As a leader in laser marking, engraving and etching, we believe it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and research within the field. The ways in which we’ve done this include continually updating our website with industry news, as well as attending conferences and trade shows throughout the United States.
Another way that we discover more about the laser industry is by interviewing fellow influencers within the field. By speaking with experts, our goal is to both gain new insights and share that information with our employees and customers.
One of the influencers we’ve chosen to interview is Martin Raynsford, a blogger specializing in DIY laser cutting. On his blog, Raynsford highlights his process of using lasers to create and enhance pieces such as birdhouses, vases and more. We caught up with him to gain insight on how he got started using lasers and how he selects his creations.
- On your blog, you’ve engaged in various projects and given yourself laser-related challenges. How did you first become interested in laser cutting, and why did you choose to create a blog?
I have a degree in automated systems so I built my first CNC machine as soon as I bought a house and had somewhere to put it. It never really worked very well, so when I looked to upgrade I bought myself a laser cutter. I wanted to prove to my wife that I was actually using the expensive new tool so I started cutting one thing a day and blogging about it.
- Your blog has a wide variety of products that you’ve enhanced with laser cutting. How do you decide what projects you’re going to complete, and which one has been the most difficult for you thus far?
I keep a list of things that I want make and experiments I want to try, but once you start laser cutting it’s not hard to keep adding ideas to the list. When I run out of inspiration, I just go back to the list and remind myself of the next thing I wanted to do. The most difficult project would be my carcassonne tile set.
It wasn’t really hard, but it was very time consuming. There are around 100 different tiles in the game and each one is unique and took about 2 hours to draw.
- How do you determine which laser cutters you choose to work with for each project?
I now have the Whitetooth laser cutter from Just Add Sharks, which is an 80W. It fits inside my garage but practically fills the whole space. It’s overpowered for a lot of the delicate pieces of work I do but the real skill is knowing how to use the tool to get the best from it.
- What has been your personal favorite project so far, and why?
The 1000 sharks I made for my thousandth blog post is definitely my favorite. The small sharks were pretty cute already but when I glued them together and made the giant sharks the whole project moved up to another level. It’s another massive project that takes up space in our unit and I can’t find a new home for it, so I expect we’ll give it a grand send off soon by burning it on a camp fire.
There are also many other silly little projects that are my favorites – things like this clamp hanger and these storage bins that I use every single day but I barely even register that they were laser cut anymore.
- Since you created your blog, you’ve gone as far as creating an Etsy shop for your products. What direction do you see yourself going in with the blog as you continue to step even further into the laser industry?
Since I created the blog I had a lot of requests to remake the things that I post, so I was able to quit my job and take up laser cutting full time. I also had a lot of people asking me which laser cutter they should buy which is why we found a high quality laser cutter manufacturer in China and started importing them to the UK. We founded Just Add Sharks with the aim of supplying these machines to UK hobbyists and makers.
- What advice would you give to somebody who has an interest in laser cutting, but no experience?
When I bought my first laser I had no experience with them at all. Cutting one thing a day was a great way to learn, so the key is just to start, and it doesn’t really matter what you cut first. Find your local hackspace and see if they have a machine. Once you have access to a laser and can start cutting things you’ll never want to stop.
You Can Learn More About Lasers Today!
If you’re interested in learning even more about lasers, you can visit Mr. Raynsford’s informative blog.