Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Stimulated emissions

"You know, I have one simple request! And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads." - Dr. Evil

When Ian Fleming wrote 'Goldfinger' he had the villain try to kill Bond with a circular saw, because that was the highest level of technology they had back then in the dark ages. In 1964 the makers of the film wanted to appear more modern and so replaced the saw with an industrial metal-cutting laser beam; it seemed as much of a fantasy at the time as the Aston Martin with the ejector seat and the machine guns behind the headlights. That is of course because it really was fantasy; such things did not actually exist. Even someone as imaginative as my eight year old self would not have dreamed that I would one day be able to twist a knob and turn the power of a laser beam up to 11, but lo, it has come to pass. Slightly disappointingly, it's done by entering a number on to a screen rather than yanking a lever, and to be precise I didn't so much increase the energy as slow down the speed at which the beam travelled over the surface. Still, and as you would expect, I did wear a dinner jacket and bow tie.

It's been about three weeks since I first mentioned the laser cutter, so why the delay? And what have I actually done with it? Well, at first there was obviously the impact of my operatic tour to North Wales, and since then I have been concentrating on the design phase. That is a euphemism for 'I have been struggling with the software'. As regular readers will appreciate, I am of a frugal nature and so have been using a free CAD programme which I found online, with all the concomitant problems. In addition the control software for the machine itself is both old and clunky which hasn't helped. However, and after a couple of false starts, I have now produced the following:

As a proof of concept I am very happy with it. I just need to finalise the dimensions, design all the complicated bits like corners and towers, and buy some better glue, following which the walls of Constantinople - and everywhere else because I am only going to make one set - will be ready for the games table.


  1. Looks great, especially for a first attempt. Really wall done, sir!

    (runs away)

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