It looks like many of the DioWarriors props are becoming hybrids: first we introduced FDM combined with SLA 3D printing for many of our props. Now we are combining 3D printing with laser cutting.
We recently got involved with laser cutting. Late last year we received our laser cutter, but it sat in the corner of the workshop for a few months. There is a learning curve with laser cutting. We do a lot of 3D printing which means we design models in 3D, not 2D that a laser cutter needs. Even though many 3D CAD programs offer the ability to convert a 3D model to 2D, it is not the same as designing the model in 2D. So we had to learn new software and design new models.
With the laser cutter itself you're dealing with focus, speed, and beam intensity. There is also the factor of the material you're working with. Many materials like to burn, others like to melt. Settings on the laser machine is a balance between cutting and burning -- if the laser moves too slow the beam might be too hot that wood might burn, or plastic might melt, welding itself together.
Combining laser engraving and cutting with 3D printing is opening a whole new world of possibilities. To illustrate, DioWarriors recently started a Sci-Fi theme. The first set of models being a "tactical" display featuring a world map on clear acrylic. Acrylic illuminates well with LED lights and works well for the Sci-Fi theme. We now have several "tactical" displays and a number of computer consoles with clear acrylic. More are planned, such as holographic displays, tactical tables, even medical scanners.
Other themes are planned as well. Wood and plastic are big on the list, and there's many themes we can use wood for. These materials work well with laser cutting and are widely available. We're still experimenting, though, so you'll see things posted that have nothing to do with diorama or props. 1:1 scaled stuff such as Zippo lighters and drink coasters (cork and even stone and slate). You will also see other things that are not diorama props, but are props for the Action Figure collector. Lighted displays are going to be interesting and can make for good attention grabbers for a collection. You'll see some of these ideas in action at the 2018 GI Joe convention (be sure to stop at the DioWarriors table.)
So, for now, you'll see a lot of random stuff and some props. We're still at the experimental stage, but the future is going to be exciting. If you have ideas for laser cutting, please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section.
Latest News blog thingy.