I really like laser cutters. They are like a 2.5D copy machine. We have two in our fablab =). For this weeks project I worked on a design for a simple gift-card automata. First I got the dimensions and mechanics right using plywood, my bandsaw and a Dremel. Then I scanned the pieces and traced them in illustrator. Then I exported the vector file to the laser cutter. Our big Chinese cutter is not exactly a precision champion. It’s difficult to find the sweet spot between distance, power and speed to match the material. A rushed setup produced a somewhat charred result, but fine enough to test the assembly. If you want to give it a try download the vector files (ai, svg and dxf): WhyYouCry .
Right now the assembly require 3mm. wood dowels and eventually a bit of glue. I might revise the design to be a fully laser cut solution. Another enhancement could be to print and transfer graphics to the wood before it is cut (http://www.instructables.com/id/Image-Transfer-to-Wood/), you can of course just paint it afterward with acrylics.
If you make one, please tweet me a picture @RonaldXJT!