Amex Plastic Re-Imagined
With a rich history in highly refined laser cut art pieces, French design agency Future Marketry were the right guys to bank on for American Express. The financial giant commissioned them to create interpretations of the three classic credit cards – Green, Gold and Platinum.
The results are a dynamic sculptural interplay of light and shade as the contoured laser cut surfaces replicate the holographic sheen of the actual cards. All this is achieved in multiple layers of poplar ply, brass and acrylic. This is a fantastic example of how to create a sense of depth and visual complexity using 2D laser cutting. Click through to the source for more detail images from the series.
What other clever examples of laser cut light and shade have you seen? Let us know in the comments below.
Going BIG: Changing the way we see everyday objects
Every day we interact with hundreds of objects, barely giving them a second thought as they perform their designated functions. The transformation that happens when you dramatically upscale an item can be a real conversation starter, as is demonstrated by the giant comb bike rack pictured above.
This clever design was a response by Know How Shop LA to the question: “What would I lock my bike to if I were really small?”
Changes in scale can be a simple way to create an eye-catching impact, where often the more ubiquitous the item, the stronger the reaction will be. See how using laser cutting to go big can help your clients stand out from the crowd! Let us know about your ‘big ideas’ in the comments below.
Give your photography a boost using laser cut filters
Techniques for taking dramatic photos often rely on fancy (ie expensive) equipment, but as this little project from Jin Tsubota very effectively demonstrates, you can achieve some impressive results on a tight budget thanks to the Ponoko Personal Factory.
Watch the video above to see Jin’s step-by-step walkthrough of the remarkably easy process he used to make custom laser cut Bokeh Filters for a friend’s wedding.
“…I thought it would be fun to surprise him and his bride by shooting their wedding with these DIY bokeh filters.”
For those not familar with Bokeh, it refers to the aesthetic quality of the blurred elements that are captured through a camera lens. Bokeh filters take advantage of this, by controlling the shape of these areas using a physical filter attached to the front of the lens.
Inspired by these results, we had a quick go using the Ponoko logo! While our outcome isn’t quite as impressive as Jin’s, it is still fun to experiment with this technique.
You can see a photo with no filter on the left, then the filter with laser cut Ponoko logo, and the effect it creates on the right of the above image.
DIY Bokeh Filters make for a great low-cost laser cutting project, and the results can give your photography a unique, eye-catching personal touch. Have you made your own laser cut camera filters? Let us know in the comments below.
Laser Cut Bokeh Filters via YouTube: Jin Tsubota
Laser Cut Mobiles
While there are some people who don’t give the humble mobile much thought outside of a baby’s nursery, for others the transformation that takes place as an object floats delicately through the air can be quite mesmerising.
Mobiles can take on many forms, as is demonstrated by the playful examples pictured here from Diana Jess aka daswooddesign. Hand-made from low impact eco-plastic, she used the compositionally friendly arrangement of four floating elements (pictured above)… but you can also have just as much impact with five, three, two or even one lone pendant suspension. It all comes down to how interesting your individual items are, and how well they balance when suspended.
Many of our favorite laser cutting materials are ideal to use in this application, as the silhouette of the object and the negative space around it contribute to creating a dynamic visual impact. The designs from daswood achieve this particularly well, using the strengths of laser cutting to make the most of the chosen material’s physical characteristics.
Where can you suspend an eye-catching promotional laser cut design from? Going beyond the standard ceiling mount, there are opportunities around us all the time. How about something dangling from the rear-vision mirror in a car, or clipped to the edge of a computer monitor? See what else you can come up with, and use the Ponoko Personal Factory to create a ‘space modulator’ that leaves a lasting impression.
We’ve giving away everything you need to create your own custom Google Cardboard
Wouldn’t it be cool to make one for FREE?
We’ve got 3 Google Cardboard Kits and over $250 worth of laser cutting that we’re giving away to folks with the best ideas for a custom Google Cardboard headset.
Google’s kit is based around making with cardboard, and the manufacturing specifications are open source. This makes it perfect for developing and prototyping your killer idea with laser cut parts from Ponoko.
Maybe one button isn’t enough for the game you’re developing. Maybe you want an oversized headset that works with your iPad. Maybe you just want a shiny gold acrylic VR headset to match your gold watch.
Whatever your idea is, we want to hear it. The folks with the best ideas will get a head start on making their ideas a reality with one of the following prizes:
|1st Prize – Google Cardboard Hardware Kit + $150 Worth of Laser Cutting|
|2nd Prize – Google Cardboard Hardware Kit + $75 Worth of Laser Cutting|
|3rd Prize – Google Cardboard Hardware Kit + $35 Worth of Laser Cutting|
How to Enter:
Simply describe your idea in the comments below. Include a mockup, sketch or other visual aid that shows what makes your idea great. Multiple submissions welcome.
About the Prizes:
Hardware kit includes everything you need to get started: Two 25mm diameter lenses, one ring neodymium magnet, one ceramic disk magnet and a set of sticky-back velcro strips. Free laser cutting is issued in the form of Ponoko Making Vouchers. The original Google Cardboard costs less $10 to make with Ponoko, so the $35 prize is more than enough for three iterations!
Finalists will be selected using the following criteria, in no particular order:
- Interesting use of material(s).
- Production feasibility and/or market appeal.
Submit your idea before next Friday, August 14th. The best ideas as voted by the Ponoko team will be announced on Monday August 17th.
Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions, or things we can assist with.
Update 18 Aug: Congratulations to the winners!
First Prize – Richard for steampunk Cardboard
Second Prize – Tana for a Cardboard with a proximity sensor.
Third Prize – Kevin for a Cardboard stand that allows for time-lapse photos or other similar time consuming techniques.
If you are one of our winners, please check your email for details on how to claim your prize. Thanks again to everyone who participated!
High contrast laser cut layers
Laser cut and etched wood has a striking impact all on its own, but as this example from San Francisco creative duo b-spired shows, adding in a backing layer of bright colored card really makes things pop.
Enhancing the crisp lines and bold negative space that is such a strength of laser cutting, the layered card creates a high-contrast visual impact that completely transforms the natural tone of the timber. The same effect will be equally impressive when applied to other popular laser cutting materials such as acrylic and metals.
These greeting cards and invitations by b-spired also have a sturdy backing and a neat little pop-out stand, because when something looks this good, chances are high that people will want to display them.
Imagine how this technique would look when applied to corporate identities and company artwork. How can you use the Ponoko Personal Factory to create promotional laser cut layered items, inspired by b-spired?