This tutorial focuses on case design. If you’re new to laser cutting/engraving, please see our All About Laser Cutters tutorial.
Laser cutting is a fantastic medium for prototyping and the type of small-run manufacturing favored by maker businesses. A powerful laser — usually a 30 Watt or larger CO2 tube laser — is aimed by a computer-controlled X/Y gantry to engrave a surface or cut clean through flat materials like acrylic or wood. It’s quick, precise and repeatable. Avoiding big startup costs such as mold tooling makes it a popular choice in the kit business.
No longer the exclusive domain of mass-produced plywood dinosaur models, these tools are now accessible to members of many community hackerspaces and makerspaces after just a little training. Even owning a personal laser cutter in your workshop or home is within reach of the determined hobbyist.
Unlike 3D printed or injection-molded parts, laser-cut enclosures are always built up from a series of planes. This tends to dictate a certain aesthetic to laser enclosures…it becomes a challenge not to make everything look like the same boring rectilinear box. This isn’t a concern for personal one-off quick projects that nobody will see, but for a finished kit it’s best selling something that looks like a polished product and not some prototype covered in wingnuts and cable ties.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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