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Laser cut box for launchpad


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I never heard of a laser cutter before. This is pretty cool. Out of my price range for now but nice to know it exists :)

 

What software do you use to do this? Do you just draw the cutout in drawing program and then print it? I looked for software on the FSLaser website but it appears to just be a printer driver?

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Yes, it's just like a printer driver. You can print from Word or some other program. I use InkScape, which is a free opensource drawing program. Then inside the printerdriver (a separate program), you choose either raster mode, which takes the picture and burns it into the material, or vector-mode which cuts through the plate. You can choose which colours should be which power/speed levels, so some colours can burn right through and some can just 'draw' lines.

 

There are online services where you can order designs. For example Ponoko.com or even Seeedstudio. I might also try to make some stuff that I sell, to try to recover some of the cost of the machine... which is at you say rather expensive, but still cheaper than the professional versions.

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I tested the acrylic with capacitative touch, and it worked right through the plastic, so bundling with a boosterpack could be quite cool.

Really? wow.. I didn't think it would.

How thick was the acrylic, and how accurate was the sensing (i.e. could it sense the difference between adjacent pads?).

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I honestly still need to test properly. I made an application which show the raw values on the display. I can see the difference even with 6 mm acrylic, but I need to test more before its conclusive. Problem is the display and other components build height between the box and the pcb mm in total.

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OK, sorry to repeat myself, but I made another iteration of the box design. This one looks better. The top is now glued on, and the side-walls are thin and fit outside the top. Inspired by iPhone. I guess they could sue me :-)

 

Well, it is best described by a picture. The design is on thingiverse here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28913

 

launchpad-box1.JPG

 

launchpad-box-bottom.JPG

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Looks like you went for tactile buttons instead of the capacitive sensors. A little less sexy, but way more reliable. ;)

 

Looks nice. Would be cool to have access to both a 3-D printer AND a laser cutter!

 

I sort of like both the tactile and the capacitive, and they both seem to work ok (with various pros and cons, mainly what you're mentioning). But for the sexy-enclosure, captouch is definitely preferable. In this case :), it ended up as a tactile one.

 

3D-printers are becoming more available and getting lower cost, such as the printrbot. Laser cutters are still expensive, but this case could also be done with a CNC. I have a CNC that I've built myself and cost me less than a couple of hundred dollars to build. Not that this is an insignificant sum, but it's much less than a laser cutter. With the stepper board someone else is building here on the forum, one can even control it from a Launchpad :)

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