Kickstarting The Origami, a new kind of portable laser-cutter

Created by a team from Pittsburgh's Techshop makerspace, the Origami uses a novel, fold-out arm that lets you laser-etch and -cut much larger designs than you could get into a normal, enclosed cutter.

It mounts either horizontally or vertically -- you can etch walls. They're looking for $80K to buy the components so they can assemble and start shipping. $4200 gets you a cutter of your own. None of the team list any product development experience, which is a potential red flag, though they've built an impressive prototype and have lots of experience with small-scale production and administration. As with any crowdfunding project, remember that you might end up with nothing at all for your money.

The Origami laser is portable. It folds to save space, and it can be used in a variety of orientations (horizontal for tables, vertical for walls and windows, etc.). It has no limiting enclosure so users can create monumental works of art by indexing and moving the laser across the work area. You can take this laser to wherever and to whatever needs lasering. And really, what doesn't need a good lasering? (The answer is obviously people and animals -- please use your laser responsibly!)

The secret to the Origami's versatility is its patented folding arm technology as well as its self-contained ventilation system. No giant hoses and special electrical hookups are needed to run the laser; simply carry it to your project, plug it in, open the arm, and begin personalizing your world! (Proper safety goggles are important, as with any laser)

(Thanks, Ollie!)

Notable Replies

  1. Neat. I'd love to play with one these smile On the other hand this seems like an ideal tool for creating industrial accidents. A laser cutter beam can punch right through the laser opacity of safety glasses.

  2. How are they going to deal with ventilation? I just got a laser cutter at work with a ventilated, enclosed work area and co-workers are complaining about the smell.

  3. "Ships within the US only" - boooo!

  4. zarg says:

    Yikes! That ANSI document is over $170. Care to publish your safety training course, or at least a decent summary? I feel like I'd have a better time believing that this open air laser is safe if I could see how much is involved in using it safely.

  5. Edit: There are quite many laser safety documents from various university labs, floating all over the Net. Mostly distills into eyewear, safety interlocks, preventing of specular reflections (at lasers with power low enough that diffuse reflections aren't a hazard), and some tables of safe distances/powers. And not putting hands into the beam when it is on, though in this case the result will be likely at most unpleasant but not really dangerous burn.

    And beware of laser fires, or, the materials being cut catching fire. It happens to everybody. Be prepared and do not panic and just blow it off or smother if it gets bigger.

    A bit here:
    Only the CO2-related things apply. Similarly, from the non-beam hazards, only the high voltage applies, as there are no cryo or high-pressure issues, and maybe a bit of the plume-related ones.

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