Using a laser cutter to make 3D forms, fast
Pushing the boundaries of what is possible with laser cutting, researchers at the Hasso Plattner Institute have discovered how to make 3D objects using a standard 2D laser cutter.
The technique, dubbed LaserOrigami, takes advantage of carefully controlled changes in calibration that are usually the focus of maintaining a clean cut. Instead, a deliberately de-focused laser is used to heat the plastic enough for the material to bend. Gravity does the rest, as the sheet is alternately cut, heated, bent and turned to produce impressively complex forms.
One of the notable advantages of this technique is the speed at which the 3D form can be achieved. Click through for a comparison between 3D printing, traditional laser cutting and LaserOrigami as well as a video of the laser in action.
In the following image, the 3D printed stand on the left took four hours to print. The traditional laser cut version in the center was quick to cut out, but required manual assembly as it is constructed out of 2D parts. Compare this to the LaserOrigami version on the right that was finished in just three minutes with no assembly required.
So how do they do it? Watch the following video to find out!