Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Public Laser Map

There are at least 395 publicly available lasers around the world at hackerspaces, makerspaces and fab labs. And about 78% of them have lasers big enough to cut my published 24"x12" panels of parts.

I've spent the last week researching this, trying to convince myself that you've got a fair chance at making your own cardboard surfboard core kit in your own city, country or continent.

If you're in Europe you've got it real good. Fab Labs everywhere.

Australia's laser tally is a bit low, but hopefully some of the hackerspaces there can get the job done. I noticed one of the Sydney hackerspaces, RoboDojo, is pretty well endowed, laser-wise, and has a likely source of sheet cardboard very close by.

The brown icons here are possible corrugated cardboard sources. I'd like to have those on the map elsewhere too, but I've only researched it a bit for OZ, NZ, Hawaii, and California.

In the US, laser coverage is decent for the coastal areas that have actually ordered kits in the past.

Durban and Cape Town? You have lasers.

Japan? A couple places around Tokyo have machines big enough to do my kits.

Machine bed sizes appear on the map for most coastal locations, so you can quickly rule out places that can't cut my kits. I've used millimeter dimensions everywhere, so note that 24" x 12" is about 610mm x 305mm.

I've scoured thousands of web pages for this info. Often it's easy to find. Other times I've gone deep into forums or Facebook photo feeds to find that one mention, or one photo with part of the laser visible in the background, that tipped me off to make and model, so I could look up the specs.

If the dimensions are missing for a place near you, you'll have to click through to its website and do your own research. If it's a place near the coast, you should just call them - I probably already searched deeper than you'll want to online.

If you know of other open-to-the-public laser cutters that should be on the map, send me the info. Thanks.

(The public lasers map is built using Google Maps, and the images above are also derived from Google Maps.)


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