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How to make a DIY cardboard puzzle with the laser (Halloween)

A DIY Halloween puzzle

In the Endurance Lasers lab, we have a great many used mailboxes of various sizes. We thought that would be wise to use them for a number of laser tests before discarding them. Thereto, Halloween is here!

 

Helloween, the last night of October, also called the Eve of All Saints’ Day, is an ancient Celtic holiday widely celebrated in the United States and Canada. Recently, the holiday has become popular in Europe and Russia too.

 

On the Internet, we found a lot of interesting Halloween ideas.

Black Friday has begun! Start making things for fun and business! Contact us!

 

Here are some of them:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljM-cOjscuU

 

 

https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/how-to/g1024/do-it-yourself-halloween-decorations-1010/

 

 

Here are some DIY puzzle projects:

15 Easy DIY Kids Puzzles That Are Fun to Make and Play With

 

Homemade Puzzles – 10 Way to Make Your Own

 

But actually, they have nothing to do with real puzzles; they look more like children’s learning games.

Puzzles are brain twisters that train manual skills, memory, and mental power.

 

We got enthusiastic over the idea to make a sophisticated puzzle and now we’ll tell you what we shaped in the end.

For our experiments, we chose 40/0, 22 cardboard. It is rather thin and firm and looks almost the same as the one used for traditional puzzles.

 

First of all, we run the engraving and cutting test tables on our diode 10  watt PLUS PRO laser. It is a must thing to do to get beautiful clean cutting edges.

 

During the test we found out that the best parameters for cardboard engraving and cutting are as follows:

 

Engraving:

Speed – 800mm/min

Power – 10%.

 

Cutting:

Speed – 1000mm/min

Power – 100%.

 

Test your cardboard too before lasing it. Cardboards made by different manufacturers have different properties!

Using the Coral Draw program, we created our basic puzzle design. You can use any other program for vector images.

Happy Halloween outline
Happy Halloween outline

Download diy puzzle files (Lightburn, G-code, Corel Draw) (zip)

 

 

Here is our pattern with a pumpkin image, inscription, and puzzle pieces.

We export the finished pattern as an SVG file and import it to LightBurn.

 

Now we can start compositing a would-be puzzle.

 

First of all, we need to divide the pattern into groups. We do it through the right-click menu.

Now we need to set cutting parameters for the puzzle pieces.

 

See a screenshot below:

Lightburn settings

 

The parameters for the pumpkin engraving are as follows:

Lightburn settings

Use an air-assist by all means and safety goggles when you laser cut and laser engraved!

An airflow will ensure smooth and clean cutting. The cardboard will neither burn nor smolder.

 

The goggles will protect your eyes from the diode laser radiation and preserve your eyesight.

Getting started with Endurance diode lasers – focusing, settings, parameters, misc

 

It is required to use an exhaust hood to remove the products of cardboard combustion. If you don’t have an exhaust hood, ventilate or air the room well.

 

How to make an enclosure for Ortur Laser Master 2

 

Exhaust boxes are available on our site!

 

Now we can start cutting and engraving.

We set the focus and run the process!

 

As a result, we have this puzzle.

 

You will certainly agree that our puzzle has very little in common with traditional puzzles that you can buy off-the-shelf, and it does not spark interest.

 

But that was just a kind of practical training before making a sophisticated color version of the puzzle.

We decide to spray our cardboard with paint and make a new try. We have black, white and red paints at hand. We can use that set of colors fairly well.

 

It is possible to buy paint anywhere. On the Internet we find a great many options:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/202354267924?hash=item2f1d411714:g:AxMAAOSw5QlbNfFP

 

First of all, we needed to lay a prime color coat. We paint the pumpkin in the puzzle red and the background white.

Don’t merge the colors, keep the painted areas delimited and wait for the paint to go dry if you want a perfect result. You need a smooth and homogeneous paint coating.

How to make a DIY cardboard puzzle with the laser (Halloween)

After the color coating has dried (around 15 minutes), we paint the entire workpiece black. The black paint should completely cover the red and white paint coats and look smooth and homogenous too. Again, we wait for the paint to dry. Then we proceed to the second step.

 

The cutting parameters are the same, but we need to run the engraving test table anew.

Based on the test results, we see that the optimal speed for black paint removal is 800 mm/min. and 10% power.

Please, keep in mind that your cardboard and paint might differ from ours. So do tests by all means in order to prevent spoiling of the material.

 

Now we are going to change the pumpkin image. We separate all the relief lines of the pumpkin image from its outline and set the processing parameters.

How to make a DIY cardboard puzzle with the laser (Halloween)

We need to do it lest the pumpkin image loses its details, turning into an outline drawing. So we allocate all the details according to their color layers and set up the parameters.

 

The cutting and engraving parameters will remain the same. As for the blue lines in the screenshot, they need different settings:

How to make a DIY cardboard puzzle with the laser (Halloween)

 

In 20 minutes our paint becomes dry and we are ready to start lasering.

Don’t forget about your safety goggles, an air assist, and air extraction!

 

Warning: paint when burning generates hazardous gases.

We start the lasing process and watch as a black cardboard workpiece is turning into a beautiful kit of color puzzles!

When the cutting process is over we take the finished puzzle pieces and enjoy assembling them!

 

Our puzzle is assembled!

 

That is just one of the options, more than that, that is just an experiment.

Using our guidance, you can create any images and pictures on various topics.

Of any size and color!

 

Learn and try with us!

 

 

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