A friend of mine had a birthday recently and I wanted to make her something cool and personal.

She’s a pretty special person – a Dino Ranger at Bristol Zoo! Not sure there’s anyone else in the world with her job title and skill set… palaeontology, science, teaching, presenting… look her up!

I was inspired by record clocks on etsy, but there was nothing that was just right for her, and they were expensive! DIY-making to the rescue! In the past I’ve ordered stuff cut at online services, but now I’m lucky enough to have access to a laser cutter at work! This is my first self-cut laser project, and the tutorials at Adafruit gave me some confidence to get started – but what to make?

I had an image of my friend running her first tour at the zoo, next to their giant t-rex animatronic dino! Tracing her and the beast in Inkscape gave me a vector file for the cut:

A swift trip to the market found me a couple of records for not much money. I was really upset that T-Rex – the band – just used a generic studio label for their records, but Van der Graaf Generator was an appropriately geeky second choice. The laser cutter needed a bit of fine tuning to get the power and speed right, hence the second record.

***IMPORTANT UPDATE: As JD points out in the comments, cutting vinyl can be really bad for you AND your laser cutter. I was fortunate enough to have access to a laser in a university workshop, which is fitted with an appropriately beefy extraction system. If you don’t, then DON’T try this at home!! ***

Finally, a quartz movement finished it off – the spindle hole on the record was already the perfect size! I’m really happy with the finished product, which cost a grand total of 2 records, a cheap clock mechanism, and a packet of biscuits for the technicians at work (plus a bit of time learning and tracing!). She loved it and it now has pride of place on her wall.





3 Responses

  1. Pingback: Laser Cut DinoClock « adafruit industries blog

  2. JD says:

    Question: I ‘love’ these laser cut record projects. But I was under the impression that cutting vinyl was a no-no for laser cutters? Releases gas that is harmful to us AND the laser cutter itself? If this NOT accurate info? Or are you just a rebel and did it anyways? :)


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