Laser cut Marble Machines

Demonstrating the impact of changes in scale for laser cutting

Those two guys who just can’t help adding their own magic touch to laser cutting have been at it again. Martin Raynsford and his enthusiastic colleague Dominic Morrow kicked off the New Year by revisiting an old favourite project: the laser cut Marble Machine.

This time around, they gave the scale a twist – first sizing things up, and then scaling right down to something definitively cute and tiny.

As you can see in the following videos, the Marble Machines are a neat example of how easy it can be to resize an object for laser cutting.

“I’ve been telling people that one of the joys of CAM is that if you want a different size you just scale everything to 200% and recut it, so I did just that… and it works perfectly”

Just be sure to double-check before cutting! Martin and Dominic were careful to take into account all parameters including material thickness and the size of the marbles. For the Massive Marble Machine, two layers of 3mm MDF were laminated to create the required 6mm material thickness. It uses a 20mm ball bearing from another past project.

Going in the other direction, the Mini Marble Machine is so small that you need an implement to turn the teeny little winder that activates the mechanism.

Watch those marbles go round and round in a few short videos after the break. (more…)

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A laser cut hive mentality

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #156

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Make sure you join TLC’s Facebook page.

Above is a laser cut rubber BOLERO HEX (jacket) and COLONY pencil skirt from Ego Assassin (may be NSFW).

After the Om, magpies, hands, guitars, moths, clocks… (more…)

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Laser cut vibrating mirror

Fuzzy reflections for the New Year

As another calendar year clicks over, you may find yourself reflecting on the past 12 months and pondering what the New Year will bring.

Staring into the mirror is one way to indulge in some serious contemplation… and with this interesting project from Instructables user Wolfgang Kahler, gazing at your reflection can have some surprising results.

The mirror has an array of laser-cut discs at its centre, right where the viewer’s face is likely to be positioned. Each disc is connected to a tiny motor that vibrates under the control of an Arduino Uno, with visually compelling patterns achieved in what could be seen as a simple animation.

As you can see from the video after the break, this results in a dynamic interactive experience that is considerably more high-tech than the traditional fun house novelty mirror.   (more…)

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Elegant laser cut clocks

Taking inspiration from ornate European public timepieces

There is a lot to see at the Renegade Craft Chicago Winter Market in 2013. For those lucky enough to be in town on the 7th and 8th of December, one of the designers to look out for is Chicago native Sarah Mimo.

Over the past few years, Sarah has been building on a body of work that is inspired by an earlier visit to London and Prague. While on these travels, she found the beauty of Europe’s public clocks particularly memorable and has incorporated this influence into her artwork.

The result is an exceptional collection where she brings her own flavour to the idea of an ornamental timepiece. Laser cut and then finished and assembled by hand in her Brooklyn studio, these clocks are sure to pass the test of time.

See more from Sarah and other creative artists at the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market on December 7-8, or for those who miss out, there is plenty of laser cut eye candy on her website.

Sarah Mimo via Renegade Craft

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The Chart of Hand Tools

Over 300 illustrated tools of the trade

We may be immersed in the digital workflow of laser cutters and 3D printers, but there are still dozens of hand tools that makers are using every day.

The experts of laying it all out, Pop Chart Lab, have put together a wonderful collection in their print The Chart of Hand Tools.

“Meticulously illustrated tools celebrating the tinkerers and the doers: those who build, repair and create.”

Whether it’s the finely tuned measuring devices that ensure every dimension is just so, or the brute force of over 20 different hammers and mallets, somewhere on this illustrated panel will be the tools that enable you to realise your creativity.

Click through for a detailed view. (more…)

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Pinecone Patterned Animal Ornaments & Wintery Woodland Decor

Ponoko-made products by Yvonne Laube

The inspiration for Yvonne Laube’s adorable animal mobiles, switch plates, night lights, and holiday ornaments initially came while she was decorating the nursery for her newborn son.

“I was looking for pieces that were clean-lined and both modern and traditional,” she says. But when she couldn’t find quite what she was looking for, she decided to make her own designs with Ponoko’s laser cutting service.

And luckily for her, Yvonne’s single entry into last year’s YippieYay contest won her the opportunity to try Ponoko free for a whole year.

(more…)

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30 Holiday Gifts Created by Independent Designers

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

holiday gift guide

Cat silhouette snowflake ornaments? Check! Quotation mark earring studs? Yes! Full moon wall clock? Got it! DNA sequencer? Sho ‘nuf.

These are just a few of the fantastic things on our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide featuring original designs from Ponoko customers.

We’ve selected 30 different products this year to fit all budgets and suit everyone from your sister to your boss.

Check out our Gift Guide on Pinterest, and support independent designers this holiday season!

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Photographer Creates Camera Accessories for 150 yr old Photo Technique

Establishes In Camera Industries in Portland, Oregon

Photographer Jody Ake creates haunting images that capture the subject with incredible dimensionality.

He works with a wet collodion process, a method dating back to the 1850s. “The end results are ambrotypes, appearing on glass in the form of a negative until backed by black velvet, thus rendering the positive image,” he explains on his website.

The photographic plate holder Jody uses in his practice “finally deteriorated to the point that it was no longer useable, and finding a well made replacement was imposable. The lack of reliable plate holders inspired me to start making my own.”

So in addition to fine art photography and commission work, Jody started In Camera Industries — a small business selling accessories for in camera photography.

Specifically, In Camera Industries sells high quality, photographic plate holders that can be used for “wet collodion (ambrotype/tintypes),
paper negatives, dry plate, daguerreotypes, and any in camera process.”

(more…)

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Mesmerising kinetic wind sculptures

Combining CAD and a plasma cutter with traditional hand techniques

Anthony Howe is a veteran sculptor whose mind never stops turning… and the same goes for his stunning works of art.

Conceived entirely in his head, the intricate patterns in Howe’s works are resolved using a series of CAD programs before being sent to his own plasma cutter where the components are all cut from sheet material.

The final shapes are hand formed and hand finished using traditional metalworking techniques. All this is achieved in his Eastsound, WA studio.

“I develop a design on computer because it allows me to animate it and see it moving…

…then when I’m making things by hand, my intuition and subconscious plays a lot into the final object.”

Click through to see a revealing video interview with The Creators Project, where Anthony talks through his methodology and explains a little more about the thinking behind these kinetic objects.   (more…)

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Animated laser-engraved wood

The New America – is this the future of film making?

Two years in the making and consisting of over 800 individual laser etched wooden panels, The New America is an animation spectacular from film maker Nando Costa.

No stranger to the digital realm, Costa has created a unique bridge between the digitally produced physical object and the moving image. The largely abstract animation is pieced together from 8×4.5 inch panels of laser etched maple, resulting in an interesting visual effect as the wood grain changes from frame to frame.

The final production was made possible following a successful Kickstarter campaign, where contributors were rewarded with (amongst other things) actual panels from the film. Is The New America an insight into our future? Aside from any messages secreted within the animation itself, it certainly is interesting to see how laser cutting can be utilised in new ways. When reflecting on the process, Costa acknowledged that it was “a lot of hard work and stress” to bring The New America to life.

Click through to discover what the fuss is all about! See the clip after the break. (more…)

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