I am always thinking of things that I can etch and cut with a laser. When I saw the cheese contest I decided to try and etch & cut cheese, and here is how I did it.
The video shows a time lapse of the actual raster and vectoring of the cheese.
Epilog M2 laser
Computer with Adobe Illustrator
Kraft Singles cheese
Cutting surface (I used a clean paper plate)
After creating your Illustrator files, it only takes a minute to customize your cheese.
High skill level to operate an M2 laser and a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.
The Illustrator file for the Instructables Robot is located in step 2 of this Ible. This Illustrator file can be used as you see fit. If you do use the file I generated, please let me know what you created with it in the comments section. Thank you in advance.
Step 1: Gathering Your Supplies
Creating an image to print can be one of the greatest challenges. First, we need to figure out what we would like to cut. I chose the Instructables robot because, ROBOT.
Illustrator can take a while to learn and I'm not doing anything real complex here so it just takes a few minutes to create my image.
1. Find the robot online and save it.
2. Import your image to Illustrator.
3. Expand your image and create a cut line.
Now it's time to find a laser. Try these places, if you don't already have access to one.
1. Your local library.
2. A makerspace.
3. Win one on Instructables.
4. A sign shop. I'm not sure that they will let you cut cheese though.
5. Buy a laser. (This one costs $30,000+)
I started this project with Kroger brand Swiss cheese and switched over to good old Kraft American singles. I bought a package for about $4.00.
I wanted to keep my cheese slices clean so that I could eat them afterwards, so I used the back side of a paper plate. I didn't want to ruin a cutting board or other surface, as the laser was likely to shoot through the cheese. I suppose you could use a glass plate, marble or granite surface.
Step 2: Cutting the Cheese
There are a few steps here, so I'll just run down the list. I will provide the file for the Instructables Robot in an AI file format, as well.
1. Set your Illustrator art board at 3.25" X 3.25".
2. Place your selected image in the middle of the art board.
3. Set your raster and vector settings on the laser dialog. This laser is a 60 watt unit.
- Raster = speed 100 power 85.
- Vector = speed 8 power 100 frequency 100.
4. Place the cheese and plate on the laser.
5. Set the starting point in the upper left hand corner of the cheese.
6. Focus the laser to the correct height.
7. Send your file to laser and press GO.
There are many things you can cut or etch with a laser. We etched our company logo onto a pumpkin pie this week, it was delicious.
Stay tuned to my page as I plan on laser (ing) many more items in the future.
Have fun and be safe.