Using lowrider to laser cut mockup parts for automotive frame mounts

Eventually I want to build a plasma setup, but I don’t have one yet. Still, the lowrider is useful to help in the prototyping process, used it to laser cut cardboard that I’ll trace on steel parts that I’ll cut out by hand. Also the cardboard mockup is useful to make sure that the design should work and clearances are good.
Part is a transfer case frame mount.


That looks great!

1 Like

So you are using CAD (Cardboard aided design) for making the frame mounts! I like it!


Dude! That’s an awesome idea!

I feel kinda stupid now. There’s so many times I’ve tried to design something that I needed to test. Typically I’d print it on a piece of paper and then hold it up and compare by eye. I never thought of cutting it out of cardboard and actually building the thing :confused:

I have a project coming up that will have a few flat parts for mounting electronics and stuff. I’ll have to use this idea for testing the plate before drilling all the holes in the final part.


I do the same, but with mdf. Here is a bell crank I’m working on.

Also, depending on how much steel you need to cut and how much you enjoy cutting it, don’t overlook sending your cad over to a metal fab shop. Laser or water jet can be pretty affordable if you don’t mind waiting. Some shops will cut you a deal if they can work it into another batch.


I’m not the best welder or fabricator, but I feel like this should be solid.


I love it!

Looks good. Your welds look like mine.

Come to find out, my odd truck is more odd than I thought. Turns out it is lacking a cross member that the typical US model has, causing compatibility issues with the aftermarket upgrade parts Im attempting to install. So more cardboard prototyping happened.


Yeah, that’s definitely going to hold! Nice job! :slight_smile:

I really like the cardboard prototyping method you’re using. It’s quick and iterative.

What laser are you using on your machine? Looks like it’s doing a great job

1 Like

It’s a “40w” diode laser by annoy tools from Amazon. It’s still working but cutting ability has dropped off significantly since I bought it in May. Looking for a more reliable, longer lasting diode solution. Considering the endurance laser options but not sure if those will hold up better than the Chinese options.

1 Like

I have endurance lasers. Don’t go there. Poor quality builds and shady business practices. At least they use quality components for the most part but the way they built my 5.6 watt is a joke. It doesn’t point straight and they made the airflow to cool the diode impossible to get right. Really stupid.


Good to know. I might try one from Neje then, not much more expensive than what I have now and I have seen a few good reviews. The one I have now worked amazing when I first got it, it’s possible I pushed it too hard and should’ve been more careful about the duty cycle or something like that.

I too am an advocate of cardboard prototyping!

What did you eventually use to cut out the steel parts?

1 Like

I didn’t try it but I saw this video a while back and it could be an interesting idea for a more powerful diode laser. The guy doing the video seemed to like it at least…

1 Like

Angle grinder and sawzall. Crude, but it’s what I have access to.

1 Like

That’s the one I’m considering. Every review I have seen is positive but the part I’m concerned with is if the power drops off after a few months of normal use.

Have you checked to see if the lens is dirty? That would have a significant impact on cutting power.

1 Like

I tried this idea out last night for something similar. I’m trying to design some inserts in kaisen foam. Thought I’d try cutting them out of cardboard to test.

It worked great. Thanks for the idea! (although my design was wrong, so I’m still working on that)

1 Like