2Plex Laser Cut Construction Kit

Archimedean solids made easy

Benjamin Schaeffer likes to build things, and his latest foray with a laser cutter has resulted in a neat little collection he calls the 2Plex Construction Kit.

It’s all about having fun with form, building modular structures out of lightweight cardboard pre-cut shapes. As you can see from the image above, the variety of objects you can create from the simple geometric elements is quite open ended.

Don’t let terms like stellated octahedron throw you. As Ben says in his video construction walkthrough:

“This is mathematics. Not all mathematics is about numbers. Some mathematics is about form and shape.”

Available on Thingiverse in handy files that are ready for the laser cutter, the modular geometric forms have been optimised for construction using standard corrugated card.   (more…)

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Mesmerising kinetic wind sculptures

Combining CAD and a plasma cutter with traditional hand techniques

Anthony Howe is a veteran sculptor whose mind never stops turning… and the same goes for his stunning works of art.

Conceived entirely in his head, the intricate patterns in Howe’s works are resolved using a series of CAD programs before being sent to his own plasma cutter where the components are all cut from sheet material.

The final shapes are hand formed and hand finished using traditional metalworking techniques. All this is achieved in his Eastsound, WA studio.

“I develop a design on computer because it allows me to animate it and see it moving…

…then when I’m making things by hand, my intuition and subconscious plays a lot into the final object.”

Click through to see a revealing video interview with The Creators Project, where Anthony talks through his methodology and explains a little more about the thinking behind these kinetic objects.   (more…)

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Animated laser-engraved wood

The New America – is this the future of film making?

Two years in the making and consisting of over 800 individual laser etched wooden panels, The New America is an animation spectacular from film maker Nando Costa.

No stranger to the digital realm, Costa has created a unique bridge between the digitally produced physical object and the moving image. The largely abstract animation is pieced together from 8×4.5 inch panels of laser etched maple, resulting in an interesting visual effect as the wood grain changes from frame to frame.

The final production was made possible following a successful Kickstarter campaign, where contributors were rewarded with (amongst other things) actual panels from the film. Is The New America an insight into our future? Aside from any messages secreted within the animation itself, it certainly is interesting to see how laser cutting can be utilised in new ways. When reflecting on the process, Costa acknowledged that it was “a lot of hard work and stress” to bring The New America to life.

Click through to discover what the fuss is all about! See the clip after the break. (more…)

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Laser cut wooden alphabet puzzle

Merging hand-finished craftsmanship with computer aided design

With laser cut wood, there tends to be a particular distinctive visual language. The raw timber face standing out in contrast to the deep earthy tone of the cut edges… it is an aesthetic that has become iconic and is easily recognised.

But as this beautifully executed example from Looodus shows us, laser cutting doesn’t always have to look that way.

Laser cut and hand-finished in the picturesque Piemonte hills outside of Milan, Italy, this series of alphabet puzzles demonstrate the effectiveness of adding a few finishing touches by hand to digitally manufactured objects.

Click through to learn more about how this project got started, and to see further details of the fantastic colour variations. (more…)

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Paper artist tries out laser cutting

Giving laser cut wood a try for the first time

Canadian artist Rachael Ashe has a nifty set of skills when it comes to hand cut paper. A recent commission called for something a little more solid than her usual delicate works… and laser cutting was the answer.

Being new to laser cutting in wood can be daunting, but Rachael was lucky enough to have some buddies who could help her along with a little expert know-how. Her process started with the scanning of a 2D hand-cut artwork, which she then manipulated in Photoshop before opening up the file in Illustrator to trace outlines and clean everything up so that it was ready for the laser cutter.

The guys at a local laser cutting and engraving fabrication studio stepped in to work their magic, and the results speak for themselves.   (more…)

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CNCKing.com Volume 4: Rise of the CNC

Comprehensive CNC resource now available on Amazon

Here is some great news for the digital manufacturing community. As a CNC evangelist Jon Cantin is in a league all of his own, and he has put in a huge effort to share his knowledge and expertise in the latest CNCKing.com publication, volume 4: Rise of the CNC.

Imagine an encyclopaedic compendium of CNC know-how, covering topics from laser cutting and CNC routing all the way through to plasma cutting and 3D printing. It’s perfect for people looking to do their own laser cutting in wood, acrylic or metal and covers topics that even advanced makers will find insightful and valuable.

In this volume, infamous hardware hacker and DIY inventor extraordinaire Ben Heck kicks things off with a foreword that highlights how CNC technology influenced his own workflow and creative career.

So if the sound of 400+ pages of CNC knowledge has you on the edge of your seat, jump over to CNCKing.com to find out more about volume 4: Rise of the CNC. The publication is now available as a digital download or in printed format from Amazon as well.

via CNCKing.com

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Ornate laser cut wood with depth

Layer upon layer, each piece tells a fantastic story

The dynamic works of London-based illustrator Martin Tomsky can usually be found bringing children’s books to life… but it’s when he gets his hands on a laser cutter that his imagination really soars.

The layered ply is stained in a number of different shades for added depth, giving the swirling laser cut wood forms a dynamic energy suggestive of a 21st century Hokusai.

Continue after the break to see further examples including details of the 3D effect created by the laser cut wood layers. (more…)

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Laser cutting wood to make the Stewart Platform

Keeping projects in balance with DIY robotic device

The Stewart platform is an ingenious robotic device that provides flexible movement of a working surface across six degrees of freedom. Often used to support flight simulators and telescopes, they are also an essential component of many serious university projects.

After observing that more time is often spent on preparing a reliable platform than on the project itself, Dan Royer has set out to build a standard platform that universities can make use of across a range of projects.

Large Stewart platforms use hydraulics to manipulate heavy loads quickly and precisely. Currently, Dan’s version works on a smaller scale using a platform built from laser cut wood with stepper motors providing motion control.

It is quite a challenge to deliver mechanical precision that is also strong and smooth when in motion. The test rigs that Dan has constructed are powered by Adafruit’s stepper motor controller boards, all driven by an Arduino. The task of keeping all six stepper motors working together is particularly tricky, so in pursuit of the most stable outcome the Gcode demo software is available as an open source download on github.

Marginally Clever via Hack a Day

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Interactive kinetic sculpture brings mythic eagle to life

Creation story features in First Peoples exhibit at Melbourne Museum

Interactive design gurus ENESS have used the latest in digital manufacturing technologies to give form to the spiritual history of one of the world’s oldest continuing cultures.

First Peoples is an exhibition at the Melbourne Museum in Australia, where the creation story of Bunjil, a mythic wedge-tailed eagle, has been brought to life in the form of a 2.2m kinetic sculpture.

The stylised laser-cut acrylic feathers undulate with mysterious rhythm, while a computer controlled projection is mapping graphics simultaneously onto each blade in real-time, driven by motion-tracking and some sophisticated custom software. A song-like narration read by Aboriginal actors guides the viewer, as the display literally glows and pulses with life.

“…the scuplture simulates the omni-present nature of creation and universal motion. Visitors are meant to be inspired in the same way Victoria’s first inhabitants were by Bunjil’s power.”

See more of the story on how the thinking behind this inspirational exhibit; how it was made and also catch a few glimpses of the motion and projection artwork in action after the break. (more…)

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Gorgeous laser cut wood greeting cards

Wooden cards and invitations from B-spired

When sending someone a personal greeting, there can be something so satisfying about finding a really neat card.

Betsey Reiche and Charlotte Miller come together as b-spired, a San Francisco duo who have created a range of laser cut wood greeting cards and invitations with their own special spark.

The cards are laser cut and etched with distinctive, quirky graphics and then wonderfully combined with bright card stock backing to bring out the illustrative features.

Each design makes use of the crisp lines and bold negative space that is such a strength of laser cutting, whether it be in wood or even applied to laser cutting metal.

Click through to see more of these delicious cards from b-spired.   (more…)

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