In this fascinating talk at TED, Catarina Mota from Open materials demonstrates the incredible properties of smart materials, and explains how important it is that all of us in the maker community get access to them, experiment and test them so new uses for them can be found. Many of these materials are kept away from private citizens and others are not available in quantities that a normal person could afford to buy. That is why it is so important that we all show an interest in these smart materials, so the industry will let it free on the market, and they start to pop up in regular stores.
Adam Savage from Mythbusters is interviewed in his private shop by Will from Tested.com, and we get an excellent introduction to laser cutting and CAD. Adam also demonstrates how a simple gear can be designed and laser cut out of acrylic, from the use of a CAD program, to the final machining and finished gear.
If you have ever worked with acrylic sheets, you know that cutting or sawing them leaves very ugly edges. There are many ways to clean up acrylic edges, some more expensive than others. Here are a number of methods and techniques demonstrated, so you can choose which is the most suitable for you. Flame polishing, random orbital sander, buffing wheel, scraping or using a router. No matter which method you use, your finished acrylic sheet object will look ten times more professional and absolutely gorgeous.