Laser skill tree: what would you add?

One of my best friends, and an all-round excellent human has asked me to help her make a skill tree for laser cutting!

Here’s the 3D printing version to give you an idea:

And because I am a mere mortal, I thought maybe we could all work on it together? What ideas do you have? :blush:

Here are some prompt questions to help jog ideas:

  • What kinds of hurdles do you have to overcome when starting? E.g. perfecting settings (line interval, speed/power, kerf offset), setting up proper exhaust, run a multi-layer job, etc)
  • What kinds of techniques are fun and interesting to try? E.g. edge lit acrylic, box joints, engrave a photo, custom-fit a part to something irl, solve a problem around the house using a laser, tile engraving, marquetry, interesting materials (rock, leather), make your own custom vector, auto trace your first image, engrave a single-line font etc)
  • What kinds of tools/equipment are there to try? E.g. box/puzzle generators, top down and head mounted camera, AI for image engraving, fiber laser, co2, diode, CAD software, generate custom designs from a CSV, use an array to lay out copies of a job, leverate the an offset, save your settings to a library etc

Please don’t feel restricted by these questions, if you have other ideas that don’t fit into these I wanna hear them! :blush:

Some of these may help

Beginner - Laser Cutting & Engraving Skills

  1. Basic safety and equipment handling
  2. Basic material selection
  3. Basic file preparation (vector & raster)
  4. Basic cutting & engraving techniques

Intermediate - Basic machine maintenance

  1. Advanced safety and equipment handling
  2. Advanced material selection
  3. Advanced file preparation
  4. Advanced cutting & engraving techniques
  5. Multilayer cutting & greyscale engraving

Expert - Machine calibration and troubleshooting

  1. Master safety and equipment handling
  2. Master material selection
  3. Master file preparation
  4. Master cutting & engraving techniques
  5. Complex 3D cutting & 3D engraving
  6. Custom toolpath generation & halftone engraving
  7. Machine optimization and customization



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these are really good


Love love love these thank you Shane!! You’re a gem!!

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under expert / Intermediate / beginner you didn’t comment that -“This Machine Can and Does produce Radiation .” example the laser tube power supply is what they use for CRT (Cathode Ray Tubes) old style TV’s Monitors.
Please Refer to line # 1

Can you provide some more info? I’m not sure I’m fully understanding what you’re saying.

n general, laser radiation is not in itself harmful , and behaves much like ordinary light in its interaction with the body. Laser radiation should not be confused with radio waves, microwaves, or the ionizing x-rays or radiation from radioactive substances such as radium.

But light can, and does, regularly burn people (I live in Australia and know this all too well).

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mmmm… Even enough light from one of those 5mW LASER pointers will cause cataracts. So maybe most tissue won’t interact with it any differently, but eyes, do.
Don’t ask me how I know this.

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IMO, the tree should remain mostly on hobby level (ie. no CO2 / fiber lasers), with perhaps a few items on more professional goals (eg. at a makerspace).
Some items of the laser tree can be reused / adapted (eg. cut / engrave a gift, something functional, design a vector model yourself, get something from a design site like Thingiverse, upload with open source license, teach a friend, create an Instructable or similar, etc.).
Other goals can be: cut wood, engrave various surfaces (wood, metal, acrylic, stone, etc.).
Make a multilayered wood model. Build a box or tool organizer. Make a flexible joint. Make a 3D engraving.
Lot of things to add…

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goggles , eye protection no mention of other saftey protocols that are first of step

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