Laser Cut Terrarium inhabitants

Miniature wooden forest creatures liven up tiny landscapes

With the holiday season fast approaching and Ponoko’s laser cutting deadlines closing even faster, here is a very cute gift idea that can be whipped together quite quickly.

Terrariums have a whimsical otherwordly feel to them, whether they are dangling in antique glassware at your local hipster café or nestled in the corner the Science lab at school. Instructables user Jodi Lynns posted a tutorial on how to make mini terrariums complete with teeny little laser cut critters that help give a new narrative to these snapshots of the natural world.

The Instructable starts off with handy advice on how to prepare and maintain the terrarium itself, which can be quite useful if you’ve never done this kind of thing before. Laser cutting the forest creatures is a straightforward process – source images, create the simple vector artwork for laser cutting and then turn that patch of nature into a living storybook.

via Instructables

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Mobile laser cut planter chases the Sun

Turning your house plants into autonomous cyborgs

For many people, keeping indoor plants happy is a task they just can’t get their heads around. The mysterious fine line between care and over-indulgence; occasional attention and neglect… the simple truth is that we don’t all have a green thumb.

With this laser cut arduino-driven project from Instructables user 10DotMatrix, some of the guess work is taken care of. An array of solar panels mounted on 3D printed brackets track the direction and strength of the sun, and then navigate the unit into the optimal position for maximum sun exposure.

Combine this with the clever Plant Friends moisture sensor and you could be well on the way to creating an arboreal cyborg.

A lot of thought has gone in to how to achieve this, so if your indoor plants could do with a techno-makeover, check out the project page over at Instructables.

via Hack A Day

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Laser Cut Scales

Fabric-inspired pattern knits together like a 21st century chainmail

Here is an interesting way to use laser cutting to produce a dynamic, malleable surface. Inspired by the structure and physical characteristics of certain fabrics, Scales from Japanese designer Shino Onodera is beautiful in its simplicity.

An intricate woven material is constructed from laser cut repetitions of a single simple wiggly pattern. Onodera experimented with a number of different materials to test the structural integrity of the design, with these images showing the version made from tracing paper.

Demonstrations of the laser cut Scales were featured in an exhibition at Japan’s prestigious Keio University, including sheets suspended from the ceiling and examples of the pattern applied in different materials.

What would you make if you could laser cut your own fabric?

See how to make your own Scales on Instructables.

via Instructables

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Javascript Laser Cut Lamp Shades

A few lines of code to brighten your day

When Maxime Beauchemin set out to design a pair of laser cut lamp shades, he decided that it would be fun to make use of his coding skills. Already familiar with d3.js, he used Javascript to generate the vector artwork that would then be sent to the laser cutter.

This was much easier than it may otherwise appear thanks to the interactive setup at jsfiddle.net, a fantastic resource that some refer to as a ‘playground for developers’. Here is a screenshot of the number crunching that makes Maxime’s lamp possible:

This looks like an interesting way to approach design for laser cutting, with the interactive preview keeping the outcome right there on screen. Of course, a little coding knowledge would be handy to get started… but for those who just want to play, you can head over to jsfiddle and tweak Maxime’s code to make further iterations of his Javascript Laser Cut Lampshade.

via Maxime Beauchemin

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Sweet dreams thanks to Sleep Sensei

Ponoko laser cut Kickstarter trains you to fall asleep. Eyes closed, now breathe…

Chasing those Z’s is about to get a whole lot easier thanks to this nifty innovation from Jeremy Wilson on Kickstarter. The Sleep Sensei sits on your nightstand and gently guides you towards a deep, restful sleep.

How does it do this? To some insomniacs, such an achievement may sound like pure magic, but there is some serious science behind the device. Jeremy’s own insomnia saw him trial numerous sleep aids before he set out to use his Arduino skills to sort out their collective shortcomings.

The functional laser cut prototype pictured above is at the core of this Kickstarter campaign, with the final design yet to be revealed. The key technology has all been sorted out already, as can be attested by an overwhelmingly positive outcome from product trials on real sleep-challenged volunteers.

“The Sleep Sensei primarily helps those with sleeping problems caused by stress or an overactive mind at bedtime.”

If you are one of those creative over-achievers who just can’t stop their mind racing at the end of the day (we probably all know at least a few people who fall into that category!) then head over to Kickstarter to discover more about The Sleep Sensei.

via Kickstarter

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Laser-cut Mechanical Claw

Bringing laser cut Halloween costumes within grasp

We love to see people using a laser cutter to create complex and clever Halloween costumes. This laser cut mechanical claw becomes an extension of the wearer’s hand, and comes alive thanks to mechanical tendons that animate in unison with the wearer’s finger movements.

Put together and posted on Instructables by musicandsky (Xintian Chu), the goal of this project is to make it easy for others to build their own set of mechanical hands.

“…you may see some projects on Instructables and YouTube with similar mechanisms which are awesome, but it may be hard to replicate one of those. In order to let anyone make one, I’ve kept material lists simple, with a lot of pictures to help you assemble.”

I think that he also just really enjoys having giant mechanical claws instead of fingers, and understandably so! Check out this photo from the streets of Taipei:

To read the thorough walkthrough on Instructables, follow the source link below and discover how Xintian Chu and his friends Mac Yu and Ted Hung from FabLab Taipei make it easier than ever to get handy this Halloween.

via Instructables

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Fab Academy 2015

Applications now open for the next Fab Academy Diploma

Applications are now open for the fifth edition of the Fab Academy Diploma, the main educational program of the Fab Lab Network.

For five months running between January and June in 2015, participants will find themselves immersed in an advanced digital fabrication program directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms. The diploma is based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything, and operates as a worldwide, distributed campus where Fab Labs across the globe become classrooms and libraries for a new kind of technical literacy.

Learn how to envision, prototype and document your ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with cutting edge digital fabrication technology.

Take note of the following important dates if you think this sounds like a great way to supercharge your creativity and productivity in 2015:

Application period: October 6th, 2014 – November 20th, 2014
Application revisions: November 21st, 2014 – November 31st, 2014
Application notification: December 1st, 2014 – December 10th, 2014
Classes: January 21st, 2015 – May 27th, 2015

A list of participating labs can be viewed here, and more information is available on the Fab Academy website. Applications are open… apply now for the 2015 course!

via Fab Academy

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Award Winning Laser-Cut Shadows

Mesmerising projection installation wins major art prize

The intricate patterns projected by artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s installation piece envelop the surrounding space with an immersive interplay of light and shadow.

Titled Intersections, the laser cut cube houses a single light bulb that shines through the exquisitely detailed panels. Evoking the distinct aesthetics of Islamic art and architecture, the suspended artefact blurs boundaries as the viewer is invited into the space, drawing them in while at the same time excluding them from physically reaching the central focus point.

Anila describes the installation as challenging the viewer to “…confront the contradictory nature of all intersections, while simultaneously exploring boundaries.”

Making an impact beyond the physical space, Intersections deservedly won Anila both the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize and the $100,000 Juried Grand Prize at ArtPrize international art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Click through to learn more about the thinking behind this intriguing laser cut art piece.

Anila Quayyum Agha via The Creators Project

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Laser-Cut Halloween Costume

How one dad used Ponoko to make his kid’s dreams take flight

Halloween is approaching once again, and that means creative parents are busy putting together costumes for their eager little Trick or Treaters.

Taking note of his son’s ‘outsized interest in aviation’, SketchUp guru Aidan Chopra set himself the task of building an aeroplane at just the right scale for the diminutive 2½ year old pilot. The outcome – a laser cut cardboard aeroplane costume – looks fantastic, with cartoon-like proportions that give a real sense of comic aviation nostalgia.

Aidan has put together a thorough walkthrough of his design process, including references and explanatory diagrams that take you through each stage of the project in comprehensive detail. We’ve included a few snippets from the original SketchUp post here, but do be sure to click through to the source for all of the juicy insights.

He began by referencing an enthusiast’s model of a WWII era fighter plane, and squished the proportions until it looked both fun and wearable. Having decided on laser cut cardboard for the final construction, Aidan then explored using Ponoko to produce the components… and that was where things really became interesting.

By taking time to plan out which materials to use, what sheet sizes and the relevant Ponoko requirements, he could then proceed with modeling the plane so that both construction and laser cutting costs were optimised.

The plane is constructed from 58 laser cut parts, of which 32 are unique. It took a little patience to work out how to best fit these onto the Ponoko P3 laser cutting template for double-layered corrugated cardboard, but the effort quite literally paid off by reducing cutting time.

“I’d discovered that it’s significantly cheaper to produce two copies of the same cutting file than it is to make two different sheets. Good thing, because it turns out that most of my airplane parts are symmetrical; they’re mirrored copies that exist in pairs.”

A lot of thought went in to each stage of the design process; from considering the scale and proportions appropriate for a child pilot, the material thickness and template sizes in the Ponoko Personal Factory, through to the inclusion of nodes on the slotted sections so that all the components fit together and hold in place securely.

The accuracy of the cutting was astounding. I’ve never laser cut anything; I expected the pieces to look good, but the quality of what I got made me alternate between grinning and literally giggling. For a person who spent hundreds of hours in architecture school hacking away at cardboard, foam core, basswood and plexiglass with an X-Acto knife, the extravagant expense of laser cutting instantly justified itself. I was hooked.

What a fantastic success story for a first-time Ponoko user. Why did he start off with a project as complex as this? It all may make a little more sense when you consider Aidan’s background. Having moved on from architecture, he became a master of the modeling program SketchUp. That’s no idle boast – some users may find him familiar as the author of the SketchUp for Dummies book series. Aidan’s guest post on SparkFun is both informative and entertaining, so click through if you’d like to hear the full story.

via SparkFun and SketchUp

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Laser cut precision

DIY callipers with imperial and metric vernier

Keeping track of precise measurements and the finest details just became a little easier, thanks to Sean Murphy’s updated vernier callipers on Thingiverse. He has come up with an interesting adaptation of a design that was originally intended to be cut from acrylic and then bolted together.

What did he do differently? Well, aside from tweaking the accuracy a little, Sean also laser cut the measuring device from paper and double-sided taped the two halves together.

“The result is a super thin set of callipers that can be slipped in a binder, folder, or book yet still give accuracy down to a few hundred microns.”

Very handy indeed… and because they are cheap, quick and easy to make, you could keep a set within reach at all times for refined accuracy wherever you happen to need them.

via Thingiverse

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