Today we introduce you to our Mr Beam User Hilmar. He has a lot to tell about himself and his works. For model builders, the article gives an optimal insight into working with our laser cutter. Of course, it is also very interesting for all other users!
Hilmar introduces himself
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers something about yourself.
My name is Hilmar Lange, and I just can't get enough of aeroplane model building. In addition, I have turned my hobby into my job, because I am a product designer and, in particular, a demonstration model builder. This means that when I come home from my day in the workshop, I relax in my hobby workshop.
For almost exactly 20 years (yikes, this year's anniversary!) I've been working part-time as an author and construction plan designer for a model aircraft magazine. This means that I always implement aeroplane ideas from the first draft to an airworthy model aeroplane. The result can then be read in the magazine "FlugModell" and downloaded as a construction plan from its website.
Building model aeroplanes is always a lot of fun for me, but somehow it's actually just a by-product of designing. Without building, I would not know that it works. And then without flying it, I wouldn't know if and how it flies. When all of this has been satisfactorily completed, we usually move on to the next idea.
That sounds like a lot of work. You definitely bring the enthusiasm for it with you. How long have you had a Mr Beam, and what model do you have? How did you find out about us?
Since I spend a lot of time on YouTube and am interested in technical innovations, the algorithm regularly pointed me to Mr Beam some time ago. So my interest was already aroused, and that's when I got a call from the FlugModell editors asking me if I wouldn't like to test the laser cutter extensively in favour of a cooperation. This gave me an open door, and so the Mr Beam in the dreamcut [s] version including the filter system moved into my small workshop in March 2022 (almost a year - already the second anniversary!).
Mr Beam laser cutter as a model building tool
For which projects do you use the Mr Beam as a model building tool exactly?
When it comes to my aircraft projects, I actually attach great importance to the fact that everything can be built conventionally by hand. With balsa wood, plywood and Depron insulating boards, and the tools you can use are cutter knives, jigsaws and even a small band saw with a fine blade.
This is still the case despite the existing laser machine , because not every hobby model maker owns expensive machines. Mr Beam is a fantastic addition and, above all, makes the manufacturing process of the individual wooden parts easier for me. While the machine is working, I can do something else.
What is particularly great about the laser compared to the popular alternative of CNC milling is that you do not have to fix the materials to be processed. In addition, the finest bores can be produced at the same time. And it's also noiseless, apart from the comparatively pleasant noise of the filter fan.
Such a great machine also inevitably arouses some interdisciplinary interests in the household. So from now on it's important to fulfil or the other decoration request from time to time, but for me that's more of a rare side issue.
Simplify processes with the Mr Beam
What problems do you encounter with your projects, and how does Mr Beam support you?
In my case, Mr Beam is ideal because the manufacturing process from my CAD drawing works with very few detours.
For comparison: I usually print out the construction plan from the computer software on paper. Depending on the size of the parts, the paper is joined together and then attached to the material to be processed with a little spray adhesive. After that, I spend a few hours at the band saw in peace and quiet and with ear protection.
With the laser cutter, on the other hand, it looks like this: I upload the CAD file to the laser's memory, insert the material, select the appropriate parameters and press "Start". Now I can devote myself to other tasks during production.
Cutting wood with the Mr Beam
Which materials do you particularly like to process with the Mr Beam and which ones would you like to process?
I realize that because of diode laser technology, some things just aren't possible. For example, the white foam material "Depron" that I love so much is illuminated by the Mr Beam laser to maximum effect, but in no way cut through. However, buying a complex and significantly more dangerous CO2 laser for this reason would simply not be worth it to me. In this respect, I can live quite well with the focus on thinner model construction wood.
From concept to finished model
How do you usually go about building your models? So, from the idea to the finished model?
The first idea of a self-design is always only in the head, but with more or less fog around it. It clears up, but if you just sit down and visualize things.
Regardless of whether you make a pencil sketch or go directly to 3D CAD. Since the result of my work always has to be available digitally anyway, at the latest as a construction plan PDF file, it is a logical conclusion to also do the entire design and construction process digitally if possible.
At some point, you get so used to it that it becomes easy to do. Things get particularly exciting when it comes to constructive details and elegant mechanical solutions. That's my thing, and I spend a lot of time in this technical design phase. The pure appearance of an aircraft, on the other hand, is created comparatively quickly.
So the devil is in the details. Somehow typical for model making! Which implemented model are you particularly proud of?
There are a number of favourites that I always like to take with me to the model airfield and fly there. Soberly speaking, those that are fun in almost any weather and on almost any terrain are my favourites , but I was particularly impressed by the design of my 2.60 m electric glider FAUVETTE. It also flies fantastic. If you want to take a closer look, you can see more here.
Far away from model building
You mentioned it briefly above. What creations do you design when it's not related to model making?
Usually these are practical things, such as a dust protection box for safety goggles in the workshop, or a battery magazine for my countless mignon and micro batteries. The problem is that I often come up with ideas and then actually want to implement them. Other people would look in the situation where they can buy something like that, while I think about how to build it myself.
You have a free wish!
If you had one feature request, what would you wish for our software?
Oh, the first thing to mention is laser cut width compensation. It's only about two tenths of a millimetre, but I often have very small, filigree laser tasks where this dimensional difference is definitely a problem. That's why I always laboriously create a contour offset of 0.1 mm around each component. If the software could do that for me, that would be fantastic.
Secondly, I think it would be great if I could click on the laser contour to add a small break of 1 millimetre, for example. Then the lasered parts would get stuck in the component and not fall out. In the case of model aircraft laser kits, this is usually the procedure so that the a good deal of filigree lasered pieces of wood can be taken, stacked and shipped.
A lot of upgrades are still conceivable for the software, even though I'm aware that you want to keep it as simple and clear as possible. But you can clearly see how close the Mr Beam team is to the customer in the area of social media, e.g. on Instagram. Such wishes rarely go unheeded.
Thank you very much Hilmar for taking the time for our #beamies series! We always find the impressions of our users very interesting and thanks to the feedback we can constantly improve. We are still very relaxed about your model aeroplanes and always look forward to your works.