With the smooth geometry of a classic arcade machine, the Photon Printer 3D printed laser engraver is a tiny technological wonder. Built as a DIY project by New Zealand engineer Stephen Brockett, the fully functional etching machine was put together using selected DVD burner components and just a few purchased items to fill in the gaps that could not be 3D printed at home.
In part, the project was made possible by salvaging the impressive innards of a standard optical drive, but don’t let Stephen’s modesty fool you… there are a lot of other clever design decisions that kept the total build budget at just $20.
“Optical media drives are actually pretty amazing, they have linear rails, stepper motors, lead screws and even end stops inside them… They’re pretty much an entire axis of a CNC machine ready to go!”
Keeping a healthy respect for the laser at the heart of the machine, a number of safety features were built into the Photon Printer. Nifty inclusions made possible by 3D printing like a roller shutter and angled rear vents (to stop reflected laser light escaping) can be seen in the video below.
The whole journey is fully documented on Thingiverse where it has sparked up a spirited discussion from other makers using the detailed instructions and downloadable files to print out their own versions. Perhaps you could even build on this design further using the Ponoko Personal Factory…
Celebrating a company’s milestones and achievements, the Annual Report is an important document that can be further enhanced through clever use of laser cutting. By using typographic voids, multicolored layering and other similar techniques familiar to laser cutting designers, the published information becomes interesting and eye-catching in a way that invites the reader to explore further.
Pictured above are examples of laser cut cover artwork on Annual Reports and Catalogues from Under Consideration (top-left) and Croatian Post (lower-right) as well as internal content from Pelayo Insurance (top-right) and the Zuiderzee Museum (lower-left). We can see in these different approaches that selective application of laser cut elements can help to give a sense of prestige and style to the printed material.
Have you seen other interesting examples of laser cutting on business publications? Let us know in the comments below, and see if you can come up with a novel way to transform your next annual report into a dynamic document that has lasting impact using the Ponoko Personal Factory.
Virtual reality from Google, with laser cut parts from Ponoko
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality kit that starts with a simple viewer anyone can build or buy. It works by turning your phone into a virtual reality headset using a sheet of cardboard, two plastic lenses, a magnet and a bit of velcro.
Using laser cut parts from Ponoko, you can get started with Cardboard for less than $10.
So far there have been a ton of apps released for the platform including test drives, roller coaster rides, and mountain climbs. But it’s not just games and rides- People are finding new ways to use the kit – from campus tours to marriage proposals to vacation planning.
Anyone can build their own Google Cardboard – there are no official manufacturers and the whole kit is open source. Want to engrave a VR code that opens up your app? Go for it. Want to add custom branding? No problem. Want to design a shiny gold mirror headset? The sky’s the limit.
Since the kit is made up of inexpensive cardboard, it’s perfect for experimenting and creating your own version using laser cut parts from Ponoko.
De-mystifying the ins and outs of laser cut curved surfaces
For the most part, laser cut objects consist of flat panels that are either cut or etched before being assembled into a final configuration. There is another way to use laser cutting to create 3D objects from flat materials, and it uses a clever design element called a Lattice or Living Hinge.
It is more common to see makers and hobbyists using Living Hinges in laser cut wood, because the properties of this material allow for a significant degree of flex before the material fractures. There are also examples of Living Hinges successfully being implemented in acrylic enclosures, which demonstrates the versatility of this technique – because without using heat to assist bending, acrylic tends to be notoriously brittle.
We’re going to take a look at two approaches to designing a living hinge – starting with the more accessible trial-and-error method, and then diving in to an overview of the mathematics behind how flat materials can become bendy. (more…)
Above is a wood mandala necklace. It is intricately laser cut and etched from layers of wood and comes from the always amazing Sugar & Vice. To create this unique design you could use Ponoko‘s many different wood types, laser cut and etched with different radial patterns.
Attending a conference or event involves many layers of social nuance, and the ubiquitous name tag is one way to help people connect. As these laser cut and laser etched examples show, with a little creativity and planning in advance you can find all kinds of ways to make personal identification novel and memorable.
Pictured above are samples from the Engraved project by John T Kim. Although they are business cards and not ‘name tags’, the clean graphic impact of this design and the way that it has used the precision of laser etching are a good reference point.
Click through for several traditional examples plus a few that come at the idea of identification in a whole new way. (more…)
If you’re a fan of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, you’re familiar with the natural separation of oils that occurs after opening your jar of peanut-buttery goodness.
Made from laser cut bamboo from Ponoko – Mark’s Arduino-powered invention helps stirs the yummy ingredients back together for smooth spreading.
This ingenious tool not only helps solve the mess associated with mixing natural peanut butters, it’s a great example of what’s possible when you combine the precision of laser cutting with a bit of creativity.
You could say that ingenuity & laser cutting compliment each other like, well, peanut butter & jelly.