I have been semi-seriously investigating the possibly of purchasing a laser cutter. There are materials I would like to use that the Craft ROBO Pro can’t handle. A sales team from Trotec Laser Canada were in Saskatoon this past week so I booked an appointment for a demonstration. The machine they were showing was a larger model than I require, but the technology is the same. I brought some sample materials to test.
I love Ginwashi, but because of the long fibre inclusions it can be difficult to cut even by hand. Straight cuts work best with a rotary cutter as the blade isn’t pulling on the paper. It is impossible to cut on the Craft ROBO Pro as the blade catches on the long fibres and then tears the paper.
The sample above was cut with the laser at the lowest setting. Many of the pieces are still held in place by the inclusions, but a slightly higher wattage would take care of that problem. (I pulled a few pieces out quite easily.) There is no sign of browning on the cut edges.
I also took in some lightweight matboard. There didn’t seem to be any need to try cutting through it as the machine had already cut thin wood, so we tried engraving it. The laser cut through the top layer of coloured paper exposing the white core. There is faint charring of the white layer.
David also got an engraved name tag from the younger salesman who seemed to think David was the potential buyer although I was the one who had booked the demo time. I’m sure that with a little more care, the name could have been centred.
It would be a lovely toy, but I am not sure that I can justify the expense.
The cost of a cheap PC to run Windows would have to be added to that, since the Trotec system does not have a driver for Mac.
This week I ran into a couple of technology fails (solved by my excellent tech support, David). On a happier note I received some images of my former mentee Monique Martin’s installation exhibition Continuous currently on display in the Okotoks Art Gallery, Okotoks, Alberta.
The installation includes motion sensors that trigger the sound of a hive full of bees and the smell of beeswax. I would love to see it, but Monique’s website has multiple images so I will have to content myself with those.