Kill the Exhaust, Not Your Lungs with the Fume Coffin

As if slinging around 40 watts of potentially tattoo-removing or retina-singeing laser beams wasn’t anxiety-inducing enough, now comes a new, scary acronym – LCAGs, or “laser-generated airborne contaminants.” With something that scary floating around your shop, it might be a good idea to build a souped-up laser cutter exhaust fan to save your lungs.

We jest, but taking care of yourself is the responsible way to have a long and fruitful hacking career, and while [patternmusic]’s “Fume Coffin” might seem like overkill, can you go too far to protect your…

Laser PCBs with LDGraphy

There are many, many ways to get a PCB design onto a board for etching. Even with practice however, the quality of the result varies with the process and equipment used. With QFN parts becoming the norm, the days of etch-resist transfers and a permanent marker are all but gone. Luckily, new and improved methods of Gerber transfer have be devised in recent years thanks to hackers across the world.

One such hacker, [Henner] is working on a project called LDGraphy in an attempt to bring high-resolution etching to the masses. LDGraphy is a laser lithography device that makes use of a laser and a Beaglebone green to etch the layout onto the board. The best part is that the entire BOM is claimed to cost under a $100 which makes it affordable to…

A Mechanical Laser Show with 3D-Printed Cams and Gears

Everyone knows how to make a POV laser display — low-mass, first-surface mirrors for the X- and Y-axes mounted on galvanometers driven rapidly to trace out the pattern. [Evan Stanford] found a simpler way, though: a completely mechanical laser show from 3D-printed parts.

The first 10 seconds of the video below completely explains how [Evan] accomplished this build. A pair of custom cams wiggles the laser pointer through the correct sequences of coordinates…

Drop-in Controller for eBay K40 Laser Engraver Gets Results

[Paul de Groot] wrote in to let us know about a drop-in controller replacement he designed for those economical K40 laser engravers that are everywhere on eBay. With the replacement controller, greatly improved engraving results are possible along with a simplified toolchain. Trade in the proprietary software and that clunky security dongle for Inkscape and a couple of plugins! [Paul] felt that the work he accomplished was too good to keep to himself, and is considering a small production run.

Laser engravers are in many ways not particularly complex devices; a motion controller moves the head in x and y, and the laser is turned on or off when needed. But…

Record Breaking Blackest Material Is So Dark It Cannot Be Analysed Using Spectroscopy

The Brooklyn Startup Bringing Eyewear Manufacturing Back To America

Recently, I have got hooked onto the ABC series ‘Once Upon A Time’ thanks to the arrival of Netflix in my life – it came as a package deal with the fiancé. I’m up to Season 3, and thought that things couldn’t possibly get darker than Peter Pan’s shadow, whose mysterious features are barely distinguishable, whose actions are deplorable, and whose voice is provided by the marvelous Marilyn Manson. How wrong I was.

A year ago, Sam Lemonick wrote about a material called Vantablack and its spray-on version, Vantablack S-VIS, both created by Surrey NanoSystems. This month the company released some videos showcasing a new non-carbon-nanotube material that they are currently developing that also ‘ultra-black’ though it is not made of carbon nanotubes like its predecessor Vantablack.

Vantablack absorbs so much light that it masks all depth and sense of three-dimensional relief of an object, and makes the observer feel like they are looking into a gaping hole so dark that it could almost be connecting them to a far-off galaxy from an episode of Doctor Who.

Not only have the team at Surrey NanoSystems released a very impressive video showcasing just how good Vantablack is at masking relief using a pair of very characteristic bronze head for comparison, they have also admitted that the material is so dark that the usual highly technical analytical methods do not work on this material.

This is because many of the analytical methods used to characterize materials…

Laser Surgery: Expanding the Bed of a Cheap Chinese Laser Cutter

Don’t you just hate it when you spend less than $400 on a 40-watt laser cutter and it turns out to have a work area the size of a sheet of copy paper? [Kostas Filosofou] sure did, but rather than stick with that limited work envelope, he modified his cheap K40 laser cutter so it has almost five times the original space.

The K40 doesn’t make any pretenses — it’s a cheap laser cutter and engraver from China. But with new units going for $344 on eBay now, it’s almost a no-brainer. Even with its limitations, you’re…