Laser Puzzle Project

While visiting a friend and his new laser, we were playing with some of the projects that can be done. I created this puzzle as a test of how precise the laser can cut. This laser has a particularly fine/thin cut line.

The above picture is the completed puzzle. It is just under 5 inches square. Each piece piece is about 1 inch square.

Inside the software I took the Morristown Makers logo and put it in a box so that it was defined in size and would stay in the center when I lined it up. Without putting it in a rectangle/square, the laser software would have drawn the logo without any margin around it. I could have put a mark in the center of the project to line up the next cut, but it would have been blasted by the laser when it burned the logo in place. So I started the cut in the top left corner.

Then I used a puzzle piece generation website to create the pieces. I found it by searching for “svg puzzle generator” on Google. I just chose the first one and it worked great.

The settings were self explanatory once I played with the numbers. There are no instructions on the site.

  • Seed: seems to be a number that changes the layout based on some algorithm. If you set all the other parameters the same, you can generate the exact puzzle by setting this number to what you had before. That allows you to generate the SVG in the same way as previously, or insure you are generating a different SVG each time. There are 10,000 different numbers to choose from.
  • Tab size: is the size of the tab in percent based on the length of the side. You can go up to 30%, though the default of 20% is just about right.
  • Jitter: a number that changes how wonky the tabs look in relationship to a circle. Only goes up to 13%, but the default 4% works well.
  • Tiles: how many pieces you want across and down.
  • Size: in mm of how big you want the puzzle to be.
  • Download: download the puzzle SVG.

I then imported that puzzle grid into the laser software and cut the puzzle around the logo.

I am not putting in all the settings for the laser because that is very dependent on your laser power and material you are cutting. I will say that this very thin plywood (about 2 mm) that I used is probably just about the perfect thickness for making a puzzle.

My friend’s laser is an xTool D1 Pro 10W diode laser. It was fun playing with a different laser. I am very impressed with how capable this laser seems to be for such low wattage. The shop has a 40W CO2 laser (which is probably only about 30W according to most things I’ve read). But this little 10W laser is simple to use and very capable.