Applying the skills learned in class, I wanted to challenge myself to design a small box using Vector Works.
The box is standard, 3″x8″, with a lid, using 3″x12″ sheets of walnut wood.
I used the “clip surface” tool to get the side pieces lined up properly. I used the offset tool on the protruding tabs in order for the pieces to fit tighter upon cut.
Learning from the Job
Even with using the Offset tool to make the corners tabs better, they were still too tight. I had the tool set to 0.1″. That number appears to have been too big. With walnut wood, the laser cutter does not burn away very much material. Lesson learned. The question is, how do you know how much to adjust the size to to account for the lost material in the burn? Because of this, I had to manually cut and grind away the excess material to get the pieces to fit. I also learned that I should label the parks in raster, so I know how they line up better post-cut. I think the parts were out of order, which also made it harder to fit together.
Another hiccup that hurt the laser cutting was the actual placement of the wood in the laser cutter. I have used the machines for over a year and did a test run, and still I am unclear as to where to put the wood, exactly, especially when using material with no additional wiggle room. I would normally place the material at 0,0 in the top left corner. However there is about .08″ space between the top and side. Are we supposed to leave a row of that space open, or lay the material flush with the top and side?
I designed the lid of the box to have a handle. The handle attaches to the lid by placing it through a slit in the top and twisting it to lock in place. I thought that it would turn easily at the .25″ thickness of the wood, in a .25″ slot. However, it was too tight to turn. I added in a space to laser cut out in illustrator. even though the file did not chance in illustrator, somehow it did not cut in the exact place it should have. And it did not lock into place tight, but it does work as a functioning handle on a lid.
I also feel like there is some disconnect when opening the Vector Works DWG file into Illustrator. Something is a bit different/off with the vector graphics.