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Kites! Kites! Kites! => Kite Building and Repair => Topic started by: Ara Ararauna on December 05, 2012, 09:17 AM



Title: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 05, 2012, 09:17 AM
Hi,

I will have the opportunity of cutting Icarex with a laser cutter.
Has anyone had any experience on this?
Type of laser, power, type/brand of cutter...?
Thanks,

N.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: thief on December 05, 2012, 10:35 AM
i have only heard rumor that this method is how Karl Longbottom cuts his fabric.....cnc laser.......


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Michel on December 05, 2012, 01:03 PM

Joel Scholz used a laser cutter for his kites.

That's possible but are Joel's kites in Icarex ? Not sure...


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 05, 2012, 01:34 PM
I'm a bit worried that the laser will zap the Icarex into oblivion...  :o  ...or at least that it fuses it too much.
Also I'm afraid that the material moves when the cutter head passes over...  :(
I will of course stick it on the sides but...

I will test it on a small piece and see. I will report on the results.
If the test doesn't work I'll use the laser cutter to make some wooden templates and cut the Icarex with the soldering iron...  ::)




Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Allen Carter on December 05, 2012, 02:02 PM
Any number of volume manufacturers cut a stack of each panel on a laser cutter. Prism did it that way in the past. They were cutting poly, but not necessarily icky.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: indigo_wolf on December 05, 2012, 03:30 PM
There should be a way to control the intensity/power/heat of the laser.  If you have seen some videos of  lasers cutting fabric, the lasers move fairly fast with very little dwell time.

As far as the fabric moving, laser cutting fabric is usually done on a downdraft table, where a vacuum is applied under the fabric holding it all down uniformly.  Since all of the fabric is held down that way, you don't have to worry about sections being cut and no longer being attached to a section that was taped down.

Make sure there is plenty of ventilation... preferably a dedicated exhaust system, laser cutting fabric will generate noxious fumes faster than hand cutting with a hot iron.

ATB,
Sam


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: mikenchico on December 05, 2012, 03:36 PM
Joel doesn't post here to my knowledge but he's quite active on Facebook if you want to look him up, I'm sure he would answer any questions.



Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: inewham on December 06, 2012, 01:02 AM

If the test doesn't work I'll use the laser cutter to make some wooden templates and cut the Icarex with the soldering iron...  ::)




ISTR Andrew Beattie cut a Chevron from P31 Iccy on a laser cutter - I don't recall him posting on here but he still keeps an eye on rec.kites it seems.

FWIW you don't need to hot cut Icarex, it doesn't fray when cut with a knife so you don't need to use a soldering iron if you use your laser to cut the templates.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 06, 2012, 04:12 AM

If the test doesn't work I'll use the laser cutter to make some wooden templates and cut the Icarex with the soldering iron...  ::)




ISTR Andrew Beattie cut a Chevron from P31 Iccy on a laser cutter - I don't recall him posting on here but he still keeps an eye on rec.kites it seems.

FWIW you don't need to hot cut Icarex, it doesn't fray when cut with a knife so you don't need to use a soldering iron if you use your laser to cut the templates.

Yes... so I've heard (or, rather, read).
Perhaps I will avoid the soldering iron since I don't have a proper surface on which to do it...
Thanks.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: mikenchico on December 06, 2012, 08:05 AM
True that Icarex and most coated sailcloths don't need hot cutting. But I've seen where hot cutting with a pointed tip soldering iron can be helpful on intricate pieces, inside curves and such. Watch Marks live feed over at Jest of Eve while he's cutting panels for the Talons, makes quick work of an otherwise tedious job if you have proper templates.



Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: thief on December 06, 2012, 09:22 AM
Yes... so I've heard (or, rather, read).
Perhaps I will avoid the soldering iron since I don't have a proper surface on which to do it...
Thanks.
I use a piece of tempered glass from a sliding door....works great...a sheet of Masonite works very well for this too.....


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: sugarbaker on December 06, 2012, 10:58 AM
I've not had the opportunity to take advantage of laser cutting for my kites... I do appreciate the speed and repeatable results I obtain from hot cutting with templates.  I build my templates out of 1/8" masonite (I actually use masonite that has a whiteboard material on one side).  I have made multiple kites off one set of templates, and while I do see the evidence of using the soldering iron against the wood templates, the burning is minimal even after 3 or 4 kites (and consider that each template is used twice for each kite).

Even if offered a laser cutting options, unless it was easily accessible whenever my schedule allowed, I would probably continue to use my hot cutting setup.  I have two tables that can tolerate the soldering iron... a tempered glass table top and a table top covered in sheet metal (both work well, but the metal does start to show marks that the soldering iron can get caught up on if not careful). 

I am definitely intrigued by the idea of CNC (laser or water jet) metal templates, although I haven't found a source that could do a small run of templates for a price I'm willing to pay. 

Let us know what you end up doing, I'm excited to see the results of your endeavors (I assume this is for your L'quartz build).


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 06, 2012, 11:38 AM
Hi all.

Thanks for all the comments.
Yes sugarbaker, this is for my Le Quartz.

One question, is masonite the same as hardboard? I looked at the wikipedia and it does seem extremely similar.

Concerning the laser cutter I have a place that is interested in testing the cutting of Icarex so it will be (supposedly) no cost for me this time.
If the tests are not successful, I was planning on doing the templates with 2 or 3mm plywood. I think the plywood (with a good sanding of the edges) will provide a smooth cut and will be more resistant to the soldering iron than the masonite or hardwood.
Do you think I am making the correct supposition?

As a surface for cutting, I've also read that some people do it on the smooth side of a hardwood panel. How good would that be? And how long would a panel last for?

Now, my idea was also perhaps doing it with a sharp knife since the pattern I will be cutting has only very smooth curves...

Argh  :'( too many options and decisions!





Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: sugarbaker on December 06, 2012, 04:30 PM
masonite and hardboard are pretty much the same (as far as I know).  I don't know if it would be better than plywood or not... I like the masonite because it doesn't splinter; and may not burn as much due to higher density (and possibly a glue content, but I don't know this for sure).  In terms of a table, I'm sure a piece of plywood would be sufficient, but as you use it and it gets grooves in it, it will cause the soldering iron (or hot cutter) to get caught up during use.  if you have plywood, try covering it with a sheet of thin metal that will be less prone to damage from the process. 


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 06, 2012, 10:36 PM
And what about MDF?

It is also very dense, glue based, does not splinter and is quite resistant to scratches.
I mean this for the cutting board, but a thin version could be good for templates although it is brittle when thin...


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: inewham on December 07, 2012, 02:15 AM
When I have hot cut on hardboad or mdf I found I'd get tiny fragments stuck to the melted edge which looks bad on black fabric. Metal can conduct heat away from the iron tip so it doesn't cut as quick and cleanly.

Glass for me every time, a big secondary glazing panel and a 12" sample of armoured glass for cutting little bits like reinforcements. It doesn't conduct away heat, it doesn't get scored, its easy to clean and it doesn't leave fragments stuck to your edges.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: misterbleepy on December 07, 2012, 03:05 AM
if glass is impractical, then maybe Formica would do - it's very dense, smooth, and heat resistant.
Has anyone tried Formica?


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: mikenchico on December 07, 2012, 08:08 AM
I've gotten years of use out of hardboard/masonite, plywood does not make a good cutting board because blades or tips will follow the grain, it may be fine as a template but I would prefer hardboard there too. Here we can get what is called Muffler Repair Tape, there are also similar duct tapes available, they are thin aluminum foil with an adhesive that some people will edge the hardbaord with to keep from burning it.

A Teflon roller that you place the iron through that then follows the edge of the template is another option I've seen used, but you have to make allowances for it's thickness in your template.



Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: thief on December 07, 2012, 08:22 AM
I've gotten years of use out of hardboard/masonite, plywood does not make a good cutting board because blades or tips will follow the grain, it may be fine as a template but I would prefer hardboard there too. Here we can get what is called Muffler Repair Tape, there are also similar duct tapes available, they are thin aluminum foil with an adhesive that some people will edge the hardbaord with to keep from burning it.
I found the metalized tabe at my local hardware store...i do cover the edges of my heavy oak tag paper templates with it and have had good results....

A Teflon roller that you place the iron through that then follows the edge of the template is another option I've seen used, but you have to make allowances for it's thickness in your template.
There is a thread about this on kitebuilder....somepeople use aluminum or steel washers....you can get a really consistent allowance along the edge of your tempates....


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter? -> First Results
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 07, 2012, 09:40 AM
Hi,

The sail pieces have been cut with the laser cutter. All went well apparently, although I have not tested them against the plan.
This is a sneak preview of them but I'm not showing it all because I don't want to disclose the colours and patterns I have designed for my version of Le Quartz.

(http://goo.gl/ywqsr)

(http://goo.gl/0QtzC)

The process was quite slow though. I don't really know if I got any benefit time-wise, by doing it with the laser cutter. But it was nevertheless interesting and fun.
I will document the build process but I will report on it only once I finish.
Cheers!


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: sugarbaker on December 07, 2012, 10:07 AM
Did you use autocad to make the file for the templates? If so would you be willing to share the file?  The laser cutter looks like fun. The accuracy is certainly higher the way you've done compared with using hardboard and a hot cutter.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 07, 2012, 10:29 AM
Hi sugarbaker,

I will put this in a new post in the "Links to Plans" thread for everyone to have this information and find it easily.
http://www.gwtwforum.com/index.php?topic=104.msg78402#msg78402 (http://www.gwtwforum.com/index.php?topic=104.msg78402#msg78402)
Cheers.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter? -> First Results
Post by: Wayner on December 07, 2012, 02:50 PM
The process was quite slow though. I don't really know if I got any benefit time-wise, by doing it with the laser cutter. But it was nevertheless interesting and fun.

Like the other laser cutter work I have seen done, the real time saving is in future cuts of the same pattern.

This will be a great option if and when you start designing and building your own line of kites.  ;D


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: ae on December 11, 2012, 02:38 AM
Another good material for template making are offset printing plates, which are thin flexible metal that can be cut with a good scissor easily.

As for laser cutters, i wish they wouldn't be so expensive, would love to have one.


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: mikenchico on December 11, 2012, 07:46 AM
Another good material for template making are offset printing plates, which are thin flexible metal that can be cut with a good scissor easily.

As for laser cutters, i wish they wouldn't be so expensive, would love to have one.


Sure many of us would like one, but large panels aren't usually a big issue for me, it's those small reinforcements that are tedious and often have to be redone because of a small error that just looks cheesy. I've read over on kitebuilder that the Cricut machines for hobby work are able to cut our fabrics, some will need a backing to stiffen them up. I haven't tried one myself, if I built more kites though I would look into one for sure.

http://www.cricut.com/shopping/products-Cricut-Machines-363.aspx (http://www.cricut.com/shopping/products-Cricut-Machines-363.aspx)





Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: DD on December 11, 2012, 09:22 AM
the wife has a cricut machine for scrapbooking stuff. You basically take a sheet of paper and stick it to an adhesive backed board and run it thru the machine. It does say it will cut fabric but we havent tried. I could see if wanted to make a bunch of small items it would work.


Title: Re: Re: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: madhabitz on December 11, 2012, 09:53 AM
Another good material for template making are offset printing plates, which are thin flexible metal that can be cut with a good scissor easily.

I've read over on kitebuilder that the Cricut machines for hobby work are able to cut our fabrics, some will need a backing to stiffen them up. I haven't tried one myself, if I built more kites though I would look into one for sure.

[url]http://www.cricut.com/shopping/products-Cricut-Machines-363.aspx[/url] ([url]http://www.cricut.com/shopping/products-Cricut-Machines-363.aspx[/url])


Those plates might just be perfect. If you need to dull the edges a bit, those green scrubbies made by 3M work great for sanding metal.

Mike, at one time you stated that ripstop would take a hot iron. If so, then freezer paper coated with plastic on one side can be ironed on (plastic side down) & used as a stablizer. Should work fine for Cricut. Also works great to run a piece of fabric through a printer. The lightest adhesion you can get away with, the easier it will peel afterwards.

Just throwing this out there - you never know when something used for one thing might come in handy in another realm:  I used to use freezer paper for quilt-making templates. One thing that worked well was to iron several layers of paper together, then draw the pattern piece on the top layer.... then cut the stack, then peel the layered templates apart. 

You have to experiment to get the correct iron temp. Too hot and the pieces are impossible to separate. Not hot enough and they won't stick well, then will shift around resulting in inaccurate templates. Smaller pieces work better than large, but large can be done.

Ironing layers together retains template accuracy better on a cotton fabric-covered surface, as opposed to the usual thick cushy ironing board cover. Finally, four or five layers works way better than say 20 layers.

Nancy


Title: Re: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?
Post by: Ara Ararauna on December 11, 2012, 01:49 PM
Another good material for template making are offset printing plates, which are thin flexible metal that can be cut with a good scissor easily.

As for laser cutters, i wish they wouldn't be so expensive, would love to have one.


Sure many of us would like one, but large panels aren't usually a big issue for me, it's those small reinforcements that are tedious and often have to be redone because of a small error that just looks cheesy. I've read over on kitebuilder that the Cricut machines for hobby work are able to cut our fabrics, some will need a backing to stiffen them up. I haven't tried one myself, if I built more kites though I would look into one for sure.

[url]http://www.cricut.com/shopping/products-Cricut-Machines-363.aspx[/url] ([url]http://www.cricut.com/shopping/products-Cricut-Machines-363.aspx[/url])


Hmmm.... very interesting!
Which model would be sufficient?

You guys in the US that form big bulks of hobbyists can buy one and share it by placing it at someones garage!  ;)

Not my case...  :(  only flies fly around here... and me...