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Unsung hero

Few know but without the flexiblity and versillity of the laser cutter the home 3d printing revolution may have looked a lot different.

Scores of new 3d printer companies are popping up all over the globe but they all have one thing in common, that is they all use laser cutting to produce the parts required to construct a machine. The laser cutter is able to produce simple to complex components in varied materials and thickness with precision accuracy and cost effective speed, added to that the low cost of materials and you can start to see why the laser cutter is playing such an important role in this way of making things.

Like 3d printers, the laser cutter has also been around for some time but it’s only now combined with the interest of 3d printers that the laser cutter is starting to be used far more often than ever before. Strangely enough the people who build 3d printers are thinking in a 2d way, “How can I best make this 2d part to cut easily”.

(Now, this is not the most amazing video of all time, but it does clearly illustrate the power of laser cutting).

Building something 3d for 2d is a puzzle and it’s not always straight forward. You start with your vision and work back from there. Adding in locking systems in the forms of studs and holes, nuts and bolts, some electronics, stepper motors and some travel rods and “Bang” you have made yourself a 3d printer.

You often hear people say the 3d printer is amazing and it is, but you never hear that of the laser cutter.
Why is that?

Just remember next time you hear about a home built 3d printer, it was the laser cutter humming away in the background that made it all possible.

To find out more about these types of 3d printers check out some of these companies: Bits from Bytes, Makerbot, Ultimaker

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