[hackerspaces] Lasersaur on kickstarter.com wants $10k to develop an open source laser cutter

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Mon May 31 16:49:31 CEST 2010


The idea is simple: Design a laser cutter and make the building
process repeatable for others.

Here's the thing. Laser cutters are traditionally expensive ($30,000
to as much as you can spend) and there are a lot of artist, hackers,
architects, designers, DIYers who could do great things with them- if
they could afford one, or even get regular access to one. Pretty much
anybody who is a maker could benefit from a laser cutter.
Unfortunately, turnkey systems are expensive, and there isn't really a
clear and simple way to build one. We can change this: with roughly
six month of R&D time we can develop a laser cutter which anyone can
build, use, and maintain. Most importantly this system will be open
source which means anyone can improve and modify the design.

Everyone should be able to have a laser cutter! Our goal is to design
a 100W machine which is capable of cutting 1/2" (12.5mm) acrylic,
wood, multiple layers of fabric or thin sheet metal.

Laser cutters are a key technology for making things.

Remember when people couldn't make their own videos, CDs or print out
photos? Me neither (at least we try to forget). In many areas of
media, the last century was quite the read-only culture where a few
gatekeepers would sit on the means to produce everything. Not the best
situation for creativity or for people with lots of cool ideas but no

When you look at robotics and fabrication this is still the case. In
2010, a reasonable laser cutter is still well over 30k and therefore
outside the budget of most of us. However, we are at a point where
this can change. We believe we are able to design a laser cutter that
can be built for under 5k (a 100W version) and a budget version (25W)
for under 3k. It would be completely open source and repeatable.

How this will go down
First of all, we need your support! Your pledge is what makes this
project possible. Once our funding goal is reached, the first
prototype will be formulated. With material testing and debugging
underway we can make a solid alpha system in about 6 months. At this
point, start checking your snail mail box for the alpha kit (see
pledges on how to get one).

Once our alpha testers have had a chance to geek out for a few months,
we will launch into beta with the beta testers. Then collaborators.
Our goal is to launch publicly within a few months thereafter,
releasing the project, documentation and schematics to the greater

We will offer the Lasersaur open source system as kits available to
the public as well as offer documentation online for anyone wishing to
build their system from scratch.

Who we are
We (addie and stefan) are alumi from NYU's ITP and more recently
fellows at Eyebeam in New York City. Both are institutions dedicated
to open source culture and experimentation with cutting edge

As individuals, and as collaborators, we have been designing open
source software since 2002, hardware since 2006, and like sharing our
ideas with the bigger community. Our first open source hardware system
was launched in 2007 (CUBIT: the multitouch system, as well as the
later Touchkit, 2008). These systems were covered internationally and
nationally by media such as MIT Technology Review, The Economist, Der
Standard and even CNN. Over the last half a decade, our open source
hardware has been built and used by hundreds of people, labs and
research universities or institutions. We believe that people should
think globally and act locally and the open source movement has been
instrumental for this.

I was kicking around the same idea with a fellow in Austin, TX a while
back but we had a sub-$1000 price target. I wonder if these eyebeam
fellows will be wise enough to use EMC2? I hope so.

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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