EVA & Lasercutter experiments

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by James1214, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. James1214

    James1214 New Member

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    Hello All. I know this post is not technically about a "costume", however I think the info I plan to share will mostly be utilized by others in costume making, I hope it is helpful.

    I have been thinking for a long time about using a laser cutter on EVA foam to make very detailed parts, both rastered and cut.

    Thankfully I work at a shop that has an Epilog Legend36 EXT, it is the 40 watt model. We are encouraged to experiment with materials and techniques, so today on my lunch I played around and this little guy was the result.


    It is for my son's first halloween costume (he is due October 2) Ill be Chewie and he's gonna be Han....

    I started with a quick file drawn up in corel, took like 15 minutes

    han baby blaster.png

    Then rastered: Speed was 35 and power was 20


    Then I cut it out: power was 50 and speed was 30. It cut about halfway through the 1/2" mat I was using, this wasn't the biggest issue for me, as I was planning on thinning the material down and gluing the 2 halves together, however further experimentation will have to be done to see what it takes to fully cut through 1/2" EVA. Also playing with the speed, and multiple passes at lower power to get clean edges.


    Bic for scale. All in all I'm very pleased with the level of detail I was able to achieve, this detail is probably overkill for most things where EVA foam would be utilized, but with a total run time of 11 minutes and 45 seconds to raster and cut the whole thing I think its a pretty good proof of concept, and illustrative of what is possible.
  2. James1214

    James1214 New Member

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    also, one other bit of info is that the trigger guard was just too thin, it ended up burning away when it was cut out, but the EVA there was 1/16" or less
    Utri likes this.
  3. Utri

    Utri Active Member

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    Very cool!
  4. Badgersbunk

    Badgersbunk Active Member

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    That turned out pretty nice for a quick experiment.
  5. James1214

    James1214 New Member

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    Thanks! I'm gonna run some more tests tomorrow at lunchtime. Will report back with cut depths vs the relative powers and speeds. The tests will be a little more scientific than the mini blaster.

    Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk
  6. James1214

    James1214 New Member

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    Ok following up, I ran a test with differing power on the cutter. The speed was 50 for it all.



    I ran the lines with the power level noted above them.

    The depths are as follows:

    20: 5/64"
    40: 1/8"
    50: 5/32"
    60: 11/64"
    80: 3/16"
    100: 13/64"

    It took 3 passes at 100% power and 50 speed to get most of the way through the sheet, I think 4 would have gone all the way through. Also, you can see in the photo of the side of the sheet the laser did not affect the whole cut in a uniform manner, it cut through more effectively in the areas that were already "scored" by the laser. This leads to a different texture to the cut in the area. I'm thinking that if using this technique for making panel lines on armor you would want to but the outline of the panel before cutting the details, as this could ultimately lead to a cleaner edge, although this could also not be a huge deal. Of course a little divot in a test piece is something you hone in on, whereas in the context of a whole suit, its a nominal and insignificant issue.

    Next test will be to change speed with power remaining constant.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
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  7. James1214

    James1214 New Member

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    So work has been crazy and I haven't had the free time to test out stuff, still a project I'm going to be working on.

    I did do some crafting this evening doing some other work on the kid's Han Solo costume. He's due Friday and I'm dealing with all the crazy excitement and anticipation by making things for him. Been doing a bunch of woodwork too. Happy times. Used craft foam for the holster, puffy paints for the stripes on the pants.


    Admittedly, I feel a little funny making my unborn son a Halloween costume.... But I already love him with every fiber of my being.

    Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk
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  8. Brien

    Brien Well-Known Member

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    I was lucky enough to work in a shop with a decent laser. I used it to cut foam for pep armor all the time. I never got around to using it to etch designs but I can see I missed the boat on it. Looks great
  9. Beard

    Beard Member

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    Awesome! I never thought to use a laser, this is why theRPF is awesome, people continually think outside the box. I work in a shop with a pretty good machine, gonna have to do some tests of my own
  10. clonesix

    clonesix Sr Member

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    It is beautiful, but I am pretty sure that is done on a $16K machine. I appreciate the test runs. Nice job,

    Somewhere, there is a thread reviewing the latest in laser cutters for $2K. Not a bad price, but Cloud dependent.
  11. James1214

    James1214 New Member

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    I have no idea how much this machine cost. It is an older model they don't make anymore. However with Techshop and other makerspaces popping up, it isn't impossible for people to access laser cutters with relative ease. I do feel lucky to have one at my disposal to experiment and play with. I hope my playing around can help folks achieve exciting and new ways to improve their crafting.

    Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk
  12. Bedon292

    Bedon292 Active Member

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    That is the Glowforge, I just ordered one, and will definitely be doing these experiments when I get it in. While it is currently cloud dependent, they are open sourcing the firmware, so you can make the modifications and not worry about being dependent on them. That was a big plus for me.

    The experiment looks awesome so far. Have you tried upping it to 100% but also cutting faster? From what I have heard EVA requires high power to make the cuts clean. Otherwise the material absorbs the IR from the laser and melts a bit along the edges. It makes them a bit rounded like yours are. Might be able to chop right through a 1/4" with the right settings.

    Or you could also do that same experiment but keep power at 100% and adjusting speed.

    Keep up the good work.

    CLOTHAR Active Member

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    Very cool project, and very cool research. Thanks for sharing!
  14. Sinned

    Sinned Well-Known Member

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    I just recently started using a laser cutter for some projects, and was wondering how it would do with EVA....then find this thread. Thank you for sharing!

    The one I have access to is also an Epliog, but 60 watts. Now I'm doubly anxious to give it a try.

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