Pattern Matters: Tactile Paper Exploration

Hand-cut mechanical calendar explores the role of pattern in design

Celebrating the role that pattern plays in graphic design, this gorgeous paper calendar series from Singapore-based designer Siang Ching is a mesmerising tactile wonder of the kind that is rare to see in these days of all things digital.

The paper calendar appears as a part of Pattern Matters, a collection of textural hand-cut paper explorations.

Far more than just a visually striking kinetic sculpture, each of the monthly pages contains a veritable numerologist’s delight. When the user turns, twists and pulls the paper components, an informative scientific precision is revealed as dates align with days of the week, lunar cycles and even the number of days from the start of the year.

Ching’s main objective is to inspire other designers to explore the use of pattern in their own works.

“Pattern Matters also aims to demonstrate that pattern is a crucial form of design element… …not merely a decorating tool.”

Click through to see some calendar pages in closer detail, and also a few insights into the construction process.   (more…)

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Laser cut kit lets you build your own honeymoon

Ponoko-made project by Michiel Post van der Molen

“I had known about Ponoko for a long time,” says Michiel, “but never had a great reason to use the service.”

That reason finally came while he and his soon-to-be wife Jo-Ann planned their Berkeley, California wedding. “Many of our guests were traveling from different countries, and we wanted to give them something special to say thanks for making the journey,” Michiel explains.

His idea was to use our laser cutting service to create a DIY kit that let people build their own honeymoon scenes.

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Graphics cut onto vinyl records

Creating LP’s that look as good as they sound

Showing that there is still life in those good old LP vinyl records, Japanese designer Shinsuke Yamaji is doing something quite interesting at Autora Factory Plate.

Imagine if your vinyl records looked as good as they sound! Now they can, thanks to some clever machinations that transform the humble LP into an object of art before you even set it spinning.

Pictured above is the diamond stylus that is used to cut custom graphics onto vinyl records. Apparently, accurate audio quality is maintained as a part of the programming of the illustrations.

Click through to see how a finished LP looks, as well as a glimpse of the program interface and cutter setup.

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3D printed ukulele

Digital manufacturing never sounded so sweet * UPDATE * video added!

There is a saying amongst ukulele players. It goes something along the lines of “Music self played is happiness self made.” So imagine how happy Matthew must be, as he strums away on his 3D printed ukulele!

We’ve seen an impressive folding laser cut uke before, and it was only a matter of time before someone had a serious crack at 3D printing one. Matthew (aka Koa Soprano) is no stranger to making his own musical devices, having previously tried his hand at violins and other stringed instruments.

His ukulele is something different though. Printed on a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer, it took about 37 hours for the body, neck and pegs to be produced. Allowance had to be made for the build area of the printer, which means that the headstock is a little shorter than usual. A neat dovetail was planned in to the Solidworks model so that the neck and body can be easily assembled after printing. Pegs were printed both horizontally and vertically to see which orientation produced a neater result.

Click through to see the finished instrument, as well as a few insights into pitfalls that were overcome during the printing process.

* UPDATE * video included after the break!
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The sweetest 3D printing of all

Sugar prints that are good enough to eat

Sculptural geometric forms take on a delicious twist with a sweet approach to 3D printing from The Sugar Lab.

It all started when husband and wife team Kyle and Liz von Hasseln wanted to make a sweet gift for a friend’s birthday. Without an oven and therefore unable to bake a cake, the duo applied their architectural skills and set out to 3D print one. What resulted was a simple cupcake with “Chelsea” (the friend’s name) printed in sugar across the top. Excited by the experimentation process, Kyle and Liz have refined the sugar printing technique to produce some stunning – and possibly quite delicious – sculptural forms.

The process uses alternating strands of sugar with layers of a water and alcohol solution that seals and solidifies the sugar.     (more…)

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DIY fishing lures from 3D printed models and silicone molds

Ponoko-made project by Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor was the ‘T’ in T&C Lures, a small business started by two guys who loved to fish in the San Diego bay. His partner (the ‘C’ in T&C) was taking a CNC machining class and “just wanted the challenge” of creating his own lures. Their first product, the swimgrub shown below, made the rounds at fishing forums and quickly became very popular.

But after just a few months of starting the company, C moved on and Kevin was left to carry on design and production. He would either have to pay a lot of money to a product development agency or learn to do it himself. So he decided to dive in and learn.

After some initial research on CAD and rapid prototyping, he came across SketchUp 3D design software and Ponoko’s 3D printing service.

Rather than make CNC machined masters for molding the lures and bait, Kevin decided to try 3D printed models.
Below are images of his SketchUp designs as well as a model he produced with Rhino.

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Botanicus Interacticus turns living plants into highly responsive interfaces

A new approach to digital interaction through . . . plants?

Using a single wire placed in the soil, Botanicus Interacticus transforms a living plant into a sophisticated interface. Unlike earlier methods that only identify contact, Botanicus Interacticus uses Touché sensing technology to allow for a range of precise and engaging interactions.

Botanicus Interacticus enables us to use gestures as sliding the fingers on the stem of the orchid, detecting touch and grasp locations of a bamboo, tracking proximity between a human and a plant, and estimating the amount of touch contact leading to a rich amount of interaction possibilities.

Botanicus Interacticus is being developed at Disney Research by Ivan Poupyrev in collaboration with Philipp Schoessler, Jonas Loh/Studio NAND, and Munehiko Sato. Be sure to watch the two videos after the jump to learn about the project.
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Laser cut wooden record

Digital music goes analog once again

We’ve encountered Amanda Ghassaei and her digitally fabricated records before, when she 3D printed some rockin’ tracks that were playable on a standard turntable. This time around, she has turned her talents towards exploring the potential of laser cutting to get her groove on.

The visual impact of this laser cut timber is stunning, but how does a record cut from Maple actually sound? As you’ll hear when you click through to the video after the break, we aren’t really talking hi-fidelity… however as an experimentation it is very interesting indeed. (more…)

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Opensource Craft Camera

Build your own DIY Arduino camera!

The Craft Camera is a collaboration by Coralie Gourguechon, electronics engineer Stéphane Delbruel, Graphic Designer Laura Messaglio, and maker-space Tetalab.
The project is based on the theme Low-Tech Vs. Hi-Tech, in response to in-built obselence in many consumer products to limit the product life-span to encourage consumers to continually upgrade. Rather,  the materials used and accessibility of open source design encourages Craft Camera users to repair and upgrade the camera themselves rather. (more…)

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Just in time for wedding season, bamboo cake toppers of animals in love <3

Ponoko-made products by Valerie Thai

It was love — of wood — that lead designer Valerie Thai to laser cutting.

“I have always loved working with wood as a medium. In the past I did a lot of woodburning (pyrography) as a hobby and craft,” she says.

When Valerie started seeing laser cut wood designs on various blogs, she decided to research the method a little more. She then came across Ponoko in the Etsy forums. “It was really exciting to know that there was a way I could work directly with a user-friendly laser cutting company,” she tells me.

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