Pew! Pew! 5 things you need to know to start laser cutting

Our own Jeffrey Roe talked to Silicon Republic all about laser cutters. Read an extract of the story below.


Ever dreamed of running your very own laser cutter? Here are five tips to get you started cutting shapes into everyday items like wood or paper.

Laser cutting – sometimes called etching or engraving – is not only one of the coolest ways of bringing a design to life but also, by far, the most accurate.

While it might be easy to design and cut out a small sign by hand, a laser cutter can do so much more, such as the kind of multi-layered lettering and design that even a skilled artist would struggle to execute.


With so many possibilities, you might be wondering: how does the average person get involved in laser cutting and, more importantly, is it prohibitively expensive?

After all, when it comes to laser cutting, my first thoughts usually veer towards the famous scene in the James Bond film, Goldfinger, in which a giant laser gradually edges towards the groin of the British spy.

In reality, laser cutters are far less powerful – and a lot more realistic. Yet they still have enough power to burn through most thin wood, paper or plastic to create a design you need.

To get a look at one in action, popped down to the impressive Tog hackerspace in Dublin where its CEO, Jeffrey Roe, was on hand to take us through what you need to get started.

Read the full story on their website ->

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Lasersaur Upgrade

Last weekend we make slight few upgrades to our Lasersaur making it much easier to control air flow, extraction and power to laser just making it bit easier day to day. Thanks to all members that helped out.


Super Fly Trap

flytrapThis time of year, everyones kitchen seems to be buzzing with tiny fruit flies. If you were taking part in a hackathon to build a fly trap, this one would probably win….. and there’s not an Arduino or a line of code in sight. But what is the mystery mixture in the glass? We hear rumours of beer and vinegar. Drop in to our kitchen to have look.

Games Night Event at TOG


Tog will be hosting a series of short talks about games. Topics will include:

  • Introduction to game design
  • Process of game creation
  • Building interactive games
  • Coding games (tutorials)
  • New games on the market, hot Kickstarters
  • Use of games in education

This will be followed by a night of gaming (we will have Board Games, Mame & Xbox consoles, bring your laptop if you wish). There will be couple free to enter competitions run throughout the night.

Talks will start at 7pm on Friday 30th of September. Please arrive at 6.30pm.


Any speakers who are interested in giving a talk please contact us at or speak to Izzy or Diarmaid in the space.

Each speaker will have 5 to 15 minutes available, although when necessary longer time slots can be assigned.

We hope to SEE you ALL @ TOG on Friday the 30th of September, 6.30pm arrival for 7pm kick-off!

Swollen Lithium Batteries

battery swolenLithium batteries are in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment, and not for the first time.

We noticed that one of our batteries was a little swollen compared to the others. It seemed to be working OK though. We decided to open up the outer wrap to see if it was one cell or all of them, and to see if anything was obviously wrong. The battery was an 11.1V 1300mAHr LIPO. Check out some pics of us cutting off the outer black covering, to reveal that all three cells were swollen. There appeared to be no external sign of damage however. The cells feel as if they are swollen with gas.


We hooked it up to the  IMAX charger to see what kind of capacity our battery had. This battery is about five years old. Its nominal capacity is 1300mAHr. We fully charged it and then discharged it. We were pleasantly surprised to find it at 1095mAHr. That was discharging it at 200mA which is about C/6. By the time the charge and discharge was complete, the pack had swelled even more.


The question now is what to do with this battery. The Internet is full of videos of people doing all sorts of crazy things to lithium batteries too. We won’t be doing any of that here. We won’t be keeping this battery indoors, thats for sure. It could still be useful for some completely remote outdoor application, away from any kind of combustible material. We should probably dispose of it safely though. Note that all of the disassembly, charging and discharging was done outdoors and with lots of PPE.



Wooden Bicycle Pump

wooden pumpWell not quite, but a wooden handle anyway. We don’t just do bits and bytes at TOG! The bicycle pump handle broke and it seemed a shame to dump an otherwise perfectly good pump. So with a bit of nice round wood cut from an old roller blind pole, we made a new handle. Drilled a hole in the handle and a couple of small holes in the metal shaft of the piston to give the glue a bit of grip.

We wanted to use some glue with a little bit of flexibility or “give” in it, instead of something that set rock hard. That seemed to be the way the old handle was fitted. So our old reliable hot glue gun was fired up. It sets hard, but not rock hard. Pump is back in action, good as new, and it even looks a bit rustic with its new wooden handle. We have lots of members interested in bicycle things at TOG. Drop in and see what we get up to. Pics here.