Laser Quilter

When people talk about lasers, some might assume that it's a hulking, steam punk mess that needs goggles to operate without damaging any part of the body. Well, the technology in the 21st Century has really changed what lasers are today. Today, lasers are power tools for cutting unbreakable materials in seconds. But quilter
Donice Reed has one of those power tools was in her basement!

Donice is one of the very few quilters in the whole country (maybe 5?) who uses a lasers to cut fabric for quilting and applique patches and foundation papers. It makes cutting super fast and easy. How Donice gets it done is also fast.
Look at this sci-fi contraption!

1. Put the fabric into the laser machine and turn on the fan that makes sure the fabric doesn't move nor smoke.

2. Load the pattern that will be cut into the fabric from the computer.

3. Focusing the laser level on the fabric.
 
4. Press the start button and watch the laser cut the shape out of fabric in 2 min./fat quarter.

Laser: "I am... cutting fabric for Donice. Bbtttzz"
 
 
See how perfect this intricate cut hibiscus flower shape is?

Donice's laser is so fine, that it can cut the tiniest of pictures out of fabric.

These fabric triangles are 1/4 inch!
 
 
 This perfect little 'B' is smaller than your little fingernail.
 
 These perfect circles were almost too small for Mom to see.
a perfect laser cut out
 
Donice's machine is not just perfect for cutting out fabric. It can also cut wood, acrylic, most anything up to 4" thick. How many pieces of fabric in 4" deep? Doncie says you don't want to try that, as the laser has to be set extra hot when it is asked to cut deeper, so the lower layers of fabric get a little singed. But she can still cut way more at one time than any 3 rotary cutters!
Some might think adding technology to quilting just adds confusion to the mess of fabrics floating around the house. In reality, it makes it easier - and even more fun!
 
 
 Here is a picture of Donice with a neat original applique quilt.
You guessed it, pieces were cut by the laser.
 
Donice and her laser are very busy and very nice, but she will cut your patches for just $25/hr.
Contact Donice at Lilac Mountain Enterprises, (602) 321-0432.



2 comments:

  1. That is really cool! Any idea how much a machine like that would cost? Also wondered what the shape templates are like - are they plastic or paper? Can you just draw something and load it in the machine?

    Thank you for sharing - so interesting!
    Sandi

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting subject and very well written, Miss Alex! You had the who, what, where, when all in there. That's not always the case in articles I read. I look forward to more of your interviews in the future.

    ReplyDelete

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