Laser cut Handheld maze

For the laser cut maze prompt, I created a maze which was shaped like a fish. The goal of this maze was to make your way from the eyes, to the mouth of the fish.

The initial design was created on Inkscape, an open source vector based graphic design software, that we used for our laser cutting project. from there it was sent to a google drive. Once we upload it to the drive, it is opened on the computer we use for the laser. From there it is downloaded, and imported into illustrator and exported as a dxf. We use a program called rabbit laser that we then import the dxf file into. After that, all that was left is to change the speed, and power settings based on the material you cut. You also have to adjust the laser cutter by calibrating the Z axis, and positioning your material. In this case two different materials were used, eighth inch wood, and acrylic.

The maze is created in three parts. The first is the base of the maze, that has engraved points where the inside walls of the maze will sit. The second is the walls of the maze which overlap the engravings that show where to place them. The final piece of the maze is the acrylic sheet that sits on top, this keep the ball from falling out, and provides a transparent cover. It is assembled using glue, a few nuts, and bolts. A few of the challenges I faced while creating this design, were creating the walls, making sure to keep even spacing for the ball bearing to fit through, and also keeping it challenging.

One thing I have learned from this project is how to better use Inkscape, and the laser cutter, when using the laser cutter you have to pay careful attention to your speed, and heat settings, before beginning a cut. I also learned what materials are bad for the laser, such as PVC, and which materials can cause fires if not cut properly, an example being cardboard. One thing I would do differently next time, would be to better my design and make the maze even more challenging.

below are a few photos from the process, starting with the initial sketches, to working in Inkscape, and finally the cut product.

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