Laser engraving: Laser engraved bean bags

Bean Bag Game

Step by step tutorial

Bean Bag Toss is a game that originated in the American Midwest and is perfect for summer BBQ's! In our tutorial you can create your own game by laser cutting and laser engraving various components.


Preparation

Required materials:

  • 2 - 61 x 122 cm sections of 1.3 cm plywood
  • 4 - 5 x 10 x 122 cm plywood for the frame
  • 4 - 5 x 10 x 61 cm plywood for the frame
  • 4 - 5 x 10 x 29 cm plywood for the legs
  • 4 - Carriage Bolts
  • 4 - Washers
  • 4 - Wing nuts
  • Paint
  • High gloss varnish, both spray and brush on

Laser machine used:

  • Speedy 500, 200 watts with a 2.0 inch lens for plywood boards
  • Speedy 300, 120 watts with a 1.5 inch lens for bags

You can use any Speedy series laser engraving machine in the creation of this sample.


Step by Step

Step 1: Laser cutting and engraving the boards

The standard game platform should be a 61 x 122 cm rectangle made from 1.5 cm plywood. The front of the platform stands 6.5 to 10 cm tall while the back of the platform sits 30 cm off the ground.

In this example we used the SP500 large format laser cutting machine. Begin by setting one of the plywood pieces onto the laser bed. As we were laser cutting and engraving at the same time we placed our workpiece sideways. You can also use a smaller laser machine with a pass through and manually cut the plywood down to size with a saw. Many material suppliers will do this for you.

Laser settings

Speedy 500, 200 watts with a 2.0 inch lens
Laser Engraving: Power: 70%, Speed: 100%, Frequency: 500ppi, Z offset: 0.5cm (for a nice dark laser engraving mark), Air Assist: ON
Laser Cutting: Power: 100%, Speed: 0.50%, Frequency: 1000Hz, Air Assist: ON


Step 2: Building the Box

Once all parts have been laser processed you can now assemble the box. Use the 5 x 10 cm pieces to build two 61 cm x 122 cm rectangles using two screws on each corner. Attach one sheet of plywood to each of the 5 x 10 cm using the drywall screws. In our example we used four in the top and bottom and evenly spaced them. Every 30 cm down the piece we put a screw. To make sure the bean bags do not snag counter-sink the screws.


Step 3: Leg Assembly

Now it's time to assemble the legs. Get the 5 x 10 x 29 cm for the four legs. Make a full 9 cm radius cut on one end of each leg. For an accurate cut, measure 4.5 cm down the length of the 5 x 10 piece and draw a line across it. Place a compass point centered on that line then draw the arc. Use a jigsaw for cutting.

Turn the box upside down; lay a leg parallel, making sure it is flush up against one of the top corners with the radius side in the corner. Clamp into place. From the inside of the box, make a mark in the centre of the 5 x 10 vertically inside the radius. Drill a 1.3 cm hole through the side of the box and the support leg.

Use pairs of carriage bolts, washers and wingnuts to fasten the legs to the platform. This allows the legs to rotate for easier storage.


Step 4: Painting and varnishing

The next step is to paint the sides of the box. Use wood filler to fill any holes and wait for it to dry before painting. Mask off the outside top of the box, then using high gloss paint cover the sides of the box and then the 2.5 cm strip on the top of the box with at least two coatings.

Once the paint has dried coat the top and sides of the box with a high gloss varnish to protect the engraved area. This allows the bags to slide on contact whilst not making the surface too slippery. As darker laser engravings are prone to smudging we coated the engraved areas with a few layers of spray polyacrylic before using the heavier brush on version. Between 5 and 10 coats should be the maximum required as you want the laser engravings to be smooth and not interupt the sliding of the bags.


Step 5: Bags

Bean bags are made from canvas materials filled with plastic pellets and typically measure 15 x 15 cm. We ordered the bags from Victory Tailgate and then used a Speedy 300 laser engraving machine to personalise them with a logo. When processing apply minimal laser power  to the material so that it is bleached whilst retaining it's integrity.

Laser settings

Trotec Speedy 300, 120 watt
Laser Engraving: Power: 30%, Speed: 100%, Frequency: 500ppi


Step 6: Game on!

Now that you've assembled your table and customised your bean bags, it's time to start playing!