Tabs and Slots with Your Laser Cutting – Tooli Paint Pen Holder Assembly
I’ll show you how to assemble my Tooli Paint Pen holder today. But first, you should review the full video to ensure you understand the importance of modifying the laser file based on the thickness of your materials.
Why You Should Modify the Laser File for Tabs and Slots
Understanding that no two materials will be the same thickness is essential when working with laser files with tabs and slots.
Materials will vary from type, source, and even the batch they come from when it comes to thickness.
Just because that MDF says, it’s .25 inches doesn’t mean that is exact. I measured a piece of .25 MDF today, which was .21 inches.
When designing laser files that require tabs and slots to build the final piece, the measurements matter so that tabs fit the slots and that cut parts are flush with each other.
When you don’t measure your materials, you’ll find that there will be gaps or even tabs poking out from the sides where they should be flush, resulting in a piece that won’t function properly.
This laser file, the Tooli Paint Pen Holder we are making, requires precision because of all the tiny holes for the pens. The holes are all .45 inches in diameter. If the inside portion that keeps the pens from falling at an angle is not precise, it can ruin your pens or make it difficult to put them in their place.
How to Measure the Thickness of Your Laser Materials
Start by obtaining a decent caliper. I have a cheap one from Amazon that does a fantastic job. Just be sure to buy some extra batteries, as I have found that mine get left on from time to time, and they drain.
Turn on your calipers and reset them to zero. If you want to work in MM or Inches, you can choose this. Open up the calipers by siding them open. Then close them up on various edges of your materials to get a thickness measurement. Moving it around in a few locations results in a tiny variance, and I generally go with the average or the one number I see the most.
Your measurement is the thickness of the materials you are working with now. It can change if you buy a new batch or even in the box you just pulled this material from, so double-check.
Adjusting Your Laser Files for Tabs and Slots
Now that you have a good measurement, you should start by running a test.
I’ve provided a test laser file piece for the Tooli Pen Holder in this laser file. Follow along with my video below to learn how to use that and make adjustments.
While using Adobe Illustrator in the first portion of the video, I show how you can adjust using Lightburn later. This process is the same across many apps; they use different terminology, and the locations might vary on where to find the features. Watch the entire video to get a good understanding.
Always work on a copy of your file to have the original for later use.
Assembling the Final Laser Cuts of the Tooli Paint Pen holder
It’s essential to work quickly. Allow the glue to get tacky, and not fully cured. This way, when you work in the order I show you in this video, you can ensure your pieces will fit properly and flush. It will be challenging to align if you wait for the glue to dry between pieces fully.
Links Mentioned In Tooli Paint Pen Asselby – tabs and Slots with Laser Files
Adobe Illustrator and Lightburn (used in this video, but can be applied to other apps, using different terminology)
Let me know if I missed something!
*The items marked with an asterisk in this blog post are affiliate links, and I receive some compensation when you click the links and purchase through them. I only promote products and services I have used personally and continue to support. I am not affiliated with Tooli, but I do love their products!