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Author Topic: Has anyone cut Icarex on a laser cutter?  (Read 3274 times)
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Ara Ararauna
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« 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.
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« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2012, 10:35 AM »

i have only heard rumor that this method is how Karl Longbottom cuts his fabric.....cnc laser.......
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Michel
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« Reply #2 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...
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Ara Ararauna
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2012, 01:34 PM »

I'm a bit worried that the laser will zap the Icarex into oblivion...  Shocked  ...or at least that it fuses it too much.
Also I'm afraid that the material moves when the cutter head passes over...  Sad
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...  Roll Eyes


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Allen Carter
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« Reply #4 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.
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indigo_wolf
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« Reply #5 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
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« Reply #6 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.

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« Reply #7 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...  Roll Eyes




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.
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Ara Ararauna
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« Reply #8 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...  Roll Eyes




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.
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« Reply #9 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.

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« Reply #10 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.....
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« Reply #11 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).
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 04:25 PM by sugarbaker » Logged
Ara Ararauna
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« Reply #12 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  Cry too many options and decisions!



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« Reply #13 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. 
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Ara Ararauna
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« Reply #14 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...
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