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Laser Cutting Our Christmas Card

In years past, we’ve always sent a Christmas card to our valued customers, colleagues and friends. But this year we wanted to do something a little bit different. After brainstorming a variety of ideas, we decided to feature our new 3D tube laser on the front of the card… by carving a Merry Christmas message into a piece of steel pipe!

Here are a few interesting notes on how we went about creating the photo, which is shown at the bottom of this article.

We Started with a 2D Drawing

Interestingly enough, it is very easy to start with a 2D drawing and map the flat drawing onto the contours of a round pipe. Using software called ArTube, we can start with any flat .dwg or .dxf file, including pictures, logos or words, and map it perfectly onto a piece of tube stock. This prevents the pattern from distorting due to the curvature of the round tube or pipe.

We Could Have Cut or Etched The Design

Thanks to flexible computer control of our 3D tube laser, we could have either cut or etched the drawing into the tube. In fact, we can identify each individual cut that makes up any drawing and tell the laser how to handle it. Lines and curves can be cut or etched, and we can control the speed of individual aspects of the pattern. Speed is an important consideration in order to maximize quality. For example, if there is a critical radius, hole or cut on a part, we can slow the laser head down just for that part of the cut in order to achieve the highest level of precision without slowing down the rest of the process.

It Was Easy To Create Sparks

When we told our photographer what we were interested in doing, he really wanted to be able to capture the sparks from the cutting process on camera. Initially we were worried that this would be difficult, until we realized that there was a simple solution. Our 3D tube laser has a vacuum that sucks debris out of the tube and away from the area being cut. It turns out, it also sucks away sparks too. When we turned off the vacuum, the sparks flew and we were able to capture them! The vacuum is important because it helps us achieve really precise cuts. If debris is in the way, the laser will have to cut through the debris to get to the metal. But when the vacuum instantly pulls debris away it leaves the metal surface free, clear and ready for our laser to cut.

Check out the picture from our Christmas card below, and feel free to contact us to learn more about design, fabrication and tube laser cutting.

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