Nowadays any kind of flatwork can be computer produced. There are
laser cutters that take a sheet of material (your choice-- wood,
plastic, some metals, cloth), and busily burn a path through the
material. Sort of like the annual Popular Science Plywood
Construction Project-- but you don't have to allow for the saw blade.
It's the width of the laser beam.
Some of the machines make the laser engraved plaques that are handed
out as awards. Some building kits for model railroaders are laser
There was/is a similar system for ply- (and other) wood that used a
stream of water (laced with grit?) to cut in a similar manner.
--Paul E Musselman
>I wasn't going to add anything but...I had a jeweler, who knew I had an
>interest in computers, show me how he took an artists illustration, played
>with it on a computer to give it 3D relief then with the push of a button
>had a separate machine make a plastic 3-D replica for him to examine. He
>would make any small modifications on his computer model then another
>machine would create a mold. He said he produced the thousands of insignia
>rings awarded the Desert Storm soldiers (I'm not sure if it was a nationwide
>contract or just Fort Bragg) in a couple of weeks. The operation was smooth
>enough to produce special order one of a kind rings and medallions as well.
>He said it used to take up to a year to do the same work by hand. Pretty
>slick. And that was several years ago.
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