Computer-controlled cutting


Weekly_Assignments :

-    design, make, and document a press-fit construction kit

The task for this week was to design and build a press-fit kit using vinyl cutter and laser cut. Moreover, our instructor wanted us to gain extra credits by creating a vinyl sticker.


While looking for some examples to take inspiration from, I stumbled upon a peculiar way of working with cardboard, as shown in this video at the minute 2:00

cardboard curve

The video shows how to perfectly bend the cardboard cutting the opposite side in a very simple way.

the idea

often use my macbook pro in the laboratory and I have to lay it over tables with dusty surfaces, that could scratch my precious laptop…so that, instead of buying an item like this (which litterally may cost a fortune, like 400 dollars to put your laptop on this way-too-much prestigious piece of wood) I wanted to create something that could suit my needs.

I wanted to spoil this assignment to create a laptop stand with a parametric configurator:

  • using wates of cardboard or wood
  • which can be easily built with press-fit joints
  • including the vinyl cutter in order to make it cuter and less anonymous


Parametric project and test

-After writing some notes on a sheet of paper and writing a wrong code in OpenScad,

these are the settings to be included in OpenScad to generate your own laptop stand…obviously adding the kerf=K

uncomment the line after (// preview3d)

Once I put in the measures of my Mac and the cardboard (such as thickness and base dimples) I just had to export the file in DXF and uncomment (meaning removing “//” in the second line after //+++++++++++Laser Cut cardboard (press F6 and export DXF) as shown below

//+++++++++++Laser Cut cardboard (press F6 and export DXF)

translate([X+P+X/5+K+K+10,0,0]) projection(cut = false) rotate([0,0,90]) layerdown();

projection(cut = false) overup();

I have also created a small test to understand the power of the laser cutting and check the cuts in the flexible section of the project.

//+++++++++++Test laser cut cardboard

projection(cut = false) testlaser();

modify in Autocad
-Unfortunately, OpenScad doesn’t export colours, so I had to use Autocad in order to open the dxf and change the colours of the cuts

I began with editing the file to test the power of the laser cutter…

the blue line was set to 10% of power
this is the back of the cardboard after the trial cutting, ????(I recommend to use the 10% of the power)


- Unfortunately we can not use the fabmodules to send in cutting, but we have to create a pdf and send the job directly from the PC connected to the laser cutter.
Before using the laser cutter, please control the cardboard position and hold it with adhesive tape to make it adhere to the cutting surface
The cardboard is completely broken, although I set the laser at 10%...Failure!

After a few moments of discouragement, I realized that the cardboard was different from the one I used in the cutting test.

Looking around in the FabLab I found another piece of cardboard similar to the one I used in the laser cut test…In the meantime, my instructor asked me to change the parameters of the file, to test the project for his MacBook Air.

laser cut done!

vinyl cut!

- Using the vinyl cutter with fabmodules is really easy and fun!
export dxf from openscad
//+++++++++++Vinyl Cut

projection(cut = false) vinile();

open .dxf file with illustrator, resetting the color change as in the figures to be cut, and save in png
create file .camm via, connect the vinyl cutter and send print command via terminal (osx)
to create a correct file you must elaborate the image with illustrator and after create file .camm via

Build !



#appome laptop stand

Source files

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