Would like to try making this on Thingiverse but have a few questions

I saw this on Thingiverse and was interested in trying to make one for myself using the laser cutter.


I just also recently joined and completed the online training class for the laser cutter. Should I try to do this using one sheet of Acrylic using the svg file? Can the other file formats listed there be used in Lightburn? What size sheet should I get for this? The thingiverse entry doesn’t list that at all. Any good places locally to get colored Acrylic sheets 3mm thick?

I would rather ask before attempting something like this for the first time.

Cool dragon.

This is a very complicated project - not so much because of the number of pieces (although that’s going to be challenging also) but because the fit must be precise. The creator has planned for a specific but unidentified amount of laser kerf in sizing the pieces.

You will probably have to experiment to get things to fit. Be aware that plastic that is nomenclatured as 1/8 inch may or may not measure 1/8 inch. Different colors may also be very slightly different thicknesses. IDK if you can buy 3mm plastic … but it’s my experience that so-called 1/8" acrylic is a little thin so it may actually be closer to 3mm.

Here are some specific thoughts for you:

1. Artwork

You need the svg file. The others appear to be various rendering, etc. files. First you have to open the artwork (svg files) and make sure all the vector outlines are 0.001". When I open the file in Illustrator it thinks the vectors are 0.0139" which will cause it to want to engrave and not vector cut. You can make this change in Inkscape or Adobe Ilustrator.

2. Plan to cut in smaller batches

The svg file is sized for a sheet that’s 45" x 30.1". I think you will have poor results if you try to cut everything on that sheet in one batch. You will find that the laser bed(s) are not perfectly level and the settings in the rear LH corner can be quite different than the settings in the front RH corner of the bed. You could cut it all from one sheet using multiple cuts, but edit the artwork to separate the pieces into separate batches (using different vector colors) and then refocus for each local cut.

3. Buy your plastic.

IMO, best place to get acrylic is Allied Plastic on Shady Trail. They carry just about every color possible and they’ll sell you as much or as little as you want (i.e., you don’t need a full sheet).

4. Experiment on the plastic that you bought.

(a) Cut two small pieces that are intended to interlock, trying a couple different power/speed settings. See if they actually fit together.
(b) If they do … you’re golden. Lay out your pieces into however many colors/sheets you want using the svg file. Break into smaller local batches like I described above. Be forewarned that as the laser lens gets dirty the settings can change over time so you want to be cutting as close (temporally) to your experimenting.
(c) If they don’t fit … you’re going to have to modify all the pieces to make them fit - or plan to file a lot of tabs/slots. Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw can both use either svg or dxf files (dragon base only), but be forewarned that dxf files tend to have disconnected segments. I’m most familiar with Illustrator, which has a function where you can offset an existing vector path without redrawing the vector. CorelDraw has something equivalent but IIRC it’s a little more kludgy.

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I found a local source for acrylic sheets starting at 24" x 48" and they told me that the 1/8" thick sheets is also 3mm. I also found another remix that was made using the same thickness but they used MDF for it. I was also able to convert the file to PDF. According to Adobe it is 32x18 in. I am wondering if this is the same thing as the other link. The only difference is the file format.


Looking at the original link. Is there an easy way to convert ecp, ini or g00 files to svg? If so then that will have it split into 2 separate files which I can then look into possibly splitting into even more files.

Measure one of the slots in the file to determine if it’s scaled correctly. It should be about 1/8". The svg imported into Illustrator measures about 0.130" so it’s about right.

Is it a vectorized pdf file, or just a printable pdf file?

Vectorized PDF file.

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I have split the big SVG file into 6 smaller svg files. I have the smaller files on the members drive in a folder under my name along with the big SVG file there. Would how I split the big file into smaller files work out better for this project?

Yes, those will work better because you can get a more localized cut. These are the sizes that they read for me when I import them:

dragon1: roughly 19 x 26
dragon2: roughly 17 x 26
dragon3: roughly 8 x 25

However, I think you can still do better.

1. Sheet Size

None of these files will not fit efficiently onto a half-sheet cut (i.e., 24") so you may want to rearrange them into something <24 inches tall.

For instance, I can easily get dragon1 into an area 17x23.5:

and dragon2 into 16 x 23.625

2. Square area

The best case is that your cutting area is approximately square; i.e., it minimizes the extent of travel and therefore the possibility for being out of level. This is especially relevant for your third file. If that file were hypothetically 14" x 15" (just based on the square inches) it would have a better chance of cutting uniformly than something 25" long. (For grins, just visualize something 1" x 25" vs. 5" x 5" and you can see the logic of a square cutting area). I suspect you’re trying to just get the third piece as a cut on the same large sheet and if so then you’re stuck with what you have here (adjusted for 24", of course)

3. Stroke Width

All of your files are stroked with 0.0119" stroke. The lasers will interpret this as a raster (i.e., engraving). They need to be stroked with 0.001" (or the metric/point equivalent) for a vector cut.

4. Color vs cut efficiency

Are these separated by color, or are they all part of the same sheet? If they’re all part of the same sheet, then take some of the small parts from the third sheet and move them into the empty spaces on the first two sheets. No sense wasting those inner areas.