A member’s take on Laser Cutter 101

New makerspace member Ksenia wrote this write-up of her experience learning how to use YuKonstruct’s laser cutter

Three ladies and I are in a well-organized back room at YuKonstruct and Thomas is talking. He’s guiding us through the safety measures, tools, and steps we need to know before crafting with the laser cutter that takes up most of the back room “Fabrication Lab”.

The laser cutter is less complicated that I thought. And less dangerous, with proper care and safety. It can cut and engrave many materials– metal, wood, glass, stone. As Thomas interspaces a very practical 30 minute introduction with helpful hints, I am admittedly distracted by all the possibilities – engravings, Christmas ornaments, board games…

Thomas giving instructions

Thomas is now leading us through an example project. He uses the computer program CorelDRAW to draw a simple circle, enters in a few printing specifications and then presses ‘print’. A perfect circle is cut out of plywood by the machine in three seconds and its edges smell like fire.

Different cuts and etching the laser cutter can do

After a bit more friendly instruction on using raster versus vector images (hint: raster = engraving, vector = cutting), kiss cutting (less romantic that it sounds, this is a ‘half-way-through’ cut), and several useful tips, it was time to try our own hand on the machine.

Sitting down at the computer, I searched Google images and selected a picture. With a few clicks the picture was translated by the software and, with a few more, some font was added and it was ready to go. Four minutes later, I’m opening the laser printer top to bring out the final product. Success! 

We each take turns creating something new on the machine. There are few limits and Thomas is patient in helping us bring our visions to life. First, three tiny cranes are cut out to make jewelry and then the Toronto skyline is freed from plywood. Meanwhile, I’m admiring my lizard.

As the workshop draws to a close, I take some time to ask the other ladies why they signed up. Kathy is an artist with work currently on exhibit at Arts Underground (Coleoptera Embellished). She is looking at new ways to work with wood to create beautiful art. Selene is inspired to make jewelry. Kaitlin is the new executive director at the Old Log Church Museum and, aside from making gift shop items, is thinking of ways to develop interactive displays to bring history to life for visitors. On his end, our instructor Thomas has always been a maker and became interested in the laser cutter when he needed to precisely cut a very thin piece of wood for the telescope he was building.

Me? I’m hooked. You’ll know where to find me when the snow blows in winter.

– Ksenia

For more information on upcoming workshops, visit: http://yukonstruct.com/events/ 

LDAY Staff day at YuKonstruct

The staff from Learning Disabilities Association Yukon (LDAY) wanted to do something together as a group and try something new in town- so they decided to check out YuKonstruct!

We were happy to give them a tour and a taste of what can be made here at the Makerspace!

LDAY at YuKonstruct

After checking out the space and asking lots of questions, the 6 staff members got to work creating holiday cut outs for the laser cutter. Some even created their own designs (because “dinosaurs are awesome”).

 

 

 

LDAY at YuKonstruct 2

The whole crew from LDAY enjoyed getting out of the office to try something new!

If you have a group of people interested in checking out the space here, please contact us at [email protected] or drop in for our Open House on Tuesday nights from 7pm-9pm.

 

 

Local business benefits from YuKonstruct

Who doesn’t love cheese? Whitehorse locals Larra Daley and Stephan Biedermann saw on opportunity to bring quality cheese to Whiethorse and are located in Horwood’s Mall on Main Street. They opened last Tuesday and cheeses from around the world have been flying off the shelf.  Say hello to Cultured Fine Cheese!

Larra and Stephan joined YuKonstruct to help them with their business. About a month ago, Larra signed up for a weekend workshop on business development being offered by local consultant Michael Pealow through YuKonstruct. Stephan, a contractor and carpenter by trade, took the Laser Cutter 101 course to create their shop sign.

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“I can’t believe how easy it was” said Stephan, “and the sign looks so good. As a contractor, I loved that I could do it myself”. Asked if he would be back, Stephan replied: “I was blown away by what YuKonstruct has. The equipment, the expertise…I will certainly be back for Cultured Cheese but also my home building business!”

CONTACT US

NORTHLIGHT INNOVATION
  2180, 2nd Avenue, Whitehorse
  (867) 457-0150
  [email protected]

HOURS OF OPERATION
NorthLight Innovation
Mon – Fri: 9am to 5pm
Makespace
Wed – Sun: 1pm to 9pm
Cospace
Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm

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We acknowledge that we live, work and create within the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.