From pixels to iconic laser cut contours
The blocky aesthetic of Minecraft has broken beyond its digital confines before, but we’ve never seen it done with as much finesse and refinement as this coffee table by Martin Raynsford. Meticulously planned and laser cut with the help of the friendly guys at Kitronik, this is one table that has been turning heads… let’s take a look and see if we can discover why.
The final item is incredible and every time I look at the landscape I see something new in the details that I had forgotten about.
It wouldn’t be a Martin Raynsford project without a thorough run-down on how the table was made. We’ve outlined the key stages of the process here, but we do recommend flagging the full article for a deeper read during your leisure time.
Making the topographic model: As a motion sickness sufferer, Martin could not actually build within Minecraft – so he turned to Cinema 4D to generate the form.
Slicing the model: The layering was achieved using a tool for 3D printing called Slic3r. This was a good choice because the construction of the layered contour table is similar in principle to the way a 3D printer deposits material.
Adding that Minecraft aesthetic: Each layer to be cut was exported as a low resolution bitmap image, and then re-worked in Inkscape to prepare for laser cutting.
Cutting a Prototype: Knowing that going full size right away means paying big bucks while risking big mistakes, Martin started off with a half-scale mockup that revealed a number of insights relating to construction and assembly of the laser cut forms, as well as when best to paint the layers.
Full Sized Construction Once he had more confidence that the final design was resolved, the next step was to make the most of material sheet sizes. With freshly laser cut contours in hand, he then applied a clever system of alignment guides that would ultimately speed up the construction process.
The table base: Knowing better than to second-guess a good thing, Martin chose Ikea’s Lack coffee table as a sturdy base. The contour section was then designed to slip over the top so that it can be removed to separate the parts again if design changes or updates occur in the future.
Sounding good so far? Boosted by a number of explanatory images, the full (and nicely detailed) run-down of Martin’s process makes for an interesting read over on the Kitronik blog.
This process is a great example of how careful planning helps to achieve high quality results. If it looks a little intimidating, you can always start small with the Ponoko Personal Factory, and then work towards larger and more complex projects.
Have you constructed a topographic form using laser cutting? Let us know in the comments below.