File puptcrit/puptcrit.0603, message 145

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 08:16:29 -0500
To: <>
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Strengthening mat board

>> I'm building shadow puppets. I'm using a new kind
>> of desktop laser to cut the many holes. 

>Am curious what is this desk top laser????????
>Mark S.

  This is probably a CO2 cutting Laser used by the sign making industry to actually etch or cut plastic for signs. Of course, they can also cut paper.  The more powerful ones can cut thin metal and wood. The laser is actually burning through the material to cut it.  It would seem to be an ideal method for producing shadow puppets.

  I am not sure what he means by a "new kind of laser" except that I know that these cutting lasers have become much cheaper in recent years, and this "new" pricing has made them more common.

  I think we are talking in the $5,000 range for these machines, so if you want to take advantage of them, you would probably do so through a sign making service company.  The price will probably be based on how much time the laser must spend cutting your design.

  If you are good with programs like Corel Draw or Photo Shop,  you should be able to scan an image or an existing shadow puppet, and then create the necessary data files for the sign company... but there can be a lot of work to clean up these scans and generate clean lines for the laser to cut.  Of course if you create your original image on the computer (using line art, not a paint program) then the file should be usable by the sign company as it is.

  As far as the plastics are concerned, the sign company may again be a good source of information, since they use many kinds of plastics.  Though, they probably don't use the tough kind the original poster (DMCG) is looking for.  They may still be able to get it, or refer you to their plastics supplier.

  Please, if anyone follows through on the task of contacting a sign maker about laser cutting shadow puppets, post your findings here for us all to see.

Joe Dunfee                 
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