Laser Cut Golden Gate Bridge

Spoiler, basically I just followed this instructable about how to laser cut the golden gate bridge and, after a couple little blips, I came out with what you see here.  The linked article may very well be an excellent tutorial, but out of busy-ness or laziness--I’m not sure which--I’ll admit that I never actually read the article.

Which turned out to be a great learning experience.  

It started yesterday afternoon, when the 3D printer was down and I noticed a gleaming red piece of acrylic in the scrap bin below the laser cutter.  I had just read the instructable linked to above and, being from San Francisco I wanted to have a go at laser cutting the Golden Gate Bridge.

So I downloaded the file provided in the instructable thinking this would be a super quick print-and-assemble job, but I was disappointed to find that there were about 30 copies of the bridge in the file. The file also had the authors name printed on the bridge and the word instructables, neither of which I want sullying my little bridge.  Here is my modified file.

In my first cut the sheet of acryllic was about 3 times thicker than the one that the instructable writer must have used, so the “road” part of the bridge did not fit through the corresponding holes on the tower.  I was also very dissapointed to find that the writer had designed the bridge to scale, which means it is extremely long and awkward looking (iconic views of the bridge are almost always at a steep > 45 degree angle).

I could have easily resized the bridge in the file in about 3 clicks, but by that point the 3D printer was up and running again, so I popped in the thin clear sheet of acrylic that you see in the picture, cut it out, tied some rubber bands on, and now I have a little memento of my far away home on my desk.  (In the process of rubber banding, I broke the "road" in half, so the dimensions you see in the picture will be twice as wide if you cut the file as-is).

If you want to know how to laser cut the bridge, you're probably better off reading the instructable.  But if you want to learn about how the thickness of your material affects your assembly--a lesson I learn again and again on the laser cutter, which you always forget has a third dimension, I recommend giving it a couple of tries with the file provided above.