stable and level platform for the mat to run on at the front and back.
- A place to store accessories and mats.
So, I started the design process in Microsoft 3D Builder, a free 3D design tool bundled with Windows 10.
This software isn’t very technical but my goal was to work in three dimensions so that I could understand where parts connected and what dimensions would work.
A wee bit of tinkering later and I had my first draft.
Great to see it in 3D as I can zoom and pan around to check it all out.
Now to start mapping out the pieces in Adobe Illustrator. The reason that I chose to work in Illustrator was that it is the perfect and most professional tool for creating vector drawings which, when it came to last cutting, would be essential.
One thing crossed my mind at this point and this was that I didn’t know what size the MDF sheets would be that would be used to cut the design so I went on the hunt for a laser cutting company that did custom cutting services and found www.lasersmith.co.uk
Not only were they able to help with information on the sheet size but they were able to offer help on design parameters for submitting designs for cutting.
Armed with this information I returned to Illustrator and got plotting. *copious mouse clicking ensues.
Several attempts, and a little bit of swearing later, I again had a first draft of the cutting file.
Because of the size of the project that I was planning I had to spread this across two sheets of MDF.
Lines marked up as appropriate and files exported it was time to send this off to Laser Smith and get it cut!
What seemed like an incredibly speedy turnaround, especially considering the snow, there was a knock at my door and there stood a delivery guy with a large package in hand!
Stop sniggering you, naughty people.
No, it was this!
How piggin’ exciting!
Now, where the heck did I put my special parcel opening scissors? FYI, they are just the bog standard pair that I often think that I have stored in the kitchen drawers but often find somewhere else having used them to open some package or other.
After only a minor hunt as, oddly, I found them in the kitchen drawers (?!) and I was hacking away at the packaging with gay abandon.
The aroma of laser-cut MDF filled the air and I inhaled and exhaled at the joyful scent and the thought of putting together some flat pack. *happy sigh.
Double checking that all of the ‘bits’ were there, I grabbed my tacky glue and set to work.
Step 1. Glue in the support struts and then the middle shelf.
Step 2. Stick the sides and centre panels on. A little trickier as there were various tabs and slots to line up but it went together well.
Step 3. Stick on the front and back panels.
Step 4. Insert the tray tops, no glue this time as these will be removable so that I can access the storage trays, hence the finger holes – designed especially for podgey digits like mine.
Time to see if it lived up to the three pre-requisites that I had designed it for…
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